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February Book of the Month: Beyond Smart

Beyond SmartBeyond Smart: Lawyering with Emotional Intelligence
By Ronda Muir
Reviewed by Aaron Parsons, Reference Librarian

In Beyond Smart, attorney Rhonda Muir shows why emotional intelligence (EI) is an essential attribute for attorneys to develop for their practices and their lives. Companies like Google and Johnson & Johnson use emotional intelligence to improve employee performance, health, happiness, and profitability. Top business schools teach EI.

Ms. Muir explains what EI is—our ability to understand and regulate our emotions and those of others. She addresses law’s skeptical view of emotions and EI, and then makes the business case for developing emotional skills: EI makes attorneys smarter, healthier, happier, and more profitable. It can also help them become better negotiators and litigators. For example, EI can improve litigation effectiveness by helping attorneys recognize and work with the “gut” feeling that is a combination of many other skills and competencies. It also helps attorneys recognize when an emotional bias may be clouding their views on legal matters.

Chapters 5–7 help attorneys assess their current emotional intelligence, and provide guidance and resources to raise their emotional intelligence that include mindfulness practice, working on perception, empathy, and regulating emotions. One guide to improving mindfulness and emotional intelligence cited by Ms. Muir was developed from a training program at Google. A result was the book and workshops based on it: Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace), by Google’s Chade-Meng Tan, and available at the San Francisco Public Library.

Beyond Smart is one of several new additions to the San Francisco Law Library’s Law Practice Management Collection.

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