7 Essential Books about Emotional Intelligence

7 Essential Books about Emotional Intelligence
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

Books on Emotional Intelligence are always a useful and enriching resource for maximizing our self-knowledge, improving the management of our complex emotional universes and enjoying more satisfactory interpersonal relationships. Sometimes it isn’t enough to have a high IQ to be happy: intelligence is much more than the result of a test.

We are aware that this topic is not a new one. We have all heard about the concept, and several of us have already read about it to a greater or lesser degree. However, despite the fact that two decades have passed since Goleman popularized the term with his bestseller “Emotional Intelligence”, we could say that we still miss his principles in many of our day to day situations. In other words, we are talking about something which is more known than it is applied, more revered than exercised.

“The key to achieving a high collective IQ is through social harmony”

-Daniel Goldman-

The influence of Emotional Intelligence

We would love emotional intelligence to be present in our workplace, with colleagues trained in emotional skills. We would, without a doubt, love the principles of Emotional Intelligence to be implemented in a proper and real way in the curriculum of every educational center. It would also be fascinating if our political leaders were to master many of the principles of this discipline, because we would all end up winners.

We miss its presence in many areas, without a doubt, and we can also see that we ourselves have deficiencies, gaps and wrong attitudes that increase our anxiety, causing mental blocks and frustration. The good news, first and foremost, is that it’s possible to be trained in Emotional Intelligence. Our brain is always receptive when it comes to taking on new approaches, strategies and skills which we can to improve our quality of our lives and our social relationships.

A good way to achieve this is to immerse ourselves in the wide range of written material that we have today. And so, to that effect, we’re going to point you towards 7 of the books on Emotional Intelligence that we consider the most interesting ones.


1. “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman

It wouldn’t be right to start a list of books about Emotional Intelligence without referring to this book, the one that laid the foundations of a veritable revolution in the field of psychology, personal growth, leadership and education. We could quite rightly say that that everything changed a bit in 1996, when Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and journalist from The New York Times, a specialist in brain science, told us bluntly that “our vision of human intelligence was very narrow”.

As humans we have a wide range of essential abilities for our lives, with Emotional Intelligence being the best tool for achieving happiness and social success. This is one of the must-have books about Emotional Intelligence, and it enables us to understand and reflect on the basic principles and keys in Emotional Intelligence

“When people are at ease, it’s when they work best”

-Daniel Goleman-

2. “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

Let’s imagine that we have already read several books about Emotional Intelligence. Let’s imagine that we already understand its key concepts, that we have deeply examined its usefulness, its benefits and the areas it can be applied in. We know all of this, but how can we actually put it into practice in our day to day lives?

With this book we will learn hundreds of ways to apply Emotional Intelligence with a very specific goal: to improve our quality of life. To achieve this, the authors guide us in how to  learn four basic skills: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and how to manage our social relationships.

The approach it takes is really interesting.

3. “The secret of how to control and transform your life” by Maxwell Maltz

This book has two very special characteristics. The first one is the year it was published in: 1960. The second is its author, Maxwell Maltz, who was one of the most famous plastic surgeons in the world. This doctor, accustomed to changing people’s physical appearance in order to improve their self-esteem,  or reconstructing faces that had suffered a traumatic accident, was aware that just looking good in the mirror is not enough for us to be truly happy.

We need a different type of transformation: one that starts from the inside, from our own psyche and emotions. Thus, long before Daniel Goleman spoke of Emotional Intelligence, Dr. Maltz laid a wonderful foundation with this vitally useful book, which was reissued and brought out of obscurity after the rise of this discipline.

emotional intelligence

4. “7 habits of highly effective people” by Stephen R. Covey

This is a true classic amongst books on Emotional Intelligence. It has sold more than 25 million copies, and its main attraction is that it offers a holistic approach on how to achieve success, happiness and well-being.

Stephen Covey, a well-known professor, lecturer and entrepreneur, seeks above all to give us resources and skills to make us more proactive. The purpose of all of this is to improve our relationships, security and leadership capacity through Emotional Intelligence. In addition, it combines all of this with very interesting concepts about human dignity and the sense of social justice.

It is not stress that makes us fall, it is how we respond to situations of stress.

-Wayde Goodall-

5. “Educating with Emotional Intelligence” by Maurice J. Tobias, Steven E. and Friedl Elias

This is one of the most interesting and useful Emotional Intelligence books for those who have children at home or who work in the world of education. Through the pages of this book we will learn how to communicate a little better with our children and, in turn, we will build more rewarding relationships where we can provide them with strategies and skills with which to improve their relationship with others. It is a very educational option that invites us to reflect on many different issues. It puts us in very real situations where sometimes as adults we feel a bit powerless, for example when it comes to managing tantrums or conflicts between siblings or our children’s classmates. Like we say, it’s a very useful option and a very rewarding and enriching read.

6.”The Resounding Leader Creates More” by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee

Mark Twain once said, “I don’t know if the world is governed by intelligent people who tease us or by imbeciles who speak seriously”. Many of us will have thought the same as Mr.Twain, because sometimes our leaders, whether in the sphere of work or in the political arena governing their countries, don’t seem to demonstrate sufficient skills to guide or inspire us. This book invites us to reflect on these things and others. The true leader isn’t always known for his talent or his technical mastery. What’s more, maybe even we, in our attempt to succeed in a given setting by directing a group of people, cannot seem to reach them. We can’t transmit sufficient energy and passion despite our qualifications and our technical skills.

We lack sufficient skills to create an effective leadership for managing emotions and enhancing positive feelings in teams. Just as Goleman explained, it’s all about creating resonance. This book should always be on our study desk because it really does inspire and teach us.

elsa punset emotional intelligence

7. “A Compass for Emotional Navigators” by Elsa Punset

This book is a little delight that does us good in any situation and at any time. It will undoubtedly inspire us to delve a little deeper into Emotional Intelligence. In it, Elsa Punset, immerses us in a more personal vision on the subject through their own experiences in children’s education and in the building up of their adult personalities, together with all the emotions and conflicts that arise in this process. It is more a manual than a book, a personal journey explaining how we can weather the storms of life. Where any emotional navigator will adjust his own compass to guide his path, find his balance, and find a blessing.

“Knowing oneself allows us to discover the sources of our happiness, our anger and our pain in order to be able to live with ourselves and others harmoniously and fully”

-Elsa Punset-

To conclude, it is possible that some of our readers miss some emotional intelligence books, a title that has been of great help at some point in his life and that undoubtedly appreciate much more than many of those included in this listing . However, on our way to improve and improve our emotional skills, these titles are undoubtedly a good way to start, to settle roots, to open your eyes from the heart.

Let’s not waste this opportunity to continue growing, to continue moving forward through reading more. Let’s seek more and more experiences and opportunities to successfully develop our Emotional Intelligence.


Goleman, Daniel (1996) “Emotional Intelligence” Kairós

Bradberry, Travis. Greaves, Jean (2012) “Emotional Intelligence 2.0”, Connect

Maltz, Maxwell (2010) “Psycho-cybernetics: The secret of controllingand transforming your life”, Kairós

R.Covey Stephen (2015) “The 7 habits of highly effective people” Free Press

Punset, Elsa (2009) “Compass for emotional navegators”, Aguilar

Goleman, Daniel, Boyazakis Richard, McKeee, Annie (2017) “The resonant leader creates more” DeBolsillo

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.