A Summary of “Emotional Intelligence” By Daniel Goleman

The intelligence tests were originally designed to screen the candidates with higher level of mental alertness. It is another debate whether intelligence equates to the IQ scores but it is a fact that majority of the successful people score average on IQ tests. Mental alertness may play some role but it is not the main reason of success, in most of the cases.

Then what are requirements for a successful life?

People have been trying to answer this question for centuries. A lot has been said and much more shall be told in future. Daniel Goleman presented “Emotional Intelligence” as a main factor of success. He rejected the conventional concepts of intelligence, IQ scoring reliability and alertness of mind as elements of success. He argued that self-control, zeal and persistence are the main features of every successful story.

This summary of “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman is an attempt to review his ideas. However, it should not be taken as an alternative to the book. It is advisable to read the book along with appendixes if you want to know in depth.

Title and Introduction

The intriguing title of “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman claims the book as ground breaking. It also suggests that the book shall redefine what it means to be smart. The sub-title starts the controversy by informing that emotional intelligence is more important than the IQ scoring.

The introductory chapter “Aristotle Challenge” begins with a quotation from Aristotle on aggressive emotions. The challenge is offered to those who consider that intelligence alone is sufficient to make their life successful. The hereditary theories of intelligence are criticized.

Summary of “Emotional Intelligence” By Daniel Goleman, Part I

The book is comprised of five parts with 16 chapters and six appendixes. The first part “The Emotional Brain” consists of two chapters which focus upon the physical side of the emotional intelligence.

Chapter 1: What are Emotions for?

Chapter 2: Anatomy of an Emotional Hijacking.

In these chapters Daniel Goldman describes the dynamic interrelation of the cortex and the limbic system. The cortex is considered a seat of rationality while the limbic system is the part of brain where your emotions are processed. He presents emotional intelligence in the sense of moderation of primitive emotional impulses by the rational mind. He suggests that the emotional intelligence can be learnt with practice.

Summary of “Emotional Intelligence” By Daniel Goleman, Part II

This part, “The Nature of Emotional Intelligence” comprises of six chapters.

Chapter 3: When Smart is Dumb

Chapter 4: Know Thyself

Chapter 5: Passion’s Slave

Chapter 6: The Master Aptitude

Chapter 7: The roots of empathy

Chapter 8: The Social Arts

In chapter 3, Daniel Goleman quotes a number of studies to prove that many high IQ scoring students have failed in their practical lives while many average people have got phenomenon successes. He claims that if the IQ scoring has to play any role in your success, it can’t be more than 20%. He also claims that your 80% success is based on your emotional intelligence.

The Chapter 4 discusses a reflexive mode of experience which the author calls “self-awareness” or “self-observation”. He assimilates self-awareness with Freud’s “evenly hovering attention”. However, he fails to differentiate between consciousness and thought, like Freud. He says that you should know yourself and your strengths instead of your IQ test and its results.

At the end of Chapter 4, in a section called “Plumbing the Unconscious,” he writes that you may be more attuned to emotional mind’s special symbols such as metaphors, similes, poetry, songs and fables. If so then you should try your success in these fields instead of following predictions made by the IQ tests. Such inner attunements make you more gifted then others.

Chapter 5, “Passion’s Slaves”, states that emotional disorders need pharmacological help. However, there are certain disorders like manic-depression where the patient never feels any need for medication. The author claims that such severe emotional disorders can hamper your success if not handled properly.

He also gives considerable attention to depressive states. He says that when you are depressed, you need to focus your attention to some upbeat activity. However, you should always avoid tragic movies, novels and stories which shall drag your mood further down.

Observing that anger is the most difficult emotional impulse to resist, Goleman rejects the popular myth that “ventilating” is an effective way of reducing anger. However, he also does not support pushing the anger out of awareness. He goes for a third option and suggests that you should experience anger by assuming that anger belongs to some other person.

In Chapter 6, “The Master Aptitude,” Goleman highlights importance of emotional traits such as enthusiasm and persistence. He says that most of the Asian students show better record of success than their white counterparts, not for their IQ level but persistence to improve their weaknesses.

In Chapter 7, “The Roots of Empathy,” Daniel Goldman presents emotional intelligence in gender distribution. He considers that women are better than men in empathy. He also suggests that empathy helps with romantic life. He demonstrates an appreciation of emotions as an instrument of knowledge.

The author continues in chapter 8, “The Social Arts”, that there is more to attainment than the emotional element.

Summary of “Emotional Intelligence” By Daniel Goleman, Part III

This part of the book, “Emotional Intelligence Applied”, is comprised of three chapters:

Chapter 9: Intimate Enemies

Chapter 10: Managing with Heart

Chapter 11: Mind and Medicine.

Chapter 9 deals with the role of emotion in marital life. It focuses upon the amount of expressive emotions that each sex makes during different times of their lives. They have good friends from the opposite sexes in their early lives but slowly lose their interest until they achieve puberty and start dating.

Different studies are placed to prove that girls can express their emotions better than boys. The reason lies in the fact that girls learn languages more quickly than boys do.

Daniel Goleman observes that men are reluctant to talk with their wives about their relationship. He also observes that men may have a rosier view than their wives of just about everything in relationship—lovemaking, finances, ties with in-laws, how well they listened to each other, how much their flaws mattered. Wives, in general, are more vocal about their complaints than their husbands, particularly among unhappy couples.

Toward the end of Chapter 9, Goleman offers a view of marital discord and suggests some ways of working with it. He suggests “mirroring” which is used often on marital therapy. It is repetition of the same sentences in the same tone by the opposite sex. But this technique may be dangerous. When your partner is covertly-hostile he or she may find a fault in your fair comments. It may prove another point to continue the argument.

In Chapter 10, “Managing with Heart,” Goleman quotes a study conducted on a group where each member is a star in the academic IQ test results. The results were astonishing. Some proved excellent and others yielded average or even below average results in an emotional intelligence test.

The ultimate study proved that the stars in the emotional intelligence tests were the people who used to get their work finished. Interestingly, it is one of the main characteristics of the successful people.

However, the average or the below average scorers in the emotional intelligence people were those who start many tasks at a time and leave most of them unfinished. It is one of the reasons behind most of the unsuccessful people.

In Chapter 11, “Mind and Medicine,” Goleman summarizes a recent research on the relationship between health and the emotions. Among many interesting findings reported in this chapter one is the following: “A network of researchers is finding that the chemical messengers that operate most extensively in both brain and immune system are those that are most dense in neural areas that regulate emotion.”

People who experience chronic anxiety, long periods of sadness and pessimism, unremitting tension or incessant hostility, relentless cynicism or suspiciousness, face double the risk of disease—including asthma, arthritis, headaches, peptic ulcers, and heart disease.

Summary of “Emotional Intelligence” By Daniel Goleman, Part IV

This part, “Windows of Opportunity”, comprises of three chapters:

Chapter 12: The Family Crucible

Chapter 13: Trauma and Emotional Relearning

Chapter 14: Temperament is not Destiny

In a section titled “Abuse: The Extinction of Empathy” in Chapter 12, “The Family Crucible,” Goleman writes that the children who are often subject of beating by their parents react with the same way in distress. They loose empathy if they have to face such situations frequently.

In Chapter 13, “Trauma and Emotional Relearning,” Goleman observes that when you face trauma you may end in biological problems. But the problem becomes severe when you are put in an uncontrollable stress.

The Chapter 14, “Temperament is not Destiny,” quotes a study. The people having strong right and left frontal activity were tested on a personality test. The first group showed a distinctive behavior. They were prone to be moody, suspicious of the world and worried on small problems. However, the second group showed entirely different trends. They were lower in depression, more confident and rewardingly engaged in life.

Summary of “Emotional Intelligence” By Daniel Goleman, Part V

The part V, “Emotional Literacy”, comprises of two last chapters:

Chapter 15: The Cost of Emotional Literacy

Chapter 16: Schooling the Emotions

In Chapter 15, “The Cost of Emotional Illiteracy,” Goleman writes that some people are unable to differentiate between being scared and angry. They feel more hunger in depressing situations and eat more to gain weight. The author also indicates that the people with few friends or with extreme tendencies for loneliness are at great risk of medical diseases and early death.

The chapter 16, “Schooling the Emotions” is the final chapter of the book. Here Goleman concludes the book with training programs to educate you “Self Science”. He also mentions emotional coaching such as “Resolving Conflict Creatively Program” in the New York public schools, in which children are encouraged to “be assertive” and articulate their feelings in situations involving conflict with others.

He says that emotional intelligence can be taught. However, it is not enough to lecture children. Instead, they should be allowed to see ethics in practice. Furthermore, they should be given different models of ethics so that they may develop their own value conclusions.

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