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Showing 1-10 of 155 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 245 reviews
on February 16, 2015
I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere along the line virtue became a dirty word.

You can’t say it without getting weird looks. You can’t even think it without feeling like a hypocrite. Virtue? Isn’t that something Victorians believed in? Look where that got us: a world so full of oppression that the sun never sets on it.

I used to be in that camp. Virtue was a guilty pleasure of mine. I believed in it (sort of). But I always felt like either a faker or a cultural imperialist for doing so. Whenever the word popped into my mind, I gave myself one good mental flogging as penance.

The field of psychology seems to have been beset by similar demons. Much of the research agenda has been dedicated to identifying pathology (things gone very wrong), and mitigating it where possible.

That is, until now (or, to be more accurate, until about ten years ago). Martin Seligman is one of the founders of the field of Positive Psychology, a new branch of research that tries to identify what can go very right.

His findings are compiled in Authentic Happiness. The book has vindicated virtue, at least in my mind.

Seligman has spent the last decade plus trying to identify the sources of human flourishing. He has found a combination of six such sources appearing in literature from the Indus Valley to the Japanese Archipelago to the Mediterranean Sea (how about South America, Africa, or the annals of the Iroquois Nation? I’m not sure. I bet you’d find these traits in abundance there, too, if you looked).

The six (drumroll please) more-or-less ubiquitous human virtues as uncovered by Seligman’s team of graduate students are….

Ha! As if I’m going to just tell you. Go read the book!

Sike. I’ll tell you.

1) Wisdom and Knowledge
2) Courage
3) Love and Humanity
4) Justice
5) Temperance
6) Spirituality and Transcendence (defined as moving beyond narrow self-interest)

Quibble as you will, this seems like a good place to start. The first step to becoming a better person is believing that it is possible. For a long time I didn’t. I thought that the best I could do was keep to myself; I cowered in fear of offending anyone’s sensibilities with my notions of good and bad, or of taking on a model I couldn’t live up to. I’m done with that.

I may go down, but at least I’ll go down swinging.
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on August 18, 2011
About four years ago I wrote an 85 page story about my life titled "A Roadmap for Happiness, When Traveling from Age 70 to age 90". Each year since then I have been adding a new chapter. One of my main references for this story was a book by Dennis Prager, titled "Happiness is a Serious Business".

Between April of 2010 and March of 2011 I worked at job that fully utilized my technical skills (electronics engineer) and teaching abilities. Since this job ended I have been busily readjusting my roadmap. Part of this activity has been to read more books about happiness and to modify my goals.

"Authentic Happiness" includes a thorough analysis about techniques for "realizing your full potential for lasting fulfillment". One of my favorite parts is the description of work as a "job, career, or calling".

The author says that a key part of being happy is to understand your own "signature strengths" and to use them to help other people. Another key to happiness is being grateful and expressing that to others (especially your spouse) on a regular basis.

A book titled "Aspire" (by Kevin Hall) describes eleven attributes of people that we can admire. He recommends that we let them know what observe about them.

There are many other books about happiness and numerous people who comment about them on Amazon.com. I am proud to be one of them.
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on April 11, 2017
Not his best work. The concept is very interesting but he uses the book as a platform to discuss his prior books and overly detailed anecdotes. If you can buy it cheap and used, it is worth perusing.
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on January 18, 2017
Great book. This book was a requirement for a college course I took last semester. I actually enjoyed reading it. Great Price too!
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on May 29, 2014
Seligman's take on psychology is intriguing and inspiring. Often, one can become discouraged by their past or current tendencies, but this book provides insights into reaching our fullest potential of happiness and hope for doing so.

This book has helped me to understand myself and my general level of happiness, and that not every aspect of that is under my control. But I have also learned which parts of that happiness ARE under my control and how to maximize those aspects in order to increase my overall long term happiness.

If you enjoy studies of Meta-cognition and optimistic problem-solving, you might also be inspired by this book!
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on September 8, 2006
In this well-written, very accessible book, Martin Seligman points out that traditional psychology has always focused on the pathology of the human condition: illness and trauma. By understanding more about what makes people exceptionally well - happy, positive, optimistic - and recognizing that those who have these characteristics are more likely not only to have rewarding lives, but also to be successful in the world, Seligman believes that those who are naturally pessimistic or focused on the down-side can shift their perspective and become happier people.

While this is not a self-help book per se, it does offer tools - including a series of self-evaluations (also available at the Authentic Happiness website) - to help readers understand their strengths and how they can adjust their own viewpoint to become happier.

Highly recommended for anyone interested in positive psychology and the power of positive thinking. This book is grounded in solid research; it's not "fluffy" in any way!
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on March 19, 2016
Authentic Happiness is the 2nd book from this author that I have purchased and read.
The first, Learned Optimism, was great. It was easy to read and understand, and filled with real tools to help you move from a pessimistic to an optimistic mindset.
This book, however, is everything Learned Optimism is not.
It is difficult to wade through, not only because the concepts being discussed are, at times, harder to grasp, but also because there seems to be an attempt by the author to write to impress more than to communicate. It might be that the author did not have the benefit of the same editor he partnered with while writing Learned Optimism.
While there are some valid concepts to ponder in Authentic Happiness, I was very disappointed in an ending that hinted at, but did not deliver a very satisfactory answer to the age-old question, "What is the meaning of life?"
It almost felt as though the author got tired of writing and just stopped. I was left with a "That's it?" reaction.
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on August 14, 2016
Positive psychology is the inevitable next step of progress within the science of the mind and living. Martin Seligman does an excellent job presenting a strong case for why psychopathology need not be the singular focus of doctors, and why in fact positive psychology and its implementation may be the final solution for the majority of human mental afflictions. Seeing as the last two hundreds years gave use hydrotherapy, insulin packs, transorbital leukotomies, lobotomies, electroshock therapy and moral therapy as at-one-time widespread valid treatments, it's nice to see that something as humane and scientifically proven as positive psychology is seeing acceptance on a wider stage.

I think this book is for everyone. Living and thinking are the two criteria to qualify you for finding some benefit from the information Seligman presents.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon December 17, 2011
There's nothing like identifying happy people and finding out what makes them so happy. Seligman broke new ground with this book and probably confirmed what many knew. That is that happiness is dependent on, among other things, one's state of mind based on how life is lived. One's state of mind is within one's control.
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on September 3, 2003
I'm always looking for CDs to listen during my communte. A friend suggested this program as having some good ideas.
It does. My criteria for a program being valuable is whether it has useful ideas. His theory about people having predestined ranges of happiness, with ability to move higher within a particular range makes sense. His suggestions about flow also make sense, as does his distinction between a gratification (instant) and a pleasure (must be earned).
Cognitive psychology, like the behaviorists beforehand, tends to be formulaic, implying that emothion follows action and behavior leads to feelings. I'm not so sure about dogged determination that formulas are the answer to everything. I also think that this program spends too much time plugging the various surveys available on the author's web site.
Still, this gets 4 stars because I got some good ideas and helpful suggestions.
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