Does Larry Summers Have the Social Intelligence to Be Federal Reserve Chair?

larry summersI know, I know: I usually write about health and healthcare; why should anyone care about my opinion on whether Larry Summers should be Federal Reserve Chair?

As it turns out, my work on doctor/patient communication has given me insight into the danger of judging job candidates—be they physicians or Federal Reserve chairs—based purely on technical intelligence, when excelling at these jobs also relies, critically and crucially, on social intelligence and on the ability to communicate with clarity and compassion.

In Critical Decisions, I tell a number of stores about physicians failing at their jobs because they lack these qualities—physicians with great technical intelligence who demonstrate little ability to communicate clearly and compassionately to their patients; physicians with great knowledge of illness, but little understanding of their patients’ emotions.  Too often, the result is a breakdown in the doctor/patient relationship, that reduces the quality of people’s healthcare.

Medical physicians and economists have a lot in common.  Both groups are selected into graduate school largely on the basis of mathematical and scientific reasoning ability.  And in some roles, such abilities are all they really need… (Read more and view comments at Forbes)

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