Feeling Felt: Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
"When ordinary people were asked to list what makes a person intelligent, social competence emerged as a prominant[sic] natural category."
In his ground-breaking work on Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Coleman introduced the concepts and tools around Self-awareness and Self-management. Social Intelligence extends the concept of intelligence to look at Social Awareness and Social Facility (otherwise known as Relationship management).
Goleman illustrates his points throughout the book with anecdotes and stories. There are no prescriptions, no self-tests, no action items. Rather, the book presents a cogent look at how our brains tune into others, and how this presents itself in our social interactions.
Perhaps the one cogent reminder is that empathy requires attention. The philosopher Martin Buber coined the term "I-it" for the interactions that range from detached to exploitive. In our multi-tasking world of cell phones, wireless internet and Blackberrys, how easy it is to enter into a conversation and then become distracted, disconnected and leaving the other person feeling like an "it".
Could you, today, turn more conversations into "I- You" conversations, where the level of engagement was one of "feeling felt"?