Ashlei’s Bookshelf: Emotional Intelligence (Why It Can Matter More than IQ) by Daniel Goleman

Book: Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman

Genre: Psychology/self-help

Readability: 3/5

Length: 384 pages

Cost: $4 on ThriftBooks, or $15 on Amazon

Overall: 4/5


Emotional IntelligenceHow is it that some people with high IQs turn out to be unsuccessful (by societal standards), while others with more ‘average’ or lower IQs end up doing really well for themselves?

Daniel Goleman compiled a ton of brain and behavioral research to reveal why our emotional intelligence, or EQcan matter even more than our IQ.

EQ involves a different kind of smart. Factors to be considered in  one’s EQ include self-awareness, self-discipline, and empathy. While IQ has been found to be inherent and fixed at birth, EQ has been found to be more malleable, initially shaped during childhood, and able to be nurtured and strengthened throughout adulthood.

Furthermore, having a strong EQ can reap many real-life benefits. Goleman reported that EQ is linked to our physical health, in that it can impact how well medical patients do in surgery. Patients who are extremely panicked the day of surgery tend to bleed more than others and may even have more infections and complications than their more composed counterparts. Goleman also reported that people who are chronically angry tend to have poor physical health as well.

EQ is also linked to our relationships, and Goleman talks about the differences in EQ between men and women, stemming from childhood socializations. From birth, women are typically more primed to be aware of and healthily responsive to their emotions more so than men. Coleman highlighted that the fault lines in many failed marriages involves a mismatch in the emotional world of two individual partners.

And EQ is even associated with our ability to perform well, succeed, and be happy with our occupational world. EQ dictates the ways in which we interact with others, set and pursue goals, and the way that we react in situations that are less-than-desirable.

The book is broken down into five parts, with sixteen chapters total:

Part 1: The Emotional Brain

  • Chapter 1: What are emotions for?
  • Chapter 2: Anatomy of emotional hi-jacking

Part 2: The Nature of Emotional Intelligence

  • Chapter 3: When smart is dumb
  • Chapter 4: Know thyself
  • Chapter 5: Passion’s slaves
  • Chapter 6: The master aptitude
  • Chapter 7: The roots of empathy
  • Chapter 8: The social arts

Part 3: Emotional Intelligence Applied

  • Chapter 9: Intimate enemies
  • Chapter 10: Managing with heart
  • Chapter 11: Mind and medicine

Part 4: Windows of Opportunity

  • Chapter 12: The family crucible
  • Chapter 13: Trauma and emotional relearning
  • Chapter 14: Temperament is not destiny

Part 5: Emotional Literacy

  • Chapter 15: The cost of emotional illiteracy
  • Chapter 16: Schooling the emotions

Beyond reporting scientific findings relating to EQ, Goleman gives practical advice throughout each chapter of the book for enhancing one’s EQ. For example, in Chapter 5, “Passion’s Slaves”, Goleman reminds readers that “emotional suppression” is not the goal of EQ. Rather, EQ should be aimed at achieving “emotional balance”, because emotions that are too muted create dullness and distance, while emotions that are too over-the-top appear pathological. In Chapter 9, “Intimate Enemies”, Goleman gives advice on how to share a concern or complaint with a loved one using the “XYZ” formula:

When you did X, it made me feel Y, and I’d rather you do Z instead.

The example provided:

When you didn’t call me to tell me you’d be late to our dinner date, I felt unappreciated and angry. I wish you had at least called me to let me know you’d be late.

This sounds a whole lot better (and more effective) than: “You’re a thoughtless, ungrateful bastard and I’m not planning anymore dates again.”

The XYZ formula is effective because it:

  1. Delivers a specific complaint and prevents the deliverer from engaging in a personal attack
  2. Includes no bullying, threats, or insults (which typically cause disagreements to escalate)
  3. Does not allow for defensiveness like excuses, denying responsibility, counterattacking with a criticism, etc.
  4. Provides a realistic solution to the presented problem.

If the topic of EQ interests you at all, I encourage you to check out this book and others like it for more information about EQ and practical tips for enhancing it. Not only can this book help you to increase your emotional knowledge, awareness, and intelligence, it can help you to have a positive impact on your physical health, relationships (e.g., friendships, romantic, parenting, etc.), and even work life.

After all, learning to deal with your own emotions will in turn help you to learn to deal with others’ emotions more effectively too.

Well wishes.♥

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