Skip to main content
Trade Books For Courses Tradebooks for Courses

Permission to Feel

The Power of Emotional Intelligence to Achieve Well-Being and Success

Marc Brackett

Celadon Books

Permission to Feel Download image

ISBN10: 1250212839
ISBN13: 9781250212832

Trade Paperback

304 Pages



Request Desk Copy
Request Exam Copy


Sign up to receive information about new books, author events, and special offers.

Sign up now

"We have a crisis on our hands, and its victims are our children."

Marc Brackett is a professor in Yale University’s Child Study Center and founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. In his 25 years as an emotion scientist, he has developed a remarkably effective plan to improve the lives of children and adults—a blueprint for understanding our emotions and using them wisely so that they help, rather than hinder, our success and well-being. The core of his approach is a legacy from his childhood, from an astute uncle who gave him permission to feel. He was the first adult who managed to see Marc, listen to him, and recognize the suffering, bullying, and abuse he’d endured. And that was the beginning of Marc’s awareness that what he was going through was temporary. He wasn’t alone, he wasn’t stuck on a timeline, and he wasn’t “wrong” to feel scared, isolated, and angry. Now, best of all, he could do something about it.

In the decades since, Marc has led large research teams and raised tens of millions of dollars to investigate the roots of emotional well-being. His prescription for healthy children (and their parents, teachers, and schools) is a system called RULER, a high-impact and fast-effect approach to understanding and mastering emotions that has already transformed the thousands of schools that have adopted it. RULER has been proven to reduce stress and burnout, improve school climate, and enhance academic achievement. This book is the culmination of Marc’s development of RULER and his way to share the strategies and skills with readers around the world. It is tested, and it works.

This book combines rigor, science, passion and inspiration in equal parts. Too many children and adults are suffering; they are ashamed of their feelings and emotionally unskilled, but they don’t have to be. Marc Brackett’s life mission is to reverse this course, and this book can show you how.

You can also check out the RULER website to learn more about how you can implement the RULER approach in your day-to-day life:


Praise for Permission to Feel

"More than any other book on human feelings, Permission to Feel integrates psychological research, educational practice, and compelling stories, including Marc Brackett’s own life experiences, to make emotional intelligence come alive. This is one book that leaders, educators, parents, students, and researchers will all find valuable . . . and fun to read."—Peter Salovey, President of Yale University and Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology

"We often create a false dichotomy between thinking and feeling. In this dichotomy, thinking is important, strong, and adaptive, but feeling is not. Marc Brackett shows us how emotions and our ability to feel, understand, and use them are key to fulfilling our potential."—Carol Dweck, Author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and Professor of Psychology, Stanford University

"Permission to Feel is a deeply insightful and compelling examination of one of the most important but ignored dimensions of the human experience. In his honest, funny, and illuminating way, Marc Brackett helps us to understand how emotions influence our health, performance, and overall well-being, and how we can leverage their power to transform our lives.”—Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, 19th Surgeon General of the United States

"A compelling and complete journey that delivers on its promise of giving us permission to feel. Marc Brackett shows us that emotional intelligence is not a gift but a skill—one that we can all learn, and benefit from immensely."—Angela Duckworth, Author of Grit, CEO, Character Lab, and Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania

“This book is groundbreaking, eye opening, practical, and perhaps even life changing. Weaving together powerful stories and provocative research, Marc Brackett brilliantly conveys how social and emotional skills can improve the quality of our lives, relationships, and work. With compassion, humor, and wisdom Brackett shares perspectives that challenge us all to be better people.”—Roger Weissberg, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago; Chief Knowledge Officer, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

“There is a dire need to cultivate social and emotional skills in our nation’s youth. That starts with cultivating emotional intelligence in everyone involved in the education of children. Permission to Feel lays a framework for what adults need to learn in order to support children—and themselves—in achieving academic and life success.”—Carmen Fariña, Chancellor Emeritus, New York City Department of Education

"[M]akes a persuasive case that our feelings aren’t impediments but provide important information that can change of our lives for the better—when we give ourselves permission to feel them . . . Leaders, educators, parents, students, and researchers will find value in this informative book."—Tara Well, Barnard College, Psychology Today

"In business, we are often pressured to withhold or suppress emotions, ultimately creating toxic environments and interpersonal conflict. In Permission to Feel, Marc Brackett teaches essential skills and tools for bringing our best selves forward. The results? Enhanced personal and professional outcomes, and healthier and more engaging workplaces. A must-read for every entrepreneur and their investors."—Deborah Quazzo, Managing Partner GSV AcceleraTE Fund

“An intriguing approach to identifying and relating to one’s emotions . . . [Brackett] presents a five-step method he calls R.U.L.E.R.: We need to recognize our emotions, understand what has caused them, be able to label them with precise terms and descriptions, know how to safely and effectively express them, and be able to regulate them in productive ways. The author walks readers through each step and provides an intriguing tool to use to help identify a specific emotion. Brackett introduces a four-square grid called a Mood Meter, which allows one to define where an emotion falls based on pleasantness and energy. He also uses four colors for each quadrant: yellow for high pleasantness and high energy, red for low pleasantness and high energy, green for high pleasantness and low energy, and blue for low pleasantness and low energy. The idea is to identify where an emotion lies in this grid in order to put the R.U.L.E.R. method to good use. The author’s research is wide-ranging, and his interweaving of his personal story with the data helps make the book less academic and more accessible."Kirkus Reviews

"Brackett examines how acknowledging one’s emotions can create confidence and promote mental health in this provocative, accessible work. Brackett uses his own life story—he was bullied and sexually molested as a child—to demonstrate the toxicity of repression and how the openness and attention of his uncle eventually gave him 'permission to feel' again. With a primary focus on helping adults teach children emotional intelligence, Brackett encourages readers to accept and evaluate their emotions (both positive and negative). He then explains his R.U.L.E.R. technique—recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotion—and recommends adults teach these steps to children as a means for dealing with stress or trauma. He emphasizes that stress can negatively impede a child’s creativity and memory and encourages negative behaviors such as poor diet and, eventually, smoking. While Brackett focuses on educational and child-based applications for his methods, his wise principles can easily be applied to adult situations as well. Readers looking for strategies for responding to stress, particularly in children, will find much guidance in this cogent, welcoming work.”Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Marc Brackett

Marc Brackett, Ph.D., author of Permission to Feel, is the founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and a professor in the Child Study Center at Yale University. Marc has published 125 scholarly articles on the role of emotions and emotional intelligence in learning, decision making, creativity, relationships, health, and performance. He is the lead developer of RULER, an evidence-based, systemic approach to social and emotional learning that has been adopted by more than two thousand schools, pre-K through high school, across the United States and in other countries. Marc has received numerous awards and is on the board of directors for the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). He is co-founder of Oji Life Lab, a digital emotional intelligence learning system for businesses. Marc also consults regularly with corporations like Facebook, Microsoft, and Google on integrating emotional intelligence principles into employee training and product design.

Horacio Marquinez