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 it 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.