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Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being Paperback – February 7, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
Seligman, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the guru of the "positive psychology" movement, abandons his previous emphasis on happiness, which he now views as simplistic, to examine how individuals might achieve a richer, multilayered goal: a life of well-being. He identifies four factors that can help individuals thrive: positive emotion, engagement with what one is doing, a sense of accomplishment, and good relationships. Those expecting a guide on how to achieve these goals will be disappointed; Seligman's approach is largely conceptual and empirical, although he has some useful things to say, such as how even soldiers with PTSD can be taught resilience to recover and even grow from their traumas, and how students of all ages can be taught focus, delayed gratification, and GRIT, a combination of drive and perseverance. But Seligman includes too much on the mechanics of conducting his studies. Also, he can be self-congratulatory regarding his own theory, and harsh and reductionist on traditional treatments ("psychology-as-usual—the psychology of victims and negative emotions and alienation and pathology and tragedy"). This is a potentially important book whose impact may be limited by its flaws. (Apr.)
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"Repaves the path to true happiness. A relentlessly optimistic guidebook on finding and securing individual happiness." –Kirkus
"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
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The ancient wisdom recorded in the I Ching lists the 4 cardinal virtues ... As love, morality, justice and wisdom.
Wisdom is described (my words) as a combination of being able to discern the seeds or laws of change AND acting in such a way as to bring change into being in an enduring way.
In my view that is what Marty has achieved by writing this book.
Yes profit is essential to the life of business ... Just as breathing and eating is essential for living. However there is a lot more satisfaction and enjoyment possible than just breathing and eating.
The PERMA direction or way of living...as explained and illustrated in this book will have a profound and long lasting beneficial influence on all who explore and adapt this approach to their own circumstances.
As an Appreciative Inquiry practitioner I know from personal experience and observations that strengths based approaches work.
This book, in my opinion, offers essential and useful tools and guidelines that will indeed result ( if adopted and practiced) in individuals , Organisations and whole Societies flourishing.
Johnloty22@ gmail .com
Although I enjoyed reading about his current and past research with the US Army (resilience to PTSD) and with children in schools (priming children for a life of well-being, I felt a little off track around the middle of the book and would have been just as happy to read the first and last chapters.
This wasn't helped by the formatting. This is the worst translation into e-format that I have experienced. Reading this on a Kindle was not easy - I would buy the book next time. Some parts were badly spaced and the charts and graphs were all over the place. I have a basic Kindle, and when the text said `click here to see the diagram' - I did and I couldn't!
In summary, I got a lot from the content of this book but there is plenty of discourse. I liked the `ahas' but didn't get much practical action to use except to go to his website. This is worth doing by the way, as you can complete the tests he refers to there without charge. It felt a bit rambling as if he had decided to put all his thoughts and experiences for the past few years into a book, but hadn't really structured it for the reader.
Being a bit leery of the topic of "positive psychology" and Seligman's earlier title, "Authentic Happiness", I was surprised and relieved to see that this book is about how to achieve a life of well being. His basic framework of "PERMA" - Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationship, Meaning, and Accomplishment - resonates with realism as well as optimism. I was especially interested to see how his concepts have been embraced by sectors such as the military, as well as educational systems, both public and private. Just this week, Seligman and his views showed up in a New York Times article on education and the character traits that drive future performance and success.
So I recommend this book about a system of learning and living that is proven in research, in application, and in the service of a life well-lived. It has provided a useful framework for my own growth (which is hugely important for me even at age 63) and for my coaching engagements.