Search Inside Yourself
For years now, Google has offered a mindfulness-based program, called Search Inside Yourself, as a way to help some of the smartest, most talented people in the world perform even better and simultaneously increase their levels of happiness and well-being (which also has been shown to improve performance). The focus of the program is to improve emotional intelligence.
Search Inside Yourself creator, Chade-Meng Tan (known as Meng), is an engineer by training who decided to reverse engineer high levels of performance. He knew that emotional intelligence has been shown in numerous studies to be the single greatest predictor of high levels of work performance and leadership ability (in fact it is twice as important as the next most important ingredients), even among tech employees (4 of the top 6 competencies of star performers in the tech sector are emotional competencies). He also knew that mindfulness practice is arguably the most powerful method there is for developing emotional intelligence. Armed with this knowledge, Meng, along with a group of leaders in the fields of mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and leadership development, created a mindfulness-based emotional intelligence training program.
In Search Inside Yourself, Meng provides us all with access to essentially the same training that is provided to Google employees who go through the course on Google’s campus. He breaks the training down into three components: attention training, self knowledge/self mastery, and creating useful mental habits. Attention training, he says, is the basis of all higher cognitive and emotional abilities. We then use our trained attention to create a “high-resolution” perception of our own cognitive and emotional processes, which enables deep self knowledge and self mastery. Finally, to help us out while we’re training our attention and gaining self mastery, he offers very helpful, evidenced-based tools for developing useful mental habits, like kindness.
Although the summary above may sound a little technical, and Meng does cite quite a bit of scientific research to support claims made for the benefits of mindfulness, the book is extremely easy to read and very enjoyable. Meng is so logical, and he has an excellent ability to break down complex ideas into simple, step-by-step methods for practice. He also has a tremendous sense of humor. I found myself smiling a lot while reading the book, and even laughing out loud a couple of times.
I highly, highly recommend this book. This is the best book on mindfulness I have ever read (I’ve read almost 100 books on mindfulness), and is definitely in my top 10 favorite books across all categories. Search Inside Yourself has the power to help readers perform better and increase levels of happiness, and it just might help create the conditions for world peace.
As an interesting side note, I read Search Inside Yourself after I had just finished the manuscript for my new book, From the Brig to the Boardroom: Why Mindfulness is the Ultimate Shortcut to Success. In fact, I learned about the book when I told Meng’s agent, who I’ve become friends with, about my idea for my book. She said that my book idea might be a really good one, that an author from Google she represents is publishing a book with a similar idea, and that I should definitely read his book. When I finally got my hands on it, I couldn’t believe the similarity between Meng and me. We have an almost identical life goal (essentially to create the conditions for world peace in our lifetime), and an almost identical plan for achieving that goal. It is almost as though we are clones of each other (except Meng is much smarter than me, has a lot more friends than I do, and I am taller than Meng). I look forward to meeting him one day and joining forces in our efforts to help people achieve greater success in life while simultaneously creating the conditions for world peace.