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Flourish (A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being) Paperback – February 1, 2012
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"Important" --Publishers Weekly
"I was immediately charmed... Seligman's intentions are admirable and exciting. He is consumed by his mission, which is to take psychology on from its traditional role in alleviating misery, and broaden it into positive psychology -- the entirely different art of teaching us how to be wiser, stronger, more generous to others, more self-disciplined, and more capable of dealing with difficulty and rejection... The book is full of nuggets about why positive approaches work."
The Sunday Times
About the Author
- ASIN : 1439190763
- Publisher : Atria Books; 1st edition (February 1, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781439190760
- ISBN-13 : 978-1439190760
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Best Sellers Rank: #12,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The book is also interspersed by out-of-place asides on odd topics like "I'm not saying that veterans are necessarily FAKING having PTSD, but here's a bunch of facts that sure seem suspicious, huh?" and "People say that I helped the CIA to design torture programs but that's actually not a very nuanced understanding of the substantial assistance I granted them" and "One time this one lady in Australia wrote an op-ed criticizing my work and it really irritated me."
This book is more "that one older relative at your Thanksgiving dinner who rambles on and on" than it is Malcolm Gladwell. Disappointing, because a good edit could have excavated an interesting book out of this fossil matrix.
That comment is quite an oversell and is disingenuous at best.
I've genuinely been trying to give this book a fair chance, but so far fail to be sufficiently impressed. The content of the book argues for why "well being" is a better descriptor and goal than happiness in various settings and context, yet the author never seems to get around to the nuts and bolts of how that is accomplished. Rather, the book serves as more of a biographical memoir highlighting the events that brought forth the idea of "flourishing" and "well being," particularly in academic circles. With that, it also acts as a bit of a marketing-type grab for folks to toggle over to the UPenn website with the intent of having more participants fill out questionnaires that add to the database for research, all without any real benefit/feedback for the persons going through the effort of completing the material.
Seligman's general concept is well received, and he goes to great lengths to sell the idea, but it's an idea that is not well expounded by his writing here. I'd recommend folks wait until something more substantive is released with coherent details, and which holds merit beyond being a book length version of something that could have been covered via a quick magazine article.
Top reviews from other countries
I am fascinated by the concept of positive psychology and how it was not considered scientific enough to be taught in my highly renowned university degree 9 years ago, but that now it’s being acknowledged as the credible theory it is, I believe it should be taught within standardised psychology degrees.
The book itself leaves me wanting more - more of the science, more of the theory, more of Seligman’s experiences.
Judging by the reviews, I was a bit mixed as to whether this book would be useful for me or not. Having read 'Authentic Happiness', I was left with a sense that it missed something about real life and wellbeing.
I felt he courageously revealed and accepted that his last book was not a complete picture of wellbeing, and that he had concentrated too much on happiness (which is mainly linked to mood/life satisfaction) -- and did not encompass meaning, engagement, positive relationships and accomplishment. But, he is only human and he is constantly evolving (as we all are)...And, thank goodness, he has the passion and drive to continue to improve on his work. His book shows the conscious improvement on his thoughts and uncertainties, and his overview of the evidence-base, to draw his conclusion about the key elements for flourishing.
The reason for 4 out of 5, is simply that I felt he expanded a little too much on his pre-positive psychology days, at the beginning, which did not add value to the information he was presenting about flourishing for wellbeing.
However, I did like the story behind Martin Seligmans development and input into positive psychology, and he writes about a plethora of evidence-base for its effectiveness -- yet still questions certain areas that continue to be developed. He enthusiastically discusses his peers and their important contribution to creating the, say, Penn Resilience Programme.
I feel it is an amazing feat to have been able to incorporate the programme into the US Army and schools, and that it is being closely monitored. He displays a compassion for the problems many soldiers encounter when they leave the army, or real-time situations they have to deal with at home -- simply because of their links with mobile technology to their loved ones.
With his constructive reasoning he convinces me of the benefits of positive psychology, and that it is not just a 'happiology' - but a realistic portrayal of the essential elements required for inner resilience within the fast-paced and ever-changing world we live in today. I plan to use this book to inform my practice as a resilience coach/trainer.
There are definite nuggats of essential information into the complex world of wellbeing!