am 15. April 2000
There is a lot to admire here and I enjoyed returning to a genre (popular psychology) that I left many years ago. If my recollection is correct, Goleman's book is a step beyond such "classics" as I'm Okay, You're Okay..., etc., particularly in terms of scholarship. I liked the way he took the medical profession to task for its lack of empathy and its failure to provide emotional support for patients. He does not however address the cause, which is the desire of the AMA and its members to maintain the exclusivity and high economic status of the profession. I loved the affection Goleman showed for the children learning to be social.
However I don't think the book is about emotional so much as social intelligence, and perhaps that is entirely to the good since social intelligence is a fundamental human need, and certainly for most people it is easier to learn social skills than it is to discard negative emotions and achieve positive ones. Most of the book is about how to behave effectively in society, how to make adjustments in marriage, on the job, with peers, at school, etc. Some space is given to the experiences in childhood that mold us emotionally (or so it is believed).
This is all fine, but I don't think Goleman makes much of a case for changing emotions as he does for changing behavior. Of course, I'm all for that: if you don't feel empathy, at least fake it! On page 107 for example he talks about the "utter lack of empathy for their victims" by "child molesters and other such offenders." He describes "one of the most promising treatment programs" in which "the offenders read heart-wrenching accounts of crimes like their own, told from the victim's perspective." The psychologist who developed the program claims that the recidivism rate for those who complete the program is half that of those who did not receive the treatment. Even if true, it doesn't follow that these guys learned any empathy. Most likely they learned more clever behavior, and of course the people who entered and stayed with the program are preselected to not return for any number of reasons, mainly they're smarter.
I have a similar objection to the idea (for example) that depression leads to increased death and disease. Certainly the life expectancy of depressed people is less than that of optimistic people, but it is not clear whether depression is a cause or a symptom. And the well known connection between social isolation and morbidity reported by Goleman doesn't necessarily mean that social isolation kills, but could mean that people who want to die, first isolate themselves from society, which is the way in some cultures-or it could mean something else entirely.
I also object to the general idea that emotions, instruments of the evolutionary mechanism, can or should be much influenced by society except in self-defense. The purpose of many emotions is to drive the individual in a direction consistent with the needs of the species mechanism regardless of what society or the individual wants. The needs, concerns and prejudices of any given society are relatively ephemeral notions compared to the evolutionary imperative, and in many cases it's a good thing we have instincts that override what society wants.
Goleman's book is understandably written from the point of view of the society and as such puts social concerns first; however I am at that place in my life where I find the concerns of the individual to be more important. The (rather limited) psychological tradition that Goleman is an effective spokesman for, is not to me as important or as valuable or even as "true" as the psychological ideas found in the great religions of the world.
One last very important quibble: nowhere in the book is the most deleterious emotion mentioned or identified as such. That emotion is desire. Goleman, unaccountably, does not even identify sexual desire! He lists love in Appendix A but it is apparent that sexual desire is not part of that classification (p. 289). He allows that there are "hundreds of emotions." The fact that he does not recognize desire would be amazing except we know that his readers would not like to hear about any problems with desire, and this book is pristinely PC with a clear eye to the marketplace. Desire is what keeps the economic machine of the society that he represents going! As the economists say, goods are limited, but human desires are infinite. Additionally the secret to avoiding the inevitable pain caused by desire is not any attempt to fulfill those desires, but to lose the desires. That formula would not sit well with his readers nor with his publishers.
Goleman is accomplished and clever. He went to the best schools and he has made quite a success of his education. He is politically astute, and he may be an expert on emotion, but he should know that the splashy idea of emotional intelligence is as vague, subjective and limiting as that of IQ, perhaps more so.
am 24. Februar 2000
Anyone over the age of thirty soon comes to realize that what was taught in school is not necessarily all there is to know in life. Consequently, the smartest people, the ones who always got A's in school, don't always end up being the most successful. Ultimately, a high IQ is not the most important factor when one encounters the real world. In this respect, Goleman has hit upon a concept which deserves much more attention.
The brain is a mysterious entity. No one knows exactly how it works. Certain things are known however. The brain is divided into certain sections, each controlling various aspects of behavior. On the other hand, it is a single entity. Intelligence, or what we call IQ is only a small aspect of the total human being.
Emotions have long been labeled as inferior to intelligence. Over the past 2,000 years, a cultivated person has been defined as one who is logical, rational and thoughtful. Goleman dispels this notion however and insists that to a large extent, emotional intelligence determines how successful we become as human beings. Feelings, inner motivations and personal relationships are more important than the ability to spell or recite poetry.
This fact has major implications, especially for our educational system. Of course, the three R's are important, but the ability to deal with individuals and groups is just as important. We worry about intellectual illiteracy but don't pay much heed to emotional illiteracy. Schools can only do so much, however. In the end, it boils down to the family, and with the family in such disarray, one wonders if this, in itself, is not the underlying problem.
Emotional Intelligence is a monumental work.
am 2. März 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.
am 17. Februar 2000
Reading some of the other reviews I begin to wonder if the reviewers even read the book at all. How could interpersonal skills and emotional managment NOT matter? The author doen't state that iq doesn't matter, he simply points out that to suceed in the world you need more than just pure reason. I think the ideal is a person with both high intelligence and great interpersonal skills such as someone like Carl sagan, but I think he is correct in stating that a person with average intelligence and good people skills will go farther than a person with high intelligence and no ablity to lead others effecivly. And what is with these reviews attempting to link the supposed poor conditions of the schools and the idea's in this book? Are School shootings happening because the schools are teaching to many anger mangement courses? Please! Why in the world would you believe that teaching emotional management skills will increase the crime rate in public schools? They haven't been teaching this in schools at all and that is part of the problem. All in all this is a very thoughtful and interesting book.
am 3. Januar 2000
This ground-breaking book proposes that emotional intelligence is a learned ability that is as much or more important than basic intelligence and should be part of our schooling just as reading, writing and arithmetic. The author sets out new scientific evidence showing, step-by-step, how healthy emotions and destructive emotions control our lives. Feelings often count as much as logic, and we have gone too far, says Dr. Goleman, emphasizing the purely rational, when emotions are so powerful.
All emotions are an impulse to act; the creation of instant plans for handling a life situation. Now we know in detail how emotions prepare the body for differing responses. A human being is made up of two minds according to Goleman. One thinks, and one feels; two fundamentally different ways of knowing.
The author defines emotion as "a feeling and range of propensities to act." The principal emotions are: Anger: Fury, outrage, resentment. Sadness. Grief, sorrow, cheerlessness. Fear. Anxiety, apprehension, terror. Enjoyment. Happiness, joy, delight, amusement. Love: Trust, kindness, devotion, infatuation. Surprise: Shock, amazement, astonishment. Disgust: Contempt, scorn, abhorrence. Shame: Guilt, embarrassment, remorse, humiliation.
Various emotions have various physical effects on the body. Anger, for example, causes blood to flow to the hands; strong energy for vigorous action. Fear causes blood to flow to the legs making it easier to run. Happiness is a positive emotion that provides readiness and enthusiasm. Surprise makes it easier to figure out what's going on and create a plan of action. Sadness helps adjust to a significant loss and brings a drop in energy and enthusiasm.
When emotions are out of control, the emotional mind takes over and swamps the rational mind. Emotions have a mind of their own and can hold views independent of the rational mind. Goleman names five main domains of emotional intelligence: (1) Knowing one's emotion (2) Managing emotions (3) Motivating oneself (4) Recognizing emotions in others (5) Handling relationships.
A most important emotional lesson, of course, is anger management. As a culture, we have not bothered to make sure children are taught the essentials of handling anger or resolving conflict. These and other fundamentals of emotional competence have been left to chance, says Goleman.
Surprisingly, the emotional mind is far quicker than the rational mind and springs into action without considering consequences that may prove to be mistaken or misguided. Scientific findings indicate we often cannot control emotions. What's more, the emotional mind takes its beliefs to be true, discounting evidence to the contrary. That's why it's difficult to reason with someone who is emotionally upset.
A familiar husband-wife emotional story: Wives, it seems, are the emotional managers and as such, are more likely to criticize husbands. Men are more likely to be stonewallers. Wives try to bring up and resolve disagreements. Husbands, on the other hand, are reluctant to be drawn into arguments. As a wife sees her husband withdraw from a discussion. she increases the volume and intensity of her complaint white he becomes defensive or stonewalls in return. She becomes contemptful, frustrated and angry; the husband feels more and more an innocent victim. As husbands stonewall, the wife feels completely stymied. The author calls this psychological impasse "flooding~~ and points out that flooding escalates, often going out of control.
There is ample evidence of growing emotional recklessness in the wortd, the author points out, and makes a strong case that it is critical to teach emotional competence to children as part of their education.
am 8. Oktober 1998
ING. EMILIO CRISTANCHO GUEVARA; firstname.lastname@example.org This is one of the best books on the market for Emotional Intelligence; because it uncovers the real truth of why many talented (high IQ) persons do NOT succeed in life, and sometimes cause more problems for themselves and for others; and the sad part was that it was never taught at the University level , so I am very glad to hear that at Harvard ( and the University of California and many other excellent universities) they are beginning to teach this tremendously important subject that will give at least 70% of success in everybody life: personal, professional and business life. This book was the answer to many of our questions that we had about business, professional and corporate success, because without emotional intelligence is very difficult to achieve lasting and enduring success, perhaps some people minght achieve "temporary" success with only high IQ, but in the long run everybody needs both good IQ and also good EQ , to be able to achieve lasting success in his : PERSONAL, PROFESSIONAL @ CORPORATE life. This should be a required text in College, Master and Doctoral programs all over the world, to be able to graduate more integral and competent executives which will have better control over their emotional lives and consequently private and professional lives. By the way , one (there are more reasons) of the major reason why we have underdeveloped countries is because of the low EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE of at least 30% of the people living in them, thus, this is a world problem that should be dealt with at the earliest convenience, to be able to help Millions of persons all over the world. Sincerely : ING. EMILIO CRISTANCHO GUEVARA ; e-mail: email@example.com
am 31. Juli 2000
Goleman covers an important topic, although his handling could have been far more precise. It reads like a pop-magazine in this regard. Goleman clearly identifies several issues which relate to how we interact and operate in the world, but he provides little solid evidence other than examples or a few case histories for making his point. I've taken several psychology courses, and do recommend further study of this issue, but I think you'd do well to pick a more academic author.
am 25. April 2000
In too many conflicts and fights the issue is not what a person said or did, but about how it was said and done. It is clear as daylight that the way we feel about issues and persons bears a direct influence on how we act towards them. This book stress the fact that if we want to live a fruitful life, we shall pay close attention to our feelings as well as to the emotions of others. Only then we will acquire the mastery required to function with ease in society. A person who is understood by others will be trusted by them, and understanding someone is not just an intellectual effort, it is also the capacity to relate oneself to the mental state of that person, i.e. its emotions. Such feast can only be done if we develop our emotional intelligence.
I guess this book will not tell you something you do not know, but it will open your eyes about the fact that your emotions are within your control, and that if you pay attention to them and their underlying forces a new dimension of possibilities appear in your life as well as in the life of those close to you, particularly, your children.
am 26. Juli 1999
I've read most of the readers' reviews and I my thought about Goleman's book was absolutely RIGHT: it reaches its goal. What makes Emotional Intelligence book unique and very interesting is that it shakes the brains and pushes the reader to think. Goleman is not supposed to think for the people but to help them think right and that's what he put in the book. This is not an easy task, isn't it ? I like the way the book is written, though not scientifically consistent, but it gives chance to anyone, whatever his background, to embrace the subject and SPECIALLY to be aware of EI for his life sake and ALSO for other people lifes' sake. Goleman could have written a scientific version of the same book and if he did many of us would not have read it or review it. Here's how Goleman's book reached its goal. Reading the book for me and for other people I met was already a therapy as it was for all who posted a review here. (you can discover that when reading between the lines) Bravo Goleman !
am 18. April 2000
Psychological theories come-and-go, and no one can predict if Goleman's thesis that emotional development determines success in life will hold up in the long run. However, I was surprised at how often the book inspired me to examine my own life and search for emotional explanations. More often than not, his theories brought a clarity to my actions that I didn't have before.
I wouldn't quite call this book self-help, but as a tool for introspection, it's invaluable. (It's also great fun to match Goleman's descriptions of the "emotionally inept" with loathsome co-workers and family members.)