17 best books on emotional intelligence

17 Best Books on Emotional Intelligence

Our List of the 17 Best Books on Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the capacity to be aware of and manage one’s own emotions and the emotions of others.

Table of Contents

It is generally said to include five major components: self awareness, empathy, self-regulation, social skills, and motivation.

Managing emotions (self-regulation) doesn’t just mean controlling them; it also means accessing them when needed. For example, a person who can openly healthily express anger may be less likely to bottle up their feelings until they explode in an unhealthy way.

Many people learn about emotional intelligence with the help of guidebooks to be happier, better leaders, have better connections, better relationships, and so on. If You’re looking for a book that will help you boost your EQ and promote self-growth, you’re in the right place! (To make things easy to read and purchase, we include links to amazon.com.)

Book Guides for Emotional Intelligence

These 17 best books on the emotional intelligence list provide general guidebooks regarding emotional intelligence. These are some of my favorites, and each one may demonstrate a different component of Emotional Intelligence that can be applied in everyday life. In these books, extensive studies of neuroscience and behavioral psychology give readers insight into the two minds: The rational brain and the emotional brain, which work in conjunction to decide our reality. It explores how emotional intelligence can be a huge part of success and how the lack of it can leave us at a considerable disadvantage.

Let’s start!

1. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 Book

by TalentSmart (Dr. Travis Bradberry et al.)

You may know Emotional Intelligence 2.0 – arguably one of the most widely known books in psychology. A large percentage of readers consider Emotional Intelligence 2.0 one of the cornerstones of all emotional intelligence books. EQ (Emotional Quotient) assessments are the brainchild of authors Dr.Travis Bradberry and Dr. Jean Greaves, the co-founders of the assessment company TalentSmart.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 offers a comprehensive answer to many EI-related questions. This book was designed to improve emotional intelligence by providing suggestions for taking action. In the book, you will learn to enhance emotional intelligence skills such as empathy, strong self-awareness, and emotional stability.

2. Emotional Intelligence: 25th Anniversary Edition

by Daniel Goleman

The 25th Anniversary Edition of the book that started it all. When first released, Daniel Goleman broke new ground when he argued that our view of human intelligence is far too narrow and introduced us to the emotional intelligence concept.

Our emotional intelligence, not our IQ, is most important in our thought process, decision-making, and individual success. EQ includes self-awareness, impulse control, persistence, motivation, empathy, and social skills. All these factors make successful people in various areas of their lives.


According to the Harvard Business Review: “A 25th anniversary edition of the number one, multi-million copy international bestseller that taught us how emotional intelligence is more important than IQ – ‘a revolutionary, paradigm-shattering idea'”

Goleman’s book was the first book I purchased when I started my research and understanding many years ago. It can build your foundation of understanding emotional intelligence as a whole. It is unarguably one of the best emotional intelligence books written, if not the best emotional intelligence book written ever.

3. Attitude Is Your Superpower: How to Create Incredible Life-Changing Success

by Eduardo Clemente

In Attitude Is Your Superpower, Eduardo Clemente shares how to improve your life and your career with some powerful mindset tips for success, positivity, and strong adaptation skills.

You might be in a negative spiral, productively or psychologically, stuck thinking you’re just not good enough, you’ll never get ahead, and the world is unfair. Or perhaps you feel pretty good about your attitude, but you know there’s always room for improvement, and you’re curious about what you can tweak to do better.

You’ll learn that attitude is about how others perceive you and how you perceive yourself, how It’s separate from your personality, and how to completely change and improve your life and career by boosting your:

  • Confidence
  • Positivity
  • Growth Mindset
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Adaptability
  • Resilience
  • Problem Solving

He teaches readers how to harness the power of their emotions to find happiness and fulfillment in their lives achieve success. Clemente believes that attitude is everything, and he provides readers with strategies for changing their attitudes for the better. He also offers advice on dealing with difficult emotions, such as anger, fear, and sadness. Ultimately, Clemente aims to help readers find the courage to go after their goals and be happy despite life’s challenges. That resiliency builds emotional intelligence.

4. The Emotionally Intelligent Manager: How to Develop and Use the Four Key Emotional Skills of Leadership

by David R. Caruso & Peter Salovey

The Emotionally Intelligent Manager is one of the top 10 books on emotional intelligence. David R. Caruso and Peter Salovey wrote it. The book focuses on the four essential emotional skills of leadership: emotional awareness, emotional self-regulation, emotional expression, and emotional empathy. It discusses how to develop and use these skills to improve emotional intelligence in yourself, those around you and promote an emotionally intelligent organization.

In The Emotionally Intelligent Manager, they show that emotion is not just important but necessary for us to make good decisions, take action to solve problems, cope with change, build leadership skills, and succeed.

The authors describe a four-part hierarchy of emotional skills: identifying emotions, using emotions to facilitate thinking, understanding emotions, and managing emotions. They explain how we can measure, learn, and develop each skill. We can use these skills together to solve complex work-related problems.

Caruso and Salovey promote emotionally intelligent organizations by putting emotional intelligence front and center to business leaders. A must-read for any business leader or manager.

FUN FACT ALERT about Peter Salovey:

The term emotional intelligence was coined by two researchers, Peter Salavoy (the co-writer of The Emotionally Intelligent Manager) and John Mayer, in their article “Emotional Intelligence” in the journal Imagination, Cognition, and Personality in 1990. Daniel Goleman later popularized it in the first edition of his book Emotional Intelligence. (Which is the #2 book that you read earlier on this article of best books on emotional intelligence!)

5. Emotional Intelligence For Dummies

by Steven J. Stein PhD, Bill Andrew Quinn, et al.

If you’re looking to boost your emotional intelligence, then “Emotional Intelligence For Dummies” is a great place to start. Written by Steven J. Stein PhD and Bill Andrew Quinn, the book offers a comprehensive overview of emotional intelligence, including its history, definition, and how to improve your emotional intelligence skills.

Full of lively anecdotes and practical advice, Emotional Intelligence For Dummies is the ideal book for anyone who wants to get smart about their feelings and reach the next level at work and home.

  • Emotional Management: Identify your emotions, identify the beliefs that produce negative feelings, and cease self-destructive behaviors.
  • Empathy: Learn to read people’s emotions through facial expressions and body language and convey your empathy.
  • Enjoy your work – find a job suited for you, overcome hurdles and fears, and enhance your leadership abilities at work.
  • Learn how to build and maintain meaningful connections by understanding how to take your partner’s emotional temperature and manage emotions to grow closer.
  • Raise an emotionally intelligent child – maintain your poise with your kid, encourage shy youngsters to come out of their shells, and teach your children to be less aggressive or obstinate.

Stein and Quinn provide helpful tips and techniques for mastering emotional intelligence, such as recognizing your emotions, managing stress, and building relationships. If you’re looking to boost your emotional intelligence skills, “Emotional Intelligence For Dummies” is a wonderfully straightforward book on building emotional intelligence.

6. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

by Brené Brown

Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead is an excellent read for anyone looking to develop emotional intelligence skills. The book provides readers with a framework for understanding their emotional intelligence and strategies for tackling difficult conversations and building solid relationships. Overall, Dare to Lead is an excellent resource for anyone looking to become a better leader and communicator.

Dr. Brené Brown has spent the past two decades researching the emotions that give our lives meaning. For the past seven years, Brown discovered that leaders in firms ranging from small entrepreneurial startups to family-owned businesses to non-profits, civic organizations, and Fortune 50 companies all ask the same questions:

How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders? And, how do you embed the value of courage in your culture?

Dare to Lead answers these questions and gives us actionable strategies and real examples from her new research-based, courage-building program.

Brené writes, ‘One of the most important findings of my career is that courage can be taught, developed and measured. Courage is a collection of four skill sets supported by twenty-eight behaviors. All it requires is a commitment to doing bold work, having tough conversations, and showing up with our whole hearts. Easy? No. Choosing courage over comfort is not easy. Worth it? Always. We want to be brave with our lives and work. It’s why we’re here.’

7. Emotional Intelligence: For a Better Life, success at work, and happier relationships. Improve Your Social Skills, Emotional Agility and Discover Why … IQ. (EQ 2.0) (Brandon Goleman Collection)

by Brandon Goleman

With a last name like Goleman, Brandon was destined to write books on his expertise in emotional intelligence. But, Seriously, It’s just a coincidence: He is not related to Daniel Goleman, but it doesn’t change the fact that he has put together a short and sweet book that gets right to the point.

It’s an easy to read, emotional intelligence quick book at just over 120 pages, but you get a lot from it.

Concentrating on Self-Awareness and focusing on taking Charge of Your Emotions, Eradicate Anxiety and Any Negative Self-Talk.

  • Understand how emotional intelligence may assist you in your professional and personal life.
  • Learn Which Are The Core Emotions and learn how to read other people
  • You’ll be able to define your values better and never get nervous when choosing or approaching a given scenario.
  • Discover how to influence others and obtain what you want without coming across as a manipulative individual.
  • Create meaningful and long-term relationships based on mutual respect, empathy, and trust.

8. Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Third Edition

by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, et al.

This book is all about how to handle difficult conversations. It provides tools and techniques for managing emotional states, handling difficult information, and creating a dialogue. The main idea behind the book is that if you can handle these crucial conversations well, you can improve your relationships, resolve conflicts, and achieve better results.

Communication skills mixed with high emotional intelligence are a combination to navigate, defuse and resolve conflict. And conflict is in no short supply.

This newest edition addresses issues that have arisen in recent years. New areas include:

  • Respond when someone initiates a crucial Conversation with you
  • Identify and address the lag time between identifying a problem and discussing it
  • Communicate more effectively across digital mediums

If stakes are high, opinions differ, and intense emotions are at play, you have three options: Avoid a crucial discussion and suffer the consequences; mishandle the conversation and suffer the consequences; or learn from Crucial Conversations’ lessons and techniques to enhance connections and results.

9. Influence, New and Expanded: The Psychology of Persuasion

by Robert B. Cialdini PhD

In Influence, New and Expanded: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini PhD presents scientific findings on how people are persuaded. He offers a six-step process (now seven in this newest edition) for effective persuasion and how to apply insights ethically in business and everyday settings.

Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion:

  • Reciprocation
  • Commitment and Consistency
  • Social Proof
  • Liking
  • Authority
  • Scarcity
  • Unity (the newest principle for this edition)

It doesn’t cost a thing to understand and apply the principles ethically. And it is easy to do this. You can use the principles that have been researched for many years by Dr. Cialdini.

Cialdini’s book is full of fascinating case studies and provides clear guidance on using persuasion effectively. It is an essential read for anyone looking to understand motivating and persuading others

10. How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age

by Dale Carnegie

An adaptation of Dale Carnegie’s timeless prescriptions for the digital age. In our era of constant connectivity, we need the wisdom of Carnegie more than ever.

Dale Carnegie’s time-tested advice has carried millions upon millions of readers for more than seventy-five years up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.

How to Win Friends and Influence People has been updated to address the challenges of today’s world. It will teach you how to communicate with diplomacy and finesse, capitalize on a solid network, make people like you, project your message far and clearly, and use digital tools efficiently.

We communicate with various tools and at a quicker pace now. Still, Carnegie’s advice on communicating effectively, social intelligence, primal leadership, relationship management, and work efficiency is priceless across time.

Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It’s the automatic thing we do without thinking, like tying our shoes or brushing our teeth. But we can also change our habits if we want to, and that’s where the power of habit lies.

11. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

by James Clear

In Atomic Habits, James Clear offers a proven framework for improving your habits – one tiny change at a time. Clear argues that successful practices follow a four-step pattern: Cue, Craving, Response, and Reward.

If you can identify the cue for a bad habit and create a craving for a good one, you can engineer new habits that stick.

Learn how to:

  • Make time for new habits (even when life gets crazy)
  • Overcome a lack of motivation and willpower
  • Design your environment to make success easier
  • Get back on track when you fall off course

Atomic Habits will reshape how you think about progress and success and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits.

Remember, our ability to exercise inner resilience, self-discipline, self-regulation, self management, and the ability to learn new things are all part of our putting emotional intelligence first! With that being said, Atomic Change still belongs on this list of best books on emotional intelligence!

12. Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know

by Adam Grant

Whoa! That was my initial thought about this book. Grant dives into an area that we don’t discuss very much: the ability to rethink and unlearn.

We talk about our ability to learn new things, but sometimes we have to step back, or maybe sideways, and unlearn some things that hold us back individually and societally.

  • Too many of us prefer the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of uncertainty in our daily lives.
  • We choose to believe in things that make us feel good rather than things that make us think deeply.
  • We interpret disagreement as a danger to our egos (our individualism) rather than an opportunity to learn.
  • We surround ourselves with people who agree with our views instead of those that may challenge them.

Grant states -“Think Again reveals that we don’t have to believe everything we think or internalize everything we feel. It’s an invitation to let go of views that no longer serve us well and prize mental flexibility over foolish consistency. If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom.”

Wow. So good…

13.StrengthsFinder 2.0

by Tom Rath

StrengthsFinder 2.0 is a book written by Tom Rath that discusses the concept of discovering your top 5 strengths and leading with them. At its core, this is a tool to develop your self awareness and self management and is one of the best of many personal development tools available.

In its latest version, StrengthsFinder 2.0, Gallup unveils the new and improved version of its popular assessment, the language of 34 themes, and much more. While you can read this book in one sitting, you’ll use it as a reference for decades.

Available exclusively in StrengthsFinder 2.0:

(using the unique access code included with each book)

  • A new and upgraded edition of the StrengthsFinder assessment
  • A personalized Strengths Discovery and Action-Planning Guide for applying your strengths in the next week, month, and year
  • A more customized version of your top five theme report
  • 50 Ideas for Action (10 strategies for building on each of your top five themes)

Strengths Finder is a step-by-step guide, and the accompanying website is loaded with hundreds of techniques for putting your skills to use, which will permanently alter the way you see yourself and the world around you.

14. Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life

by Susan David

The Harvard Business Review heralds the counterintuitive approach to achieving your true potential as a groundbreaking idea of the year.

Emotional agility is a revolutionary, science-based approach that allows us to navigate life’s twists and turns with self-acceptance, clear-sightedness, and an open mind.

Renowned psychologist Susan David developed this concept after studying emotions, happiness, and achievement for more than twenty years.

She discovered that no matter how bright or inventive someone is or what kind of personality they have, it’s how they deal with their inner world—their thoughts, emotions, and self-talk—that ultimately determines their level of success.

It truly embraces the adaptability that we all need to experience satisfaction and is very helpful in building emotional intelligence through agility.

Emotional agility isn’t about denying unpleasant feelings and ideas; it’s about allowing them to be held lightly, facing them courageously and compassionately, and then moving beyond them.

15. It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle

by Mark Wolynn

Wolynn takes a groundbreaking approach to transform traumatic legacies passed down in families over generations.

Depression. Anxiety. Chronic Pain. Phobias. Obsessive thoughts. 

The evidence suggests that the roots of these difficulties and destructive emotions may not reside in our immediate life experience or chemical imbalances in our brains but in the lives of our parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents.

Mark Wolynn has been helping people deal with inherited family trauma for over 20 years. His book “It Didn’t Start With You” offers a guide to his Core Language Approach approach.

This kind of diagnostic approach to healing relates directly to our courage, motivation, and self regulation, which are considerable aspects to continue building emotional intelligence.

‘It Didn’t Start With You’ is a book that can help you change your life for the better. If you have tried traditional therapy, drugs, or other interventions and they haven’t worked, this book might be able to help.

16. Relational Intelligence: The People Skills You Need for the Life of Purpose You Want

by Dr. Dharius Daniels

This blows me away! Relational Intelligence is your action plan for learning about who you surround yourself with.

In this book, which builds on Jesus’s relational framework for choosing the twelve apostles, you’ll find the skills you need to define, detect, align, assess, and activate your connections to achieve your most significant potential.

It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. It doesn’t matter how successful you are or what degrees you hold. If you want to make the most significant impact in the world, if you’re living with purpose and passion, then relationships are key.

Scripture provides a blueprint for the way relationships should be managed. This blueprint helps us create and grow relationships that are productive and beneficial. The Bible teaches that people significantly impact our spiritual, physical, financial, emotional, and professional progress we allow into our lives and what role they play.

Maintaining healthy relationships choosing who we allow in our lives speaks to having healthy boundaries social awareness and helps us develop emotional intelligence. Daniels and Smith beautifully demonstrate the significance of being intentional in each of our relationships.

17. Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience

by Brené Brown

Last on the list, but certainly not the least, is Brene’ Brown’s ‘Atlas of the Heart.’ As usual, Brown’s extensive research is presented with empathy, approachability, and humor shine through.

A masterful storyteller, Brown takes us on a journey through 87 emotions and experiences that make up what it means to be human. As she maps the skills necessary for meaningful connection, she gives us the language and tools to access a universe of new choices and second chances. In this world, we can share and steward the stories of our bravest and most heartbreaking moments with one another.

Brown states, “I want this book to be an atlas for all of us because I believe that, with an adventurous heart and the right maps, we can travel anywhere and never fear losing ourselves.”

This book will exercise your empathy, understand powerful and effective relationships, comfort interpersonal relationships, connection, and choice.

It is currently my favorite book. And truthfully, it lives in my favorite area of emotional intelligence: our capacity to listen, be authentic, be brave and use our empathy to create connection.


All of the emotional intelligence books we’ve listed offer great insights and tools for developing your emotional intelligence. Whether you’re looking to understand yourself better, develop your emotional intelligence in general, or learn how to better connect with others, there is a book on this list for you.

I hope that you’ll take the time to read at least one of these books on emotional intelligence and that it will help you grow in your emotional intelligence skills. Thanks for reading!

One last bonus book to add to this list, Eat That Frog! is an amazing read to stop procrastinating and start taking control back over your time and stress levels!

Our Pick
Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

It’s time to stop procrastinating and get more of the important things done! After all, successful people don’t try to do everything. They focus on their most important tasks and get those done. They eat their frogs.

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12/09/2022 05:00 am GMT
Laura Dawn

Laura Dawn Ouin is the founder of Third Coast Mediation & Consulting in Dallas, Texas, and is passionate about conflict resolution, communication and education. On a personal note, coffee AND tea lover, morning person, travel bug and dog whisperer.

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