A scientific and practical look at emotional intelligence and why it may be more important than IQ. The book looks at the physiological details of emotions and why they exist, as well as a breakdown of the components of emotional intelligence and practical tools to increase your own emotional intelligence.
Who is it for?
I would recommend this book to everyone. Whether or not you are struggling to regulate your emotions, you are bound to come across challenging situations where others are not able to regulate their emotions well, making this book a great toolkit to understand yourself as well as others. If you struggle with loneliness or wanting social acceptance, this is an invaluable read.
It is also exceptionally useful for anyone thinking about moving into a leadership position or becoming an entrepreneur.
The book starts off explaining the physiology of emotions and how the brain process and access emotions scientifically.
The author argues that emotions are crucial for effective thought and how it can disrupt (or aid) learning. He also outlines how a lack of control on your emotional life, regardless of your intellect, can result in academic failure, alcoholism, and criminality. In fact, he argues that IQ contributes as little as 20% of life success, with the remaining 80% as a result of emotional intelligence.
“Intellect cannot work at its best without emotional intelligence.” — Daniel Goleman
When there is a disconnect between your mind / thoughts and emotions / heart, it causes a lack of emotional control which results in bad decisions. Emotional intelligence is also the key to influence and negotiation rather than intellectual intelligence.
Five domains of emotional intelligence
- Knowing your emotions forms the foundation of emotional intelligence. The first step in increasing your emotional intelligence is thus to recognize and articulate feelings as it happens.
- Managing emotions is the next step to emotional intelligence. It is the ability to pause before reacting and consider options and the consequences of each before choosing the best option.
- Another key to emotional intelligence relates to self-motivation. Being able to stifle impulses and delay gratification, is a key factor of success in life.
- Once you have mastered emotions in yourself, the next level of emotional intelligence asks you to recognize emotions in others through being attuned to them.
- Finally, the ability to manage emotions in others marks the final domain of emotional intelligence. Being able to handle relationships and maintain harmony in a group greatly improves your influence and success in life.
The social arts
Part of the book takes an in-depth look at what the author calls the social arts.
It outlines how the ability to read emotions in others and respond accordingly is the primary indicator of popularity in groups. It then identify why people tend to reject some people and a strategy for social acceptance, briefly summarized as:
- Observe without acting.
- Mimic, or mirroring, which builds rapport.
- Only then join and participate in activities or conversation.
- Check-in with others before answering by asking what they think.
It also outlines a guide for giving critique in an emotional intelligent way, and the ingredients for a good relationship.
Checklist for emotional regulation
It ends with more practical tools and tips on how to school the emotions, including a checklist to use when you get triggered emotionally which I love so much I created a little (adapted) checklist for myself!
There is much more in the book, but this should give you an idea of how practical the contents are.
The writing style
The book is an easy and interesting read, written in a conversational style filled with stories and case studies. I really like the scientific evidence and research included.
About the author
Daniel Goleman Ph.D. has taught at Harvard and writes on the behavioral and brain sciences for The New York Times. He was also the senior editor at Psychology Today and have authored a number of other books.
Find the book here.
Emotional Intelligence makes the case for why emotions are a fundamental tool for success and possibly more important than IQ. It contains science backed evidence of emotional development and how emotional intelligence can increase your popularity as well as your success in business and relationships in general.
A highly recommended read for anyone interested in having better relationships — whether at work or at home.