Daniel Goleman is a psychologist, lecturer, and science journalist who has reported on the brain and behavioral sciences for The New York Times for many years. His 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence (Bantam Books) was on The New York Times bestseller list for a year and a half.
Goleman is also the author of Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything. The book argues that new information technologies will create “radical transparency,” allowing us to know the environmental, health, and social consequences of what we buy. As shoppers use point-of-purchase ecological comparisons to guide their purchases, market share will shift to support steady, incremental upgrades in how products are made – changing every thing for the better.
His latest book is Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body, which he has co-authored with Richard Davidson reveals the science of what meditation can really do for us, as well as exactly how to get the most out of it.
Question: How can we compete more effectively?
Daniel Goleman: You look at the stars, top 10% performance versus people who’re just mediocre, just at the average, there’s a way to do a systematic analysis of the capabilities or competencies that stars have that you don’t find at the average. David McLaughlin was one of the developers of this. Really, my work in emotional intelligence looks at that.
Because it turns out, particularly for leadership, most of the competencies that distinguish outstanding leaders have nothing to do with IQ, with academic intelligence. They’re in this other domain. Whether people are getting more competitive or not, more viciously competitive, I think people have always been viciously competitive. However, people who are the most effective tend to be competitive in a different way. They compete with themselves.
As I said, they have very high standards for performance. And they’re continually trying to understand how to learn to do better. And that’s the more effective way to compete. Improve your own performance, not run against the other guy necessarily.
Question: What is your critique of Malcolm Gladwell?
Daniel Goleman: Here’s the problem with Malcolm’s book. He talks about cohorts that have been privileged by accident, by experience. But… One of them, for example, is, as I remember, Jewish lawyers who were born in the 1930s. Some of them were spectacularly successful. The problem is he didn’t take a sample of all Jewish lawyers born in the ‘30s. There also certainly be failures among them. And his model doesn’t really explain what distinguishes the failures from the outliers.
So it’s a good beginning but I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and then the book ended. But Malcolm is a wonderful writer. I really like the book.
Recorded on: April 22, 2009
The author looks at competition through the lens of emotional intelligence.
NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller is coming back to Big Think to answer YOUR questions! Here's all you need to know to submit your science-related inquiries.
Big Think's amazing audience has responded so well to our videos from NASA astronomer and Assistant Director for Science Communication Michelle Thaller that we couldn't wait to bring her back for more!
And this time, she's ready to tackle any questions you're willing to throw at her, like, "How big is the Universe?", "Am I really made of stars?" or, "How long until Elon Musk starts a colony on Mars?"
All you have to do is submit your questions to the form below, and we'll use them for an upcoming Q+A session with Michelle. You know what to do, Big Thinkers!
Build up, tear down—new technology stirs up a cycle of progress and cynicism we've seen all throughout history.
- "Every time that there's a new technology, particularly around media, there's a set of outcries around how that media is corrupting culture or how it's destroying certain aspects of our life," says entrepreneur and author Elad Gil.
- In some cases there are real concerns, but taking a historical view can quell unnecessary panic. Progress and cynicism work in a cyclical fashion. New tech is unveiled, the media builds it up, then the media tears it down in a wave of backlash.
- Today we worry about kids and smartphones; 80 years ago we worried about kids and the radio; same cynicism, different day.
- Technology lifts the lid on human potential and quality of life, says Gil. We should be duly cautious, but optimism is more valuable (and arguably more rational) than pessimism.
Calling all big thinkers!
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