Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman explores what Emotional Intelligence is and why it matters more than IQ.
- Emotional Intelligence is a (much) bigger predictor of success than IQ
- EI is composed of: self awareness; emotional management; self motivation; empathy; managing other’s emotions
- Emotional Intelligence skills can be taught and improved
Emotional Intelligence Summary
Daniel Goleman says that before 1990 the prominence of IQ as the major determinant of success was out of question. But things were just beginning to shift. “Emotional Intelligence” was a term coined as an umbrella catch-all for an array of different findings that were slowly putting IQ more in perspective.
1: What Are Emotions For?
Daniel Goleman says feelings govern our behavior as much, and often more so, than thoughts.
Thoughts are measured by IQ, while feelings and emotions are the domain of Emotional Intelligence.
Since feelings and emotions matter in our decision making often more than IQ, it concedes that Emotional Intelligence matters more than IQ.
2: Anatomy of an Emotional Hijacking
Daniel Goleman focuses here on the anatomy of the brain.
The gist is that the cortex is the area of the brain governing rational thoughts while the limbic system governs emotions. Check the book for more details.
3: When Smart is Dumb
Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman cites a number of studies proving Emotional Intelligence is a more significant predictor than IQ in determining “success” in life. Namely, EQ accounts for 80% and IQ accounts for 20%.
There has been discussion and criticism on those conclusions (superficial studies , EQ VS IQ?, EQ as a predictor) , but I don’t doubt it for a second. IF EQ includes understanding other people’s emotions, using emotions in service of your goal and delaying gratification… Well those pretty much are the definition of success.
Importantly, the author also stresses that IQ and EQ are NOT antithetic. As a matter of fact, high IQ and low EI and vice versa are quite rare. Indeed there is a correlation between IQ and some aspects of IE.
Goleman takes the 5 domains of Emotional Intelligence first outlined by Peter Salovey and expands on them. The general idea is that, same for IQ, people have different abilities in each domain.
The basis is neural, but since the brain is plastic, these abilities can be changed and improved upon. The next 5 chapter will cover the 5 Emotional Domains.
Emotional Domain 1: Knowing one’s emotions
Knowing one’s emotions refers to self awareness. being conscious of what we’re feeling and recognizing which feeling we are experiencing.
Daniel Goleman says it’s more important knowing yourself and your strengths instead of your IQ test and its results (or whatever other test you took).
Emotional Domain 2: Managing Emotions
You can manage your feelings by changing what you focus your attention on.
I especially liked the topics of optimism and hope. They are highly beneficial and they can both be learned: underpinning both is self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the belief that one has mastery over life’s events and can meet challenges as they come.
Developing a competency of any kind also strengthens the sense of self-efficacy.
Flow could be thought in many ways as the peak of emotional intelligence. One way to enter flow is to focus greatly on the task at hand. Flow happens when a task is a bit more challenging than usual but within reach. Also check The Talent Code and “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience“.
How engaged we are in the task is also key. Goleman cites the same study in Daniel Pink’s Drive, in which painters who were after money or afraid of critics weren’t able to deliver as original work as their counterparts who freely expressed themselves.
Emotional Domain 3: Motivating Oneself
Motivating oneself refers to the ability of using emotions in the service of a goal.
Goleman highlights importance of emotional traits such as enthusiasm and persistence -also check Grit by Angela Duckworth-.
Emotional Domain 4: Recognizing Other’s Emotions
This is basically empathy and social awareness.
Daniel Goldman also talks about emotional intelligence in relation to gender.
Women, on average, are more empathetic than men. Goleman also suggests that empathy helps with romantic life.
Emotional Domain 5: Handling relationships
This is the ability of managing emotions in others.
EQ is key in relationships because people who are poor at perceiving and sending emotions are poor in their relationships.
9: Intimate Enemies
Daniel Goleman cites different studiesto prove that women can express their emotions better than men.
Men also tend to have a much rosier view of their relationship compared to women.
However, the differences disappeared among top performers executive, meaning that top women are similar to top men (link to the study).
My Note: Take a look at my articles on dating and relationships:
- Biggest mistakes women do in early dating
- Communication mistakes men do to ruin relationships
- How to Fix Combative Relationships
10: Managing with Heart
Goleman says that how well groups performs a task is determined in good part by their collective IQ. But the key to a high group IQ is Emotional Intelligence: it’s Emotional Intelligence indeed that fosters an environment of social harmony.
A research among engineers at Bell’s Labs (link) showed how what really made the difference for star performers was in the informal network they were able to tap into. Informal networks are formed mostly on the basis of EQ.
Also many studies proved the top performers were people who started a task and finished it. People low in Emotional Intelligence instead started many tasks at the same time and ended up leaving many of them unfinished.
If you see yourself in this description I highly recommend you read Grit by Angela Duckworth
11: Mind and Medicine
Goleman discusses many researches showing there’s a strong relation between a positive and optimistic mood and good health.
Especially insidious to bad health are strong emotions like anger.
People high in hostility and prone to anger outbursts are 7 times more likely to die by age 50. That is a higher predictor than smoking, high blood pressure or cholesterol.
12: The Family Crucible
Sadly Goleman points out that emotional imbalances are often transmitted from emotionally unstable families to their children. Parents who constantly burst out in anger and beat their children often bring their children to lose empathy and behave the same way.
13: Trauma and Emotional Relearning
Traumas and emotionally tragic experience can become embedded in people’s brain and even smaller events can recall the event and trigger uncontrollable reactions.
However, our brain is malleable and we can re-learn new things and abandon old neurological connections (I invite you to read The Talent Code for more on it and for curing post-traumatic stress disorders)
14: Temperament is Not Destiny
15: The Cost of Emotional Literacy
Daniel Goleman says that some people are paying very highly the cost not recognizing emotions. Some for example are unable to differentiate between being scared and angry.
Some other people end up hungry in depressing situations and binge eat.
Another example are bullies. Studies have shown how they can misread neutral acts as an aggression and then are able to muster one way to react: lashing out.
- Check my Social Mastery Guide.
Emotional Intelligence Criticism
It’s not true that EI is 80% of “success”.
To begin with, that makes no sense. And second, data shows that CEOs are lower on emotional intelligence.
Read more here:
Real Life Applications
Don’t ruminate when you’re sad
When you’re sad, don’t ruminate, but distract yourself. Exercise, complete small tasks or re-frame the situation.
How you reduce anger
Emotional Intelligence says when you’re angry you should see the issue from the other person’s point of view. Or if there’s a problem, think about a positive and plausible reason behind rather than accusing “some idiot’s incompetence”. And do NOT vent. Contrary to popular belief venting only prolongs your feelings.
Emotional Intelligence Review
If you are interested in how you can improve your Emotional Intelligence, there are some good tips, but this is not an how to book.
If you want to learn about Emotional Intelligence the topic, and how and why it’s important, then this book provides a broad overview of many studies on the subject. Daniel Goleman indeed basically coined the word Emotional Intelligence and gave huge impetus to the topic, for bad and for good (including critics).
Get Emotional Intelligence
get it on Amazon.