Optimal: How to Sustain Personal and Organizational Excellence Every Day (Hardcover)

Optimal: How to Sustain Personal and Organizational Excellence Every Day By Daniel Goleman, Cary Cherniss Cover Image

Optimal: How to Sustain Personal and Organizational Excellence Every Day (Hardcover)

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In his groundbreaking #1 bestseller Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman revolutionized how we think about intelligence. Now, he reveals practical methods for using these inner resources to more readily enter an optimal state of high performance and satisfaction while avoiding burnout.   

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 elusive, and for every amazing day, we may have a hundred ordinary and even unsatisfying days. Fulfillment doesn’t come from isolated peak experiences, but rather from many consistent good days. So how do we sustain performance, while avoiding burnout and maintaining balance? 

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 organizational culture that empowers workers to sustain high performance.


Daniel Goleman, a former science journalist for the New York Times, is the author of thirteen books and lectures frequently to professional groups and business audiences and on college campuses. He cofounded the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning at the Yale University Child Studies Center (now at the University of Illinois, at Chicago).


Product Details ISBN: 9780063279766
ISBN-10: 0063279762
Publisher: Harper Business
Publication Date: January 9th, 2024
Pages: 272
Language: English

“In the age of AI and machine intelligence, emotional intelligence is more important than ever for building a company culture that brings out the best in people and drives success. Anyone leading a team or organization should read Optimal—it will open your mind and show you the inner balance and skill set that we all need to face the future.” — Marc Benioff, chair and CEO, Salesforce

“Emotional intelligence has proven itself a scientifically valid concept of considerable utility in the workplace, schools, and social relationships since Jack Mayer and I published our first scientific article on EI in 1990. No one has done more to help us understand the applications of emotional intelligence than Daniel Goleman and Cary Cherniss. In Optimal, they provide a lively overview of how to use emotional intelligence to optimize the performance of individuals, teams, and entire organizations, synthesizing more than three decades of findings. This book deserves to be studied by managers, coaches, therapists, affective scientists, and many others.” — Peter Salovey, Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology and university president, Yale University

“Powerful and deeply researched, Optimal offers actionable tools and insights that are essential to unlocking your potential, achieving stable success over time, building high-performing teams, and cultivating the most important leadership quality of all, emotional intelligence. From now on when I see a copy of this outstanding book on someone’s desk, their stock will have risen in my eyes.” — Oscar Munoz, former CEO, United Airlines, and author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Turnaround Time

"Optimal describes how emotional intelligence, a strong sense of purpose, innovation, and systems thinking bring us to an optimal state, necessary to address our personal, organizational and global challenges—essential wisdom for our times."
Jonathan Rose, CEO of Rose Companies

Optimal offers a masterclass in emotional intelligence and sustainable high performance. Daniel Goleman and Cary Cherniss skillfully combine cutting-edge research, engaging examples, and practical insights that are both illuminating and actionable. Their expertise has been invaluable in helping us develop emotionally intelligent and EPIC leaders at Amazon—ones who lead with empathy, purpose, inspiration, and connection. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking to enhance their leadership skills, relationships, and overall success—both professionally and personally.” — Rich Hua, worldwide head of EPIC Leadership, Amazon Web Services

"A cogent defense of the benefits of emotional intelligence.”  — Kirkus Reviews