Review: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Review: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

I read Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman because I wanted to understand how having a deeper emotional wherewithal within oneself and with others predicts success more accurately than one’s level of intelligence. It’s commonly argued that in business and life those who relate better to both their peers and strangers tend to perform better than those with raw intellectual ability, where finding a correlation between a high IQ and success is hard to qualify. This has been shown in several large studies to be true, and even has spawned a term commonly referred to as the “frustrated genius”, also known as someone with a brilliant mind who toils away in absolute obscurity and alone.

As a definitive INTJ, I often struggle understanding other’s emotions. I tend to see things in a highly rational way and often overlook the irrational simply because I don’t understand it. So a book like this offered me a tremendous growth opportunity.

Unlike most books that also deal with the subject matter that Emotional Intelligence covers, you can find it referenced all across college texts and cited pretty regularly in review journals. The author, Daniel Goleman, is a well respected researcher and psychologist. His work is changing the way we educate students and forcing curriculum to include developing a child emotionally and just not intellectually. This is being done especially in urban school settings that experience violence and the related trauma from it by helping children to be more self aware and self regulating. This has helped test scores improve and reduce children slip into under performing their peers in other school districts.

Some of the important takeaways from this book include the need for one to practice impulse control as a means to improve self discipline in order to work through difficult tasks and for longer period of times. Goleman relates a study in his book where children were given a single marshmallow. The children were told that if they did not eat the marshmallow that they could have another one in a set period of time, however, if they did eat the marshmallow they would not get a second one. They then looked to see who performed better academically and low and behold, the children who would decide to wait for the second marshmallow did much better than the ones who gobbled theirs up immediately. Goleman then successfully argues that there is a direct relationship between emotion and intelligence, whereas being able to deal well with the previous positively affects the latter, and may even be the basis for acting rationally altogether. In fact, I think a lot of us have seen enough celebrities, politicians, and business people reach the highest pinnacle of their profession only to be destroyed by poor impulse control to know there’s some kind of correlation.

Goleman also talks about the need to motivate oneself internally and persist through setbacks, a clear cut measure of anyone who is trying to be successful. He also delves into the value of relating well to the emotions of others and how that can build successful relationships both romantically and professionally and help them navigate murky situations such as organizational politics. He also offers some great advice on how dealing with emotions in a positive way, such as reframing a stressful situation and trying to see it in a more positive light, can decrease brooding and rumination, which are highly unproductive and detrimental to one’s view on his or herself and the world. I especially appreciate the section on using anxiety as a motivator to prepare for an upcoming task or event and to harness that energy into crafting the best possible presentation or deliverable that you can muster.

If there is one takeaway for me right now is how depression, anxiety, and trauma can affect the learning brain. As my wife and I set out on a path that is taking us to fostering and adopting so we can grow our family, I need to become more able to help a child succeed. I already set very high standards for myself and others, and if a child under performs I might take it personally. However, if I can see that there are barriers that are keeping them from succeeding, I can surely devise remedies to help them overcome them and set them upon a positive life path.

Well, I hope you enjoy this book and I appreciate you reading my work. If you want to try it, you can click HERE for a link to the product.