Emotional Intelligence

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s IQ destiny? Not nearly as much as we think. Daniel Goleman’s fascinating and persuasive book argues that our view of human intelligence is far too narrow, and that our emotions play a much greater role in thought, decision making and individual success than is commonly acknowledged. Drawing on groundbreaking brain and behavioural research, Goleman shows the factors at work when people of high IQ flounder and those of modest IQ do surprisingly well. These factors add up to a different way of succeeding in life – one he terms ’emotional intelligence’. Emotional intelligence includes self-awareness and impulse control, persistence zeal and self-motivation, empathy and social deftness. These are the qualities that mark people who excel: whose intimate relationships flourish, who are stars in the workplace. These are also the hallmarks of character and self-discipline, of altruism and compassion. As Goleman demonstrates, the personal costs of deficits in emotional intelligence can range from problems in marriage and parenting to poor physical health in adults, and to eating disorders and depression inchildren. (New research shows that chronic anger and anxiety create as great a health risk as chain-smoking.) But the news is hopeful. Emotional intelligence is not fixed at birth. Goleman’s argument gives new insights into the brain architecture underlying emotion and rationality. He shows precisely how emotional intelligence can be nurtured and strengthened in all of us. And because the emotional lessons a child learns actually sculpt the brain’s circuitry, Goleman provides detailed guidance as to how parents and schools can benefit from this. The message of this eye-opening book is one we must take to heart.

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