Book Review: “Emotional Intelligence” By Daniel Goleman
I think that what has led me towards reading this book, besides the assignment that we have had, was the fact that I consider myself a colder person, not really used to responding to emotions. To say more, the title itself seemed really catchy, as I had not yet thought about a combination between intelligence, which I find as a rational thing, and emotion, which could be related to the opposite of rationality. I was expecting to find ways to live a happier life, to have better relations with the people surrounding me and to smile more often from this book.
The book is structured by the author in five main parts and I believe making a summary out of it without detailing too much could be a bit of a challenging job as I find it to be really packed with important information.
In the first part, the author speaks about the functions of the brain and how it works as an organ, explaining some of the biologies behind it, with the most important aspect being the parallel he makes between emotional intelligence and IQ.
In the second part, the way human intelligence works is presented. The facts that the author states in this part, based on many studies, but even more accent on the parallel between IQ and emotional intelligence and how the second one can be more important.
The third part shows more about applying what we learn about emotional intelligence and how it influences the way people build relationships, while the fourth part speaks about the influence some actions from the development of a child can have over his later life.
The ending part of the book speaks about general moods and how they affect our day to day behaviour, for example, jealousy, angriness and what exactly lies behind that kind of feelings that influences the way we treat the persons around us. It also presents some methods useful when trying to resolve feelings when one needs all his focus to go to learning or working.
Another psychological book that I have read is The Dictionary of Body Language by Joe Navarro. Something really different about these two books is that in “the dictionary” the information was related more to understanding what others think and how their body movement may give away their emotions, while in “Emotional Intelligence” you learn more about how to develop this kind of intelligence for yourself.
Even though these two books may seem completely different, with no common aspects, I believe them, as a duo, to have a great power because they could combine really well. For example, from Daniel Goleman’s book, one can learn about the importance of emotional intelligence and how it can affect your life. But even though you may learn how to practice and improve this intelligence, you won’t be able to test other people’s level really easy, only after knowing them for a longer period of time. Here, the dictionary of body language comes to help as by also learning how to detect emotion in other persons, you can easily find out more about their level of emotional intelligence, even after a lower number of interactions. This is why I believe a combination between the two books would be really valuable to someone’s skill set, as this kind of power over both your and others’ emotions could really come in handy at any point, even in terms of business. For example, when trying to negotiate the terms of a contract.
The main finding that I have extracted from “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman is the fact that even though IQ is believed to show the level of one’s intelligence and determine the success of that individual, the author’s research led him to the statement that emotional intelligence may be more important when it comes to finding a way to live a happy life. For example, speaking about the process of learning, it has been found out that by having a higher level of emotional intelligence, a student can better manage his or her feelings in order to get things done, such as getting past feelings of boredom or anger in order to complete given tasks or homework. By socialising better in an environment, the productivity of a person can really improve, as better relations with your co-workers can help by creating synergy.
Another lesson that I have got from this book is the role that emotional intelligence plays in our own lives and that we can actually increase it with practice. For example, one given way to improve your emotional intelligence is by mirroring other people’s body language. By doing this, you can connect better with that person and take away some of their good habits, such as a sportive posture. Secondly, a more useful way of improving emotional intelligence is by getting to the point where you understand the reasons of your failures. By this I mean realising there are certain things you can change in your behaviour and the way you think in order to correct your results and work towards getting better ones. As the author emphasises, your mindset when it comes to doing something greatly influences your outcome.
Speaking about my overall opinion of the book, I must say it contains essential knowledge when it comes to the personal development of a person. With all the information contained within, quoting numerous studies and scientifically done experiments, the book gives the reader a well-contoured schematic over how the brain functions. Besides this, the various parallels made between emotional intelligence and IQ may be compared to the differences between talent and hard work, proving to people that exercising constantly pays off in the end.
Another thing that I have liked about the book is the methods of increasing your own emotional intelligence that it reveals. Even though these methods seem really simple when synthesised, they require a certain amount of practice before a person can correctly apply them in day to day life. I have already spoken about them in the findings paragraph and will furthermore give information about them when describing how I have used the book so far in my daily life.
Speaking about practically using the knowledge contained in Daniel Goleman’s book, the one thing that I have immediately started using in my day to day life is becoming more optimistic in order to increase my emotional intelligence. As an example to this, I have started researching in order to find the things that stood behind my failures. By doing this, in many situations I have realised that many of the reasons came from things I could change, such as controlling my anger and sadness when I had something to do. I can say the book has opened my eyes when it comes to controlling my mood in certain situations. For example, I can now get past feelings of pessimism, angriness and anxiousness when I have something to do, simply by thinking about a positive outcome and sorting things out during the process itself, instead of trying to have each and every risk analysed before I start doing something.
To conclude, even though “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman was an overall hard to read book, as there was a lot of information contained within in, I believe the author states some really deep and true facts and, as said by him, constantly being aware and increasing your level of emotional intelligence will eventually lead you to leaving a happier, healthier life.