Are the Goleman Frauds?
Daniel Goleman's mother-in-law, being arrested
for animal hoarding
This page is primarily about Daniel Goleman's mother-in-law, Juliana Bennett-Blue, but it also gives us some insight into Dan and his wife, Tara Bennett. The woman in the picture is Tara's mother. In 2004, Tara's mother (and Dan's mother-in-law), Julianna Bennett-Blue, was charged with "animal hoarding". This basically means keeping a lot of animals on your property and not taking care of them. She also has a long history of animal In April of 2005 she plead guilty and was put on probation by the court.
I have written about this because I believe the way Dan and Tara Goleman have handled this family embarrassment helps us see that they are not deserving of the fame, credibility, wealth and influence they currently have.
Here are notes on this story.
My initial editorial writing
Copies of news stories
Excerpts from letters from a neighbor of Juliana
Excerpts from letters from a personal aquaintance of Dan and Tara Goleman
Selected quotes from Amazon.com readers who didn't think much of Tara's book, Emotional Alchemy
My initial editorial writing (with minor changes)
Would it be fair to say that Dan Goleman and his wife Tara Bennett-Goleman are frauds?
Here is something to help you get to know a little more about their personal lives. I won't add too much of my own editorial comments today. I will just show you a few things.
But I want to say this before I show you. People in the field of self-help, psychology, emotional intelligence, etc. pretty much all come from dysfunctional, screwed up families and societies. And most of us, or our parents or grandparents, were screwed up by religious beliefs. I say that because I think one of the most dysfunctional religions is the Jewish religion, which I long suspected Dan Goleman was brought up in. Recently this was confirmed to me by someone who knows him. I was also told that his wife, Tara Bennett was raised as a Catholic. (Something interesting I have noticed is that Jewish and Catholic people tend to marry each other if they don't marry withing their own religions. Here is more more comment on that)
Now, none of us have much, if any, power over our parents, let alone our mother-in-laws, but I believe what I am going to show you has relevance to the professional credibility of both Dan Goleman and his wife, Tara. There is not much Dan can do about the situation. But one thing he could do is act like he cares a little. He could make a public statement. He could express his true feelings.
No, I take that back. He can´t express his true feelings. He either doesn´t know what they are or he is afraid to express them. I suspect all his life he has tried to create an image. This is what his family and society wanted from him, and wants from all of us really. I suspect Dan he was a relatively good little boy and did as he was expected to do. He went to a fancy university, got a fancy degree, worked within the system etc. And it has finally paid off. He is a multi-millionaire. He is known around the world as a guru of emotional intelligence. But to me, he is a fraud.
I am not perfect, but I am a hell of a lot more real than Goleman or his wife, who teaches "mindfulness" classes. I believe the world desperately needs more "real" people. People who are not just putting on a good appearance. People who are not so insecure that they can't show their real feelings or talk about the problems in their own families. The only way you learn to do these things, by the way, is by actually doing them. Expanding your comfort zone, let's say. I found that I could talk about my real feelings and show all the "ugly" parts of myself in my online writing and yet it hasn't killed me. My own family would have said, "You just don't do that." But I did it and found out that it has helped me more than hurt me. It has helped me because it has freed me. And given me security to take more risks.
One difference between people like me and people like the Golemans is that I am more honest about my problems and feelings. I am honest about my family being screwed up and my mother having problems. I am not so insecure that I have to pretend everything is wonderful when it isn't. Tara Bennett quite obviously comes from a dysfunctional family. And people from screwed up families marry each other. Then they screw up their kids.
More of the story of Dan's mother in law...
More of the story on Dan's mother in law
A few weeks ago someone wrote me. She told me that Goleman's mother in law was keeping a filthy house full of animals. Before I go on I want to say that I wrote in my 1996 book something like "People who can't maintain relationships with people try to form relationships with plants, animals etc." The fact that Goleman's wife's mother keeps a lot of animals around her in a filthy house is a pretty clear sign that his wife grew up in a really screwed up family. What I would like to see is for Goleman and his wife to admit this. And to work on their own problems or at least be honest about them instead of promoting themselves as such brilliant consultants and making a fortune from it. Meditation and yoga, Tara's specialties, is not what I call working on your problems. Nor is consulting to Fortune 500 companies - Dan's current pastime.
The person writing me has made several attempts to contact Dan Goleman and has not received any replies.
Anyhow, here is a picture of Tara's mother's house which made the local news in the mother's home town. The picture got into the news paper because the mother, Julianna, is being charged with animal hoarding, in other words keeping a lot of animals and not taking care of them.
Here are more stories from the local news
Emails I received
I also received an email from someone else, who apparently knows the Golemans personally. Since this news story first broke, I have corresponded with this second person and have found them to be very intelligent, very compassionate, very sensitive, very caring and very real. This person feels offfended by what they see the Goleman's doing and they want me to help spread the word that the Golemans are frauds.
Annonymous Email - 1
We have a situation in our home town that, as it turns out, is the dirty little secret of Tara Bennett-Goleman and Daniel Goleman.
My husband and I reside about 30 miles from Albany outside of Amsterdam, NY. Near our home there is a HUGE problem with one of our neighbors. Unkempt animals and a property in disrepair...
The woman has a thirty year history of animal hoarding... She moved here in the 80's, and since then, there have been big media goings on...raids on the property in the 80's and a large raid in 1994, removing nearly 150 animals from the property. Neighbors have filed complaints, and we too began registering complaints about the number of neglected animals breaking loose and wandering our road for fear that someone would hit them and be hurt. Noise was also a constant. So, our next door neighbors on Jan 9 or 10 (I can't recall exactly) went out in the morning to get their paper, and found 2 starving dogs eating a still live llama.
...the sheriff's dept. arrives and the SPCA begins the process of removing over 100 animals. Several dead animals are found on the property, both inside and out in various states of decomposition, and the home is condemned. The woman owning the property is skilled in generating sympathy for herself, although, this time around there has been a lot more media coverage to her discredit.
The home has no heat or running water and broken windows allow the animals to exit and enter the home at will.
Health and code reports report 4-6 inches of a combination of
feces and garbage throughout the home, including human waste in
The connection, this woman's name is Juliana (Julie) Bennett-Blue, mother of Tara Bennett-Goleman, mother-in-law of Daniel Goleman. (also spelled Juliana Bennett Blue)
In 1996, I attended a seminar covering Daniel's best seller, Emotional Intelligence. So, a couple of weeks ago when we had an informal neighborhood meeting to again address the animal problem I was told that the owner´s daughter and son-in-law were rumored to be some type of renowned psychologists....
When they said the name, I near to about fell over.
Someone mentioned that our county DA had attempted to contact them, so I verified that. Yes, in fact she had attempted to contact them, and was not received well. She has had one other conversation with Daniel, who claims that Tara is just too fragile to handle this.
So, you run around the country and abroad promoting communication and emotional health and expect to advise folks, but are too delicate to deal with this?
Even though Daniel claimed that he would work with the county, communication has been hard to come by.
Tara lists her mother in the acknowledgment portion of her book. Now, apparently, Julie had a picture in our local paper with Richard Gere at Tara's book signing, he too is listed in the acknowledgments.
One of the traits of an animal hoarder is a double
persona. Obviously, they let Mommy clean up and show
up like everything is nice, nice. If I had to guess,
Mom is tucked away up here far from their image, and friends are
probably told that she owns an animal rescue farm in
upstate. By the way, she had actually secured
not-for-profit status in the 90's. That was
taken away as a result of the raid in 1994.
Dan has also had conversations with our county DA, but isn't keen on being involved. He claimed that he would help, but the last time I spoke with the DA, it had been well over 2 weeks since the last contact. He hasn't allowed the DA to speak to Tara, claiming she is too fragile.
I guess I have a difficult time seeing how they can provide counseling, advice and insight to folks on dealing with emotional situations, yet they can't do it in their own family.
One of the articles on your web page "It's Popular, but is it Science" by Catherine Aman describes Daniel losing his cool with a woman who got the overhead sheets out of order. The break in his facade, however brief, was enough to plant seeds of doubt. That was more related to his character than science and research. I think the Goleman's have gone to great lengths to "package" themselves, and I think that it's no coincidence that mommy resides in small town upstate. I think that his character is questionable on a lot of fronts. For example, failing to give proper credit to Mayer and Salovey, and distorting the heck out of the research, making some big "scientific" leaps. I think his overwhelming popularity clouds valid, sound research, and I think, in large part, he expertly created that popularity. So...I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not so sure that you can make an absolute separation of the two things - character vs. science- they somewhat go together.
Avoidance seems to be one of his key actions.
I'm also bothered that locally we clean up their mess and bear the expense of the problem while they live quite protected. This is the fourth time that our local SPCA has incurred expenses, not to mention the cost to the local municipality in terms of legal expenses and possible demolition of the property.
Annonymous Email - 1
Here are some parts of mail I received by someone else who apparently knows the Goleman's:
I want to thank you for the great work you do and for your wonderful informative website! I discovered it serendipitously. It has been especially helpful in cooling me off when I feel particularly heated over the facades of Dan Goleman (Mr Arrogance - Emotional Ignoramus) and Tara Bennett-Goleman (Ms Emotional Alchemy: How I turned the examples of other peoples' real issues, and my own bullshit into gold coin) --- both of whom also pat themselves on the back for being Buddhists (and by the way Dan is Jewish, but she is not Jewish, Tara is Catholic)
I feel like apologizing a little bit for what may come off as arrogance on my part, as well as for some sarcasm -- but I'm pretty pissed off at their behavior, so please make allowance...
PS: This is the fourth animal cruelty arrest for Juliana Bennett Blue since the 1970's. Due to the NY State Animal Laws, and her (very skillful gift of) manipulation she always gets off, and the animals she's owned have always ended up suffering or consequently, dead .
More mail from someone who seems to know the Goleman's personally.
The Golemans are not deep caring people. Yes, they are as you put it, frauds! They do not really know empathy. They're more into their image than true mindfulness, a word that they love to throw around."
One thing I have noticed over my lifetime is that Jewish people tend to marry other Jews. This is probably no news flash to anyone who is Jewish or who has many Jewish friends. What is more interesting though, is that when they do not marry other Jews, they tend to marry Catholics. I have seen this over and over. And here again, with the Golemans, we see Dan, raised Jewish, marrying Tara, raised Catholic.
I believe there is a simple explanation for why Jews and Catholics tend to marry: Their belief systems are similar. The thinking in both belief systems is very black/white. For example "heaven/ hell" and "good", "evil." As a result they tend to produce very judgmental adults. Both belief systems also rely very heavily on the use of punishment. There is also a lot of blame and guilt used in each. Children are taught quickly in both religions that if you don't behave, you will be punished, or at least lectured to till it is painful. So when Jewish people and Catholic people meet, they already have a lot in common. Thus, they feel comfortable with each other. They feel familiar. It is easier for them to start and maintain a relationship, even if it is a dysfunctional one!
While this is a bit of an over-simplification, I believe the statistics will support me if anyone wants to do some formal research. And till then, in your own lives, think about people you know who were raised Jewish and married someone from another religion. Let me know what you come up with.