Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Summary Written by Jonny Petrucco
"First, people just don’t understand it. They often mistake emotional intelligence for a form of charisma or gregariousness. Second, they don’t see it as something that can be improved."

- Emotional Intelligence 2.0, page 3

The Big Idea


"Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships."- Emotional Intelligence 2.0, page 17

The book’s premise challenges a traditional understanding of intelligence and success. Notably, there is little evidence supporting a correlation between a high IQ and a successful career. A person’s IQ is an incomplete assessment that excludes obvious intangible factors, and even seemingly tangible ones. Emotional Intelligence is as relevant and “tangible” as the Intelligence Quotient. Furthermore, one’s personality contributes to the overall success and function of a person. An IQ, EQ, and personality are distinct qualities that help determine how we think and act.

Emotional Intelligence is very much intangible, difficult to trace to a physical source, like virtuous qualities of love, passion, and kindness. On the other hand, our emotions are physically explained in the limbic system. Our sensations and life experiences travel up the spine in the form of electric signals through three primary parts of the brain. These signals enter through the spinal cord, through the limbic system, and into the neocortex (the front, rational part of the brain). Intelligence must account for the emotional and rational parts of a person.

Emotions of anger, sadness, happiness, etc. tend to control people. In some ways, there’s not much one can do to control the reaction because emotions are quite instinctual and reflexive. Each person can learn to spot these reactions and to respond appropriately. Emotional Intelligence is very much involved in creating habits to recognize and respond skillfully to our emotions. Anyone seeking to improve their EQ needs proper knowledge of the personal and social competencies, along with productive and daily practice.

Insight #1

Personal Competence

"When you understand your own emotions and can respond the way you choose to them, you have the power to take control of difficult situations, react nimbly to change, and take the initiative needed to achieve your goals."- Emotional Intelligence 2.0, page 98

Self-awareness is about understanding oneself by accurately perceiving emotions and tendencies across various situations. It is the art of self-discovery. Each person should be responsible to learn about their current disposition, which has been crafted through the nature and nurture process. Perhaps the best way to increase self-awareness is to think intensely and regularly through your reactions and the purpose underlying every decision.

Self-awareness is foundational and the starting point to self-management. Self-management is your ability to use emotional awareness to stay flexible and to positively direct your behavior. The self-manager does not get distracted by emotions, instead he/she will tame and redirect wild emotions into productive outlets. Putting off momentary needs to pursue larger, more important goals is an experience self-managers grapple with each day.

The two parts of personal competence is self-awareness and self-management. My favorite awareness strategy is “Visit your values” and favorite management strategy is “Visualize yourself succeeding”.

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Insight #2

Social Competence

"Social awareness is centered on your ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others. Tuning into others’ emotions as you interact with them will help you get a more accurate view of your surroundings…"- Emotional Intelligence 2.0, page 136

Social awareness leads people to perceive other’s perspectives, considering all their thoughts and feelings. They are master listeners and comprehenders. A strong awareness reveals the ability to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what’s really happening on the inside. An aware person can cut through superfluous attempts to reveal one’s true feeling through intense listening and observation. You need to constantly survey your surroundings and observe people’s interactions, expressions, nonverbals, etc.

Relationship management is the culmination and all-inclusive competency of emotional intelligence. One uses social awareness to understand a person’s needs and feelings by understanding and managing your own needs and feelings. Building relationships, though many times difficult, is one of the goals for increasing your emotional intelligence. Human beings are wired to connect and overcome the many barriers stemming from our differences. A good relationship manager knows how to regularly practice personal and social skills to make meaningful interactions and connection.

The two parts of social competence is social awareness and relationship management.

There are 66 incredible, incredible strategies outlined in this book. Simply reading through the text isn’t adequate because the knowledge covers a lifetime of learning. Henceforth, this book ought to be revisited often and slowly, but surely, implemented into our daily life. Perhaps you can focus on a new practice each week. Think regularly about the weekly strategy and be very intentional to improve upon it.

Read the book

Get Emotional Intelligence 2.0 on Amazon.

Jean Greaves

Drs. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves are award-winning authors and the cofounders of TalentSmart®, a consultancy that serves more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies and is the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training.

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