Emotional Intelligence 2.0 Book Summary, by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

Download "Emotional Intelligence 2.0 Book Summary, by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves" as PDF

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is your ability to recognize your emotions, recognize the emotions of others, and use this awareness to develop your behavior and relationships. It’s also one of the defining characteristics of success in the workplace.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 helps you build your EQ skills through the development of four key pillars: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. These pillars will help you process your emotions, manage your triggers, develop healthy habits, and succeed in your career path.

1-Page Summary of Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is your ability to recognize your emotions as well as the emotions of those around you, and your ability to use those emotions to develop your behavior and relationships. Unlike traits such as IQ or personality, you can develop EQ through practice and persistence.

Why Is EQ important?

Reason #1: EQ helps you process your emotions. Your brain is designed to prioritize emotions. Therefore, before you can have a rational thought, you have to process your feelings. Though many of your emotional responses may seem minor, they’re important because these reactions develop patterns of behavior.

Reason #2: EQ helps you manage triggers. Triggers are events that produce a significant emotional response. Triggers can cloud your judgment and prevent your rational brain from informing your decisions. High EQ skills allow you to recognize your triggers and avoid or effectively handle them.

**Reason #3: EQ helps you control your thoughts and develop healthy habits. **You don’t have direct control over your emotions, especially when something triggers them. However, you do have control over your thoughts. You can calm yourself down and handle your emotions by thinking about perspective, timing, and other EQ skills.

**Reason #4: EQ helps you succeed. **High EQ develops skills that directly correlate to success, such as navigating complex situations and keeping calm under pressure. One study found that:

  • EQ relates to 58% of skill sets in the workplace.
  • People with high EQs make an average of $29,000 more per year than those with low EQs.
  • 90% of high-achievers have a high EQ.

You can develop a high EQ by developing the four pillars of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.


**Self-awareness is your ability to identify your emotions as they occur and recognize your tendencies during different scenarios. **

People with high levels of self-awareness:

  • Recognize the people or situations that upset them
  • Notice patterns of behavior in specific situations
    • For example, they may recognize that they get angry when someone wastes their time or nervous when a particular person enters the room.
  • Embrace emotional outbursts as learning opportunities
  • Take time to decipher the reasons behind their emotional responses
  • Know what they do well, and what they don’t
  • Understand the things that motivate them

Tactics to Develop Self-Awareness

Explore Your Emotions
**Tactic #1: Understand the physical effects of your emotions. **Close your eyes and examine different physical factors such as your heartbeat, breath, and muscle tension. Then, recall a memory that elicits a strong emotional response. Notice the way your body changes based upon that emotion. Recognizing physical responses allows you to quickly identify your emotions in your day-to-day life.

**Tactic #2: Find the reason behind your emotion. **Emotions act as a guide, pointing out things in your psyche or surroundings that you may not recognize otherwise. Assess why you’re feeling what you’re feeling. This helps you resolve any problems or tensions that are causing unwanted feelings.

Tactic #3: Embrace discomfort. Avoiding painful feelings only creates a short-term solution and exacerbates problems further down the line. When an uncomfortable emotion emerges, dive into your feeling and work through it. Once you understand why you’re uncomfortable, you can handle the uncomfortable emotion more effectively.

For example, you feel unfulfilled in your career but don’t want to deal with that emotion, so you try to push your feelings away by relying on constant external validation to provide you with fulfillment. Though this validation may give you a temporary reprieve, it doesn’t get to the core of why you feel the way you do. It essentially puts a band-aid over a deeper emotional wound that you need to eventually deal with.

View Your Emotions and Triggers Objectively

Tactic #4: Don’t identify your emotions as “good” or “bad.” Emotions aren’t “good” or “bad.” Judging a feeling only puts more emotions (such as shame or pride) on top of that feeling. This keeps your original emotion from developing and muddies your current emotional state.

**Tactic #5: Know your triggers. **Everyone has people and behaviors that push their buttons. Knowing what triggers you allows you to strategize for those situations. Be specific when noting your triggers. Identify people, activities, and environments that irk you. Then, mentally prepare yourself for the situation.

Hold Yourself Accountable

**Tactic #6: Be specific about the message you send to the world. **The clothes you wear, your physical demeanor, and your facial expressions all send specific messages and usually reflect your internal emotions. Understand the message your demeanor and appearance sends. This will help you understand why people interact with you the way that they do.

For example, if you go to work wearing dirty clothes and unkempt hair, people may assume that you don’t take your job seriously. For another example, if you don’t talk to anyone in your office throughout the workday, people may assume that you don’t want to be there.

**Tactic #7: Invite feedback. **When it comes to examining your behavior, you’re inherently biased. Reach out to other people to get a truly objective picture of yourself and the ways you respond to certain situations or people.


After you’ve strengthened your self-awareness skills, you can begin to develop self-management. Self-management is the ability to use your self-awareness to manage your emotions and stay in control of your behavior.

People with high-levels of self-management:

  • Control reactive behavior
  • Do not allow their emotions to dictate their decisions
  • Find peace with uncertainty
  • Navigate complex situations patiently
  • See projects through to the end regardless of frustration
  • Focus on long-term development

Tactics to Develop Self-Management

Collect Your Thoughts

**Tactic #1: Focus on your breath. **Your brain requires oxygen to function properly. Especially when stressed, people don’t breathe deeply enough, robbing the brain of valuable oxygen. When the brain lacks oxygen, it prioritizes basic needs (such as touch or sight) over complex processes (such as thought or emotion). When you take deep breaths, your rational brain engages and your body calms down.

**Tactic #2: Develop a reason vs. emotion list. **To make decisions clearer, make a two-column list. On one side, list what your emotional brain wants you to do, and, on the other, list what your rational brain wants you to do. Once you complete your list, compare the two sides and ask yourself two questions:

  • Where is emotion warping my perspective?
  • Where is rationality ignoring key information from my emotions?

**Tactic #3: Take time before you react. **If you respond to emotionally charged situations too quickly, your feelings become the driving force behind your words, and, often, lead you to say or do things that don’t align with your intentions. Instead, step away from the situation before responding. This gives you a clearer perspective on the situation and helps you make logical choices instead of emotional ones.

Relax and Recharge

**Tactic #4: Sleep better. **Most people don’t sleep effectively, denying their brain a full recharge. Self-management requires focus, energy, and clarity—all of which rely on the brain working as efficiently as possible. To get restful sleep, turn off your electronics two hours before bed and only use your bed for sleeping.

**Tactic #5: Schedule time to exercise. **Exercise increases blood flow and overall fitness. It releases chemicals into your brain that help recharge your mental battery and strengthen areas of your brain that correlate to decision-making, rationality, and organization. Schedule specific time to commit to some form of physical activity and stick to it. Ideally, these activities should be active and vigorous, but any form of exercise will yield results.

Seek External Support and Stay Positive

**Tactic #6: Publicize your goals. **When creating goals for yourself, have other people hold you accountable. It’s much easier to abandon your goals when no one else knows about them. When you publicize your goals, the people around you will watch after you and help you make decisions to get you to achieve your objective.

For example, you’re trying to start a diet, but you had a stressful day and don’t want to cook. Ordering a pizza is tempting. If no one holds you accountable, there’s a good chance you’ll dial your local pizza joint. However, if someone at home knows about your diet, they can help keep you from making choices that disrupt your current goals.

**Tactic #7: Keep your “self-talk” positive. **“Self-talk” is your inner voice and has a major impact on your emotional state. If you keep your self-talk positive, it can get you through challenges and help support you throughout your day. However, if you let your self-talk become negative, it can ruin a good mood and quickly make your day miserable.

Social Awareness

Once you have the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, you can begin to develop social awareness. **Social awareness is the ability to identify emotions in other people and understand the reasons behind them. **

People with high levels of social awareness:

  • Give others the opportunity to speak
  • Actively listen
    • They stop what they’re doing and turn their full attention to the other person
  • Pick up on cues that reveal emotion
    • For example, if someone’s hand is shaking as they speak to you, they may be nervous or angry.
  • Take in important information without bias
  • Adapt to the emotional climate
  • Develop empathy for the people around them

Tactics to Develop Social Awareness

Listen and Learn

**Tactic #1: Listen attentively. **Listening isn’t just about hearing words. Tone, volume, and pacing all signal subtext and emotion (for instance, if a person speaks quickly and quietly, they may be intimidated). Stay focused on the conversation at hand. Half-focused listening prevents you from picking up important information and makes the other person feel disrespected.

Tactic #2: Learn the rules of your environment. Learn how your company operates and what their expectations are. Also, learn the culture and background of your co-workers. If you don’t, you may find yourself at odds with your environment, making your job more difficult.

For example, if you typically listen to music while you work, check in with your colleagues to see what the standards of the company are. This ensures that you’re behaving appropriately and shows that you care about the rules of the organization.

Tactic #3: Practice empathy. Looking at a situation from someone else’s point of view helps you understand their behaviors, gives you the tools to more effectively interact with that person, and identifies issues before they develop. When trying to step into someone else’s shoes:

  • Think of how they’ve responded to specific situations in the past
  • Consider their past experiences and background
  • Observe how they behave in different environments
Observe Your Surroundings

**Tactic #4: Observe body language. **Body language provides subtextual information that can reveal a person’s emotional state (for example, if someone can’t keep eye contact with you, they may be uncomfortable or lying). This allows you to make more informed decisions when interacting with them. Key emotional indicators include the behavior of someone’s eyes, the authenticity of their smile, and the tension in their body

Tactic #5: Live in the moment. Though reflecting on the past and planning for the future are both necessary exercises, allowing them to dictate your day-to-day behavior prevents you from observing and interacting with your surroundings. Keep your head clear by staying focused on the present moment. If you find yourself drifting mentally, try to snap yourself back. This will help you make more effective connections and deepen interactions with those around you.

Check Your Timing

**Tactic #6: Make sure the time is right. **If you make requests or observations at the wrong time, the person you’re speaking with likely won’t respond well. To ensure proper timing, keep the emotional state of the other person in mind. If they’re clearly angry or distraught, frame your question in a way that will not further upset them or find a better time to approach them with your issues.

**Tactic #7: Read the room. **Once you’ve mastered reading the emotions of individuals, you can start to catch onto the mood of entire rooms. This allows you to give your input in an appropriate and well-timed manner.

Relationship Management

Once you have a handle on your own emotions and can recognize the emotions of the people around you, you can begin to develop relationship management. Relationship management is the use of your self- and social awareness to develop your relationships with other people.

People with high levels of relationship management:

  • Connect with a multitude of people
  • Interact with people frequently
  • Find the benefits in every relationship
  • Create an environment that promotes discussion and connection
  • Handle stressful situations well
  • Develop a strong rapport with coworkers—even with people they do not inherently agree with

Tactics to Develop Relationship Management

Embrace Openness

**Tactic #1: Be open and take an interest. **When you willingly share things about yourself, it clarifies why you behave the way that you do and minimizes the opportunity for misunderstanding. Also, taking an interest in the lives of others helps you understand their choices and ensures that you don’t misinterpret _their _behaviors.

**Tactic #2: Embrace feedback. **Having someone point out errors or areas of improvement can lead to intense emotional responses. However, feedback is essential to development and requires that you hear it without letting your emotions get in the way. Think about the purpose of the feedback, listen attentively, and take time to process the information.

Be Clear

**Tactic #3: Improve your communication style. **Your natural style of communication dictates how others perceive you. If the way you talk does not reflect your intentions, others may not understand what you’re trying to communicate and may misjudge you. For example, if you typically state things bluntly, people may think that you’re rude, even if your intention is just to be clear. Think about the upsides and downsides of the way you currently communicate and adjust your approach accordingly.

**Tactic #4: Explain your choices. **People fear what they don’t understand. If you leave people in the dark, they may not understand why you’ve made a decision, leading to frustration and/or anxiety. When explaining your decision, acknowledge any alternative routes, show your thought process, then explain the ways your decision will impact everyone.

Show Respect

Tactic #5: Respect the emotions of others. If you try to negate or ignore what they’re feeling, they won’t respond well. Use your listening skills, ask what you can do to help, and be empathetic. This validates how the person is feeling without exaggerating or exacerbating their emotional state.

**Tactic #6: Show your appreciation. **Little shows of appreciation can go a long way. When someone does good work, praise them. When they go the extra mile, acknowledge it. Even if it’s something as small as buying someone lunch or leaving a thank you note, small gestures let the people around you know that you see the work that they’re doing and that you appreciate it.

Handle Tense Situations Effectively

**Tactic #7: Respond appropriately. **This requires you to read the situation, recognize the emotions of the other person, and assure them that you believe what they’re feeling is important.

For instance, you’re working in customer service. An annoyed customer throws a broken item on the counter and angrily demands an immediate replacement as she needs it for an event. Rather than reflect her rude demeanor, you apologize for the product not working and tell her that you will work to get her that replacement as quickly as possible. The customer appreciates that you’re taking her claim seriously and begins to calm down.

Full Summary of Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Chapters 1-4: What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Human beings possess three defining characteristics: cognitive intelligence (IQ), personality, and emotional intelligence (EQ):

  • Cognitive Intelligence (IQ) is how well you can learn new information.
  • Personality is your preferences and traits such as introversion and extroversion.
  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is your ability to recognize your emotions, recognize the emotions of those around you, and use this awareness to guide your behavior and develop strong relationships.

For many years, people have correlated cognitive intelligence (IQ) with success in the workplac…

—End of Preview—

Read the rest of the “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” summary at my new book summary product, Shortform.

Here’s what you’ll find in the full Emotional Intelligence 2.0 summary:

I’ve been building Shortform for the past year. It’s the book summary product I always wanted for myself. I was never satisfied with the summaries from what was on the market, and so I built Shortform for myself and readers like you. If you like my book summaries, you’ll love Shortform.

Shortform has the world’s best summaries of nonfiction books and articles. Even better, it helps you remember what you read, so you can make your life better. What’s special about Shortform:

  • The world’s highest quality book summaries—comprehensive, concise, and everything you need to know
  • Broad library: 1000+ books and articles across 21 genres
  • Interactive exercises that teach you to apply what you’ve learned
  • Audio narrations so you can learn on the go
  • Discussion communities—get the best advice from other readers

Sound like what you’ve been looking for? Sign up for a 5-day free trial here.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 Book Summary, by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

Enjoy this summary?

Subscribe to get my next book summary in your email.

Want to get smarter, faster?

Subscribe to my newsletter to get free book summaries and startup notes.