- Series: Positive Psychology News
- Paperback: 250 pages
- Publisher: Positive Psychology News (June 7, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0692465642
- ISBN-13: 978-0692465646
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 40 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Character Strengths Matter: How to Live a Full Life (Positive Psychology News) Paperback – June 7, 2015
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"My friend, Chris Peterson, would have loved this book. It brings to life with personal stories, practical recommendations, wisdom, and humor the dry scholarship that he (with an assist from me) did in Character Strengths and Virtues. Chris was very down-to-earth and I am sure he would have concurred in my enthusiastically recommending this book to everyone who works with character strengths in the real world."
~ Martin E. P. Seligman, author of Authentic Happiness and Flourish.
"I wish Christopher Peterson were alive to read this book. He would have been proud and grateful. This wonderful book beautifully weaves together art and science, reason and passion, theory and practice--and the outcome is an accessible and rigorous guide that can help us fulfill our potential for success and happiness. It brings Peterson's work on strengths to life!"
~ Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, author of Happier, The Pursuit of Perfect, and Choose the Life You Want
"This is what is so stunning about this book: it's the best experiential or applied introduction to the psychology of human strengths that I've seen. I learned from this book by performing it, not just reading it. This tiny volume has magic in it."
~ Dr. David L. Cooperrider, Case Western Reserve University, The David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry at Champlain College
"This is an extraordinary book- it includes the latest research on character strengths but goes beyond that. It provides five practice guidelines applicable to each strength and provides monologues, poems, and speeches that realistically illustrate each strength. Polly and Britton have provided a tremendous service to the field of positive psychology and positive education by combining scholarship, practice, and illustrations in a way that has not appeared heretofore. I highly recommend this book."
~ Dr. Kim Cameron, author of Positive Leadership and Developing Management Skills.
"This is among the best books in all of positive psychology. It takes one of the most important areas of research -- the character strengths -- and makes it as accessible, as practical, and as inspiring as could be. I particularly love that it is written for sharing. Every couple and every family should have a copy. This will become my standard dinner party gift, instead of a bottle of wine."
~ Dr. Jonathan Haidt, New York University, author of The Righteous Mind and The Happiness Hypothesis
From the Author
This book is dedicated to the memory of Christopher Peterson, a pioneer in the study of character strengths, a mentor for students of character, an exemplar of humor, humility, love, and kindness, and a good friend.
May the seeds you planted continue to grow and prosper.
~ Shannon Polly and Kathryn Britton
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Character Strengths Matter explores strengths: those things we do very well and that energize us. The book is organized into two parts: Part One is Exploring Strengths, and Part Two is Taking Action. The strengths explored here are from the VIA Character Strengths Assessment, a research-based tool available free online. (I use the more business-focused StrengthsFinder 2.0 in my workshop Truly Tapping Your Strengths: And Those of Your Team but the VIA assessment is also excellent and useful at work.)
Despite devoting extensive time to learning how to discover, develop, and apply strengths, and teaching the same to numerous organizations, I learned a lot reading this book. I also developed my own strengths further.
This book includes two sections for each strength that encourage us to take action. First, each strength comes with five actions we can take to build a strength. These practical suggestions by Tayyab Rashid are excellent. Second, each strength is followed by a passage to be read aloud to help develop that strength. The authors encourage us to act "as if" we have a strength we want to develop. So after learning about each strength, we get to live that strength. Following the writing about integrity, for example, is a powerful speech by Chief Sitting Bull. It felt transformative to read aloud lines like "It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for...It doesn't interest me how much money you make. I want to know if you have touched the center of your soul."
Section Two explores cultivating strengths in business, taking strengths on vacations, and other interesting approaches to discovering and developing strengths for certain populations such as young children.
Proceeds from the book benefit the Christopher Peterson Memorial Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania; Chris Peterson helped develop strengths scholarship and the VIA assessment.
Is this book perfect? No. Like any collection of writing by various contributors, the style and focus of each entry vary, sometimes in a way that can be a bit disorienting. I also would have found it useful to have more information about each author, and links to learn more about them.
But this book doesn't have to be perfect in order to be useful. It just has to be strong. And it is very, very strong. I recommend it highly for anyone wanting to develop a full life and thrive.
This is an important work and contribution but rather heady I imagine for some peeps in the field
This book is quite different from the recent New York Times bestseller The Road to Character. That book is well written but takes the approach of providing brief biographies of eminent historical figures of high character such as Generals Eisenhower and Marshall. While an interesting read, it neither explains character strengths nor provides advice on how to develop them.
Character Strengths Matter may be read in sections according to the character strengths one finds of interest. It is a book one can go back to time and again.
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--Dr. Samantha Boardman