January 12, 2012
Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Emotional Equations
Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success by Chip Conley, Free Press, 288 pages, $24.00, Hardcover, January 2012, ISBN 9781451607253
Chip Conley bares his soul in his second book, Emotional Equations, and in doing so helps us understand our own. It is painful at times, as he recounts his own doubts and darker moments in life and business, tells us of four friends that took their own lives in one economically depressed summer, and relates the story of when his own heart literally stopped after a business presentation, landing him in the hospital.
But, as Conley discovered, what doesn’t kill us does indeed make us stronger.
As Winston Churchill advised during World War II, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Today, too, we all need to come to understand that we can use our seasons of darkness as a means to find new reservoirs of strength—strength we didn’t know we had.One man who went through hell during WWII and made his way through it was psychologist Viktor Frankl, who made it through a Nazi concentration camp and would eventually write Man’s Search for Meaning, a work that greatly influenced Conley and this book. It is from Frankl’s work that Conley distilled the equation that began the journey that resulted in this project: Despair = Suffering – Meaning.
There are six parts of this book, on such issues as Dealing With Difficult Times, Getting the Most Out of Your Work Life, Defining Who You Are, and Finding Contentment. Within those sections are chapters broken up into individual emotional equations, such as Disappointment = Expectations – Reality, Calling = Pleasure/Pain, and Joy = Love – Fear. What the author does in the process is take us beyond the sometimes touchy/feely world of emotional literacy and into a simple emotional mathematics you can flip through like flashcards when your emotions begin to get the best of you. At the end of the book, he even guides you through how to create and use your own equations.
Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, a book we named as one of The 100 Business Books of All Time, showed that emotional intelligence (EQ) accounts for two-thirds of the success of business executives. Developing a true understanding of the people you’re working with or leading is critical for not only your business success, but for your personal happiness. Developing and maintaining a true understanding of your self is an important part of doing so.
This book, the equations it provides, and the ability it gives you to develop your own shorthand will help a great deal toward that end. I can’t sum it up any better than the author: “Emotional Equations provide a new, visual lexicon for mastering our age of uncertainty.”
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.