Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Emotional Intelligence - Why It Can Matter More Than I.Q.

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars 

Though this is an earlier work than Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’, and could possibly have inspired the later book, each make a fascinating companion piece for the other.

In Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman makes a persuasive argument for the forces other than I.Q. that shape success in life. His definition of emotional intelligence is complex and multi-layered: self-awareness, self-restraint, and self-mastery (not to be confused with suppression), when it comes to our own emotions; and, empathy in dealing with others’ feelings.

He offers a valid presentation for the need for applying emotional intelligence, be it in our personal life, the corporate world, or the medical field. If the case studies of the effect on children growing in a less than nurturing environment are sobering, then the effects of these children on society are truly terrifying.

The pivotal point of this book is that it’s never too late to be schooled in E.I., and more importantly, it’s never too early to start.

One might wonder if cash-strapped public schools and over-worked teachers can spare the resources needed to add this vital subject to the curriculum. The more important question would be, hasn’t our society procrastinated on this long enough? If the cost of imparting Emotional Intelligence is considered too high, inarguably the toll of emotional illiteracy is much higher.

As absorbing as I found this book, it has more than average density, and is probably an easier read for those who are already familiar with the basics of psychology and neuroscience. I found that the earlier part of the book tends to a staccato style of writing, with run-on sentences, lugging technical jargon in their wake. But that eases up later on, and he illustrates his arguments with compelling anecdotes that really drive the point home. Stick with this book till the end; it will be well worth your time.

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