If you want to strengthen your emotional intelligence, then Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success by Chip Conley will give you many practical steps to accomplish that.
In addition to drawing on stories of his own difficult experiences as a CEO, he includes stories about Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa, Victor Frankel, Andre Agassi, Oprah Winfrey, Charles Darwin, and many others.
The equations seem a bit dry at first but I appreciate the pithiness of them. They appeal to the left brained part of me.
He lists many questions throughout the first half of the book to help you dig deeper to solve your problems. Questions such as “If pondering whether to do something or not ask yourself: Is it repeatable? Can it be repaired if something goes wrong?”
He provides an unique exercise for working through fear: create a series of training steps that would help someone else understand how you obsess about a particular issue that gives you fear, such as financial issues.
Don’t overlook the notes section at the end of the book. He suggests more books to read and additional insights.
I like this Zen parable that he shares on page 226:
My friend Sandeep reminded me of the parable of a rich man, fond of felines, who asked a famous Zen ink painter to draw him a cat. The master agreed and asked the man to come back in three months. When the man returned, he was put off, again and again, until a year had passed. Finallly, at the man’s request, the master drew out a brush, and with grace and ease, in a single fluid motion, drew a picture of a cat, the most marvelous image the man had ever seen. First he was stoned. Then he grew angry. “That drawing took you only thirty seconds! Why did you make me wait a year?” he demanded. Without a word, the master opened a cabinet, and out fell thousands of good, bad, and ugly drawings of cats. How can you become th Zen master who cracks the code of your life?
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