Days are Long-Life is Short By Christopher Peterson, Ph.D. Created Dec 28 2009-4:10pm
I hope that no one thinks that a writer of blog entries about "the good life" (i.e., me) has it all together. Competitive soul that I am, I bet I could trounce most of you who read my entries on formal measures of neuroticism and rumination. As a writer, I try to convey a public persona of being somewhat evolved and somewhat wise. Believe me, it ain't so. As much as anyone and maybe more than most, I get mired down in the minutiae and hassles of everyday life. I fret about the ever-growing number of e-mail messages that inhabit my inbox. I worry that people may not like me, even and especially people I don't like myself. I putter way too much, sometimes spending as much time formatting a scholarly paper as I do researching and writing it. I fill up many of my days doing small things that do not matter. I know it, but sometimes I can't help myself.
A common inside joke among research psychologists is that we study those topics that we simply do not get. In some cases, this is obvious. Myopic psychologists seem more likely to study vision than their 20-20 colleagues. Out-of-shape psychologists seem more likely to study physical fitness, and unmarried psychologists seem more likely to study marriage.
Following this line of reasoning, are positive psychologists less than positive? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I could characterize the major academic players in positive psychology as walking the walk versus talking the talk, but they are my friends and my colleagues, happy or not, and I will respect their privacy. It's probably enough that I have just outed myself as needing further work. Indeed, gossip is not my point, Rather, my point is to discuss an enemy of the good life, one that is my particular demon but also one that may plague others: getting mired down in the unpleasant details and demands of everyday life. Sometimes people are urged to live in the moment. I think this advice needs to be qualified by understanding what the moment entails. To paraphrase Albert Ellis, if the moment in which we live is draped in ought's and should's, it is probably better not to live in it.
Everyday life of course poses demands, and I am not saying that we should ignore those we do not like. I am simply saying - to myself, if no one else - to keep the bigger picture in mind. Things not worth doing are not worth doing obsessively. There must be an ancient Buddhist aphorism that makes my point profoundly, but I'll just say it bluntly, in plain 21st century Americanese: Don't sweat the small stuff; and most of it is small stuff. Days are long. Life is short. Live it well.
The book is well written in a very conversational tone.
The chapters were brief blog entries so you could read a chapter if you only had a few minutes or you can get sucked in and probably read the whole book in one night.
"Pursuing the Good Life" is a different book: it is a collection of short essays (presumably blog posts) from Dr. Peterson's Psychology Today blog.
So you won't waste time like I did in trying to "get" this book by reading it for awhile before realizing [and I have strong background in the field of Positive Psychology] my time... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Doc
Christopher Peterson wondered how many University of Michigan students were named “Victor” so the U-M psychology professor checked the online directory and found 23. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Joseph J. Serwach
For "Pursuing the Good Life," psychology professor Christopher Peterson has selected, edited, and annotated 100 brief essays from his ongoing "Psychology Today" positive psychology... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Michael Lichter
I selected this book because I have studied a little bit about happiness (class at UNC Continuing Ed) and done therapy and changed and improved and all that. Wow. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Karen Tiede
I love the positive message of this book. You can open it anywhere and find some nugget to make your day brighter. More thoughtful. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Book Addict
I've enjoyed reading a wide variety of positive and forward thinking psychology books over the years. Read morePublished 16 months ago by James John Hollandsworth, M.D.
Author Christopher Peterson is a psychology professor at the University of Michigan and also author of a blog titled "The Good Life" on behalf of Psychology Today, a mainstream... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Susan Schenck
The 100 essays concern many topics. Most are at least interesting and many are valuable from the point of good life. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Markku Ojanen
The reflections start off a bit boring and defensive, which may put you off the book. The first 10 reflections are all about the concept of Positive Psychology and mostly defending... Read morePublished 17 months ago by K. Hudson