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Personal Intelligence: The Power of Personality and How It Shapes Our Livesby John D Mayer
Synopses & Reviews
John D. Mayer, the renowned psychologist who co-developed the groundbreaking theory of emotional intelligence, now draws on decades of cognitive psychology research to introduce another paradigm-shifting idea: that in order to become our best selves, we use an even broader intelligence—which he calls personal intelligence—to understand our own personality and the personalities of the people around us.
In Personal Intelligence, Mayer explains that we are naturally curious about the motivations and inner worlds of the people we interact with every day. Some of us are talented at perceiving what makes our friends, family, and coworkers tick. Some of us are less so. Mayer reveals why, and shows how the most gifted “readers” among us have developed “high personal intelligence.” Mayers theory of personal intelligence brings together a diverse set of findings—previously regarded as unrelated—that show how much variety there is in our ability to read other peoples faces; to accurately weigh the choices we are presented with in relationships, work, and family life; and to judge whether our personal life goals conflict or go together well. He persuasively argues that our capacity to problem-solve in these varied areas forms a unitary skill.
Illustrating his points with examples drawn from the lives of successful college athletes, police detectives, and musicians, Mayer shows how people who are high in personal intelligence (open to their inner experiences, inquisitive about people, and willing to change themselves) are able to anticipate their own desires and actions, predict the behavior of others, and—using such knowledge—motivate themselves over the long term and make better life decisions. And in outlining the many ways we can benefit from nurturing these skills, Mayer puts forward an essential message about selfhood, sociability, and contentment. Personal Intelligence is an indispensable book for anyone who wants to better comprehend how we make sense of our world.
"Personality is not merely the sum of an individual's characteristics, it is a profound social force that influences our lives and interactions. Mayer, a contributor to the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test, coined the term 'personal intelligence' in order to describe our inherent need to understand the people around us. Personal intelligence includes a spectrum of proficiencies, and there is a degree to which it can be learned and cultivated. Any apt assessment of others begins, or at least is correlated with, an ability to know one's self, and Mayer explores patterns of personal intelligence from adolescence to adulthood. He draws on anecdotes and research — some of it his own — and also describes his methods of testing and measuring what psychologists have long deemed immeasurable. As he attempts to define the parameters of 'personality,' Mayer is prone to expanding the idea into ambiguous territory. But what is innovative here is his focus on personality as a social skill, an interaction between self and environment that manifests not just through interpersonal relationships but across our collective society, including our legal system. Mayer's new theory of personal intelligence is a welcome starting point for analyzing 'how people think about themselves and one another.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The groundbreaking psychologist argues that understanding personality is the key to our well-being
We are all curious about what people are thinking and what makes them tick. This urge to understand others helps us to adapt successfully to the world around us. Now, in Personal Intelligence, the renowned psychologist John D. Mayer reveals that we all possess a type of intelligence—a master guidance system—that allows us to understand the motives, traits, and plans that direct peoples personalities, including our own.
Mayer, who co-developed the theory of emotional intelligence, argues that there exists a broader, guiding intelligence called “personal intelligence.” Drawing on classic case studies and cutting-edge research, and illustrating his points with examples from successful baseball players to talented portrait artists, he demonstrates that a diverse group of skills—previously regarded as unrelated—form a coherent mental ability that we use to evaluate ourselves and others. He shows how people high in personal intelligence (PI) solve problems that range from anticipating other peoples behavior to motivating themselves over the long term. Describing these skills for the first time and providing readers with suggestions for ways to improve their own PI, Mayer puts forward an important message about personality and happiness.
About the Author
John D. Mayer is a professor of psychology at the University of New Hampshire and a key innovator in intelligence research. He has written more than 125 scientiﬁc articles, books, and psychological tests, including the internationally known Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT™). He has lectured around the world and has appeared on NPR and BBC-TV. His work has been covered in The New York Times, Time, The Washington Post, and The New Republic. He lives in New Hampshire.
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