The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights

Last Updated Apr 17, 2011 12:45 AM EDT

The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights has just been released and is Daniel Goleman's first digital only book written some 16 years after the ground-breaking Emotional Intelligence. It is short (only 56 pages) and Goleman explains why he wrote it. He wanted to make available a critical mass of new learning that does not have the full heft of a regular book. There is always the danger that such an approach may result in the publication of 'facts' that may later be disproved. On the other hand Goleman is such a lucid writer that making available to readers and people interested in the latest work connecting emotional intelligence and neuroscience can only be of benefit.

If you do download the book my first advice is read it on a screen that can display colours; otherwise much of the impact of the book will be missed.

Goleman begins by reiterating his 4 quadrant model of EQ. Apologies to Salovey & Mayer but this is still the best definition available. The section where the book really excels is when he discusses the left hand side of the quadrant: Self-Awareness and Self-Management. He groups these two into Self-Mastery and then provides an excellent bio-physical explanation using the interaction between the amygdale and the pre-frontal cortex. The only drawback is that I can see these drawings will now appear monotonously in presentations by professional speakers desiring to enhance your potential in one way or another.

The other aspect of the book I really enjoyed was the amount of commentary he gave to both the usefulness of negative emotions and The Dark Side. If there is one aspect of the emotional intelligence coterie that irritates me, it is that so many of the proponents mix it up with the positive psychology movement. Goleman thankfully does not suffer this fault and the book is much the better for it. If you are interested in Emotional Intelligence this latest book by Goleman is a must read.

Daniel Goleman's first book, Emotional Intelligence, told you what EQ is and why it is important. Unfortunately, it did not tell you how to improve it. In this book, Goleman does make a number of useful suggestions on how to improve you EQ. However in the Appendix of his first book Goleman admitted that one problem was that he did not have a model of core emotions. He made mention of the work of Paul Ekman, who gets a guernsey again in the new book, but still there is no model of core emotions. I still think the way forward to solve this problem to consider temperament, which is our genetic emotional predisposition, and that the best model of temperament currently available is the Humm-Wadsworth.