What does it mean to being smart?
It seems we have judged intelligence by IQ and rational knowledge throughout human history. However, there was a book published over twenty-five years ago that challenged the notion and looked at emotions as an important factor regarding intelligence. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman presents a claim that it was (or even more) important in than IQ intelligence.
Goleman makes a persuasive argument for human beings learning how emotional intelligence can assist in navigating the difficulties of modern life. He uses scientific and anecdotal examples to back up his argument. We learn about the amygdala glands in the brain governing our emotional responses and how they can override our logic more often than not. These glands give have a powerful position when it comes to memory, decision-making, and emotional responses. When they are not aligned with the rest of the brain, it can cause fear, anxiety, and depression.
Goleman provides a wide range of examples from school shootings, interactions in the workplace, marriage and family relationships, and childhood development to show how having emotional intelligence can create a richer life than rational intelligence.
I was a bookseller at Borders Books when it first published in mid-1990s. The publisher marketed the book as self-help, but upon re-reading it that initial label falls short. Emotional Intelligence has a lot of more depth than the typical self-help book and has relevancy nearly three decades later.
This is one of my favorite reads of 2021 and a book I highly recommend. Re-reading can give you a new perspective and appreciation of a book that you had a strong, emotional connection upon the initial reading. Excellent books hold up after the first read and Emotional Intelligence falls into that category.