Emotional Intelligence: The Essential Reading List

Emotional Intelligence: The Essential Reading List

Emotional Intelligence: The Essential Reading List

emotional intelligence

For any of you that are looking to learn more about ’emotional intelligence’ and how your mind/emotions work; the following are the absolute best books (audiobooks) that I have read on the subject. 

A Quick Note: What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence and emotional health is really an understanding of your mind; How your body and mind are affecting one another; Recognizing the patterns that the mind is continually playing out; understanding how certain influences can have a positive or negative effect on how you feel.

I have been studying this area for about 3 years as it is something that I really needed to get handled in my own life, having come from a place of quite bad depression, anxiety, low moods, low motivation, jealousy, co-dependence (usual story) and now I am in a place where I have a pretty solid familiarity of how my own mind/emotions works; how I can motivate myself, how I can build new habits, what certain emotions mean, what thoughts mean, how I can fairly easily change my beliefs, how to become more aware of unconscious thoughts and feelings. It’s now very rare that I get into a bad mood, complain or talk negatively at myself.

Really the process of getting ‘good’ is just to do a little every day. It’s the 1%’s like RSD always talk about. But here are the absolute best books on the subject to drown out the noise and all the shite that you see on store bookshelves and in articles that offer you ‘top 10 tips to feel good today’ and ‘how to fix your broken brain now!’ #cunts

The mind is like a galaxy; it may seem like a random and chaotic mess sometimes, but with enough awareness, you realize that the whole thing is moving together in a patterned, coherent way.

The list is in two parts: the books that I feel are essential and are well worth reading several times to really grasp, and then others that were really helpful (for me) in shaping my understanding, but I only read once.

I will also add that this article is are for guys who spend most of their time in sobriety and are looking to get a more solid grasp over their minds, emotions, and behavior.

My understanding of the mind and emotions does not extend into the psychedelic experience and upper levels of spirit and consciousness. I realize that the mind is capable of far more than the scope of any of the below suggestions. This article is geared towards success in life, relationships, business, and having a general ability to navigate the world with competence and a sense of certainty. 

If you want to get an understanding of how your own mind and bodywork so that you can be more objective about what you’re feeling; change your emotions, know what certain emotions/thoughts mean, and have more control over what you’re feeling then I would recommend the following:


Mindfulness: finding peace in a frantic world, Danny Penman, Mark Williams— the best book on mindfulness by far and will change the way you think about your mind and your emotions. (Probably the first book you should read on the subject).

Whenever you get a minute– while washing the dishes, sitting on the bus, etc. throughout the day; just take time to be mindful. This time spent will add up. Everything begins and ends with meditation.

Awaken the Giant Within, Tony Robbins— He has some very simple labels to understand your mind: beliefs, values, identity. Reread all of the chapters on beliefs and belief change. Really all of your behavior and feelings are belief-driven. This book is amazing for understanding this.

Personal Power (audio series) — Tony Robbins– goes really deep on the ‘awaken the giant within’ concepts and also talks about the ‘6 human needs’ which gives you such a clear understanding of how your emotions work.

Healing Trauma, Peter Levine— (available on audible) an audiobook that uses visualization and mindfulness-based exercises to guide you through the process of healing trauma. Through doing the exercises, you can actually feel ‘energy’ moving in your body and you can feel yourself relaxing in ways that you probably have not felt before.

You will become familiar with how your emotions are affecting your thoughts (in a profound way) all the time, and also about how emotions become stored in the nervous system. We have all experienced trauma in some form in our pasts— they may not be obvious traumas (and this statement is not a trivialization of people who have been through incredibly hard traumatic times) but for most of us emotional hardships from our past will become stored in our body and our unconscious.

This audiobook will bring those (forgotten) feelings to the surface as you listen along with him. This audiobook is genius.

(Ps. For anyone who looks at this and thinks that the author is some boring old dude, or that his work doesn’t apply to them; Elliott Hulse cites him as one of the greats of our time in understanding the emotions and the nervous system.. and most of Elliott’s work is based on his research. Just a little authority bias to get you moving 😉 (ALSO, if you experience unexplained symptoms such as headaches, irritable bowel, general anxiety, back pain, nightmares, phobias, fatigue, dissociation, inability to make commitments; then it is possible (but not guaranteed) that these are somatic symptoms of past trauma)

The art of thinking clearly, Rolf Dobelli— This is a book about the cognitive biases that are affecting your decisions all the time. . Have you ever impulsively bought something just because it was the last one in the shop and ‘thought’ you were making a conscious decision? Or you found yourself verbally agreeing with someone, even though on the inside you disagreed with them? On almost every page the author cites example after example of emotional phenomena such as our experience on a regular basis. It has 99 cognitive biases and fallacies that we all fall for daily and understanding them is a key to having emotional awareness and intelligence.

Getting Things Done, David Allen — I have put this in the essential section because it is a book that has done more for my emotional health than probably any other (apart from the Peter Levine Audiobook and the Mindfulness Book). However, this book comes with a massive warning: To really get any value from this it takes practicing the ideas that he includes in the book. And most likely, while learning the ideas you will end up throwing the book across the room because it is very frustrating to initially implement the ideas. (The book is also written in a very dry way and he really should make a video product explaining what he is talking about). If you are willing to commit and take time to learn, this book is the best book ever and the payout is astonishing. Every hotel room should have a copy of this book in it instead of the bible. 

The Ultramind Solution, Mark Hyman — This book is really good. You don’t have to go crazy with all the supplements that he recommends (unless you feel that would be of particular value to you). But the main thing to get from it is the 6-week ultramind detox plan. To summarise 6 weeks of clean food, no allergy-causing foods. After 6 weeks, you reintroduce those old foods to your diet, and then notice the effect that they have on your ability to think clearly (and your overall health). Ultimately, if you are eating foods that you are allergic to and don’t even know it (like I was).. you are not going to be thinking optimally and you are not going to feel great– no matter how much ’emotional intelligence’ you have.

The Way of the Superior Man, David Deida — If you’re a guy reading this list… Just buy this book.

The Blueprint, RSD Tyler — This is a video product from Real Social Dynamics. It is geared towards understanding the dynamics of your own mind, as well as social dynamics that affect us, in the context of cold approach pick up. It is a long program and I have never met anyone who watched it who didn’t afterward go through several weeks or months of continually thinking about this information.

The Power Of Now, Eckhart Tolle


Psychocybernetics, Maxwell Maltz — You’ll gain a greater emotional intelligence by reading just the first few chapters of this book than from any other so-called book on emotional intelligence. We all have internal strategies for doing things. This book will help you understand your unconscious mind and help you to start creating your own mental ways/strategies (through visualization and self-talk) for programming your unconscious mind. You can spend years learning hypnosis to program your unconscious mind… Or you can just read this book.

Monsters on magical sticks: There’s no such thing as hypnosis (steven heller)– A book about how the brain learns association. On the face of it, it is a book about hypnosis, But really it is a book about learning and how we learn. This is the best book that no one has ever heard of and I recommend it to everyone.

The Chimp Paradox, Steve Peters– Only read the first few chapters where he talks about ‘the chimp paradox’… It goes into detail, using very simple metaphors on how your emotional brain (not your conscious rational brain) drives all of your decisions. He explains how you will then rationalize these emotional choices… He goes on to talk about how you can be more aware of this happening and live more consciously 

Awareness, OSHO — I think that OSHO is fucking crazy, but this is an incredible book. I believe that Tyler calls a lot of his work ‘cult babble’… and there is a lot of that in here. But in this book, he will hit you with some amazingly deep concepts

Meditation: The first and last Freedom, OSHO — This is not as good as ‘Awareness’ for gaining emotional intelligence but it has some great nuggets in it.

Social Intelligence, Daniel Goleman — I don’t recommend books like ’emotional intelligence as they will turn you into a hypochondriac of your own mind. I actually thought that his book social intelligence was a better book about understanding emotions than ’emotional intelligence’, also by Daniel Goleman. But that’s just my opinion.

Anxious, Joseph DeLoux — The main principle I got from this was of gradual desensitization in order to calm anxiety. It’s the principle behind how your nervous system works. (Peter Levine’s Healing Trauma audiobook mentioned above will give you exercises in which you can experience this)

Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg — You only really need to read the first third of the book which is about how you form habits. This may have nothing to do with emotions on the surface. But really all of your emotions are habitual.

Prometheus Rising, Robert Anton Wilson — There is a video on youtube, from sounds true, where the author summarises the main points of this book. It is MINDBLOWING.

Watch it here.

Some closing thoughts on how you can observe the workings of your mind and emotions and understand them more clearly:

-Book yourself a couple of appointments in an isolation tank.

-Also try smoking weed a few times if you don’t already, this will change your perspective.
-Don’t smoke weed in the isolation tank.. you’ll probably freak out.

-If you can find them, get a hold of some Richard Bandler audio videos on Hypnotic Repatterning or NLP (from the ’90s onwards). He talks in this weird hypnotic way for hours. Then at night, you have fucking strange dreams. I don’t know how much these helped with my emotional health because the whole thing was subliminal. But it’s worth looking out for!

-Read books by people who think outside the box in societal terms: Frankie Boyle, Noam Chomsky, Russell Brand (youtube channel)

-Go out

-Help other people using these ideas

-Be very fucking careful who’s seminars you go to– a lot of people are trying to cash in on the self-development market and will sell you a fucking course which is basically them reading trashy-magazine type ‘top tip’ articles to you. Unless you are paying to see someone with a lot of credibilities, and who you have checked out, in this field like Dr. Bandler, RSD, Tony Robbins, or Tony Buzan– Do not pay £100’s or £1000’s for a fucking course!!!

-Write your learnings and musings down… Don’t keep them in your head.

-Before bed, or before you take an afternoon nap, listen to hypnosis tapes 

This is really the list I wish I had when I got started.. it would have saved me years of fannying about. Take care guys and hope you get something out of it!

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and check out some more articles you may like to continue your self improvement journey!

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