This book was recommended by one of the students of a course I teach on Positive Psychology. I hadnt read it, so took a gamble (despite a couple of negative reviews on amazon) and took it on holiday
It's one of the most inspiring books I've read for ages. It really does hammer home what an exciting field this is, and also how east and west can enlighten each other. I can only assume that those readers who wrote negative reviews were expecting a very simple recipe-book.
The book is a detailed and very interesting account of a 4 day seminar featuring Buddhists and western scientists and philosophers. It really was a "think-together" exercise. They didnt always agree, but all learnt from the experience - as we do. Goleman is his lucid and very positive usual self, and we are introduced to many experts on the subject of emotions.
The book begins with two chapters putting the rest into context. The first gives fascinating evidence that meditation actually changes one's brain structure in a very positive way (so learning about buddhist practice may be very helpful even if you dont want to be a Buddhist). The second chapter emphasises the Dalai Lama's lifelong interest in science (so he is a man to take seriously).
The book concludes with a postscript and suggestions for further reading.
If you are at all interested in destructive or negative emotions (especially anger), or in Buddhism, or in neuroscience - then this book is a must.
I read this book in Dutch, hence I can't really comment on the author's style.
The book is an attempt to bring scientific analysis to bear on meditative techniques and their effect.
One problem (and it's a problem in traditionalist Buddhism as a rule) is that it uses as a central premiss the notion that so-called 'negative' emotions have to be got rid of, whereas Zen Buddhism, for example, and Western psychotherapy approaches the question from 'just being' and 'allowing to be', working through, etc.
Still, the book is well worth a read and contains some useful information.
With a background in both psychology and journalism is it not perhaps surprising that Goleman gives us such an informative and conversational account of this fascinating meeting of minds. Rarely do we find such accessible glimpses into high-level cutting-edge thinking. An inspiring book with messages of potential hope.
The title promises more than the book makes true... The mind/life sessions organised by the request of the Dalai Lama are meant to help modern science by the insights of Buddhism, and to help Buddhism by the insights of science. The scientists however know little about Buddhism, which hinders the two-way exchange of ideas. Also one should be warned that Buddhism in this book is largely equated with Northern-Buddhism. There are many very interesting parts though, about neurology-tests done on meditating monks.