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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman: a Review

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQEmotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked up "Emotional Intelligence" on the recommendation of a friend. After reading half way through the book I did a quick "Google Search" and found that the notion of emotional intelligence, or EQ as it is sometimes tagged, has some traction. From articles in "Psychology Today" to seminars, there are several professionals who are expanding the subject and making it accessible to leaders and laity alike. Even the author has his own web site, and tours the lecture-rounds. So I tucked my nose back into the book and plowed my way through the rest to the end with some heightened interest.

"Emotional Intelligence" is both a rather intuitive book, and one that has worn out ruts running through it. The ruts are those that sound like the old self-esteem programs that have been promoted in schools and sell like hot cakes at the local book franchise (for more, see my review of Glynn Harrison's book "Ego Trip" here: http://mphilliber.blogspot.com/2014/0...). The final chapters dealing with coaching children in becoming better at Emotional Intelligence is where it all comes out.

On the other hand, for anyone who is used to interacting with various people to get tasks accomplished, much that is written seems almost intuitive. While reading the book I often found myself saying, "Well, of course. That's pretty obvious. Right?" Nevertheless, what Goleman points out is worth pointing out with regard to the importance of Emotional Intelligence in life situations, work, Church, social organizations, and any place where people must rub shoulders with people.

One of the strengths of the book - and it has several strengths - is how the author shows that there are multiple kinds of intelligences. Not only academic and rational, but also social and emotional. In a world trying to recover from the Enlightenment and modernity, "Emotional Intelligence" can be helpful in seeing over the horizon of sheer reason alone and to gaze on a larger terrain that includes other aspects of intellect.

The book was written 20 years ago and is therefore rather dated. The brain science explicated in "Emotional Intelligence" (upon which the whole premise is based) makes this clear. Still, all of the cerebral descriptions, and how the pieces work, is intriguing. It would enhance the book if it were revised and updated.

Overall "Emotional Intelligence" is an informative read. If a reader lives or works with others, then the subjects covered and explanations described, will be beneficial. I recommend the book.


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