Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life” as Want to Read:
Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  8,797 ratings  ·  723 reviews
The counterintuitive approach to achieving your true potential, heralded by the Harvard Business Review as a groundbreaking idea of the year.
The path to fulfillment, whether at work or at home, is almost never a straight line. Ask anyone who has achieved their biggest goals or who thrives in their relationships, and you’ll hear stories of many unexpected detours along t
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Avery Publishing Group (first published September 2016)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Emotional Agility, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Susan David Hi Don,

The introduction is written with humorous intention. Please see the notes at the back as that will help with the background to the story. Thank…more
Hi Don,

The introduction is written with humorous intention. Please see the notes at the back as that will help with the background to the story. Thank you for your interest!


Aaron Kelley Based on my experience reading this book, instead of brooding or bottling, we are to show up to our feelings. To me this means accepting how we feel w…moreBased on my experience reading this book, instead of brooding or bottling, we are to show up to our feelings. To me this means accepting how we feel without placing labels on our feelings that degrade us further. For example, accepting that you feel sad or upset. Then moving toward a wider perspective understanding why you're sad or upset, and reviewing your past to recall instances where you've been here before and putting that knowledge together to work through and beyond your feelings.

This is an extreme oversimplification, but I think the process goes something like this:

1. I feel sad
2. I feel sad because X happen.
3. I've dealt with similar instances of sadness in the past and I'm still here
4. I will be OK.

Again, it's an oversimplification but I think it's the general process. To accept your feelings, bring your experiences to it without judgment or comparison and to move past it.

I hope this is helpful, and more people offer answers.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,797 ratings  ·  723 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life
Anders Brabaek
Read Susan Davids article “Emotional Agility” on Harward Business Review first and then maybe the book. You can find the the article here:
The article above was Susan’s foundation for the book. In the article, the ideas of the book are delivered more concise. By reading the article first, I think you will have a frame for the book, or know if you want to read the book at all.

The primary idea in the book is that we get hugged on our thoughts and emotions, an
Frank Calberg
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Takeaways from reading the book:

What emotions do we have?
- Location 550: We have 7 basic emotions. They are divided in 2 groups: Positive emotions and negative emotions. Joy and surprise are positive emotions. Sadness, fear, contempt, disgust, and surprise are negative emotions. Notice that surprise can be a positive and a negative emotion.
- Location 2200: Fear sometimes appears in disguise, for example when we postpone things, when we seek perfection, when we have low confidence and/or when we
Randall Jackson
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I'll admit that I had to read this book twice before I was able to understand the practical application of it's information. The book has a wealth of scientific study to support the claims that are made. It is good that the author choose to do this even as I am one who does like to be provided proof or evidence to support statements that are claimed to be effectual.

In this book the supporting studies did tend to cloud or make unclear how to practically apply the methods discussed in real time re
Feb 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Oops I did it again.
I read a pseudo-psych book
That coins a new term
to describe the same 10 probably not replicable social science studies
that ends my telling you to practice mindfulness
but you read it to the end anyway
because you're a sucker for self help books.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was expecting a little more from this book given its hype. As others have said, you don't really learn anything new from the book, nor does it offer up much help in applying it to your life. The author just tries to hastily offer up some tired suggestions at the conclusion to make up for the aforementioned flaws. Sure, some of the anecdotal evidence is interesting, but it's not organized in a way that really hammers home any of the principles. Having read many self-help books of this nature, I ...more
Yevgeniy Brikman
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Like so many well-regarded self-help books, this one is a small kernel of valuable content, wrapped in a lot of fluff. It's worth reading for that kernel, but I wish the economics of the publishing industry could do more to incentivize shorter books. This one in particular, being about emotions, has a lot of wishy-washy, high-level, non-actionable advice that you have to skim over to get to the good stuff.

Some of the key insights for me:

* There is a moment between when you feel something and wh
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: health, non-fiction
This was just okay for me. It felt too long and I didn't care for the delivery. There were some nuggets of gold, but they were buried so deep in rhetoric and drama....I wasn't sure this was working for me. I listened to the audio and that is where I went wrong. I should have read the pages. The audio is what was annoying me and it colored my feelings of this. ...more
Aug 11, 2016 added it
This book had a profound impact on my day-to-day life. When I notice myself getting frustrated, I am reminded of this book. Specifically the passage in which the author describes how people can die in fires: due to their panic, people see the way they came in as the only way out, even if there is another way. According to Dr. David, this is a type of "tape" we play in our heads. These "tapes" usually serve us well (the way to get out of a place is the same way we came in), but can cause tragedie ...more
Leigh Kramer
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, favorites
This absolutely blew me away. It's about how we can best navigate life's ups and downs. Emotionally agile people are able to adapt to whatever life throws at them and stay true to their values, as well as grow stronger and healthier.

It's a wonderful blend of story, research, and practical advice. David really gets into our motivations and the habits that trip us up and how small changes can change everything. Some of the concepts were empowering, others confirmed what I've already been doing. If
Adarsh J
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I shall remember to dance while I can!

I really liked this book. The author uses anecdotes from so many different walks of the life that you are bound to connect to some of them, and she being a psychologist, walks you through the situation, explaining possible course of actions, teaching how the thought and the thinker are distinct from each other. The organisation of the content matter is well thought out, it gradually introduces how one can handle emotions and be agile, all the while acknowled
Satya Nelms
May 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
In addition to offering scant details as to how a person should be becoming more emotionally agile, the author also does not do her due diligence to check her lens/bias and makes ignorant, at times offensive, statements that reveal an unchecked, privileged world view.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
I can't say enough good about Emotional Agility. It is sad to realize that in this day of plenty so many people suffer from depression and anxiety. Emotional Agility is full of wisdom for these woes. Susan David walks us through ways to dance your way through troubles. Don't think it's another of those dry textbook self-help books, though; David shares lots of wonderful stories that make her ideas more real and more clear.
Rick Wilson
Apr 28, 2021 rated it it was ok -probably a more valuable read than this book

This is a corporate feel-good self-help book. More or less designed to take somewhere between $10 and $19 from you, waste several hours of your life, and leave you with a fleeting feeling of comfort or improved ability to handle the “big scary world.” Secondary effects may include additional marketing for the authors private practice or consulting career, a feeling of superiority as you recommend this book to o
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don’t usually read non-fiction and self-help books because I tend to find them dry, boring and too factual. This is a very different type of non-fiction book. It is very interesting, relatable to your every-day life and very engaging. Susan David uses a very human and down-to-earth approach and she uses very sympathetic and relatable situations you can learn from and examples to make you reflect about your own behaviour.

Emotional agility comprises many aspects of life and behaviour and Susan D
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology, self-help
IMHO, this book gets so much right, and it really rings true. For people who do not read self-help books, it is not written like a typical self-help and I think you could tolerate it much better. Great insights that are thought-provoking. Recommended.
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
" By knowing who you are and what you stand for, you come to life's choices with the most powerful tool of all: your full self. Dance if you can." ...more
Katie Bromm
Aug 13, 2021 rated it liked it
Parts I liked about reading this book: it was fun as she talked about different aspects of emotional agility to check in and see which parts I’m doing well and which parts I can work on. Really like when she used exercises/examples to help practice what she was speaking about. Parts I didn’t like: each chapter was so different that it was hard to bring it all together. Also that I was forced to read for this for school as opposed to choosing to read it lol. My biggest takeaways from reading will ...more
Purvi Khanna
Oct 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
If this book sounds like something you need to read, you should. It focusses on un-sticking yourself from your patterns (of thinking, reacting or behaving). Would not recommend for information, but it's more of an accessible log of good advice from a friend that is mostly hard to disagree with. ...more
Oct 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Well written and a great source of information. My only issue really was the repetitive uses of ‘weight loss’ research. I felt it was unnecessary how often these pieces of research were used and as someone who believes wholeheartedly in body neutrality it was a bit disappointing.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a good book filled with smart insights into humanity's ability to demonstrate courage at times and to be blockheaded other times. David's material may seem familiar only because it has been so widely discussed and shared, but this is the real deal. Read this book if you're stuck yourself, if you're tired of reacting in knee-jerk ways in certain work or home situations, or if you have kids you're trying to bring up in a world which makes it harder and harder to avoid helicoptering. David' ...more
Hamed Al-Hamdan
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant! Tired of reading the typical psychology books!? This is different. It's more in line with our fast phased life. The next thing after Emotional Intelligence. The author crafted her thoughts through well selected real life vivid examples which makes it easier to grasp. An essential read to manage through change. Learn how to embrace negativity and move forward. I found it energizing! ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a terrific primer on emotional expression and regulation that would benefit many readers. As a therapist, I’ve recommended it to patients who are struggling with self-esteem issues. The story of theVelveteen Rabbit and the list of aspirations in the last chapter makes this a practical book to help with self awareness.
Taryn Pennington
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Listen to the audiobook and then ended up buying the hard copy so I could go back and make notes. Very insightful. Lots of tips on how to it only recognize the emotions we deal with but also how to deal with them properly so they don't consume your life. ...more
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wonderful advice in here; I wish I could implement it.
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a great time to read this book as we all experience a lot of emotions going through the COVID pandemic. It was a good reminder that emotions are teachers to help us figure out what matters to us - and others. I particularly liked the last chapter on Raising Emotionally Agile Children - the skills taught in this book are the best tools we can teach/model for our children for them to truly thrive in this world. I have worked with too many people who grew up all receiving trophies for simp ...more
Jolie Higazi
Aug 03, 2021 rated it liked it
Disclaimer that I’m totally biased in my review— for someone else, there’s lots of solid information here and it could easily be a 5. So take my 3 with a grain of salt.

My rating is more based on whether there were new aha moments for me based on all the reading and exposure I’ve already had on this subject, and I suppose my standard for this might be higher than most folks for whom this is their first encounter with this topic. And if that’s you, I most DEFINITELY do recommend this as a read.

Heidi Goehmann
Aug 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A useful text! I really enjoy the concept of emotional agility v regulation and find it extremely helpful language for client work and also for those looking for how to build resilience, especially in children and youth. This book also feels like it’s essentially the concepts of DBT put into a text about emotions.
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book spoke to me. It almost feels as though it was written for me. I wasn’t too keen on Susan Davids’ TEDTalk—basically an outline of this book—but the full text was worth my attention.

She makes her points clearly, gives relevant examples, uses straightforward language to convey ideas that could be considered “woo woo” in other contexts and organizes the chapters in a sensible order.

The bulk of the pages focus on the reader’s emotional agility in his/her personal life, with parenting and
Nov 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
I don't think anything I read in here was mind-bogglingly new to me. Most were concepts I've thought about and heard/read elsewhere. Still, the thoughts are presented effectively and I liked the anecdotal examples and studies. Here are some points I particularly liked:

"Emotional agility means having any number of troubling thoughts or emotions and still managing to act in a way that serves how you most want to live" pg 102

quoted from Edgar Mitchell, sixth person to walk on the moon "On the retur
Oct 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: stephbe
I know this is a strange thing to say about a non-fiction book, but reading this made me feel like I had come home.

I’ve been interested in Emotional Intelligence for some time. I would like to become qualified in the area and am looking at a few courses. I thought I’d read a few books on the topic before making my final choice, which is what lead me to Susan’s work.

I’ve seen the difference EI can make to stress levels and overall satisfaction with life, so I’m very interested to learning the sci
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Carer + Mentor: Emotional Agility 1 6 Jun 12, 2020 04:26AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know
  • Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience
  • What Happened To You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing
  • Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself
  • The Advice Trap: Be Humble, Stay Curious & Change the Way You Lead Forever
  • Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It
  • How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
  • Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle
  • How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self
  • You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience
  • Богатыристика Кости Жихарева (Приключения Жихаря, #5)
  • Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind
  • A Minute to Think: Reclaim Creativity, Conquer Busyness, and Do Your Best Work
  • Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment
  • The Gifts of Imperfection
  • Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive
  • Fear Less: How to Win at Life Without Losing Yourself
  • Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Susan David, Ph.D., is a Psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School; co-founder and co-director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital; and CEO of Evidence Based Psychology, a boutique business consultancy. An in-demand speaker and advisor, David has worked with the senior leadership of hundreds of major organizations, including the United Nations, Ernst & Young, and the World ...more

Related Articles

Across the U.S., many high-school seniors are entering the nail-biting period of waiting for college admissions decisions. While the die has been...
32 likes · 7 comments
“Life’s beauty is inseparable from its fragility.” 14 likes
“When we show up fully, with awareness and acceptance, even the worst demons usually back down. Simply” 10 likes
More quotes…