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The 10 Best Books on Emotional Intelligence

by Staff Writers

While a high IQ can go a long way in helping you to be successful in the world, studies are increasingly demonstrating that your EQ, or emotional intelligence, is of equal (or perhaps even more) importance. Whether it’s sustaining personal relationships, working on a group project in college, talking with your boss, or managing your own employees, emotional intelligence plays a key role in how successful these interactions are or are not, often in ways we’re not even readily aware of. If you’d like to give your EQ a boost, there are plenty of great books out there on the subject that can help teach you the fundamentals of emotional intelligence and help you through activities that will make you and those around you more emotionally healthy in your interactions. We’ve listed 10 of these great books here to help you get started on your emotional education.

  1. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman: Curious as to why emotional intelligence might matter more than overall intelligence? Touching on psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Daniel Goleman, an expert on brain and behavioral sciences, explains the crucial skills for success offered by emotional intelligence that can determine your success in relationships and work and may impact your overall health. Even better, Goleman explains that EQ isn’t fixed, and shares ideas on how you can improve your emotional intelligence.
  2. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry, Jean Greaves, and Patrick M. Lencioni: Once you’ve learned a bit about emotional intelligence and why it’s important, you may want to take a look at this book that’s focused more on ways to use EQ to improve your life. As you read through the book, you’ll find a step-by-step program for increasing your emotional intelligence that focuses on four core skills: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management, along with activities that will help you boost each of these areas.
  3. Go Suck a Lemon: Strategies for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence by Michael Cornwall: Dr. Cornwall’s book is another great guide on improving emotional intelligence. He focuses on aspects of emotional intelligence like controlling emotions, being open-minded, breaking out of emotional co-dependence, and thinking before acting. The book aims to teach readers a process they can use that will help them approach any task with more careful and well thought-out emotional problem solving.
  4. Building Emotional Intelligence: Techniques to Cultivate Inner Strength in Children by Linda Lantieri and Daniel Goleman: While this book is focused on building emotional intelligence in children, much of the information can be a big help to adults who want an EQ boost as well. From handling stress to dealing with disappointment, Lantieri and Goleman’s advice will serve anyone who wants to be in better control of their emotions and mental well-being.
  5. The New Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz: Since it was published in 1960, this self-help book has sold more than 30 million copies, helping everyone from athletes to CEOs better meet their potential. So what can it teach you about emotional intelligence? Maltz’s theory of psycho-cybernetics is all about controlling your thoughts and emotions and turning those that are negative into positives, eventually reprogramming your mind. This can have a big impact not only on achieving career goals, but also in day-to-day interactions with people, happiness, and overall health, making it a valuable read for anyone looking to improve EQ.
  6. The EQ Edge: Emotional Intelligence and Your Success by Steven Stein and Howard Book: Do you know what it really takes to get ahead in your career and in your life? While being smart and having great ideas is half the battle, emotional intelligence also plays a powerful role. In this book, you’ll learn why emotional intelligence is such a critical skill to your success and find new ways to help build stronger relationships, get ahead at work, feel more confident, and even be a better leader.
  7. The EQ Difference: A Powerful Plan for Putting Emotional Intelligence to Work by Adele B. Lynn: One place emotional intelligence can have a big impact is at work, and in this book, readers will learn how to leverage the lessons they learn about EQ to find more success in their careers. Through great examples and useful exercises, Lynn showcases the profound effect emotions can have on all aspects of work life, from performance to coworker relationships, and discusses ways that anyone can start improving their interpersonal relationships with simple changes in thought and action.
  8. The Language of Emotional Intelligence: The Five Essential Tools for Building Powerful and Effective Relationships by Jeanne Segal: This book is an excellent place for finding information on using emotional intelligence to build better relationships with just about everyone in your life, from employees to your family. In a step-by-step program, Segal will show readers how to use five basic tools of emotional intelligence to enhance relationships through better communication, reading non-verbal cues, and gaining skills at diffusing arguments and conflicts before they get out of hand.
  9. The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves: Emotional intelligence researchers Bradberry and Greaves use their years of experience in the field to offer some great tools for making life at work and at home go a bit more smoothly. Similar in scope to their Emotional Intelligence 2.0, this book boils down the information into easy-to-follow nuggets and applies lessons that you can start implementing right away. Readers can assess their own EQ, learn more about what EQ means, and get advice on developing their EQ at work, home, and for personal well-being.
  10. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey: Stephen Covey’s classic book isn’t focused on emotional intelligence the way others on this list are, but it is an invaluable resource nonetheless. As it turns out, many of the seven habits Covey describes all require an awareness and control of emotional intelligence. Self mastery, being proactive, big-picture thinking, managing interactions, and effective communication are all discussed at length in this leadership classic that make it an incredible read for anyone looking for ways to learn about emotional intelligence and apply it to everyday life.