BOOK REVIEW: Emotional lntelligence

My expectations for Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman were pretty high: I’d been told that this was the book that started a movement, and had heard good things from the people I knew who’d read it. One friend had even referred to it as a “Gold Mine” of information that would change how I looked at things.

Was it everything I thought it would be?

Book Summary: What are its main points?

This book explains what the concept of “emotional intelligence” is, and then explains the role of emotional intelligence in just about every aspect of human life.

The beginning of the book defines emotional intelligence, and makes arguments for why it is a more realistic predictor of success than IQ. It’s a real thing, and he uses multiple studies and testimonials that compare the success and likeability of people with high EQ vs people with high IQ in the same situations to prove it.

He then explains the origins of our major emotions like sadness, anxiety, anger, etc, and discusses the psychological theory behind how they work. These emotions not only hurt our lives at work, in the home, or almost anywhere, but also have negative emotional and physiological impacts that worsen over time.

He provides a resolution explanation of the importance of positive actions/emotions. Not only can positive emotions prevent negative ones, but they also have benefits on physical/emotional health that can change our lives.

The final portion of the book is less about inner emotions and more about dealing with other people. Goleman explains how emotional intelligence is key to being successful in our interactions with other people, as well as why we should try to develop it in our kids just as much as we do IQ.

All in all, it’s a great introduction to the topic of emotional intelligence. It covers the main information for just about every emotion I can think of, and gives a good overview of how these emotions play out in everyday interactions and overall life.

My Thoughts

While it may be a good introduction to the topic of emotional intelligence, what bothered me about the book was that it was almost purely informational.

Where most books that I read work to strike a thought process within you and give actionable tasks to help you grow, this book focused more on just outlining what EQ was and explaining its importance. At times it gave some good advice, but I got the feeling that this was more an accidental result or maybe just a mostly ignored attempt at making the book more like other self-help books.

What’s the use in learning valuable information if we aren’t also taught how to use it?

But I think that may have been the point.

This is the kind of book you might cite for an essay or use to get an introduction to this topic, not the kind you would use to make a lifestyle change or gain a new way of thinking. This book will tell you about almost every important emotional topic out there, but it will not give you how-tos or tell you what to think.

It’s an informational text, not a self-help-guide, and I think I should review it as such.

And at some points, I even got bored with how informational it was. There were long periods of time spent explaining certain emotional topics that just weren’t very helpful unless in very specific contexts. I wanted to be sure to point that out too.

So in the end, it’s the book I’ll use to get started on reading about this idea, but not necessarily the one that will change my life.

Overall Review:

This is a good book for understanding the concept of emotional intelligence, and how it plays into our lives. You should definitely read it if:

  • You have trouble understanding why you feel things
  • You have trouble understanding other people
  • You want to know why we feel things
  • You want to have a better understanding of how feelings work

I liked the book, but it definitely isn’t a must-read unless you’re specifically looking to learn about this topic of EQ.

My overall rating: 7.5

Very informative, not very actionable.

It is not a must-read, although it’s a very good book if you’re looking to learn a lot about this idea.

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