Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

“Academic intelligence offers virtually no preparation for the turmoil - or opportunity - life’s vicissitudes bring”

There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is about the facts. Wisdom is about understanding and applying those facts. Miles Kington quipped, “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad."

Without understanding, everything we know is useless. We need more understanding and that is where emotional intelligence comes in.

I love working in higher education because I get to interact with so many students majoring in a variety of fields. I get to learn about so much just by association. But I also get to see students connect the dots throughout their liberal arts education. The English major may not like his chemistry class and the Biology major probably abhors here art class, but I enjoy seeing these students expand their minds and gain perspectives connecting academic fields together.

Additionally, I enjoy seeing students live in community, learning to connect their academics to the lives. In life changing moments to the mundane of the everyday, this is where students learn emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is one of those foundational works that everyone needs to read. It simply shapes how you think about everything you do and everything you are.

Though the whole book as great, I greatly enjoyed the section on optimism. How optimistic you are about life has a huge impact. Your sense of optimism is more predictive of your success than your intelligence. Giving someone optimism is crucial. “People’s beliefs about their abilities have a profound effect on those abilities. Ability is not a fixed property”

I also found the section on dealing with tragedy or difficult memories particularly interesting. I already knew about the chasm between our emotions and the inability to communicate them effectively. (This is why it is hard to explain the reasons you love someone and why listing pros and cons seems absurd). But I never thought about the importance of communicating terrible emotions into words. “People’s emotions are rarely put into words; for more often they are expressed through other cues.” This is probably why just going to therapy just once can be beneficial. Putting horrible memories into words can help you confine and control the emotion.

This book is a new favorite. It is a must read.

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