Best Books on Emotional Intelligence for Children & Adults

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Do you want to manage your emotions better? What are the best books on emotional intelligence to read?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and handle emotions. People who have high emotional intelligence have more meaningful conversations, can handle bad situations, and are better leaders. 

If you want to strengthen your emotional intelligence, check out these books that will help you in your personal and professional life.

Parenting Books on Emotional Intelligence

Learning to handle emotions is an important part of a child’s development. Given this, many books help parents raise emotionally healthy children. Additionally, some books describe what happens when children are raised by emotionally immature parents and how parents can avoid this issue.

Read these best books on emotional intelligence that will help children with their feelings.

The Whole-Brain Child

From sibling arguments to temper tantrums, parents constantly have to manage conflict. These challenging moments are pivotal opportunities to promote your child’s psychological development. The Whole-Brain Child explains the neurological and developmental reasons for many of your child’s meltdowns and misbehaviors. When the different parts of your child’s brain—such as the logical left brain and the emotional right brain—are not integrated, it makes your child mentally and emotionally off-balance, which causes her to act out.

No Drama-Discipline

Disciplining kids often involves tears, yelling, and drama. In No-Drama Discipline, parenting experts Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson aim to empower parents to discipline their children without the drama, which creates the space to teach children, not just argue with them. This book builds on the lessons of the authors’ previous collaboration on parenting, The Whole-Brain Child, but with a specific focus on discipline. 

In this book, you’ll learn the basics of the authors’ approach to discipline, including how to calm your child’s raging emotions and solidify your bond before redirecting them to a new behavior. 

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents

In Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents, psychologist Lindsey Gibson dispels the myth that “parents know best,” revealing the damage that emotionally neglectful parents can do to their children. Gibson explores key features of emotionally underdeveloped parents and how their behavior impacts their children. She also provides strategies to help adults who suffered childhood emotional neglect turn their relationship with their parent from toxic to tolerable, and develop healthier emotional connections with others. 

Best Books on Emotional Intelligence for Adults

Adults never stop developing their emotional intelligence. Even after childhood, our emotions can sometimes get the best of us, and we have to hone them in so they don’t control us.

Here are the five best books on emotional intelligence that every adult should read in their lifetime.

Emotional Intelligence

Do you constantly get swept away by your emotions? Would you like to learn how to control your emotional reactions at home or work? Or maybe you’re uncomfortable with emotions, and don’t understand why you or anyone else feels them? Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman is a comprehensive look at what emotions are and why we have them, how we can get better at managing them, and why the well-being of humanity might depend on us doing so.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is your ability to recognize your emotions, recognize the emotions of others, and use this awareness to develop your behavior and relationships. It’s also one of the defining characteristics of success in the workplace. 

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 helps you build your EQ skills through the development of four key pillars: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. These pillars will help you process your emotions, manage your triggers, develop healthy habits, and succeed in your career path. 

Awaken the Giant Within

Many people assume their ideal life will never be more than fantasy, but in reality, you have the power to create the life you dream about. In Awaken the Giant Within, life coach and self-help guru Tony Robbins provides empowering insights and strategies to help you take control of every aspect of your life, from your emotions to your focus. In many cases, you can make transformational changes to your life through small adjustments, such as swapping out just one word in your vocabulary. 

How Emotions Are Made

In How Emotions Are Made, neuroscientist and psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett challenges many of society’s long-standing beliefs about emotions, calling into question everything from what emotions are, to where they come from and how to control them. 

Barrett introduces a new theory of emotion, which posits that emotions are neither innate nor universal; rather, your brain constructs them. Contrary to popular belief, humans aren’t at the mercy of animal emotions. We play a role in creating our own emotions—and we bear the responsibility for our emotional behavior.

Daring Greatly

Most of us want Wholehearted, meaningful lives. What stops us? In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown suggests that what holds us back the most is the widespread belief that vulnerability is a weakness. If you can embrace your vulnerability, you’ll find that it’s actually your greatest strength. In this book, you’ll learn how to live a Wholehearted life and become a better leader, parent, and spouse in the process. 

Best Books to Manage Emotions at Work

Work can be a stressful environment, which can cause people to lash out at others or develop unhappy thoughts. But there are ways to not have unprofessional emotional outbursts at work.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best books on emotional intelligence that leaders will find helpful.

Surrounded by Idiots

Have you ever felt frustrated or puzzled by the way your coworkers behave? In Surrounded by Idiots, communication expert, business consultant, and author Thomas Erikson offers a framework for understanding the people who perplex us the most.

Erikson’s framework includes four personality types, and each has a unique way of thinking, behaving, and communicating. He shows you how to navigate conflicts, sharpen your communication, and improve your relationships with your boss and colleagues—all by recognizing their personality types as well as your own. 

Primal Leadership

In Primal Leadership, Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee argue that the most important trait for a leader to have is emotional intelligence. An emotionally intelligent leader will create a positive climate for their group in which productivity, collaboration, and performance will soar. The authors argue that a critical mass of emotionally intelligent leaders and groups is the foundation of a sustainably successful organization. The purpose of Primal Leadership is to teach individuals and organizations how to lead with emotional intelligence so they can achieve long-term success.

Crucial Conversations

Crucial Conversations teaches you an array of dialogue principles and practical skills, explained and demonstrated through numerous examples. After this book, you’ll be able to talk to anyone about virtually any topic, no matter how sensitive. When you learn to handle crucial conversations effectively, the quality of your relationships and your effectiveness in your career will improve dramatically, and you’ll be able to help get everybody what they want.

Dare to Lead

Should leaders allow themselves—or their employees—to be vulnerable? Many organizations say no. But in Dare to Lead, researcher Brené Brown argues that courageous leaders who allow themselves and their employees to be vulnerable are essential to thriving work cultures. In this book, you’ll learn the four skills you must practice leading courageously—facing vulnerability, choosing and practicing values, building trust, and developing failure resilience—and how using these skills effectively can help your team overcome difficult situations and encourage creativity and innovation.

Final Words

Emotional intelligence is one of the most valuable life skills you can develop. If you want to improve your EQ, our roundup of the best books on emotional intelligence will help you get off to a good start. 

Did we miss any of the best books on emotional intelligence? Leave us your suggestions in the comments below!

Best Books on Emotional Intelligence for Children & Adults

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Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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