Darren Hood’s Emotional Intelligence Book Recommendation List (for UXers)

by Darren Hood, MSUXD, MSIME

I’ve been advocating for the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) among UX professionals for several years now. I’ve delivered a talk on the same multiple times over the past few years and am currently presenting the topic on my podcast. The most frequently asked question that arises involves how to learn more about and improving one’s EQ.

In response, I’ve decided to publish my EQ book recommendation list. I’ll expand as I discover more over time, but here’s my current list of favorite books on the subject:

  • The EQ Difference (Adele Lynn)
    Adele Lynn’s book has been one of my favorites on EQ, as she was the first author I encountered with what some might consider to be an expanded model. For this reason, I highlighted her during my recent podcast on this topic. Most authors presented four segments of EQ, while Lynn spoke of five, all focused on how we specifically engage at work: 1) Self-awareness and self control; 2) Empathy; 3) Social expertness; 4) Personal influence and 5) Mastery of purpose and vision. Understanding and embracing these factors can help an individual ascend to heightened operation in EQ.

Any of these books would serve as a treasure chest in one’s quest for optimal EQ. You can pick one or two or you can be like me and buy them all. And I’ll exercise EQ by being patient as I digest the critical content contained in each over time

Best wishes in your quest!

Interested in an EQ Eval?

If you’re interested, you can also take a quick quiz via the folks at MindTools that provides high-level insights of your current EQ level. You can find more in-depth analysis tools, but if you’re just starting to dive into the topic and get a quick glimpse, this quiz will help lay a sound foundation for your EQ journey.


Doing UX is about quite a bit more than the work alone. We must cultivate and manage relationships. We must manage the frustrations that go along with managing UX maturity levels. We must remain constructive and practical when dealing with difficult clients or stakeholders. The challenges associated with operating as a UX professional are practically innumerable (and those who fail to inform you about such are doing you a gross disservice.

In order to thrive in the midst of these elements, one must deliberately focus on and mature when it comes to EQ. These resources will help.

For those interested, here’s the first episode of a 13-part series from The World of UX podcast entitled “Emotional Intelligence and UX.” Happy trails!

About Darren

Darren Hood is a 26+ year UX practitioner with a broad professional footprint that spans several types of business. He serves as an adjunct professor at Kent State University (Kent, Ohio), Lawrence Tech University (Southfield, Michigan), and Harrisburg University (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania). He is also one of the authors featured in “97 Things Every UX Practitioner Should Know.”

You can hear more from the Darren by checking out the UX Uncensored Medium page or listening to The World of UX with Darren Hood wherever podcasts are available.



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UX Uncensored

Darren Hood: UX pro (27+ yrs), adjunct professor, TEDx and conference speaker, author (97 Things UX book), host of The World of UX podcast, & “pure UX” advocate