General Psychology: “Emotional Intelligence” by Goleman

Introduction and Purpose of the Book

Emotional Intelligence by Goleman approaches Intelligence through a holistic approach different from the traditional aspect that majorly concentrates on cognitive Intelligence. Goleman demonstrates that to achieve one’s goals and objectives in life and be successful, one must be more than “smart” (18). It is common in everyday life to encounter individuals who were at one time perfect in college while in the workplace or outside experience, they fail miserably. According to Goleman, emotional intelligence impacts on how an individual succeeds and interrelates with others and how they perform in their daily life pursuits. Different from cognitive Intelligence, Goleman argues “God-given”, different from Emotional Intelligence that can be heightened by way of commitment and appropriate tutoring. The book describes various suggestions and hypothesis on how one’s emotional Intelligence can affect their technical education and upbringing. The central purpose of the book is to illustrate that, to succeed in life and pursue worthy objectives, students, instructors and parents need to focus beyond cognitive Intelligence and inculcate emotional Intelligence into their education and life goals.

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Emotional Intelligence authored by Goleman, is primarily aimed at parents, instructors, leaders and students with the commitment to sow appropriate attributes essential for success. The author traces the development of scientific comprehension of irrationality with the view of understanding the meaning of how to integrate emotional Intelligence into one’s emotions. For instance, being at a position to harness emotional instinct to understand another’s inner emotions, how to handle relations comfortably and as Aristotle maintains, the unique attribute to be annoyed appropriately, for the right reasons, the right individual, and the right level. Goleman guides teach parents and students the various scientific researches of emotional feelings that have been unearthed in the last couple of years (Goleman 32). The studies show that multiple aspects of an individual’ abilities are very much connected to how the brain operates. The researches have enabled scientists to approach human Intelligence with rationality and precision that maps how to build the right roadmap to success. By the use of mapping, Goleman describes how the perception of one’s Intelligence and IQ are genetically connected and how destiny fixes the aptitudes. Goleman argues that following the human attribute that overlooks the power of feelings is short-range. According to the author, passion supersedes reason.

Emotions are instincts that occur to individuals as instilled due to evolution. Goleman posits that researchers are coming up with various psychological explanations of the impact of emotions on one’s body in addition to different responses (52). While in the past anger may have offered an insight into the essential edge of survival, the need by young adults has made it a threatening reaction. Goleman provides a view on various brain makeups that explain on the time of life, especially when an individual is overwhelmed emotionally (102). The author uses the “intelligent” model to show the central aspect of emotions in an individual’s life.

By the use of the model, Goleman states that human beings have two parts of the mind, one for thinking, the other for feeling (143). At the same time, Goleman offers a preview of two types of Intelligence, emotional and rational Intelligence. How an individual performs in life is decided on by the two. For example, one’s Intelligence cannot work correctly while lacking the emotional aspect of Intelligence. Goleman maintains that a balance of the two is essential for one to act and perform at their best. Through the psychological brain model, Goleman illustrates that it is crucial to harmonize the heart and the head, a phenomenon that is often forgotten by parents, teachers and students.

Different from Intelligence Quotient, Emotional Intelligence is an innovative ideology, but it is quickly gaining prominence as a powerful tool as compared to IQ. Research shows that IQ cannot be altered; however, through the mental model as formulated by Goleman, Emotional Intelligence can be improved upon and learned (151). It’s no doubt that academic Intelligence provides for little preparation for the challenges and opportunities in adult life. Many cultures all over the world hold it that success is pegged on academic Intelligence assuming the role of Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is critical to the comprehension as to why one individual succeeds while another fails. According to Goleman, emotional intelligence is “a meta-ability” that remains a definite determiner of how one applies and uses their skills and raw abilities (165). According to research, individuals with high emotional adeptness, those who can manage and know their feelings appropriately can counter situations effectively as compared to persons with low emotional adeptness. Individuals who cannot apply necessary regulation on their emotions often find themselves battling numerous personal issues that derail their progression in life.

Students who tend to be anxious, angry, depressed, and cannot handle issues appropriately are living examples of a thinking brain overpowering the emotional mind. Good feelings often strengthen thinking flexibility in addition to brain flexibility, making it easier for them to find solutions to challenges they face at both the personal and intellectual level. Goleman cites that research is discovering that optimism and hope play a critical role in an individual’s life and that those with positivity approach issues with less worry. At the same time, Goleman posits that feelings do have substantial impacts on the nervous system, the part that centrally regulates the entire human body (142). For example, constant anxiety and anger can make one susceptible to various ailments that include depression, ulcers and numerous health complications. Goleman uses multiple psychological theories to explain both emotional Intelligence and cognitive Intelligence and their relevance, especially towards personal development. They include the Triarchic theory of Intelligence, “Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence” and Spearman’s theory of Intelligence. Despite various approaches to explaining Intelligence in human, Goleman maintains that emotional Intelligence that falls under interpersonal Intelligence, according to Gardner’s theory of multiple Intelligence remains the most profound concerning personal development. Gardner’s theory is comprised of nine unique types of Intelligence that include; naturalistic Intelligence, Musical Intelligence, existential Intelligence, Interpersonal Intelligence and bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence (Goleman 199). Others include linguistic Intelligence, intrapersonal Intelligence and visual-spatial Intelligence. According to the theory, interpersonal Intelligence encompasses emotional Intelligence. People with interpersonal Intelligence often have the high ability to comprehend the actions, motives and thoughts of others. Such comprises what Goleman perceives as the best attribute to managing oneself.

Psychological Issues and Theories Addressed

The main psychological issues addressed by Goleman the book is the role of emotions that entail action tendencies, expressive behaviours, subjective experiences, physiological reactions and the main reason for precise actions. Psychology defines emotions as the multifaceted state of the mind that give rise to psychological, physical, and physiological changes and reactions that have an impact on behaviour and thought (Goleman 198). Theories of emotions such as the James-Lange Theory of emotion posit that emotions take place due to the physiological response to a stimulus. According to the theory, an emotional response is dependent on the interpretation of the event or stimulus seen or experienced. Thus, Goleman supports the theory since if one experiences fear, the reaction is replicated as a response to the stimulus (212). Goleman uses this theory to assert that learning positive emotional response is critical to responding to the stimulus appropriately. For example, the psychological teachings learnt in childhood do have a long-lasting effect either muting or amplifying a given predisposition. The vast plasticity of a child’s brain points to early stimuli that have a lasting impact in shaping their lives. How a parent responds and treats how children’s emotional reaction changes have a significant effect on how their emotional Intelligence will develop. Parents and teachers train children how to react to issues emotionally by engaging them to understand situations, solve emotional challenges in addition to providing ways by which they can handle different situations.


Personality development and personality theory are majorly dependent on the abilities of Emotional Intelligence. Various education programs can help in improving children and young adults’ Emotional Intelligence with the primary objective of preparing them adequately for the challenges of adult life. Learning and education oneself on emotions is beneficial and would go a long way in blending academic Intelligence with the requirements, duties and responsibilities of adult life. The critical aspect of achieving emotional Intelligence, according to Goleman, is to teach emotional and social Intelligence to children and make it part of their daily education. The focus is to start early, explain it all through the school years, and integrate it with home, school and community objectives. According to Goleman, this is a basic necessity for parents, teachers, and the entire community. The author’s theory is very reliable, considering the failure of the majority of students who perform well academically but fail miserably in the corporate world and life out of school. At the same time, the author’s points are realistic, especially towards helping young adults struggling with addiction, school drop-outs, eating disorders, anxiety and depression. The book can go a long way in assisting individuals to battle with personal problems and are at a loss in the direction of their lives. The book is highly recommended for all students irrespective of their career choice and should form part of the teaching guide book for all subjects’ professions.


Works Cited

Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014.