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Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment Paperback – November 1, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
In his latest user-friendly road map for human emotion, the author of the bestselling Learned Optimism proposes ratcheting the field of psychology to a new level. "Relieving the states that make life miserable... has made building the states that make life worth living less of a priority. The time has finally arrived for a science that seeks to understand positive emotion, build strength and virtue, and provide guideposts for finding what Aristotle called the `good life,' " writes Seligman. Thankfully, his lengthy homage to happiness may actually live up to the ambitious promise of its subtitle. Seligman doesn't just preach the merits of happiness e.g., happy people are healthier, more productive and contentedly married than their unhappy counterparts but he also presents brief tests and even an interactive Web site (the launch date is set for mid-August) to help readers increase the happiness quotient in their own lives. Trying to fix weaknesses won't help, he says; rather, incorporating strengths such as humor, originality and generosity into everyday interactions with people is a better way to achieve happiness. Skeptics will wonder whether it's possible to learn happiness from a book. Their point may be valid, but Seligman certainly provides the attitude adjustment and practical tools (including self-tests and exercises) for charting the course.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
At last, psychology gets serious about glee, fun and happiness. Martin Seligman has given us a gift - a practical map for the perennial quest for a flourishing life. -- Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence Seligman takes the best, most recent science in psychology and applies it to our oldest, most basic human questions: How can we be happy? And how can we be good? His book is groundbreaking, heart-lifting, and most important, deeply useful. With pun intended, I'm optimistic about its success. -- Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia A highly insightful and personal reflection on the nature of happiness, from one of the most creative and ifluential psychologists of our time. -- Steven Pinker, author of The Language Instinct An amazing book! Absolutely full of practical wisdom and its authentic sources. What depth of understanding! Seligman affirms our power of choice with a perspective on old and new psychology I found compelling and fascinating. This book will help restore the Character Ethic. -- Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People An impressive achievement. This book will change how people view psychology and how all of us view ourselves. -- Howard Gardner, Harvard University, author of Multiple Intelligences Martin Seligman is on a mission: to take the rich and suprising findings of a young field called Positive Psychology and use them to imporve the mental, moral and spiritual well-being of his readers. Being Positive Psychology's founder, as well as a vivid, inspiring writer, he is uniquely qualified for this job. Only one person could have written Authentic Happiness, but millions could benefit from it. -- Robert Wright, author of The Moral Animal
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Top Customer Reviews
While this is the kind of book I could write a really long review about, I think I'll just discuss what I consider to be the best bits for those looking for ways to become happier- which I think is why most people would buy this book. Soooo.....
1) the book provides the reader with a "happiness formula", which is H = S + C + V. This works out to happiness = your genetic Set point + intervening Circumstances + factors under you Voluntary control. So, since your can't do much about changing your genetics, when it comes to becoming happier, that leaves room for improvement in the areas of circumstances and voluntary activities.
2) the book suggests that if you want to lastingly raise your level of happiness by changing the external circumstances of your life, you should: live in a wealthy democracy, get married, avoid negative events and negative emotion, acquire a rich social network, and get religion. Conversely, you needn't bother to do the following: make more money, stay healthy, get as much education as possible, or try to change your race or move to a sunnier climate. However even if you could alter all of these things, it would not do much for you as this stuff accounts for only a small part of your happiness. On to Voluntary efforts...
3) This is where most of the book spends a substantial part of its efforts showing you how to be happier, and there's a lot of "meat" to sink your teeth into, with sections on how to obtain more satisfaction with your past, what consitutes happiness about the future, and happiness in the present. Also, the book spend much time talking about how happiness can be cultivated by identifying and nurturing our traits, such as humor, optimism, generosity or kindness.
Readers who have read other happiness books will already be well familiar with the idea that the best way to increase your happiness is through intentional or voluntary activities. It makes a lot of sense, as you can't change your genetics, and circumstances are either out of your control, or make very little contributions to your happiness. Like this book, I agree that using intentional activities is the route to go when it comes to raising lasting happiness levels- and this book will help you out with that a lot. Readers might also be interested in The Prayer Project: How Each One of Us Can Make The World a Better Place to Live - In a Few Minutes a Day.
The book just isn't as strong as the site. As noted it other reviews it's part autobiography, part research report and part self-help book. You'll get formulas like H = S + C + V (H is enduring level of happiness, S is your set range, C is the circumstances of your life, v is voluntary variables) and lots of self-congratulatory stories about Seligman's friends, colleagues, wife and kids. Not that any of that's bad, but I have to wonder if his editor didn't ask him "Are you sure you want to include this?"
Single greatest reminder of something I knew but had forgotten: "You can't change your past, but you can change your perception of it."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If psychological science wants to be a science, their work needs to be quantifiable (at least in the Galilean view of science...Read more