Seven Emotional Intelligence Books You Should Read – Updated
If one of your commitments for 2021 is to read more (an admirable goal), here are some suggestions for learning more about emotional intelligence. I originally published this blog post in 2014 with just four books, and those selections still hold today. Over time I have added more books, each one of which offers something different if you are interested in learning more about EQ.
If you decide to buy any of these books from Amazon.com, I encourage you to do that through the link http://smile.amazon.com/. This way a donation will be made (at no cost to you) to the charity of your choosing every time you buy.
Here are my getting started in EQ book picks:
The Leader’s Guide to Emotional Intelligence, by Drew Bird
This book is a distillation of the concepts and approaches that I have been using with more than a thousand leaders in sessions, courses, workshops, and seminars. As well as breaking down emotional intelligence as a concept, it describes the behaviours and characteristics of an emotionally effective leader. It includes both a process, and practical suggestions, for developing EQ, and has an associated web page with tools, resources, and worksheets.
Emotional Intelligence – Why It Matters More Than IQ, by Daniel Goleman
The book that is credited for bringing the concepts of emotional intelligence to the masses is still a great first read for anyone interested in this area. Goleman does a great job of providing some interesting examples of how EQ can be applied in a variety of settings. It’s not a reference book per se, but provides some great jumping off points for further exploration.
The EQ Edge, by Steven Stein
Every attendee on my EQ-I & EQ360 Certification Workshops gets a copy of this book, and for good reason – its mapped directly to the EQ-I 2.0 model of emotional intelligence making it the perfect companion for anyone using or taking the EQ-i or EQ360. It’s a great reference resource for coaches, consultants, and leaders alike.
Go Suck a Lemon: Strategies for Improving your Emotional Intelligence, by Michael Cornwall
The author of this book, Michael Cornwall, has a distinctive writing style that may not appeal to all. I like his somewhat no-holds barred approach. The book contains a large number of strategies each of which explores an element of emotional functioning. Examples of therapist/client conversations are included as a way to drill into topics and that may not be to everyone’s taste, but I like the way it creates some reality around the examples and provides grounding for the strategies.
The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights, by Daniel Goleman
At first I was reluctant to have two books by the same author in such as short list, but in this electronic only publication by Goleman brings his easy to understand writing style to bear on the more neurological aspects of emotional intelligence. It’s a quick read at a correspondingly low cost, and while the New Insights tag may no longer be applicable (it was published in 2011), there is some interesting info and cited research in here that provides great background.
Primal Leadership – Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis
Few books delve so specifically into the subject of emotional intelligence and leadership as Primal Leadership. The discussion of mood contagion alone, and its importance in effective leadership, is worth the cover price.
And…if you are only going to read just one book on EQ this year, check out HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Emotional Intelligence. You won’t find a more concise discussion of such a broad range of EQ topics anywhere else.
There are so many new e-books coming out now that it’s hard to keep track of them all. If you have a favourite please drop me a line so I can add it to my 2021 reading list.