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Top 10 Best Books About Emotional Intelligence

These books will help you learn more about emotional intelligence (EQ) , understand why it’s important, and improve your EQ to live a more successful life!

best books about emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ). It’s one of the most sought-after skills in the workplace today. People with high EQ get better jobs, are more fun to be around, and are universally loved by golden retrievers. (Okay, that last one’s just a guess).

It’s also a skill you can learn by picking up the right books. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the top ten best books about emotional intelligence that you should read. Ready to begin? Let’s go!

What is Emotional Intelligence?


Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, control, and express your emotions. Psychologists consider it essential to maintain good relationships with others.

This quality can be beneficial at work, too; supervisors often see high EQ individuals as adaptable and capable of handling difficult managerial situations. They also tend to be more adept in social settings than their low EQ peers.


Why Is Emotional Intelligence Important?


Strong EQ allows for greater understanding and awareness in your relationships. This can be the key to success at both work and home, especially when it comes to leadership roles or dealing with business partners.

Since this is such a valuable skill, it’s no wonder so many experts have been discussing emotional intelligence. That being said, let’s go through some of the best books on the subject.

Emotional Intelligence Books: 10 Must-Reads

1. “Working With Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman.


Daniel Goleman’s book goes into detail about the five primary skills involved within EQ;

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management
  • Organizational skills that tie into these multiple facets of behavior
  • Karate (just kidding. Maybe.)

It also explains what EQ is and how you can use it to improve your own life and the world around you. Goleman also talks about how to develop an emotionally intelligent organization — for the entrepreneurial, this is a great read!


2. “The Emotionally Intelligent Manager: How to Develop and Use the Four Key Emotional Skills of Leadership” by David R. Caruso and Peter Salovey. 


Caruso and Salovey’s book is designed specifically for business leaders, and discusses how you can use emotional skills in the workplace. He outlines four specific skills — self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and adaptability — that are essential for effective leadership.

Even if you’re not a business leader (unfortunately, ‘Mom Friend’ doesn’t count), this book has plenty of lessons you can apply to your group projects, clubs, and workplace.


3. “Emotional Intelligence For Dummies” by Steven J. Stein.   


This book is a great introductory read on EI, perfect for those who want to learn more about the topic without getting bogged down in academic language or theory.

If you’ve ever read a ‘For Dummies’ book before, you’ll know what to expect: a comprehensive overview of emotional intelligence, as well as tips and techniques for improving your emotional skills.


4. “The EQ Edge: Emotional Intelligence and Your Success” by Steven J. Stein and Howard E. Book.   


Steven J, back at it! (And yes, his name really is Book). This book takes a more practical approach to EI, looking at how you can use it to improve business and career prospects.

It includes case studies and real-life examples of people who have used emotional intelligence skills to become successful in their field. (Unfortunately, TikToker probably isn’t one of those fields. Missed opportunity?)


5. “EQ Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence” by Justin Bariso.


Justin Bariso is a journalist and the founder of EQ Applied, a blog focused on EQ. In EQ Applied (the book), he discusses how you can use emotional intelligence to resolve conflicts, achieve goals, and improve relationships. 

That title isn’t clickbait: this is an excellent read if you want to hear about EQ. applied to real-life situations (like the title suggests). If you’re not ready to commit to a whole new book just yet (completely understandable), the EQ Applied blog is a great place to start!


6. “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves.


This is an update on Daniel Goleman’s book; it uses data from more than half a million people to answer big questions about EQ. For example, they discuss EQ patterns based on culture, age, gender, etc. It also discusses the different ways we deal with emotions and how these coping strategies can impact our lives positively and negatively.

The authors are the brains behind TalentSmart, a hugely popular EQ assessment program. In the book, they break down their process, plus 66 strategies to improve the pillars of EI.


7 . “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” by Norman Doidge.


This book is not specifically about EQ, but it discusses the unique ability of the brain to change and grow, even in adults. (Rub that in your little nephew’s face!) 

It shows how individuals can learn new skills and overcome obstacles by correctly training their brains. If you’re reading these books with the goal of building emotional intelligence, this is a great pick.


8. “The Language of Emotional Intelligence: The Five Essential Tools for Building Powerful and Effective Relationships” by Dr. Jeanne Segal.


This book offers an easy, four-part model of EQ (Elastic, Glue, Pulley, Ladder). It focuses mainly on using it in our relationships with others. That means parents, friends, partners — if you’re part of any sort of ‘relationship’ (including the one you have with your mom friend), this book will help you build stronger bonds. 

It comes with various quizzes, techniques, and exercises — like an EI BuzzFeed, but actually productive.


9. “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” by Gary Chapman and Paul White.  


We’ve all got our own love language — gifts, acts of service, sending memes at 2 AM. But we have languages of appreciation too.

This book is a popular self-help read that explains the different ways in which individuals show appreciation for another person’s work. It focuses on using your natural style of showing gratitude and then applying that to a workplace setting.


10. “Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life” by Susan David.


This book discusses the importance of being emotionally agile — that is, being able to adapt to change and difficult situations. It focuses on the idea of emotional agility as a life-long journey rather than a one-time event. Dr. David takes a unique approach to the subject that separates it from other books on emotional intelligence.


Honorable Mentions


  • “The EQ Difference: A Powerful Plan for Putting Emotional Intelligence to Work” by Adele B. Lynn. This book discusses how we can use EI at work; it adds a unique “action plan” section, with examples of how to incorporate these skills into your career.
  • “The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book” by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. A great pick if you need a quick, digestible primer on the concept of EI and its importance for your career and personal life.
  • “Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships” by Daniel Goleman. Yes, him again! Goleman’s written plenty about the emotional intelligence concept. It’s a fascinating book on social skills and how to improve them; it uses real-life examples from everyday situations. 


Start Building Emotional Intelligence Today


Each of these books provides valuable insights into emotional intelligence and how you can use it to improve various aspects of your life. Maybe you’re looking for a general introduction to the topic. Perhaps you want to learn more about applying emotional intelligence in specific areas. Or maybe you just don’t want to respond with ‘you too’ the next time a waiter tells you to enjoy your meal.

Regardless, there’s something here for everyone. So pick up a copy today and start enhancing your emotional skills!

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Frequently Asked Questions


What books should I read for emotional intelligence?


There are many great books about emotional intelligence to choose from. If you’re a first-time reader, we suggest going with “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. It’s a concise, easy-to-read primer on emotional intelligence that covers all the bases.


How can I improve my emotional intelligence?


To improve your own emotional intelligence, pay attention to what you feel when you’re with people in your life. Talk about your feelings and think about how they affect others. Remember events when you felt happy, sad, mad, or scared and try to uncover the emotional cues. You can also read this article we wrote.


What are the five scales of emotional intelligence?


The five scales of emotional intelligence are: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Each one is important in its own right, and the best emotional intelligence books aim to cover all of them!

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