BOOK REVIEW | Optimal

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How to Perform at Your Best and Create Emotionally Intelligent Teams

By Daniel Goleman and Cary Cherniss


There are moments when we achieve peak performance: an athlete plays a perfect game; a business has a quarter with once-in-a-lifetime profits. But these moments are often fleeting, and for every amazing day, we may have a hundred ordinary and even unsatisfying ones.

Fulfillment doesn’t come from isolated peak experiences, or elusive ‘flow’ states, but rather from many consistent good days. So how do we sustain performance, while avoiding burnout and maintaining balance?

The importance of emotional intelligence

In Optimal, Daniel Goleman and Cary Cherniss reveal how emotional intelligence can help us have a great day, any day. They explain how to set a realistic, attainable goal of feeling satisfied that you’ve had a productive day – to consistently work at your ‘optimal’ level.

Based on research of how hundreds of people build the inner architecture of having a good day, they sketch what an optimal state feels like, and show how emotional intelligence holds the key to our best performance.

Optimal is the culmination of decades of scientific discoveries bearing on emotional intelligence. Enhanced emotional intelligence pays off in improved engagement, productivity and more satisfying days.

In this book, you’ll find the keys to competence in emotional intelligence, and practical methods for applying this skill set more readily. It will equip you to become a highly effective leader and enable you to build an organisational culture that empowers workers to sustain high performance.

About the authors

Daniel Goleman, PhD, author of five New York Times bestsellers, is best known for his paradigm-shifting book Emotional Intelligence, a global bestseller, and has a long-standing interest in meditation dating back to his two years in India as a graduate student at Harvard. His books have been translated into more than forty languages.

Cary Cherniss is Professor of Applied Psychology and Director of the Organisational Psychology program at Rutgers University. Cherniss specialises in the areas of emotional intelligence, work stress, leadership development, and planned organisational change.


  • PUBLISHER | Penguin Random House SA |
  • ISBN | 9780241609033 |
  • Recommended Retail Price | R420.00 |
  • Classification | Management |



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