Marian Volkman reviews

Emotional Intelligence
by Goleman, Daniel
ISBN: 0553375067

This one is so well-known that it almost needs no introduction. This is a scholarly work rather than a light breezy one, but definitely worth reading. What so clearly emerges here is that while enormous effort and expense goes into educating the young in an academic sense, what Goleman calls "emotional intelligence" is neglected. Don't get me wrong, I am all for children studying literature and history. But developing emotional intelligence is not some frivolous extra; it is fundamental to quality of life. (See also Steinem, Revolution from within: A Book of Self-Esteem.)

Plenty of highly educated, highly intelligent (in the sense of traditional IQ) people have train-wrecks of lives, with low quality relationships both personal and professional. Goleman makes a sound case not only that emotional education should be done, but that it can be done. As he says, "temperament is not destiny."

One final note: he debunks the myth that it's good, useful, or therapeutic to "let out" one's anger, by explaining what happens in the brain and body when anger is allowed to rip and showing that anger builds more anger.


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