For a long time, I had on my reading list Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman. I finally got around to reading this classic of psychology and learned a lot from it.
I'm afraid I kind of did it backwards though: I think this book has influenced and been the foundation for many other texts that built on top it, and I probably read a lot of those other books first, so many of the ideas in this book were less surprising. What I didn't realize is how much of an emphasis this book had on biology and child development, and I liked a lot of the research it reviewed in that area.
Below are my main notes and takeaways from the book. The biggest lesson I got out of it was that with attention and training, one can improve one's "EQ," which is really important for happiness and effectiveness in various parts of life.
Social emotional learning
Aristotle, Nichomachean ethics
Part 1 the emotional brain
1 what are emotions for
Emotions move us to action
Surprise lifts eyebrows to take in more light and info
Disgust closes off nose and nostrils
Emotional brain much older than rational one
Smells much more deeply tied to emotions and were critical for survival and replication
2 anatomy of emotional hijacking
Amygdala is emergency trip wire
Shortcut from thalamus to amygdala can bypass neocortex
Special system stores emotional memories
Part 2 nature of emotional intelligence
3 when smart is dumb
4 know thyself
Meta cognition and meta mood
Conscious and unconscious emotions
Be able to shrug off bad moods
5 passion slaves
Taking small steps daily
Helping others in need. Volunteering. Coaching.
6 the master aptitude
Emotional intelligence is master aptitude. Helps you work hard and practice other skills.
Optimism great motivator
7 the roots of empathy
Reading feelings from non-verbal cues
8 the social arts
Part 3 emotional intelligence applied
9 emotional enemies
When you did x in y situation, it made me feel z, and I’d rather you do n.
10 managing the fight
11 mind and medicine
Health benefits of optimism and low stress
Part 4 windows of opportunity
13 trauma and emotional relearning
Drawing about trauma
Reenacting with fantasy to process
14 temperament is not destiny
Early timidity in childhood. Different Sensitivity in arousing amygdala.
Parental firmness leads to child learning to manage tough moments on own
Protective parents don’t let kids learn to regulate
Part 5 emotional literacy
15 the cost of emotional literacy
Childhood issues and depression
16 schooling the emotions
Assertiveness and active listening
Appendix A: what is emotion
Long list of emotions
Appendix b: hallmarks of emotional mind
First feelings, second thoughts
Appendix c: emotional circuitry of fear