on 27 September 2001
After being disappointed by Cary Cherniss' book on "promoting" emotional intelligence, I was rather reluctant to spend money on this one, so I ordered a used copy through Amazon (very satisfactory: the copy I got was as good as new). I must say that I find my money well spent. In fact, the only reason why this book doesn't get 5 stars is that it's too scientific for practical application.
For instance, chapter 5 is correct to point out that most tests don't measure emotional intelligence, BUT emotional competence, and then goes on to warn us that a test as Bar-on's EQi test certainly has disadvantages, given it is a self-administered test (In my experience, self-administration of EQ-like tests is particularly dangerous for recruiting and other forms of evaluation). Of course, then the question becomes: BUT I want to test EQ in the context of work, how can I do this in a reliable fashion? You'll find the answer halfway chapter 6, which indicates that Behavior Event Interviews will do the trick (I agree with this, since that's what I experienced as well). Unfortunately, you won't find what kind of questions to ask during such an interview, let alone examples of how to do it.
Also, I was glad that the author of chapter 8 pointed out the same pitfalls of hiring senior executives I have been warning companies for. The suggestions that were outline come close to what we have been doing for several customers, but again the real, practical how to's are missing.
The chapters on training emotional intelligence in part three of the book were more useful than the book "Promoting E.I.", so there is no need at all to buy that other book anymore. Once again, these 4 chapters contain many of the messages one should have when working to develop EQ.
My critique: Except the scientific parts, I found that many of the more practical things this book covers, are "old messages" that can be found in works of Boyatzis, McClelland, Prochaska, Spencer and Spencer, ...
Conclusion? Buy this book if you need a solid scientific basis for your knowledge of emotional intelligence. As far as the how-to's are concerned, this book will serve very well as an outline and a checklist by which one can evaluate the quality of work delivered by a consultant - however, it's not enough to really go out there and "just do it". On the other hand, if you are a consultant recruiting or training for emotional intelligence, this is a MUST READ. Don't get caught not knowing what's in here!
Patrick Merlevede, MSc. - co-author of "7 Steps to Emotional Intelligence"