Much has been said about the differences between how men and women approach life, and most of us would agree that among these distinctions, women are generally more emotional then men. Is this a positive trait? It depends, say the authors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0. Emotions can help you and they can hurt you—but you have no say in the matter until you learn to understand them.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is your ability to recognize emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships.

It all starts with becoming aware of your emotions as they arise, a skill called self-awareness. How we use this awareness to stay flexible and direct our behavior positively is called self-management. Both skills belong to the area of personal competence, while the area of social competence is defined by social awareness and relationship management.

Despite a growing focus on EQ, research shows that only about a third of adults are able to accurately identify their emotions as they happen, meaning that two thirds of us are typically controlled by our emotions and not yet skilled at spotting them and using them to our benefit.

How much of an impact does EQ have on our professional success? The short answer is: a lot! Your EQ forms the foundation for a host of critical skills, such as decision-making, the ability to capitalize on opportunities, tolerance for change, time management, trust-building and stress management.

“Because EQ affects everything you say and do,” say Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, “it is the single biggest predictor of performance at work and the strongest driver for leadership and personal excellence.”

While most books on this topic simply explain what EQ is, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 provides specifics in what you need to say, do and think to increase your EQ.

First the reader is invited to go online and take the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal® test. You will receive an online report with your results and a goal-tracking system that summarizes the skills you want to work on. You are now ready to go back to the book and start your personalized EQ Action Plan.

The bulk part of the book outlines sixty-six simple strategies that are specific to the EQ area you want to improve. For instance, ways to increase your self-awareness include:

Endorsed by a variety of thought leaders, such as the Dalai Lama and Stephen R. Covey, this book offers a step-by-step program based on a decade-long effort to accurately measure and increase emotional intelligence.

“To be successful and fulfilled nowadays, you must learn to maximize your EQ,” say the authors, “for those who employ a unique blend of reason and feeling achieve the greatest results.” This guide will show you how to master this.

Hardcover, 255 pages, $19.95;
TalentSmart, 2009.