Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Thank IQ written by Daniel Goleman helped save western psychology. It broke away from the myopic view that intelligence is information based and added a needed layer of understanding about what it means to be human. His concept of Emotional Intelligence helps define people in a new way and explains why some people are more successful than others.
Daniel Goleman sets out to explain that we as humans are governed in large part by our emotional health. Because it is our brain that interprets our relationship with the physical and social environment, the state of our emotions are a big determinant in how well our brain does the interpreting. Goleman is not denying emotions or their usefulness, but does say that if emotions are allowed to run rampant, problems will follow.
We all know that emotions can hi-jack one’s ability to think rationally. When one’s rationality is impacted upon, the ability to function optimally is compromised. Goleman explains that it is both possible and necessary to control these emotions through the practice of Emotional Intelligence. Not only is Goleman suggesting that both individuals and society would benefit to be Emotionally Intelligent but that it is the single biggest indicator of one’s ability to be successful at life.
In discussing everything from anxiety, addiction, relationship discord, and depression, Goleman explains how a global feeling of sadness will create the basis of clinical depression. Yet by developing Emotional Intelligence and practicing positive self-thinking, Goleman explains how it is clinically proven one can alter one’s thought process, and improve the clinical outcomes of one’s situation. It appears to reinforce my Quotein post titled “Watch Your Thoughts“.
Goleman is critical of western society’s focus on book/information intelligence as a determinant of what makes human beings successful. Through copious examples, he proves that being clever is not the same as being smart. It is possible for people to be highly intelligent yet not be emotionally connected and thus socially inept and unsuccessful. Goleman goes on to explain how high Emotional Intelligence is the best determinant for success in academics and occuptations compared to those who are just intelligent in terms of information. To know thyself is better than just being in the know.
Goleman’s writing is clear, accessible, and entertaining. Using a delightful blend of science, anecdotes, and real-life examples, he effectively communicates his ideas. His scale is a macro-focused, as lots of this book is more about what we need to do as a society, not just individually. Goleman ends his book by providing some concrete steps we need to take to build Emotional Intelligence in our children and in our ourselves by focusing on our education system. Goleman wants to see schools becomes more than just information distribution centres as he waxes enthusiastically about three enterprising schools that teach kids to know their own feelings. It is easy to agree with his call to society to adopt the principles of Emotional Intelligence and put them into practice. While this book is not meant to be a self-help manual, one cannot help but feel hopeful and transformed by what Goleman writes.
(5 stars out of 5 – everyone should read this book)