Book: Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ

Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ
Daniel Goleman
1995

This is a fascinating book. The discussion of what emotional intelligence is and how to develop it is well written and compelling. There are times in the book when it gets a little bogged down with biology and how the brain works, but never for too long (I never had to put the book down because of it). The writing is generally clear enough for a reader with little background in the technical aspects of this kind of discussion. There were times when the brain chemistry and biology got a little confusing, but there was generally a summary that explained the concepts at the end of technical discussions.

The title suggested that the book would focus on how emotional intelligence influences education and how schools should foster emotional intelligence, but that wasn’t the case at all. The book rarely mentioned IQ and only spent perhaps a third of the book discussing educational topics related to emotional intelligence. There were fascinating chapters on marital relations (which it might not be a bad idea for people who are engaged or married to be required to read at some point), business relations, and familial relations. The author gave many examples from studies that sound fascinating and often made me want to look up the studies to learn more. There were good examples given of emotional intelligence in practice as well as examples of where someone was not using good emotional intelligence. There were also a great number of startling statistics that really drove home the need for better emotional intelligence among people today.

This book was very interesting to read and connected very well with Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. I would love to see a study done about the use of fairy tales in improving emotional intelligence. As Goleman discussed the different types of educational programs that focus on emotional intelligence, I found myself wondering if adding fairy tales to those classes would be beneficial. Given what Bettelheim says, it seems likely. It’s an interesting idea and would be very interesting to investigate more.

This was a wonderful book. I highly recommend it to anyone, but would like to see more parents and teachers being required to read it.

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