WHAT I’VE BEEN READING: Optimal by Daniel Goleman and Cary Churness

I was excited about this new book, but have to say that I ended up underwhelmed by it. In essence, the book argues that the concept of “flow” might be too high a bar for most people to aspire to in their daily life, and rather that reaching our “optimal zone” is more useful. The book also argues, not surprisingly, that the key to optimal performance is emotional intelligence.

Essentially, the book consolidates much of the research into emotional intelligence since Daniel Goleman’s book on the topic, and demonstrates that the original concept is sound. The first part of the book explains the link between EI and optimal performance. The second part reviews the key components of EI. The third part looks at the impact of EI at work, and the last part the future of EI.

While the book provides a good overview of EI and recent research to support its usefulness, I didn’t find much that was new in the book. Maybe I’m a tough critic, but it just felt like a justification for the previous book (“see, I was right”)!

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