Book Summary: Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (2009) explores the 4 facets of emotional intelligence, detailing how to strengthen each aspect as well as dealing with emotions more creatively. The author, Travis Bradberry is the co-founder of TalentSmart – a consultancy firm whose clientele comprises over half the Fortune 500 companies.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 Summary

Book Notes

  • Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships. Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results.
  • Cognitive intelligence, or IQ, is not flexible. Your IQ, short of a traumatic event such as a brain injury, is fixed from birth. You don’t get smarter by learning new facts or information. Intelligence is your ability to learn, and it’s the same at age 15 as it is at age 50.
  • EQ, on the other hand, is a flexible skill that can be learned. While it is true that some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, a high EQ can be developed even if you aren’t born with it.
  • Personality is the final piece in the puzzle. It’s the stable “style” that defines each of us. Your personality is a result of your preferences, such as your inclination to introversion or extroversion.
  • However, like IQ, one’s personality can’t be used to predict their emotional intelligence. Also like IQ, personality is stable over a lifetime. Personality traits appear early in life, and they don’t go away.
  • People often assume that certain traits (for example, extroversion) are associated with a higher EQ, but those who prefer to be with other people are no more emotionally intelligent than people who prefer to be alone.
  • You can use your personality to assist in developing your EQ, but the latter isn’t dependent on the former. EQ is a flexible skill, while personality does not change.
  • IQ, EQ, and personality assessed together are the best way to get a picture of the whole person. When you measure all three in a single individual, they don’t overlap much. Instead, each covers unique ground that helps to explain what makes a person tick.
  • IQ, personality, and EQ are distinct qualities we all possess. Together, they determine how we think and act. It is impossible to predict one based upon another. People may be intelligent but not emotionally intelligent, and people of all types of personalities can be high in EQ and/or IQ. Of the three, EQ is the only quality that is flexible and able to change.
  •  We’ve tested EQ alongside 33 other important workplace behaviors and found that it subsumes the majority of them, including time management, decision-making, and communication.
  • Your EQ is the foundation for a host of critical skills—it impacts most everything you say and do each day. EQ is so critical to success that it accounts for 58 percent of performance in all types of jobs. It’s the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.
  • To truly improve your ability in the four emotional intelligence skills, you need to better understand each skill and what it looks like in action. The four emotional intelligence skills pair up under two primary competencies: personal competence and social competence.
  • Personal competence is made up of your self-awareness and self-management skills, which focus more on you individually than on your interactions with other people. Personal competence is your ability to stay aware of your emotions and manage your behavior and tendencies.
  • Social competence is made up of your social awareness and relationship management skills; social competence is your ability to understand other people’s moods, behaviors, and motives in order to improve the quality of your relationships.
travis bradberry emotional intelligence 2.0 summary
  • The top two skills, self-awareness and self-management, are more about you. The bottom two skills, social awareness and relationship management, are more about how you are with other people. 

The 4 Components of Emotional Intelligence:

1.Self Awareness

  • Self-awareness is your ability to accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment and understand your tendencies across situations. A keen understanding of your tendencies is important because it helps you to quickly make sense of your emotions.
  • Self-awareness is not about discovering deep, dark secrets or unconscious motivations, but rather, it comes from developing a straightforward and honest understanding of what makes you tick. People that are self-aware are remarkably clear in their understanding of what they do well,  what motivates them, and also which people and situations push their buttons.
  • In his book, the author Travis Bradberry provides over a dozen strategies (66 in total) for each of the 4 core skills. Here’s a quick summary of some of the strategies mentioned in ‘Emotional Intelligence 2.0‘ to improve self awareness:
  • Quit Treating Your Feelings as Good or Bad. It’s human nature to want to create two simple and easy piles of emotions: the good ones and the bad ones. The next time you feel an emotion begin to build, take notice of it immediately. Refrain from putting it into the good or bad pile and remind yourself that the feeling is there to help you understand something important.
  • Lean into Your Discomfort. The biggest obstacle to increasing your self-awareness is the tendency to avoid the discomfort that comes from seeing yourself as you really are. Things you do not think about are off your radar for a reason: they can sting when they surface. Avoiding this pain creates problems, because it is merely a short-term fix.
  • You’ll never be able to manage yourself effectively if you ignore what you need to do to change. Thus, rather than avoiding a feeling, your goal should be to move toward the emotion, into it, and eventually through it.
  • Watch Yourself Like a Hawk. Even though you are not a hawk, you can still develop a more objective understanding of your own behavior. You can practice by taking notice of your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors right as the situation unfolds. In essence, the goal is to slow yourself down and take in all that is in front of you, allowing your brain to process all available information before you act.
  • Stop and Ask Yourself Why You Do the Things You Do. Emotions come when they will, not when you will them to. Your self-awareness will grow abundantly when you begin seeking out the source of your feelings.
  • Get in the habit of stopping to ask yourself why surprising emotions rumbled to the surface and what motivated you to do something out of character. Emotions serve an important purpose—they clue you into things that you’ll never understand if you don’t take the time to ask yourself why. 
  • Visit Your Values. Often times, as you run around struggling to check your daily “to dos” off your list, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s really important to you—your core values and beliefs. Before you know it, you find yourself doing and saying things that deep down you don’t feel good about or believe in. The trick here is to take the time to check in with yourself and jot down your core beliefs and values.
  • Ask yourself, what are the values that I wish to live my life by? Take a sheet of paper and separate it into two columns. List your core values and beliefs in the left column and anything that you’ve done or said recently that you aren’t proud of in the right column. Is what you value in alignment with the manner in which you conduct yourself? If not, consider alternatives to what you said and did that would have made you proud of yourself, or at least more comfortable.

2. Self Management

  • Self-management is what happens when you act—or do not act. It is dependent on your self-awareness and is the second major part of personal competence. Self-management is your ability to use your awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and direct your behavior positively. This means managing your emotional reactions to situations and people.
  • Self-management is more than resisting explosive or problematic behavior. The biggest challenge that people face is managing their tendencies over time and applying their skills in a variety of situations. Obvious and momentary opportunities for self-control (i.e., “I’m so mad at that darn dog!”) are the easiest to spot and manage.
  • Real results come from putting your momentary needs on hold to pursue larger, more important goals. The realization of such goals is often delayed, meaning that your commitment to self-management will be tested over and over again.

3. Social Awareness

  • Social awareness is your ability to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what is really going on with them. This often means perceiving what other people are thinking and feeling even if you do not feel the same way.
  • To be socially aware, you have to spot and understand people’s emotions while you’re right there in the middle of it—a contributing, yet astutely aware, member of the interaction.

4. Relationship Management

  • Relationship management is your ability to use your awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully. This ensures clear communication and effective handling of conflict. Relationship management is also the bond you build with others over time.
  • People who manage relationships well are able to see the benefit of connecting with many different people, even those they are not fond of. Solid relationships are something that should be sought and cherished. They are the result of how you understand people, how you treat them, and the history you share.


The Book on Amazon:
“Emotional Intelligence 2.0”