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  • Writer's pictureJL Nash

Emotional Intelligence - A book review

The great thing to see is the following video

Which accompanies the book

It’s a great book. It works as a guide to ‘surviving modern life - a crash course in emotional maturity from the bestselling author of The Consolations of Philosophy’

The book loves to tell you that this is everything you weren’t taught at school. It’s about regulating and understanding our emotions with regard to a variety of circumstances and topics in life. It’s about living in society with the myth of the perfect life no longer in charge of our desires.  Readers are taught to embrace emotional intelligence and guided to reach emotional maturity to live a real life, without the illusions of what advertising and stories of old have offered to us.

We are not taught emotional intelligence at school. We are all too focused on mathematical, scientific, etc types of intelligence.  The taxonomies of Education make us focus on working to satisfy the base needs as defined by Maslow but ignore the ‘higher’ thought patterns and approaches to understand situations emotionally and be able to navigate them without disasters or frustration. Envisage Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to be an octagonal instead of a pyramid.

Imagine that each side of the octagonal prism  has one of the the needs on each side and the top and bottom sides represent self, and the other, society or world. Each one of those needs share importance and at the same time as someone meets their physiological needs, they are also working on their self esteem, their understanding of the aesthetic. It creates different values and a very different approach to how we live. This isn’t in de Botton’s work, just my development of my understanding of our needs and the necessity of developing our emotional intelligence.

In this book amongst the many points I took on board and learned from, the part I especially enjoyed, was the section on wisdom.


To teach us how to be wise is the underlying central purpose of philosophy. The word may sound abstract and lofty, but wisdom is something we might plausibly aim to acquire a little more of over the course of our lives, even if true wisdom requires that we always keep in mind the persistent risk of madness and error”

De Botton goes on to say that wisdom comprises the following; Realism, Appreciation, Folly, Humour, Politeness, Self-Acceptance, Forgiveness, Resilience, Envy, Success and Failure, Regret and Calm.

“And, finally, of course, the wise know that it will never be possible to be wise every hour, let alone every day of our lives”

I believe that emotional intelligence is essential to be able to deal with the factors of wisdom. Without emotional intelligence we become stuck on different aspects of our lives with our egos getting in the way.

Anyway, if you are interested in looking at your life in terms of emotional intelligence and maturity, this well written, highly accessible book is a must for your mind and bookshelf.

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