Daniel Goleman is a psychologist known the world over for his groundbreaking research on the brain and behaviour. He lectures globally to professional groups, business audiences, and on college campuses. In 1995, Daniel Goleman published Emotional Intelligence, a book that has changed the way many people consider intelligence. The book was on the New York Times bestseller list for a year and a half and has over 5 million copies in print worldwide. Daniel Goleman has also written books on many other topics including self-deception, creativity, transparency, meditation, social and emotional learning, eco-literacy and the ecological crisis. Daniel’s idea that IQ is not the sole measure of one’s abilities has been described as ‘revolutionary, paradigm-shattering idea’. Emotional Intelligence was named one of the 25 “Most Influential Business Management Books” by TIME Magazine. The Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and Accenture Insititute for Strategic Change have listed Daniel Goleman among the most influential business thinkers. His most recent book, Primal Leadership: Unleashing The Power of Emotional Intelligence, offers an up-to-date summary of his thinking on leadership by collecting key excerpts from his books together. Daniel Goleman is the co-founder of the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His work as a science journalist has been recognised with many awards, including the Washburn Award for science journalism, a Lifetime Career Award from the American Psychological Association, and he was made a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition of his communicating science to the general public. Please enjoy my interview with the remarkable, Daniel Goleman…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
I write and talk.
The wonderful book about Maurice Sendak, There’s a Mystery There by Jonathan Cott.
What’s your earliest memory of reading?
Circling the words I recognise — a, and, the — in a children’s book by Gertrude Stein.
If you could encourage young people to read one book in particular, what would it be?
My own book, A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World. The Dalai Lama’s message is aimed at today’s younger people. He outlines a positive action agenda for the 21st century – their century.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
My worst job was working as an assistant in a warehouse, building a potato washer for a giant California farm — it was the women peeling onions for Campbell Soup in the same warehouse that made it so bad — crying all the time.
Do you read as much as you’d like to?
Can you remember the first time you broached the concept of emotional intelligence?
It wasn’t my concept — I was a science journalist at the New York Times and in 1990 Peter Salovey (now president of Yale) and his grad student John Mayer published an article by that name in a journal so obscure it no longer exists. I liked the term and used it five years later as a bridging concept for my book that spanned from emotions and the brain to school-based programs in social/emotional learning.
The book I’ve recommended most is Ten Percent Happier by Dan Harris. Dan Harris has written a realistic, readable, and encouraging narrative about his own first tries with meditation. It’s great for someone who is considering trying. Plus he’s very funny.
What’s your favourite genre of book?
My favourite genres are science fiction, and science journalism.
What do you think a world without books would be like?
Is there an author whose writing you’re such a fan of, that you’ll read everything they release?
I used to say Neal Stephenson but now I like John Sundman’s self-published books in the same vein.
Do you think digital books will ever completely replace real books?
I hope not. There’s something special about holding the real thing. Plus research shows we remember more when we read a print book than the same in digital.
Again, I’d say A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World.
You’ve written so many great books, do you have a personal favourite?
My new book with Richard Davidson, set for release in September, Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body. This details what’s been my journey since my college days.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life?
Zen Flesh, Zen Bones by Paul Reps. This was the first spiritual book I had read, and it intrigued me enough that I ended up going to India on an inner search, which has been part of my life since then.
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
I’ll be reading more books on the subject of evolution, biology and history.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
I am writing an autobiography. But I don’t know what to call it yet.