Emotional Intelligence

by Daniel Goleman


Goleman, a pioneer in making emotion research more accessible he suggests that emotional intelligence—founded on a profound self- and social-awareness, as well as grasp of emotion’s purpose and variation—is undervalued in our society. A keen grasp of ourselves as emotional beings is vital to our happiness and flourishing. Reading this during my first real period of unemployment was especially revealing, because it revealed several anxieties and excitements, several fears and sadnesses. I’m learning to pay better attention to those emotional depths, and that itself is emotional intelligence in practice.

One thing I wish Goleman had given more attention to was the actual nuances of the emotional spectrum. He covers the core emotions, but doesn’t really dive into the subtle variations of each emotion. Paul Ekman’s Atlas of Emotions, done at the behest of the Dalai Lama, was a terrific supplement to Goleman’s books in this regard, as was his model of trigger/experience/response. (Ekman was the main consultant for crafting Pixar’s terrific movie Inside Out.)

All-in-all, though, a valuable read for me. One avenue for exploration that needs exploring still is—what is the relationship between my UX design work and emotions? How does emotional context and emotional sway factor into my process and final products? Aaron Walter’s Designing for Emotion is probably my next go-to. In addition, Brené Brown’s recent release Atlas of the Heart could be useful in gathering more information about the varieties of emotional experience.