WHAT I’VE BEEN READING: The Book of Human Emotions by Tiffany Watt Smith

This book is a cross between a dictionary of emotion-related words and a book of poetry. Arranged in alphabetical order, it presents a sometimes whimsical description and historical overview of 156 emotion concepts, some well-known (like Anger) and others less common and no longer in common usage (like Acedia). Each entry is completely different in style – some are fairly factual and quasi-scientific, and others include extracts from poetry or novels in which the emotion is mentioned. If a little disorienting, and hard to read from cover to cover in a conventional sequence, I found the book charming and intriguing. It certainly opens up your mind (and your vocabulary) to the myriad of emotion words we use or have used in the past. Increasing your emotional granularity is an important step towards emotional intelligence and agility, and this book provides a delightful way of achieving this.

Leave a Comment