In this self-help book, Dr. Ann Polya posits that we all have the capacity to capitalize on our innate emotional intelligence (E.Q.) in order to better understand ourselves, predict how others will act, and communicate effectively to establish rewarding relationships.
In the book’s first part, Polya discusses how readers can use their E.Q. to benefit their individual growth. In the second section, she shifts focus to interaction with others, and in the final part, she talks about how readers can apply their E.Q skills to meet challenges that have emerged in the pandemic-driven environment. Each chapter concludes with a bullet-point summary and a short word puzzle “to keep our brains fit.”
Throughout, the author uses case studies of three individuals to illustrate how their E.Q. can be expanded. For example, Ashley can easily empathize with people but has a harder time feeling compassion for those who threaten, challenge or make demands on her. Polya suggests Ashley use reflection to determine if a certain reaction is reasonable, among other ideas.
Become Better reaches its stride when Polya addresses current challenges; for example, the penetration of social media into all aspects of life. Used without emotional intelligence, it can derail relationships and careers. But it also, notes Polya, can be a powerful force for good, creating new communication channels. With strong E.Q. skills, users will know how to challenge the veracity of information using empathy that encourages greater tolerance for different viewpoints. The author applies a similar approach to the topics of remote working, climate change and the exponential growth of new technologies.
With so many aspects of life outside of our control, some readers may feel Polya’s belief in the problem-solving power of emotional intelligence is overly optimistic. And the word puzzles seem irrelevant to honing emotional intelligence and distract from the book’s focus.
However, these issues don’t seriously hamper what, overall, is a well-written exploration about how developing our EQ skills can better our lives.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.