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Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life [Kindle Edition]

Martin E. Seligman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (295 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Known as the father of the new science of positive psychology, Martin E.P. Seligman draws on more than twenty years of clinical research to demonstrate how optimism enchances the quality of life, and how anyone can learn to practice it. Offering many simple techniques, Dr. Seligman explains how to break an “I—give-up” habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue. These skills can help break up depression, boost your immune system, better develop your potential, and make you happier.. With generous additional advice on how to encourage optimistic behavior at school, at work and in children, Learned Optimism is both profound and practical–and valuable for every phase of life.


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Martin Seligman, a renowned psychologist and clinical researcher, has been studying optimists and pessimists for 25 years. Pessimists believe that bad events are their fault, will last a long time, and undermine everything. They feel helpless and may sink into depression, which is epidemic today, especially among youths. Optimists, on the other hand, believe that defeat is a temporary setback or a challenge--it doesn't knock them down. "Pessimism is escapable," asserts Seligman, by learning a new set of cognitive skills that will enable you to take charge, resist depression, and make yourself feel better and accomplish more.

About two-thirds of this book is a psychological discussion of pessimism, optimism, learned helplessness (giving up because you feel unable to change things), explanatory style (how you habitually explain to yourself why events happen), and depression, and how these affect success, health, and quality of life. Seligman supports his points with animal research and human cases. He includes tests for you and your child--whose achievement may be related more to his or her level of optimism/pessimism than ability. The final chapters teach the skills of changing from pessimism to optimism, with worksheet pages to guide you and your child. --Joan Price

From Library Journal

The author, a leading expert on the theory and treatment of depression, has written a lively, very accessible book on the power of a positive outlook and how to develop it. Basing his theories on his original research on "learned helplessness," Seligman goes on to develop a systematic model for the cognitive treatment of depression. This book summarizes his more recent work on a person's characteristic predisposition toward optimism or pessimism. Convincingly demonstrating that an optimistic mood contributes to one's success and happiness, Seligman goes on to demonstrate how a more optimistic outlook can be developed. Presented for lay readers, this book can be highly recommended to professionals as well for its lucid and informative introduction to cognitive therapy and its approach to issues of mood and depression.
- Paul Hymowitz, New York Medical Coll.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1325 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1400078393
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (August 10, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005DB6S7K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,621 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
371 of 385 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I have always been very skeptical of all "self help" books, believing they were mainly fluff and a waste of time. On a whim I thought I would buy this book since it was written by a psychologist and clinical researcher, and claimed to have evidence that optimists actually do succeed more and accomplish more.

As stated earlier, the author is a psychologist and clinical researcher who has spent the majority of his life studying learned helplessness and optimism. After many clinical trials, he has been hired in many "real world" situations (including Met Life Insurance and sports teams) to improve results and test optimism and success. The results are astounding. The book describes the results using these real-life projects. As evidenced by these studies, optimism helps persons succeed in business, sports, politics, health, school, and literally all walks of life.

The book demonstrated over and over again how I was handicapping myself by being negative and a pessimist. I am a very logical person and it took a book like this, written factually instead of emotionally, to open my eyes to pessimism. Since reading this book, I have dedicated myself to being an optimist, and I must say I have already noticed major differences in my life. I am succeeding at things I never would have even attempted before, and I have become very resilient in non-favorable situations. I have surprised myself over and over again.

Not too many "life changing" books come along, but this book was definitely one for me. If you are a pessimist, this book can transform your life. If you are average or only slightly positive, this book can improve your life greatly. Do yourself a favor and read this book!
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338 of 352 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising and Convincing September 15, 1999
By Karen
Format:Paperback
The thing that consistently surprised me about this book was the way that the author was able to provide extensive scientific verification for his claims. Most "self-help" books have anecdotal evidence at best to support their hypotheses. This book solidly supports its conclusions by means of numerous formal studies. Moreover, some of the material is very counter-intuitive. Attitudes one would have assumed were optimistic turn out to be pessimistic, and vice-versa.
Seligman shows repeatedly where actual, testable predictions have been made based on his notions of optimism/pessimism, and the predictions have turned out to be well-founded. This requires careful, systematic definitions of terms, which he provides.
Equally interesting was Seligman's analysis of the consequenses of optimism and pessimism, and his demonstration that optimism can be learned, with beneficial results that extend well beyond "feeling good."
I highly recommend this book.
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161 of 170 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I am a psychologist myself, and ever since i first began studying psychology, I have been fascinated by the work of Dr. Seligman. Once I started working as a therapist, I purchased and this book to facilitate my work with clients. Dr. Seligman is a talented, amusing, and engaging writer who presents an extremely pursuasive review of his research into the effects of learned optimism on mood, performance, health, etc. Because his research includes areas as diverse as including health (showing greater breast cancer survival rates for those who are more optimistic), sales success (proving that optimistic salesman are more successful), and sports/politics (providing evidence that both sports teams and political candidates are more likely to win when optimism is increased), his methods are beleivable to even the most die-hard psychological skeptic.

Dr. Seligman explains your attribution style--that is, how you explain your successes/failures--can have a major impact on mood as well as all of the other dimensions mentioned above. He provides the reader with a concrete, easily understandible model to asses their own thinking style, emphasizing that being able to monitor your thoughts is the first step towards changing them. Finally, he presents a simple plan for changing though patterns which involves easy to implement steps. This book will definitely help you to better understand how your thought patterns affect your mood and how to go about making changes in order to live a happier, healthier life; highly recommended.
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127 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Stuff Works November 24, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I am a commercial real estate broker. Some years back, when I was involved in apartment rentals, and shortly after the first edition of the book was published, I decided, in an effort to enhance my production, to try the "Adversity-Belief-Consequences-Disputation-Energization" technique the author described. I was nothing short of amazed at the results. My production shot up! I had the two best months ever in the business. Perhaps luck was involved, but I have repeated the process numerous times over the years, particularly when I am suffering from an emotional lull, and invariably, something positive happens to me, in either my business or personal life. There is something almost eerie about this, and frankly if I didn't experience this myself, I doubt I would believe someone else recounting the same experience. I can only assume that by requiring you to LOGICALLY come up with reasons for thinking positively (rather than the b.s. along the lines of "I'm getting better and better every day")this manifests itself in small, subtle but detectible changes in your behavior. I highly recommend this book as a "thinking man's" self-help book, for people who are too well-educated to respond to meaningless self-talk.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good practical application
This was a good book that not only offers practical advice for changing your learned thought processes but also cites specific studies that report on the benefits of being... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Stanleyrox
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Well explained with helpful tips. Perhaps somewhat overly simplistic but broad concept backed up with loads of data.
Published 1 day ago by Emma J
1.0 out of 5 stars Turn that frown upside down, by some guy who used to do science
This is based on the flawed assumption that everyone's life experiences are pretty much the same, which they are not. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book to change your outlook on events to a ...
Great book to change your outlook on events to a more optimistic one & make you more productive and happy in your life.
Published 7 days ago by Diane Stone
5.0 out of 5 stars tools for a better life
I have read Dr Seligman's other books and this book just reinforces his wonderful contributions to helping us develop tools of the mind for better living. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Leslie Burkland
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but more like overcoming pessimism
This is a great book, and I continue to use one of the techniques the author mentions, when I find myself with a problem I am struggling with mentally and emotionally. Read more
Published 20 days ago by kaystew
5.0 out of 5 stars ... process very helpful for identifying and working on a better way...
Found his ABCDE process very helpful for identifying and working on a better way to think about adversity we encounter. Read more
Published 21 days ago by S. Woodworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As described
Published 25 days ago by BTsipouras
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful
Martin Seligman helps connect the dots between pessimism and depression, showing how our internal thoughts can create "walls. Read more
Published 26 days ago by AzCroat
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend it,
Very helpful to change a person's attitudes. Highly recommend it,
Published 27 days ago by Christine A. Eckert
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More About the Author

Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., is the Fox Leadership Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, the director of the Positive Psychology Network, and former president of the American Psychological Association. Among his twenty books are Learned Optimism and The Optimistic Child.


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