Reviews of “Personal Intelligence”


From the Publisher (October, 2013):

John D. Mayer, the renowned psychologist who co-developed the groundbreaking theory of emotional intelligence, now draws on decades of 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…

Read the full review at the Macmillan Publishers website.

Toastmaster’s Speech on the book, “Personal Intelligence” by Haseeb2 March 27th, 2014

“In reading and studying the book: “Personal Intelligence: The Power of Personality of How it Shapes Our Lives” by John D. Mayer, I am gaining an enormous amount of insight into myself, others and how I am perceived.” —Haseeb2

See the video here or use this link:

From Psychology Today’s The Moment of Youth, “Unlocking the Keys to Personality,” March 12th, 2014

Mayer’s book is a deep and intriguing read into how our personalities evolve from infancy to adulthood. He defines personal intelligence as a combination of related skills, including how we demonstrate self-awareness, navigate the situations and people we encounter in the world, and achieve our goals.

These sets of skills are extremely important, especially as teens form their own identities and sense of self. How teens reason and respond in various situations, according to Mayer, depends on their personalities — their personal intelligence. —Marilyn Price-Mitchell

Read the full commentary on the Psychology Today Website here or use the link:

From Spirituality and Health Magazine (January-February, 2014):

It’s always exciting when an original psychological theory comes along, offering new perspectives on identity. In a crowded world where much depends on social interaction, such tools are irresistible…Mayer shines when recounting the history of psychology—colorfully detailing crucial studies, milestones, and observations…What was cave-dweller gossip, after all, if not personal intelligence in action? —Anneli Rufus in Spirituality & Health (January/February, 2014, pp. 76-77)

Read the full text in the January / February 2014 issue of  Spirituality & Health or reprinted online at
From the Concord Monitor (February 9th, 2014):

…I find Mayer’s optimism heartening and his theory convincing: Strengthening personal intelligence could certainly improve communication and understanding in professional and personal relationships. As I considered the other two books for this column, I realized personal intelligence – though I’ve never called it that before – is key to reading about both fictional characters and real people. — Deb Baker (February 9, 2014) in Bookconscious

Read the full review on the Concord Monitor’s site or on the Bookconscious site

From the University of New Hampshire College Letter  (February, 2014):

In Mayer’s new book, Personal Intelligence: The Power of Personality and How It Shapes Our Lives (Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014), the reader begins a journey with Mayer to uncover the history of personality research and proceeds to the shaping of a framework for a new theory of learning—personal intelligence.

The book, which Mayer’s longtime colleague, Peter Salovey, president of Yale University, describes as “beautifully written,” seamlessly weaves anthropology, history, literature, stories of individuals, case studies, and recent psychological research, including the latest in neuroscience. — Carrie Sherman

Read the full article on the College Letter’s site.

Staff pick of the week at “Any New Books?” (the independent book recommendation service), for the week of 23 February 2014
From Kirkus Reviews (December 15th, 2013):

The “grand theorists” of the mind (Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Henry Murray and Harry Stack Sullivan) delivered vivid insights from philosophy, literature, biology and their own observations, but it was only when subsequent generations of psychologists examined what people—not just a few patients—actually do that they discovered which insights made sense. Mayer fills his book with ingenious studies of how people judge others… [unsigned]

Read the full text at Kirkus Reviews.

From Publishers Weekly (November 11th, 2013):

Personality is not merely the sum of an individual’s characteristics, it is a profound social force that influences our lives and interactions…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. [unsigned]

Read the full review on the Publishers Weekly site.

From UNH Magazine (Winter, 2014):

Mayer’s new book looks beyond emotional intelligence—a term coined in the groundbreaking article he co-wrote with Peter Salovey (now the president of Yale University) in 1990—to argue that “as important as emotions are, they have little to say about people’s intentions, traits, motives, or life stories”…

Mayer makes his case for personal intelligence by synthesizing decades of scholarship, supporting it with examples of high achievers from Ludwig van Beethoven to the late Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, and suggesting how people can improve their own personal intelligence… ~ Janice Harayda

Read the full review in the Winter, 2014 issue on UNH Magazine’s website.

Additional Reviews

I’ve placed additional reviews here if they are very long videos, very short statements, or focus on an excerpt rather than the book itself.

From Books By Caroline Miller, “Making the Right Choices” (March 20th, 2014).

“I have a friend who is old enough to be considering retirement, yet young enough for me to feel free to offer her advice about buying long term care insurance. As she is a mother who’s raised children alone and taken care of an ailing parent, I shouldn’t be surprised to learn I was marshalling her in a direction she was planning to go. She has what scientists call high personal intelligence.

Personal Intelligence, (PI) as opposed to I. Q., is a new way researchers are studying human behavior. Carolyn Miller

This review is focused on the Scientific American MInd excerpt from “Personal Intelligence.” Read the full review online here, or use this link:

From The Inquirer and Mirror (Nantucket), “At the Atheneum: Personal Intelligence,”  March 24th, 2014

Does personality matter?  Indeed, it does, states John D. Mayer, professor of psychology at the University of New Hampshire and a key innovator in intelligence research…He now draws on decades of 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,” the title of his recent book. —Marilyn Beck

Read the full commentary on the Inquirer and Mirror Website here or use the link:

Video Review on YouTube by “Haseeb2” March 31, 2014

“This is going to be a rather long video because what I’m going to do in this video is discuss a book I recently read. Now I gave a toastmaster’s speech—a short toastmaster’s speech on this book…”

“I have a major confound with the premise of Personal intelligence and I’m going to explain that to you in detail later…[concerning issues of self-deception—JDM]. This is a very interesting book, and for those out here interested in self improvement, interested in multiple intelligence, I advise you to get this book definitely…”—Haseeb2