In this post, I share some of my favourite books on emotions and emotional intelligence. To see an extended list of recommendations on art, creativity, coaching, and more, view my Reading List.
The Book of Human Emotions: An Encyclopedia of Feeling from Anger to Wanderlust
by Tiffany Watt Smith
Watt Smith, a Wellcome Trust research fellow, does an excellent job of cataloguing the range of feelings one can experience over a lifetime. Anticipation, broodiness, compassion, delight, and more. If you have experienced something, you will likely find it here, supported with a brief history and its close relations.
David’s writing is encouraging. She describes emotional agility as “having any number of troubling thoughts or emotions and still managing to act in a way that serves how you most want to live.” The book provides practical methods for building inner-strength, balanced with research-backed insight into human behaviour.
Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ
by Daniel Goleman
This book hit the shelves in 1995 when it was bold to consider emotional intelligence to be as vital to success as IQ. Since then, the concept is more familiar, and there’s evidence to show emotional intelligence can be developed with practice. Also look for Goleman’s other books, including Working with Emotional Intelligence.
A General Theory of Love
by Thomas Lewis, Richard Lannon, and Fari Amini
No exploration of the human emotional landscape would be complete without attempting to understand why and how we love. This is a beautifully written book that calls on science, psychology, and the arts to explore how “love makes who we are, and who we can become.”
100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People
by Susan Weinschenk
I’ve dropped this one onto my suggested reading list for design students. Weinschenk provides a fantastic overview of the psychology of design, breaking down behaviour into how people see, feel, remember, focus their attention and more. She provides 100 specific examples supported by research.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
by Stephen R. Covey
Originally published in 1998, this book has sold more than 25 million copies in over 40 languages. I enjoyed Covey’s perspective on interpersonal relationships and leadership, including the concept of thinking “win-win” to seek mutual benefit in all human interactions.