I read the authors' first emotional intelligence book, and I think that 2.0 is a huge improvement. Here's a chapter by chapter look at why:
FOREWORD BY PATRICK LENCIONI
Lencioni is one of those gurus that has sold millions of books, none about emotional intelligence (EQ). As Lencioni proclaims in the foreword, he's no EQ expert, but he sees everyday how critical a skill it is to have and he's so enthusiastic about this book because it's the first he's read that actually shows you how to increase your EQ and apply it in your life.
This chapter opens with a riveting story of a surfer who is attacked by a great white shark in California. I won't spoil it by telling you how, but the story is a great illustration of the power of emotion and how important it is to understand and manage our emotions. This chapter also illustrates how our brains are wired to react to events emotionally before our reason kicks in, and it lays the groundwork for the process by which the rest of the book will teach you to increase your EQ.
THE BIG PICTURE
This chapter teaches what EQ is and what it isn't. For example, a lot of people mistakenly think that EQ is a part of your personality. To the contrary EQ is separate from your personality, just as it is separate from your intellect, or IQ. It begins to build your understanding of emotions by showing what the five core emotions look like in varying degrees of intensity. Next the authors fun and engaging approach explains studies that illustrate how important EQ is in daily living. They show how your EQ impacts things like your tolerance for change, how you manage stress, even how much money you make!
-DIGGING IN: MY EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE ACTION PLAN-
If you haven't already, by this point in the book you need to open the orange envelope inside the back cover and retrieve the unique passcode that lets you go online to take the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal test. I'd actually heard of this test (it's the most widely used EQ test out there), so I thought it was pretty cool that they let you take it for free with the book. In addition to revealing your EQ scores, your test results guide you through the areas you need to work on improving the most. This chapter helps you to develop your plan of attack, including the action plan where you actually record what it is your going to do and by when.
(ACTUALLY THERE IS A CHAPTER OF STRATEGIES FOR EACH SKILL, BUT I'LL JUST DESCRIBE THIS ONE)
This section of the book has 66 strategies to increase your EQ. Each strategy is well-detailed (most 2-3 pages) and something that you can begin doing immediately. Your test results tell you which EQ skill you need to work on the most (for me it was Self-management), as well as which of the chapter's strategies will increase your ability in that skill the most. I thought this part was pretty cool. Basically, the test analyzed my score profile and picked the three strategies that would improve my biggest weaknesses in self-management. One of the strategies it suggested, Breathe Right, hit the nail on the head. I'm not one of these people that needs to take a deep breath to calm down and stop being angry, which is good because that's NOT what the strategy is teaching. Actually, it illustrates how some of us, when left to our own devices, breathe too shallow, which deprives some of the higher (rational) areas of the brain of the oxygen needed to keep us completely calm and focused. So now, whenever I need to clear my head, think on my feet at work, make a tough decision, figure out what I should get my wife for her birthday, etc. I use this breathing strategy, and I'm continually amazed by how quickly it makes me calm and focused. Anyway, that's just one self-management strategy, but I thought it'd be useful for you to see what one is like in detail.
-EPILOGUE--JUST THE FACTS: A LOOK AT THE LATEST DISCOVERIES IN EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE-
This epilogue is quite interesting. The authors' company is a think tank that has tested more than half a million people worldwide, and they share some of the more interesting conclusions from their data that didn't show up earlier in the book. For example, women outscore men in overall EQ, but the sexes have an equal ability in self-awareness (men fall short because they do less with the emotional information they take in). Anyhow, there are studies of EQ differences across various generations (Boomers vs. Millenials is really interesting), in different job titles (CEO's have the lowest EQ in the workforce!), and even US vs. China (our new, big economic competitor).
-DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR READING GROUPS-
This last appendix has some great questions for discussion. I'm not in a book club, but my wife read the book and we talked about some of these questions and it led to some really interesting discussions.