Your 2018 Reading List

What books will you read in 2018?  


If you want to continue developing your own capacity for emotional intelligence, I’ve listed below a few names you should know and books you might want to consider.

One of those persons I’ve listed is Daniel Goleman, the main popularizer of the concept. He breaks emotional intelligence into four components:

One is self-awareness: knowing what you’re feeling and why you feel it, how it’s affecting what you do, what you think. The second: self-management. Not only knowing what you’re feeling but handling your destructive emotions so that they’re less disturbing. Maybe marshalling positive emotions, positive outlook, so you can work toward goals. Third: empathy, knowing what other people are thinking. Or rather, what other people are feeling. They don’t tell us in words, they tell us in their tone of voice, gestures, and so on. And the fourth component is putting that all together so as to manage effective relationships – i.e. handling your relationships well.[i]

Emotional intelligence matters in ministry! So reading more about it can make a difference in your life and leadership. With that in mind, here are a few names and books to consider.

Names and Books

The first researchers to develop the concept of emotional intelligence back around 1990: Peter Salovey, now the president of Yale University, and then-graduate student, Jack Mayer, now a Psychologist at the University of New Hampshire. Salovey wrote The Emotionally Intelligent Manager: How to Develop and Use the Four Key Emotional Skills of Leadership. 

The guy who popularized the term “emotional intelligence”: Daniel Goleman, then a journalist for the New York Times, took their concept and published a book on it called Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ in 1995. It stayed on the New York Times Best Seller List for a year and a half.

Today, the field has exploded and there are many books. But if you want the original book that popularized the concept, Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence is it.

Goleman himself actually recommends five other books you can find here.

In terms of books written with Christians or clergy particularly in mind, you want to know Roy Oswald. Oswald, an ordained Lutheran minister, author of numerous books and an Alban Institute consultant for 31 years, published The Emotional Intelligence of Jesus: Relational Smarts for Religious Leaders in 2015.    

Practical Application for Pastors

I am currently writing a book myself that will focus on application of emotional intelligence to clergy leadership. My book will not focus on academic theory but practical ministerial issues. There’s currently nothing on the market like what I have in mind.

Please pray for me! Turns out, writing a book is hard and sometimes I struggle. Still, I am making progress and have recently hired a fantastic editor to help me out.

By the way, if you would like to participate in creating my book, several ways exist for you to do so. I need some folks to read drafts and give me feedback. I also need to hear as many real life anecdotes as possible on the topics of clergy who struggle with or who wildly succeed in areas such as dealing with stress, conflict, criticism, leading change or ministry’s typical unrealistic expectations.

If you would like to help in either of those areas, please email me and express your interest.

Meanwhile, blessings to you in all your work.


[i] Retrieved 2/9/18 from

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