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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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Top Customer Reviews
Shannon Polly and Kathryn Britton's combined wealth of positive psychology punched out platinum wisdom. They unlocked the door for sky-rocketing your well-being and engendered me to do the "gratitude dance" in their honor! And in Chris Peterson's honor, too, God love him in Heaven. What a tribute! Thirty people who knew and loved him created this remarkably practical yet inspirational book to honor him. Did they ever succeed! Marty Seligman was right. Chris would love this book. And I can't imagine anyone who would not benefit from reading it.
I savored every luscious contextually diverse chapter. I also wore out a hot pink marker and dog-eared almost every page. Backed by science, the true-to life stories resonated authenticity, openness and vulnerability. I read aloud the suggested passages and found myself smiling. I admired the academic acumen, as well as the prose, poetry, links, and quotes. The fascinating illustrations depicting each strength, helped them stick to my ribs. I especially enjoyed Tayyab Rashid's best practices action steps lists at the end of each of the 24 strengths chapters.
I will refer this treasure chest of strengths book to all my coaching clients. The myriad of practical tips gems, based on research, will undoubtedly help them whip up well-being and flourishing. So many times my coaching clients have asked me for practical ways they can incorporate strengths in their lives. Now I have a book I can wholeheartedly refer them to for down-to-earth, straight-forward and easily doable activities. This book is a smorgasbord of delectable, savory strengths-enhancing treats. I can see Chris Peterson at the head of the table humbly smiling and lifting his glass in appreciation to everyone whose love for him is reflected in this exquisite book.
This book is a positive psychology show-stopper. An A+ read. It's perfect gift for yourself and every person you love.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
--Dr. Samantha BoardmanRead more