Social Intelligence: The New Science of Success


Karl Albrecht defines social intelligence (SI) as the ability to get along well with others while winning their cooperation. SI is a combination of sensitivity to the needs and interests of others, sometimes called your “social radar,” an attitude of generosity and consideration, and a set of practical skills for interacting successfully with people in any setting. Social Intelligence provides a highly accessible and comprehensive model for describing, assessing, and developing social intelligence at a personal ...
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Social Intelligence: The New Science of Success

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Karl Albrecht defines social intelligence (SI) as the ability to get along well with others while winning their cooperation. SI is a combination of sensitivity to the needs and interests of others, sometimes called your “social radar,” an attitude of generosity and consideration, and a set of practical skills for interacting successfully with people in any setting. Social Intelligence provides a highly accessible and comprehensive model for describing, assessing, and developing social intelligence at a personal level. This book is filled with intriguing concepts, enlightening examples, stories, cases, situational strategies, and a self-assessment tool – all designed to help you learn to navigate social situations more successfully.
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Editorial Reviews

Soundview Executive Book Summaries
The New Science of Success
Although we all know some people who demonstrate great social intelligence and others who show very little social intelligence, the concept itself can be somewhat slippery. According to management consultant and prolific author Karl Albrecht, social intelligence is the ability to get along with others and get them to cooperate with you. Although this definition of social intelligence is simple, gaining social intelligence takes a complex combination of sensitivity to the needs and interests of others, an attitude of generosity and consideration, and a set of practical skills for interacting successfully with others in any setting. In Social Intelligence, Albrecht explores the five dimensions of social intelligence while also presenting better ways for anyone to navigate social situations.

Several years ago, Harvard Professor Howard Gardner presented the idea that human intelligence is more than a single trait or intelligence quotient (IQ). More recently, Dr. Daniel Goleman expanded that theory in his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It May Be More Important Than IQ. In Social Intelligence, Albrecht expands the multiple-intelligence concept to include another valuable way to look at the intelligences that humans develop and use to find success at work, at home and beyond.

Toxic and Nourishing Behaviors
Albrecht writes that the extremes of social intelligence can be seen as either “toxic” or “nourishing.” He explains that toxic behaviors are those that cause other people “to feel devalued, inadequate, intimidated, angry, frustrated or guilty. Nourishing behaviors cause others to feel valued, capable, loved, respected and appreciated.” He adds that people with high social intelligence attract others to them, and those with low social intelligence repel others. By developing better social intelligence among children, college students, managers, professionals, and all adults, Albrecht explains that conflict can be reduced, collaboration can be created, bigotry and polarization can be replaced with understanding, and people can be mobilized toward common goals.

To facilitate a deeper understanding of social intelligence, Albrecht breaks it down into the following five dimensions, forming the “SPACE” acronym:

  1. Situational Awareness. This is the ability to read situations and to interpret the behaviors of people in those situations.
  2. Presence. This includes a whole range of verbal and nonverbal behaviors that define you in the minds of others.
  3. Authenticity. This comprises the behaviors that cause others to judge you as honest, open and “real.”
  4. Clarity. This is the ability to explain your ideas and articulate your views.
  5. Empathy. This is the ability to “connect” with others.

After describing the details of each of these aspects of social intelligence, Albrecht provides a set of practical models and tools that can be used every day to define and measure these competencies so we can better understand our own social intelligence skills and preferences. By laying out a step-by-step assessment of interaction skills, he offers a tool with which we can compare our own perceptions of ourselves with those of others, allowing us to reflect on and plan the areas of social intelligence that we would like to improve.

Rounded out with an examination of where the concept of social intelligence fits into business, leadership and conflict, Social Intelligence provides a complete picture of this valuable concept as well as instructions for its application.

Why We Like This Book
Albrecht delivers a compelling concept in a straightforward context that invites anyone interested in improving his or her social skills to learn simple ways to tap into the vast potential of social success. Fascinating from beginning to end, Social Intelligence provides the stories and ideas that can help us grow in our work and our lives through better interactions with others. Copyright © 2006 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

From the Publisher
“…powerful and compelling…a great read…” (Reading Chronicle, January 19th, 2006)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470444344
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/24/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 732,534
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Karl Albrecht is a management consultant, executive advisor, futurist, researcher, speaker, and prolific author. In his twenty-five-year career he has worked with many kinds of businesses, government, and nonprofit organizations in a wide range of industries world-wide. He has consulted with senior executives and lectured to conferences on all inhabited continents. He is the author of more than twenty books on various aspects of individual and business performance, including Brain Power: Learn to Improve Your Thinking Skills; The Northbound Train: Finding the Purpose, Setting the Direction, Shaping the Destiny of Your Organization; The Power of Minds at Work: Organizational Intelligence in Action; and co-author of the best-selling Service America!: Doing Business in the New Economy, widely credited with launching the “customer revolution” in the U.S. and abroad, which has sold over a half-million copies in seven languages.

He devotes much of his effort to finding and developing promising new concepts for both organizational and individual effectiveness. His research and development activities have spanned a wide range of issues, from individual creativity all the way to corporate strategic vision. He is widely regarded as a key thought leader in the field of emerging strategic business issues. He can be contacted at

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Table of Contents

Foreword vii

Acknowledgment ix

Preface xi

1. A Different Kind of "Smart" 1

Old Wine in New Bottles? 3

Going Beyond IQ 6

EI, SI, or Both? 10

From Toxic to Nourishing 12

Blind Spots, Lenses, and Filters 14

Social Halitosis, Flatulence, and Dandruff 16

The "Dilbert" Factor 23

Can We Become a Socially Smarter Species? 25

S.P.A.C.E.:The Skills of Interaction 28

2. "S" Stands for Situational Awareness 33

Situational Dumbness and Numbness 34

Ballistic Podiatry: Making the Worst of a Situation 36

Reading the Social Context 38

What to Look For 40

The Proxemic Context 41

The Behavioral Context 47

The Semantic Context 51

Navigating Cultures and Subcultures 58

Codes of Conduct: Violate the Rules at Your Peril 61

Building the Skills of Situational Awareness 66

3. "P" Stands for Presence 69

Being There 70

Is Charisma Over-Rated? 72

Do Looks Matter? 75

Reading (and Shaping) the "Rules of Engagement" 75

The Ugly American Syndrome 78

More of You, Less of Me 80

A Case of Attitude 82

Building the Skills of Presence 85

4. "A" Stands for Authenticity 87

Take a Tip from Popeye 88

It's a Beautiful Day in the SI Neighborhood 90

The Snap-On Smile: Can You Fake Sincerity? 93

Left-Handed Compliments 94

The Puppy Dog Syndrome 97

Narcissism: It's Really All About Me 98

Head Games, Power Struggles, and Manipulation 102

Building the Skills of Authenticity 105

5. "C" Stands for Clarity 107

A Way with Words 108

Hoof-in-Mouth Disease: Sometimes Silence Works Best 110

Role-Speak and Real-Speak 114

Helicopter Language and Elevator Speeches 116

"Clean" Language and "Dirty" Language 119

Verbal Bludgeons 121

Taking a Brain for a Walk 125

The Power of Metaphor 128

E-Prime: the Language of Sanity 130

Building the Skills of Clarity 135

6. "E" Stands for Empathy 137

What Destroys Empathy? 138

What Builds Empathy? 142

The Platinum Rule 147

The Irony of Empathic Professions 149

L.E.A.P.S.: Empathy by Design 152

Empathy in Four Minutes 154

Building the Skills of Empathy 156

7. Assessing and Developing SI 159

AssessingYour Interaction Skills 160

Self-Awareness: Seeing Yourself as Others See You 166

Assessing Your Interaction Style: Drivers, Energizers, Diplomats, and Loners 168

The Strength-Weakness Irony 177

Priorities for Improvement 180

8. SI in the World of Work: Some Reflections 185

The Real and Legal Consequences of Social Incompetence 184

Cultures of Conflict and Craziness 187

Hierarchies,Testosterone, and Gender Politics 193

Getting it Right at Work and Wrong at Home 198

The Diversity Puzzle 200

Ritual, Ceremony, and Celebration 203

Positive Politics: Getting Ahead with Your Value System Intact 207

9. SI in Charge: Thoughts on Developing Socially Intelligent Leaders 211

The S.O.B. Factor 212

Executive Hubris: Its Costs and Consequences 216

Best Boss,Worst Boss 219

P.O.W.E.R.:Where It Comes From, How to Get It 222

How the Worst Bastards on the Planet Get and Keep Power 224

The Algebra of Influence 226

S.P.I.C.E.: Leading When You're Not In Charge 227

10. SI and Conflict: Thoughts About Getting Along 233

The Double Spiral of Conflict 234

Why Argue? 241

Crucial Conversations 243

Added Value Negotiating 246

Epilogue. SI and the Next Generation: Who's Teaching Our Kids? 253

Our Children Are Not Our Children 254

The (Only) Ten Basic News Stories 256

Anxiety Drives Attention 260

Breaking the Addiction to Television 262

The Buying of Our Babies 265

Video Games:The New Sandlot 267

Teachers, Parents, or Neither? 270

Belonging or Be Longing? 272

The S.P.A.C.E. Solution for Schools 276

A Prescription for SI at Every Age 278

Index 281

About the Author 289

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2007

    Excellent for people with social phobia, Aspergers Syndrome

    This book really helped me understand many of the 'blank' spaces in my life due to my condition. As someone who has problems with social situations, this book provided an excellent guideline on many of the nuisances I overlook. Don't just take my word for it, review it for yourself. I hope you find it as helpful as I have.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2006

    Smart instructions for curing social blunders

    Through illustrative stories and lots of useful acronyms, author Karl Albrecht offers essential skill-building techniques to enhance your 'social intelligence.' Improve your strategic insight into patterns of social interaction, political acumen and connections with others by developing your people skills. We highly recommend this book to leaders who want to learn how to build a climate of cooperation rather than of conflict.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2006

    Insightful roadmap to improve your own effectiveness

    Our current e-mail driven world makes it easy to devalue the impact of our behavior in face-to-face interactions with each other. Social Intelligence provides an insightful roadmap to improving your own effectiveness in dealing with people. At the heart of this book is Albrecht¿s S.P.A.C.E. model that identifies the five dimensions of social intelligence. It is a powerful framework you can apply to increase your success in your interactions with co-workers, bosses, friends, and family members. Even though this book is written for a broad audience, it has many direct and important applications for business organizations as well. I found myself connecting the concepts and methods to the situations I encounter daily as a manager that deals with technology and its impact in organizations. Everyone can increase their success by reading this book. And every manager who wants to make a difference should apply its principles.

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