EQ Blog

Books on Emotional Intelligence

By: Candice Dick
17th April 2012

A Recommended Book List on Emotional Intelligence

I notice that I am asked every few days for books to recommend as an introduction to emotional intelligence. When I glanced back over my last recommended reading list, I saw the focus was on learning, growth and development. This list of books is more around the emotional intelligence aspect of ‘know yourself’.

As the Harvard Business Review noted back in 2001: Leadership’s first commandment is – Know Thyself. So to all of you who are interested in being leaders in your life, in your family, in your team or company here is some reading you may find useful:

Switch – by Dan & Chip Heath

This book is an easy read with great stories and really valuable information. It covers how to change behavior in yourself and others. Here’s a brief extract of what the book covers. The rider = the mind. The Elephant = the heart. Great read, packed with value. I loved it.

“Direct the Rider. What looks like resistance if often a lack of clarity. So provide crystal-clear direction.

Motivate the Elephant. What looks like laziness is often exhaustion. The Rider can’t get his way by force for very long. So it’s critical that you engage people’s emotional side – get their Elephants on the path and cooperative.

Shape the Path. What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem. We call this situation (including the surrounding environment) the “Path”. When you shape the Path, you make change more likely, no matter what’s happening with the Rider and Elephant. “

Loving What is – Byron Katie

I cannot speak highly enough about Byron Katie and the value I have found in her four simple questions that are a way to enquire into thinking. With her four questions. I have realized that all the love, approval and appreciation I’ve been seeking from the world, I can give to myself. Life is now a process of living this. The wisdom really does lie within. This book I enjoyed more in audio format than written, it just comes alive when listened to. Here is the link to the free download of the little book for the work which is an extract from Loving What Is.

The Art of Learning – Josh Waitzkin

This is another all-time favourite of mine. The movie ‘Searching for Bobbie Fisher’ was based on Josh’s life as a young chess prodigy. I found his story of growth, development and commitment to excellence fascinating. He travels from child chess prodigy, to world-class chess player. Then on to Tai-chi where he is again a beginner and works to become a world champion in push-hand. His journey inward to understand himself, his opponents and his art is really fascinating. Just a beautiful book about learning, self and the choices we make in life.

Crucial Conversation – Paterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler.

This book is well researched packed with valuable information and a great introduction to emotional intelligence. It’s clear and focuses on how we interact with others. I follow this blog and I chuckled when I read one of the authors say that although this book has delivered so much value to many people, many people confess to never having read the book from cover to cover.

I confess I’m one of those people and I know what she means. A good ‘how to’ manual about how to have important conversations constructively. This book is particularly great for those people who prefer the more cut and dried scientific introduction to EQ.

Inside Change – Joshua Freedman

Josh is the COO of Six Seconds and considered one of the world leading people on emotional intelligence and how to develop it in people and companies. Inside change is a look at why change often fails in the workplace and how to address the emotional side of people to ensure changes happen effectively. It’s an excellent book with loads of simple and in-depth material that can help anyone wanting to make changes, growth, innovation. Excellent!

Just Listen – Mark Gouston

I really loved the first third of this book, towards the end I felt it became a bit too much about using the tools versus integrating them and ensuring your mindset or point of view took the tools into consideration. But that may have been my own issues. Still a very valuable book with great material, very good stories to demonstrate which I find always helps me remember things. Worth reading.

Mindset – Carol S Dweck

I couldn’t leave this book off this list although it’s in my previous recommended list. It’s all about our mindset, choices and learned optimism. Amazing. This book is unbelievably valuable for people who always see problems rather than solutions. I also noticed although I’m an eternal optimist this gave me better tools and ways to notice where I was falling into a victim or poor me mindset. Actually it’s a book that in which almost anyone will find a great deal of value reading it. It’s available on audio too, which I enjoyed listening to. I now also have it in hardcopy.


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