I didn't learn about the concepts of emotional intelligence until well into my 30s. But even if you're approaching the half-century mark (or whatever your age), it's not too late to learn what has been hailed as one of the most desired job skills that will be required by 2020.

What we're finding is that the best workers, entrepreneurs, and leaders exhibiting high levels of emotional intelligence (EQ) typically show more self-awareness, collaborate better with others, and get promoted faster.

In fact, Daniel Goleman, the emotional intelligence godfather and author of many important books on the topic, has done extensive research to suggest that, once you land a job in your field of expertise and start increasing your role, leading others, and navigating political landscapes, IQ will be begging for EQ to show up and take over.

While numerous influential books have been written on the topic, my latest and revised picks below (in no particular order) will get you started in the right direction toward building up your EQ skills.

Working With Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman packs this one with fascinating case histories of triumphs, disasters, and dramatic turnarounds from more than 500 organizations around the world. Quite possibly his best work.

EQ Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence

Author Justin Bariso, a newcomer to the EQ scene, combines compelling scientific research with high-profile practical examples and engaging personal stories. If you've ever been challenged by applying the concepts of EQ once you've learned them, then this book is for you. Bariso offers up numerous, up-to-date, real world strategies on how to best utilize EQ in familiar day-to-day situations, and in the heat of the moment.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Why do we think the way we do, and why does that matter? In this compelling yet easy-to-understand work, psychologist Daniel​ Kahneman (winner of the Nobel Prize in economics) explains how we can use emotion to think and make better decisions.

How to Raise a Child With a High EQ: A Parents' Guide to Emotional Intelligence

Filled with games, checklists, and practical parenting techniques, author Lawrence Shapiro, Ph.D., helps your child to cope with--and overcome--the emotional stress of modern times and the normal problems of growing up.

Applied Empathy: The New Language of Leadership

Michael Ventura, entrepreneur and CEO of award-winning design firm Sub Rosa, lays the foundation to establish a diverse, inventive, and driven team by helping leaders to see things through their perspectives. If you want to connect to and truly understand the people you work with and for, this book is for you.

Emotional Judo: Communication Skills to Handle Difficult Conversations and Boost Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Judo is a set of communication tools to help you manage your own emotions and the emotions of others in difficult conversations, to know what to say and when to say it. In addition to skill instruction, author Tim Higgs offers up real-life case studies of people who have used the practice of "Emotional Judo" and overcome challenges in their personal or workplace relationships. 

Wait: The Art and Science of Delay 

Author Frank Partnoy splices together findings from hundreds of scientific studies and interviews with wide-ranging experts to frame a picture of effective decision-making that runs counter to what we normally see in a fast-paced world.

The Leader's Guide to Emotional Intelligence

Author Drew Bird does a phenomenal job breaking down emotional intelligence as a concept and process. He describes the characteristics of EQ and offers practical suggestions for developing EQ with various tools, resources, and worksheets.

The EQ Interview: Finding Employees With High Emotional Intelligence 

Authored by consultant Adele Lynn, The EQ Interview gives readers the skills and understanding they need to assess candidates' emotional intelligence and ensure that they're the right fit for the job. It includes more than 250 behavior-based questions specially designed to help determine how applicants have used their EQ in past experiences.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Chip & Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick, challenge us to think about how to align our purpose with our actions and emotions. The book includes the latest research in neuroscience and psychology.

Wired to Care (How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy)

Top business strategist Dev Patnaik (along with Peter Mortensen) tells the story of how organizations of all kinds prosper when they tap into a power each of us already has: empathy, the ability to reach outside of ourselves and connect with other people.

The Empathy Factor: Your Competitive Advantage for Personal, Team and Business Success

Building on the latest research in brain science, emotional intelligence, and organizational theory, Marie Miyashiro -- an award-winning communication and organizational strategist -- answers questions about the true definition of empathy.

Published on: Jul 30, 2018
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