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on 20 December 2005
Daniel Goleman is, of course, the man who popularized emotional intelligence. His book is an excellent blend of science, anecdotal and real-life examples as well as some suggestions for improvement. However, this book is written as an introduction of the topic of emotional intelligence, it is NOT a how-to and it is not a solution to all our life's problems.
The book focuses on building emotional intelligence in children, especially school age. This makes it an ideal read for parents and educators who deal with children between the ages of 3 and 10. In fact, I would say it is VITAL reading for parents since it will probably save the parents, and the children of course, years of agony and heartache.
The Book is very well written but don't expect it to solve all your emotional intelligence problems. If you want a more practical and useful guide, especially for developing emotional intelligence in the workplace, read Goleman's 'Working with Emotional Intelligence.'
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HALL OF FAMEon 28 February 2006
Ever since I read Martin Gardiner's book on multiple intelligences, I have been intrigued by the study of how we learn and the different types of intelligence. No one disputes that mathematical/analytical brain-power is a very different type of intelligence from the kind of bodily intelligence that makes someone a graceful gymnast or a super athlete; while there is often some cross-over between the kinds of intelligence that make for good mathematicians and good musicians, the kinds of intelligence that are brought to bear on different parts of our lives get developed in different ways.
One of the more controversial and overlooked types of intelligence is Emotional Intelligence. I do not agree with the idea that one's EQ is in some way opposite from the IQ, the standard intelligence quotient idea (which in and of itself is calculated and reliant on different criteria depending upon the test). I don't believe that Goleman ever makes such a dramatic claim as to show a precise inverse relationship between the EQ and IQ. He does show that there are different kinds of difficulties that can arise, and that a high IQ does not necessarily (or even often) translate into a high EQ.
After a brief introduction exploring the general issues of intelligence and the power of emotions, Goleman
looks at new discoveries in brain anatomy and architecture, particularly as it pertains to what happens when emotions `take over'. The second, and longest, section of the book looks at the nature of Emotional Intelligence. This is being able to understand oneself as well as others, being able to control emotions (or not), and drawing on Aristotle's phrase from the Nicomachean Ethics, being able to have the right degree of emotion at the right time for the right reason for the right duration. Goleman's third section incorporates the general ideas of Emotional Intelligence into the broader context of living, stating that one's emotional intelligence is in fact a more critical factor than pure computational intelligence at being `successful' in many important parts of life - from personal relationships to professional relationships, self-satisfaction and self-growth, emotions often hold sway over traditional `intelligence'. The fourth section examines developmental issues, leading to the final section exploring what happens when such development goes wrong.
Goleman's observation that children seem to be increasingly depressed, despondent, violent and unruly than in the past may or may not be accurate - unfortunately, such comparisons with the past often rely on shaky anecdotal evidence or studies whose parameters are different, and thus whose conclusions cannot be accurately compared. However, it certainly seems that these are true observations. Goleman warns of a coming crisis as unprepared children face an adulthood full of emotional stress and crises for which they have not developed coping skills. Goleman calls for more emphasis on emotional intelligence issues - anger management, conflict resolution, sense of self, etc. for school children to reduce violence and potential for crime.
Overall, this book presents interesting ideas. The idea of Emotional Intelligence is fairly new, and will no doubt be adapted and revised in the coming years. Goleman's task here may be less of a comprehensive overview rather than an introductory shout to the community that needs to address the issue.
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on 18 January 2006
I read this book first time years ago and thought it to be one of the must books to have in ones book shelf to get back to time and time again. Now I am in a situation where my long term relationship is in great difficulties. For some reason I started reading this book and it was shocking to see how typical our situation is. It is a real eye opener of how people get overtaken by their emotions and how this can lead into behavioural circle where things go bad to worse. I highly recommend this book to anyone in the path of self development or just for understanding of fellow human being. And especially for us who have children it is a must read so we can help them develop better emotional skills for their future.
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on 6 February 2003
This book, although giving some information on how using our emotional aptitude in our own lives, is useful mainly as a theoretical thesis on Goleman's idea that emotions are more important than IQ. As a practical guide this is a very important piece of work for new parents or soon to be parents who want to know the best possible way to raise a child but also why they should strive to teach their child in that manner. Goleman packs EI with statistics, facts and case studies to back up his point so it is difficult to doubt the sincerity of what he writes.
For the rest of us this is an insightful study of the furthering of the "nature/nurture" debate (i.e. are we what we are because we were born that way or are we socialised throughout childhood to be that way?). Goleman emphasises on the "nurture" school of thought that means that if his assertions are to be taken seriously and popularly throughout society institutions such as the law and education would have to be revised as it would seem the socialisation process is more to blame than the individual who's emotional IQ is a product of his/her upbringing.
By the end of the book I felt I was a little closer to understanding the human condition. The wealth of information Goleman brings to the subject can be head-spinning in its density and richness at some points but the language is always clear and well written.
All in all, an original look at a formally neglected aspect of psychology and defiantly one to watch as the field progresses.
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HALL OF FAMEon 9 February 2004
Ever since I read Martin Gardiner's book on multiple intelligences, I have been intrigued by the study of how we learn and the different types of intelligence. No one disputes that mathematical/analytical brain-power is a very different type of intelligence from the kind of bodily intelligence that makes someone a graceful gymnast or a super athlete; while there is often some cross-over between the kinds of intelligence that make for good mathematicians and good musicians, the kinds of intelligence that are brought to bear on different parts of our lives get developed in different ways.
One of the more controversial and overlooked types of intelligence is Emotional Intelligence. I do not agree with the idea that one's EQ is in some way opposite from the IQ, the standard intelligence quotient idea (which in and of itself is calculated and reliant on different criteria depending upon the test). I don't believe that Goleman ever makes such a dramatic claim as to show a precise inverse relationship between the EQ and IQ. He does show that there are different kinds of difficulties that can arise, and that a high IQ does not necessarily (or even often) translate into a high EQ.
After a brief introduction exploring the general issues of intelligence and the power of emotions, Goleman
looks at new discoveries in brain anatomy and architecture, particularly as it pertains to what happens when emotions 'take over'. The second, and longest, section of the book looks at the nature of Emotional Intelligence. This is being able to understand oneself as well as others, being able to control emotions (or not), and drawing on Aristotle's phrase from the Nicomachean Ethics, being able to have the right degree of emotion at the right time for the right reason for the right duration. Goleman's third section incorporates the general ideas of Emotional Intelligence into the broader context of living, stating that one's emotional intelligence is in fact a more critical factor than pure computational intelligence at being 'successful' in many important parts of life - from personal relationships to professional relationships, self-satisfaction and self-growth, emotions often hold sway over traditional 'intelligence'. The fourth section examines developmental issues, leading to the final section exploring what happens when such development goes wrong.
Goleman's observation that children seem to be increasingly depressed, despondent, violent and unruly than in the past may or may not be accurate - unfortunately, such comparisons with the past often rely on shaky anecdotal evidence or studies whose parameters are different, and thus whose conclusions cannot be accurately compared. However, it certainly seems that these are true observations. Goleman warns of a coming crisis as unprepared children face an adulthood full of emotional stress and crises for which they have not developed coping skills. Goleman calls for more emphasis on emotional intelligence issues - anger management, conflict resolution, sense of self, etc. for school children to reduce violence and potential for crime.
Overall, this book presents interesting ideas. The idea of Emotional Intelligence is fairly new, and will no doubt be adapted and revised in the coming years. Goleman's task here may be less of a comprehensive overview rather than an introductory shout to the community that needs to address the issue.
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on 31 October 2006
This book is not just about getting on better in the work place, but getting on better in life in general. I came to read this book through a desire to try and better myself and from reading `self help' books from authors like Susan Jeffers and Paul McKenna. Having only just finished reading it, it is to early to say whether what I have learned will be of long term benefit in terms of my career and other problems like occasional social anxiety and comfort eating. The book challenges you to confront unhelpful and self-defeating thoughts when they arise and to locate where and when they first came from. It is fair to say that this book has given me a huge insight into why I think the way I do and the possible reasons why I am the way I am. Although it does not go into practical solutions to deeply, it does give you insights into your own emotional thinking and that alone I believe can be of enormous benefit. I now feel I have a fresh desire and impetus to push through these ways of thinking. If you have problems in your life like me then this book could help to give you the same insights.
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VINE VOICEon 23 November 2007
This book gets off to a good start, but then falls into the Maslow trap of when you've got a hammer, you see every problem as a nail. By the end of the book I thought 'emotional intelligence' was a pretty weedy phenomemon and there was far too much doom and gloom in the book.

One of my favourite books of all time is The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton. Most of the stuff in Burton (written over 400 years ago) is covered by Goleman. Only Goleman dresses it up as the latest scientific research.

Things like reliving trauma as a way of purging it were intriguing. By the end I was skipping pages so I could take it to the charity shop.
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on 24 November 2010
This book just confirms what I've been thinking for years- intelligence, that is "book smarts", is just ONE piece of what contributes to a person's overall success in life- and in no way guarantees anything. You can be the smartest person in the world, but if you don't have other qualities like self-esteem or persistence- well, there's a good chance that you won't be happy. Case in point, there is no scientific literature linking IQ or academic ability to happiness levels. Anyway, this book does a good job of elaborating on the idea that intelligence will only get you so far in life- and spends its time telling you why. Here's a quick rundown of the book's five parts:

-Part 1 talks about the brain's "emotional architecture"
-Part 2 shows the reader how neurological givens play out in the most basic flair for living called "emotional intelligence"
-Part 3 examines some key differences this aptitude makes
-Part 4 gets into emotional intelligence and childhood
-Part 5 explores the hazards of not mastering the emotional side of things

So, if the idea of improving your life by taking a look at the emotional side of things sounds interesting to you, I would highly recommend checking this book it out. Other self-help books I liked include Exercise Beats Depression.
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on 2 July 2013
This book is very good at emphasising how important emotional intelligence is, and after hearing all the evidence the author gives, it is hard to disagree. However there is absolutely no information on how we can improve our eq at all. I consider myself to be someone in need of a higher eq. listening to this just made me think yeah I wish I had some of that, but I don't. If you do have a high eq you will probably like this book because it make you feel pretty smug.
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on 18 October 2002
Daniel Goleman refers to "a growing body of evidence showing that success in school depends to a surprising extent on emotional characteristics formed in the years BEFORE a child enters school." Having been a preschool teacher for many years, I must agree. So much of what determines how a child is going to fit into the world depends on his strengths (not weaknesses) along with his degree of self-esteem (not necessarily his IQ or SAT scores). This book is a must for all parents, especially those who feel their child simply does not compare to the "kid next door"...you know, the one who seems to be good at everything. Although that may be true, Goleman says that by nuturing and teaching to the Emotional Intelligence and strengths of your child, the chance of success in future years will be increased. ALL children have the ability to accomplish goals. Maybe your child is extremely good in his interpersonal skills--well-liked by his peers and blessed with the gift of gab and a great sense of humor. These are perfect qualities for a successful salesman. The fact that a child does not test well in math or written English skills and has a very average IQ is not directly significant in how successful he will become as a salesman. Those kids that excel in the arts may enjoy huge success in a career as an actor, artist, film producer, or photographer, especially if his Emotional Intelligence is high. In addition to giving a child unconditional love, I feel it is our job as good parents to identify our children's strengths in the early years and give them plenty of chances to experience challenges, accomplishment, and joy in those areas. Along with this excellent theoretical book, I highly recommend for those of you who have young children, a very practical little book called "The Pocket Parent." This quick-read A-Z guide will give you many specific strategies for increasing the Emotional Intelligence of your 2- to 5-year-old through daily communication and activites. By following the advice of these two books, you will help your child learn how to better interact with others, solve problems, and develop empathy, while maintaining a good sense of self-worth just the way s/he is.
Also recommended: THE POCKET PARENT: Exclusively written for parents of 2-5 year olds.(most directly related chapters include "Comparing and Labeling Children", "Self-Esteem", "Listening", "Values" and "Discipline")
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