Soft Skills for Finance: Inspirational Books


As my colleague Jason Voss, CFA put it so well, “the more complete you are, the better you are as a financial professional”. In the same vein, I share with you a few books that have both informed and inspired my philosophy of leadership. Whether you are currently leading or leading other people, aspire to do so, or just want to improve and improve your skills, I hope you find these readings valuable.


The search for meaning of manThe search for meaning of man by Viktor Frankl

Regarded as a groundbreaking work in the field of psychology when it was published, it recounts the author’s accounts of his experience and survival in the Nazi death camps and his concept of logotherapy. I’m not going to lie – it’s not exactly a “light” read, but it’s worth it and, if you’re not interested in the ins and outs of how to apply logotherapy in a clinical setting ( part two), it is a quick and fascinating reading.

Frankl’s thesis is that as human beings we have the unique ability and freedom to transcend our suffering and find meaning in our life, regardless of our unique circumstances. Here are my takeaways:

  • We are much stronger than we realize, both emotionally and physically.
  • We alone have the choice to decide how we will react to another person and our environment, and this ability to choose can in fact lead to an incredibly stimulating level of personal freedom.
  • If this man could go through the horrors he recounts and turn his own experience into a clinical methodology that has helped countless others, what can’t we endure or accomplish with a similar perspective?

Taking some time out of your work and hectic routine to take a step back and focus on some of life’s deepest meanings is a worthwhile pursuit and will likely earn you more than you realize, like deepening your understanding of yourself, clarifying your values ​​and goals, and perhaps helping to improve your level of empathy towards others.


Emotional intelligence: why can it matter more than IQEmotional intelligence by Daniel Goleman

In what is arguably the seminal work that popularized the concept of emotional intelligence, or EQ, Goleman links psychological and neuroscientific research into regulated emotional functions in the brain to help explain the other side of human intelligence, not captured by its IQ. We’ve all seen him – a very intelligent person who excels academically but can’t get along well with others on a personal level.

Which give? Are we just genetically wired to “get it” or not from birth?

Goleman’s definition of emotional intelligence consists of 5 aspects:

  1. Emotional self-awareness;
  2. Manage your emotions;
  3. Use emotions productively or motivate yourself;
  4. Empathy or the ability to read the emotions of others; and
  5. Manage relationships.

While some of us may be born with a higher degree of emotional intelligence than others, Goleman’s thesis is: emotional intelligence can be learned and improved through the right experiences and / or teaching models. Her writing skillfully blends scientific research into the brain and our emotions with examples and stories that truly engage the reader and keep the reader interested throughout.

I strongly encourage you to read Emotional intelligence especially if you are not yet of the opinion that intelligence, both traditional and emotional, can be learned and / or improved. Even if his argument doesn’t completely change your mind, you will at least have the satisfaction of fully understanding his reasoning and gaining a useful perspective on how EQ has earned its place in the realm of leadership and leadership. managerial theory.


Working with emotional intelligenceWorking with emotional intelligence by Daniel Goleman

While Emotional intelligence focuses on the student and educational environment, Goleman shifts gears into Working with emotional intelligence adults and the workplace. He argues that emotional intelligence skills tend to be the biggest predictors of success at work, in life, and as a leader.

Goleman also believes that emotional intelligence can be learned even in adulthood; that it tends to increase with age / over time; and that, if in fact you haven’t “figured it out” at a younger age, be careful because you can improve and increase these skills at any age. We hear a lot these days about employers emphasizing ‘cultural fit’ during the hiring, onboarding and retention phases, and I think part of that concept can boil down to emotional intelligence. Working with emotional intelligence can help you better understand some of the essential ‘soft skills’ that employers are looking for and can be a great place to start in increasing your awareness and understanding of yourself and others.


Please note that the content of this site should not be construed as investment advice and that the opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute.

Photo credit: © iStockphoto.com / olaser

Heather packard

Heather Packard is Director of Product Development at the CFA Institute and is the Expert in Leadership, Management and Communication Skills (LMCS). Previously, she was the Managing Partner of Trilogy Corporation of Virginia, where she was responsible for the development and operation of a regional territory for telecommunications sales and network integration. Packard also served as the Collections Coordinator for the University of Virginia Science and Engineering Libraries. She holds a BA in English and Spanish Literature from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and an MA in Spanish Literature from the University of Virginia. Thematic skills: Leadership, management and communication skills


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.