Book Review: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Emotional Intelligence The Groundbreaking Book That Redefines What It Means To Be Smart -10th Anniversary edition

Have you ever experienced, or wondered, why some people with above average, sometimes significantly above average IQ’s often end up doing worse in life than their peers with lower IQ’s but more emotional intelligence?

EQ, as it is referred to in the book, has spawned a worldwide use of “social and emotional learning” or SEL. “In a recently completed meta-analysis of 668 evaluation studies of SEL programs for children from preschoolers to high school” by Roger Wiessberg from the University of Illinois at Chicago, the organization that has led the way in brining SEL into schools worldwide - 50% of children showed improved achievement scores, 38% improved grade point average. Incidents of misbehaviour dropped by 28%, suspension by 44% and other disciplinary actions by 27%. Attendance also rose.

All emotions are impulses to act. The root of the word emotion is ‘motere’ which means ‘to move’. Researchers, with intricate physiological measuring systems, are discovering how the body reacts to our emotions. How we handle those impulses to act often determines our success in life more than our IQ’s and education.

The ability to relate and communicate effectively to a diverse audience, and being able to empathize with them, is more important for achievement in every area of life than just knowing more. The book suggests that, to improve our use of emotions, we should attempt to evaluate the emotion as soon as possible after we feel it to a) become aware of the emotion and b) evaluate the effectiveness of that emotion to the situation. So many factors affect our everyday emotions, including everything from our hormones, sleep, worries, health, etc.

Much of our choice of emotion and timing of the emotion is determined at an early age from our parents and our environment. The environment we grew up until about age 10 will be the biggest determinant of the emotions we will feel in stressful situations of any kind, good or bad. Since we cannot change those initial determinants, the book suggests we practice recognizing and evaluating our emotions, as close to the time of experiencing them as possible, to choose whether it is the proper emotion for the situation. This will help us improve our emotional intelligence and choose the proper emotion for the situation rather than have it chosen for you by past experiences.

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

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