1st Edition

Living with Extreme Intelligence Developing Essential Communication Skills

By Sonja Falck Copyright 2023
    194 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    194 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In Living with Extreme Intelligence: Developing Essential Communication Skills, Dr Sonja Falck provides a unique and practical manual of how to improve interpersonal interactions that involve adults who stand out from the neurotypical majority by having top 2% IQ. Her main message is that understanding the individual differences involved in extreme intelligence and mastering relevant communication skills can break through barriers of frustration, underachievement, and loneliness, to bring about brain-changingly positive conversations and interpersonal effectiveness, connection, and joy.

    Dr Falck begins by explaining the neurophysiological and social foundations of why we communicate the way we do, and then explains in detail seven essential communication skills. Following this, she shows how to put these skills into practice, applying insights from depth psychology and demonstrating how to have better conversations in a variety of contexts from general social gatherings to the workplace and intimate relationships.

    Particular attention is paid to areas that Dr Falck’s research and professional practice have repeatedly shown her are challenging for adults with extreme intelligence, such as small talk, office politics, dating, and handling conflict. She draws on case examples from her consulting work (psychotherapy and coaching) with clients who have extreme intelligence, and examples from novels, cinema, the media, the literature on giftedness, and biographical material on high-profile high-IQ figures like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Lady Gaga. Throughout she emphasizes the theme from her original model of interpersonal relating, which is that experiencing freedom of self-expression with others who offer you a high level of acceptance is what puts you in a state of thriving.

    The book provides step-by-step guidance for engaging in numerous interpersonal situations, such as how to handle difficult conversations, how to write effective emails, how to breathe, listen, play, take a risk, bond, repair a broken connection, and keep yourself well through changes like failure, success, and falling in love. It is essential reading for anyone affected by, or interested in, issues associated with extremely high intelligence.

    Part 1. FOUNDATIONS: The fundamentals involved in basic and more advanced communication. 1. All people seek safety and connection (why we communicate the way we do). 2. The barrister’s case. 3. Playing the game. Part 2. SKILLS: Seven essential communication skills. 4. Explaining the seven essential communication skills. 5. Going deeper: Elaborating the top three of the seven skills. Part 3. PRACTICE: How to have better conversations. 6. General conversation (including small talk). 7. Difficult conversations (including conflict resolution). 8. Intimate conversation (including dating and romance). 9. Occupational conversation (including office politics). 10. Dealing with change (including gaining success). 11. Concluding comments.


    Dr Sonja Falck is a Senior Lecturer at the University of East London. She is author of Extreme Intelligence, and The Psychology of Intelligence. She is a psychotherapist and supervisor accredited with the UKCP and BACP, specialising in improving personal and professional relationships. She has presented her work in Britain, the USA, and Holland.