It’s Really Matter: Review of the book, Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ’ by Daniel Goleman.


Proloyendu Bhoumick

Ph.D Scholar, Department of Education, Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata.

*Corresponding Author Email:



It has been argued that IQ is a genetic given, that cannot be changed through life experiences and also it is the most preferable predictor of human success. But many research evidences show that, the person with high IQ often flounder but the people with moderate IQ surprisingly get the life success. It is Emotional Intelligence which can makes the difference. The Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be aware of your emotions, ability to express and manage those and being empathetic to handle the relationships around you. It is consisted of two contradictory or opposite words or concepts-‘Emotion’ and ‘Intelligence’. So from a common man’s point of view regarding this phrase, comes to a puzzle consisting of two questions; is there any intelligence in emotions? Or can intelligence be brought to emotions? The honest attempt had been made by Daniel Goleman to answer those questions through this groundbreaking book, Emotional Intellienge: why it can matter more than IQ. Goleman was a science writer of New York Times, obtained his doctoral degree in psychology at Harvard University with a great interest on brain and behavior research. After the publication of this book the ‘Emotional intelligence, it becomes the Buzz word of the corporate America. This book basically concern about how to educating our child with emotional intelligence. In this present review of this book the reviewer went to every nook and corner of the book and presented systematically with critical observation.


KEYWORDS: Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, Rational and Emotional brain, Empathy, Self-awareness, Handling relationships.




When Mark Bracket, a psychologist of Yale University, USA was travelling by a cab and talking about his area of study-‘Emotional Intelligence’, then the driver enthusiastically express, “oh, it is an oxymoron”. Oxymoron is a figure of speech in which contradictory or opposite words or concepts are combined for effect. So from a common man’s point of view regarding this phrase, comes to a puzzle consisting of two questions; is there any intelligence in emotions? Or can intelligence be brought to emotions? The honest attempt had been made by Daniel Goleman to answer those questions through this groundbreaking book, Emotional Intellienge: why it can matter more than IQ.


Who is Daniel Goleman:

Goleman was a science writer of New York Times, obtained his doctoral degree in psychology at Harvard University with a great interest on brain and behavior research. After the publication of this book the ‘Emotional intelligence, it becomes the Buzz word of the corporate America. This book basically concern about how to educating our child with emotional intelligence. The main purpose of writing this book as we found from the words of Goleman in the introductory part of the book is-


“As a psychologist, and for the last decade as a journalist for The New York Times, I have been tracking the scientific understanding of the realm of the irrational. From that perch I have been struck by two opposing trends, one portraying a growing calamity in our shared emotional life, the other offering some hopeful remedies.”

After popularizing the concept, a series of publication has been coming from his writing on this topic, including ‘Emotional Intelligence at Workplace’, ‘Self-deception’, ‘Creativity’, ‘Transparency’, ‘Meditation’, ‘Social and Emotional Learning’, ‘Eco-Literacy and the Ecological Crisis’, and ‘The Dalai Lama’s Vision for the Future’ and many more.


Glimpse of the book:

The book under review was in The New York Times’ Best Seller list for a year-and-a-half, a best-seller in many countries, and has been translated worldwide in 40 languages and still has its relevance. It presents sixteen essays clustered in five part or sections, plus author’s introduction as ‘Aristotle’s Challenge’, six Appendix on basic learning about emotions and emotional learning, notes, acknowledgements, and index.


Introductory pages:

In the introductory pages author startle us with one of his life experience, back to twenty years before the writing of this book. That’s the story when some unbearable, steamy, sweaty environment makes man sullen with discomfort; makes them irritable. It was a bus driver whose enthusiastic greetings, smile and some activities help everyone to shaken off the sullen shell. He wrote, ‘spreading the virus of good feelings’, ‘I saw this bus driver was an urban peacemaker of sorts’ (p. ix). Beside that good thing, he presented a lot of news stated about emotional malaise, jump in depression around the world, emotional abuse, aggressive student with a gun shooting at campus, disgruntled ex-employees massacring former fellow worker etc. Being a student of psychology he realized that the psychology has a scant attention towards the dynamics of emotion. That’s curiosity leads him towards writing this book by tracking the scientific understanding of the realm of irrational and mechanics of emotions.


It has been argued that IQ is a genetic given, that cannot be changed through life experiences and also it is the most preferable predictor of human success. Goleman’s given research evidence shows that, the person with high IQ often flounder but the people with moderate IQ surprisingly get the life success. It is Emotional Intelligence which can makes the difference. This introductory part is also given an overview of the different parts of the book to guide the reader. The unique writing style of the author engrosses all the readers into the book.


What are emotions for?

Our Two Minds

Rational and Emotional.


Part 1 begins with the heading; ‘What are emotions for’? The author started with an example of parental sacrifice, where the heart overwhelms the reason. The author is quite successful in explaining the role of emotions in the predicament situation and he explains this from the sociobiological and human evolutionary point of view. The unique roles of emotions such as, anger, fear, happiness, love, surprise, disgust, sadness etc. are carefully stated in this segment. This helps a reader to think afresh that a negative emotion, such as anger is not always to slave us, but it has a particular role to protect us from an unknown emergency situations. He explains when we get angry the blood flows to the hands to grasp a weapon; heart rate increases and a rush of adrenaline hormone to give us a strong energy for vigorous actions. Fear gives us a ‘fight-or-flight’ mobilization. The lifting of eyebrows in surprise allows helps us to take more light for better visual sweep. Sadness helps us ‘to adjust to a significant loss’ (p.7). These emotions had become an integral part of emotional memory as a product of evolutionary process, when men had to survive in a jungle and few infants can survive to childhood or adulthood. But with the development of agriculture and society these ‘odds’ for survival began to change dramatically. Besides that, the process of evolution is very slow to change our emotional reaction which is inappropriate for the present era of human civilization. The evolution has also built our brain to think rationally. But it is ‘our heart’, which shows different conviction than thinking brain. In fluent language the author guides us to enter into the world of ‘Our Two Minds’, ‘rational and emotional’.


In last part of this segment the author has drawn a textual picture of ‘how the brain grew’. Through the evolution process, brain grows from brainstem at the top of spinal cord, through olfactory lobe, limbic system. Limbic system controls our emotions. The process ends at last by developing the most developed part of brain named neocortex, found only in human species. This neocortex is responsible for our rational thinking. The emotional areas of the brain are intertwined via neural circuits to all parts of our thinking brain. This neural circuit gives the power to the emotional brain to hijack or kidnap the rest part of the brain. These hijacking can be found not only in our daily life but also in various literatures throughout the world. In his masterpiece ‘Antony and Cleopatra’, William Shakespeare shows how passions override duties, reason with insanity; the heart overrides the mind (Shahida, 2014).


Anatomy of emotional hijacking:

In next segment ‘Anatomy of emotional hijacking’, the author carefully describes the anatomy of two centers of the brain emotional and rational. As a science reporter the author stated with the research and development in the field of brain and neuroscience relevant for the concept. He stated some sophisticated research work of a fresh breed of neuroscientist, such as ‘LeDoux’ in an easy story telling method. It is ‘Amygdala’, an almond shaped cluster of interconnected structure in our limbic system is only responsible of our emotional reactions. A person without this can’t have their feeling like fear and rage, the urge to compete or cooperate, and no longer have any sense of their place in social order; research studies shows. Only one comprehendible pictorial diagram has used to illustrate the neural circuitry of data in human brain. But this attempt is a few regarding the necessity and complexity of this concept, as far as the general reader is concerned. Different flow chart can be used to make the concept comprehendible. But honest effort has been made by the author to make other part (part 3,4,5)of the book self-explanatory, so that reader can skip this part at the time of the reading.


The nature of Emotional Intelligence:

It is the emotional aptitude which helps us to use others skill including raw intellect.


The second part of book is named as ‘The nature of Emotional Intelligence’. There are six essays in this part. First essay starts with a title, ‘When smart is dumb’. The author presents an ample of research evidence shows that, ‘at best IQ contributes about 20 percent to the factors that determine life success, which leaves 80 percent to other forces’ (p.34). The others forces, he means that they are non-IQ factor, ranging from social class to luck. Some longitudinal research evidence has presented to show that some valedictorian scored higher marks in IQ test and SAT in college. But all of them are not particularly successful in terms of ‘salary, productivity, or status in their field’ (p. 35). For giving the reason, he argued that, it is the emotional aptitude which helps us to use others skill including raw intellect. He presents the development of the notion of Emotional Intelligence followed by the non-monolithic kind of intelligence by Howard Gardner. Throwing a question to the readers, can emotions be intelligent? He introduced the concept of Peter Salovey and John Mayer’s works on the domains of emotional intelligence. The rest five chapters are devoted for the each domain. Through this chapter, the main intention of the author was to break into the myth about IQ and he was quite successful in his effort.



The Observing Ego

The domain of‘Self-awareness’ of emotional intelligence, has introduced through the chapter, ‘Know Thyself’. According to John Mayer, self-awareness means “aware of both our mood and our thoughts about that mood” (p.47). To make the concept clear, the author introduces some interesting term like ‘observing ego’, ‘wraithlike observer’, who will observe the person with a dispassionate curiosity. This observer tells us that, what we are feeling? With the help of an item of a psychological test by ‘Suzane Miller’ he illustrate the three different kind of emotional aware person such as self-aware, Engulfed, Accepting. The work of ‘Antonio Damasio’ on Alexithymic inability has stated with ample example, in which a person can’t express his or her feeling;.


Managing emotions:

Control over emotional life; fight inner battles.


This chapter started with the argument that, passion is necessary for us because ‘life without passion would be dull wasteland of neutrality, cut off and isolated from the richness of life itself’ (p.56). The entire range of positive as well as the negative emotions has their equal necessity for our sense of well-being. People should have a fine control over their emotional life to fight inner battles. Those, who are not able to do so can’t get focused on their work and bring clarity in their thought. According to Goleman, this managing or regulating emotion can enhance the job performance in various sectors. In a recent study reviled high positive correlation between self- regulation and excellent performance (Kaur and Jiwan, 2014). This study also supports his view.‘The anatomy of rage’, how the rage rush through body, how anger builds a new anger and how to cool down,our anxiety, melancholies, these concepts are carefully stated with different researchers work and daily life experience. In this segment the author has used some ‘American slang’ to give a practical look to the text. But slangs are culture specific, so some reader who belongs to other culture may find some difficulty to comprehend the meaning of those.


Motivating oneself:

Good Mood helps to think divergently, flexibly, and with more complexity.


Various examples have been given where emotion paralyze the thinking brain. Angry, depressed, or anxious student cannot use information for solving any problem or deal with the environment. It is the prefrontal lobe of brain which executes working memory. This is the part of brain where our two brains meets. Sometimes the working memory fails because our feelings overwhelm emotions. He also emphasize on the good mood with which one can think divergently, flexibly and with more complexity. Research finding are stated with examples that, hope and optimism play a surprisingly potent role in our life. People with optimism and hope bounce back from failures and approach things in terms of how to handle them rather than worrying about what can go wrong.





Recognizing emotions in others:

Understanding emotional makeup of others and our reaction according to their emotional state of mind, is the key function of empathy.

Recognize the emotion in others is the empathy. Depending on the emotional makeup of others and our reaction according to their emotional state of mind, is the key function of empathy. Empathy builds on self-awareness. ‘Its lack is seen in criminal psychopaths, rapists, and child molesters’ (p.96). This skill is very much necessary for the professional such as Teachers, people in Sales, Management, and the Caring professions. It is the core component of effective healthcare provider-patient relationships (Guru and Gheena, 2016). In nursing sector, empathy is essential for establishing therapeutic relationships with patients (Ryu and Yi, 2017). Even a slightest feeling of lack of empathy may cause great dissatisfaction to patients (Rehin and Raveendran, 2013). It is one of the factor among five factors of service quality in traditional banking (Singh and Arora, 2016). Goleman also describe the life without empathy leads to some molestation. This situation we found in our Indian contest where child is molested by their teachers and other family members. Besides that, some inter group war are going on, inter group hatreds are going on in our society due to the absence of empathy.


Handling relationships:

Empathy and Self-awareness bring success in relationships.


In this chapter of ‘The Social Arts’, Goleman describe the concept of social skills. The people with the social skills have the ability of leadership.For success with relationship, someone needs self-awareness to know his position in the relationship and empathy to know other person. The concept of ‘Social Intelligence’ is stated here carefully.Each domain in this part, is carefully illustrated by ample research evidence and with example. The research evidences are supported by end notes that is very helpful for the further study.


Emotional Intelligence Applied:

Third Part of the book deals with how we can use the power of emotional intelligence to strengthen our marriage tie, manage the job, and our physical wellbeing.


The swamping of Marriage, ‘Intimate Enemies’

The secret of good marriages is in Emotional Intelligences.


Stonewalling, attacking the character and not the behavior, Flooding, are some of the major emotional problems that can ruin marriages. Male and female differ broadly in their emotional intelligence (Deepak and Krishnamoorthy, 2016). Goleman presented some research evidence to show that the brought up stage of men and women has built a different emotional orientation on them. This orientation sometime makes a disturbance in their conjugal life; sometimes move towards divorce. The ability to overcoming the problems of marriages is in emotional intelligences–The ability to calm down, keeping the discussion on track, empathy and listening well. Goleman says that if you concentrate on these above emotional competencies you get a smoother relationship, as opposed to concentrating on specific issues such as child rearing, sex, money, housework etc.


Managing the job or Business with Heart:

Emotional Intelligences is the key behind the best practices in every organization.


The present rat race among the employees in different organizations has tremendously increased their stress level due to long working hour, huge workloads and cut throat competition. Ultimately these stress level reduced the efficiency of employees (Sahu and Khan, 2014).It has observed that, many employees have been leaving their company due to bad bosses.Overbearing bosses has a dramatic bad effect on teamwork and personal performance. ‘Stress makes people stupid’. Those are coming due to the bad bosses. The employee actually felt a ton of weight on shoulders in their work places. As a consequence, work that is easy to do became so hard and slow. According to Goleman, in our corporate system the managers are chosen with a number of wrong procedures such as by judging their ‘technical expertise’, ‘political connection’ etc. Sometimes we are choosing the CEOs by the academic model of selection; ignoring the emotional intelligence.


Star bosses and employees have a thick connection of informal networks, for communications, expertise and personal trust. This emotional skill is required for the best performance in any organizations. No amount of traditional IQ can build successful networks. In a study on the Leadership Styles of Educational Leaders, there is high correlation was found between the all component of emotional intelligence and transformational leadership style. So that should be kept in mind at the time of selection and orientation of leaders in the organizations (Sood and Kaushal, 2018).


Mind and Medicine:

Emotions have a powerful effect on the nervous system.


This segment of the book shows the effect of anger on heart efficiency. It has been discovered that hostility puts people at risk of a heart attack. Goleman emphasizes the fact that the emotions have a powerful effect on the autonomic nervous system, which regulates everything from how much insulin is secreted to what blood pressure levels are maintained. The cumulative evidence of the adverse medical effects of anger, anxiety, and depression is given with ample example. Chronic anger and anxiety can make people more susceptible to a range of disease; and depression lengthens medical recovery and heightens risk of death. But on the contrary, Goleman emphasizes that a range of positive emotions can be good ‘tonic’ for health.


Windows of Opportunity:

Family life is our first school for emotional learning.


The part 4 of this book starts with the title of ‘Windows of opportunity’. In this part, Goleman shows with various examples that, family life is our first school for emotional learning. It is not just the way parents advise and act directly to their children, but in the models they offer for handling their own feelings. According to Goleman, a couple can provide the best lessons to their children by making instance; how they handle their feelings between themselves. The three most emotionally inept parenting styles prove to be: 1) ignoring feelings altogether; 2) being too laissez faire; and 3) being contemptuous, and showing no respect for how a child feels. Effective parenting style is that when the parent can grab the opportunity of a child’s upset to act as emotional coach or mentor. ‘Taking their child’s feelings seriously, they try to understand what is upsetting them (Are you angry because Tommy hurt your feelings?); and to help children find positive ways to soothe their feelings (Instead of hitting him, why don’t you find a toy to play with on your own until you feel like playing with him again?)’ (p.191). To be effective in this way, the parents must have a fairly good skills of emotional intelligence.Goleman looks at our ability in handling a child’s emotional responses and how this plays a major role in the emotional intelligence level of a child.


Goleman presented in this chapter, the ways in which abuse destroy the empathy and creates violence in children. Early experiences of brutality or ‘love–leave’ have a lasting imprint on the brain. What is the effect of trauma on emotional learning? While answering this question, Goleman shows how these crucial moments become memories such as “emblazoned in the emotional circuitry, impelling vivid memories of a traumatic moment to continue to intrude on awareness.” These “emotional hair-triggers” makes an alarm in our brain when our brain found a slightest clue that a trauma may beoccur again. Can these experiences be healed? Goleman believed that the lifelong emotional learning can healed those bad experiences. The medication and/or intensive psychotherapy can be a main part of Emotional lessons.


Emotional Literacy:

The last part of this book, started with the essay, named ‘The cost of Emotional illiteracy’. Goleman compare the record of pervious two decades, where in United States has observed the increase in juvenile arrest rate, teen arrests for forcible rape had doubled, teen murder rates quadrupled, mostly due to an increase in shooting. These alarming statistics indicates the wrong direction we are taking our children. Different research evidence shows, children, on an average going more poorly in these specific ways, such as ‘withdrawal or deal with social problems, Anxious and depressed, Attention or thinking problems, Delinquent or aggressive’. The consequences of these are the problems in relationship among the adults, eating disorders, massive dropouts, drugs addiction, sexual abuse etc.


It is argued that, emotional intelligence is not innate ability. It can be learned, developed and increased with life experiences (Das and Sahu, 2016). Many school programme has been developed to prevent a particular problem. According to Goleman, many educational programs that is developed to prevent problems of drug abuse, violence, etc., most have found ineffective. For example, many schools offer programs to prevent sexual abuse. Most of them focus on providing basic information to the children about ‘good and bad touch’, making aware of the dangers, always encouraging them to tell an adult about some suspicious occurrence, etc. Merely providing these training we can’t be prevent them to being victimized. According to him, effective training is that, which can provide the basic sexual-abuse information with essential emotional and social skills. The Emotional literacy programme has to be provided to all section of the society so that children can be able to protect themselves as well as the molesters or abusers are able to prevent them from doing so.


Schooling the Emotions:

An emerging strategy is to blend lessons on feelings and relationships with other topics.


The above stated problems are fatal for our children and the lesson of emotional intelligence is the only solution. So the next segment started with a question that, how we could make our children an emotionally intelligent?


Goleman cites how popular kids at school are able in role-play to express a variety of emotions whereas the less popular kids are more restricted in their emotions. In his closing chapter he brings the “emotional literacy courses” that are appearing in schools across the US. The names of these classes range from ‘social development’, ‘life skills’ to ‘affective education’. The common trends of those courses are to teach social and emotional intelligence to all children as a part of their regular education. Lessons on feelings and relationships are incorporated with other topics. Emotional literacy programs improve children’s academic scores, school performance and their social skills. So according to Goleman these emotional literacy programmes can be developed systematically with collective efforts of school, home, and the community.


Reviewer’s observation:

Goleman compelled us to think how long would we leave ourselves to the hand of destiny? The destiny is determined by our emotions. Before reading this book I also believe that, it is the IQ which is the best predictor of our life success. This book is quite successful to breaking the myth. Goleman concept of ‘other predictor’ that you need for the life success can be termed as Emotional Intelligence.


Goleman argues that, emotional intelligence is the abilities such as self-control (control of one’s impulses), empathy, and social competence in interpersonal relationships, persistence and the ability to motivate one self. He proved that with different research evidence, how these skills are required not only for success in work and relationships but also for our physical well-being.


This groundbreaking book acts as a complete guide to the reader to obtain the notion of emotional intelligence. Started with the rationale of emotional misunderstandings, Goleman’s writing has reached to every nook and corner of the fundamental concept of emotion, emotional Intelligence and emotional literacy. Almost all the information in this book is supported by research evidence followed by endnotes. Endnotes are given chapter wise at the end of the book. These help the general reader for better understanding and the researcher for further study. The logical sequence of the structure of the book is very good which takes the reader from beginning to the end in a smooth way. Appendixes are very helpful for covering the gaps and help the reader in understanding.


The book was written in American context. The examples are given from the different situations, context and values, very much associated with the US culture. So the readers from other cultural origin may find some difficulties in comprehending. But greater effort has been made by the author by choosing the appropriate examples for appropriate situation making those comprehendible to all the reader from different cultural context.


“Unlike IQ, with its nearly one-hundred-year history of research with hundreds of thousands of people, emotional intelligence is a new concept” (p. 34).With this Goleman’s quote, I would like to conclude that, Emotional intelligence deserves the same or even more of the limelight that Mental IQ has enjoyed over the last 100 years.



1.     Brackett, M. (2014, October 16). Developing Emotionally Intelligent Schools [Video file]. Retrieved from

2.     Das, R.P. and Sahu, T.L. (2016). Relationship between Demographic Variables and Emotional Intelligence among Bank Employees-A Study. Asian J. Management. 7 (2): 97-104.

3.     Deepak, A. and Krishnamoorthy, K. (2016). Emotional Intelligence- A Questionnaire Based Study. Research J. Pharm. and Tech. 9 (7), 772-774.

4.     Goleman, D. (1995) Emotional Intellienge: why it can matter more than IQ.London: Bloomsbury. 352 pp, ISBN 978-93-82563-79-2.

5.     Guru, E.P.and Gheena, S. (2016). A study of empathy across students from 4 health disciplines among 1st years and Final years.Research J. Pharm. and Tech, 9 (9):1472-1776.

6.     Kaur, S. and Jiwan, T. (2014). An Exploratory Study to Assess Emotional Intelligence and Performance of Students of Selected Nursing Institute, Ludhiana, Punjab.Asian Journal of Nursing Education and Research.4 (3): July- Sept., 346-351.

7.     Rehin, K. R.and Raveendran, P.T. (2013). Role of Empathy in Ensuring Patient Satisfaction at Government Hospitals in Kerala: An Investigation. Asian J. Management 5 (1): January–March, page 45-48.

8.     Ryu, Y.M.andYi, M. (2017). The Effects of Bibliotherapy in Nursing Students. Research J. Pharm. and Tech.; 10 (7): 2379-2386.

9.     Sahu, S., Abrar, K. and Khan. U.Z. (2014). Moderating Role of Perceived Organizational Support on the Relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Organizational Commitment. Asian J. Management 5(2): April-June, page 202-204.

10.   Shahida (2014). Emotions and Passions Leading to Rise and Fall of Leaders: A Study of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Research J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 5 (1): January-March, 93-98.

11.   Singh, S. and, Arora, R. (2016). Measurement of service quality in banking industry. Asian J. Management.; 7 (2): 97-104.

12.   Sood, I.andKaushal, S.K. (2018). Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Styles: A Study of Educational Leaders in Himachal Pradesh. Asian Journal of Management, 9 (1):419-426.

13.   Web sources :

14.   Daniel Goleman (2018). Retrieved on 05/06/2017. From




Received on 06.06.2018        Modified on 30.06.2018

Accepted on 08.07.2018      ©AandV Publications All right reserved

Res.  J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 2018; 9(3): 639-644.

DOI: 10.5958/2321-5828.2018.00107.9