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Showing 1-10 of 320 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 476 reviews
on August 12, 2016
It's a little early to say, but I have just started applying the thought framework this book suggests and I'm seeing positive change on the first day. I've felt very stuck in various aspects of my life for about five years now, and I've tried life coaching, counseling, reading other self help books etc with little change. This book is helping me realize that across all the spheres of my life I feel stuck in, I've developed really negative beliefs. I have a hard time accomplishing work goals, and believe myself lazy. I often forget to call my loved ones, and believe myself selfish. What I'm seeing now is that these negative thoughts have consequences--they're causing an immobility, depression spiral. I believe myself to be lazy, and I have a harder time working because of it. I think of myself as selfish, assume my friends will be angry with me when I do call them, and so avoid making the calls.

Maybe I'm not lazy, selfish, or depressed--I just have a system of negative thoughts that are making me feel disempowered and helpless. It's becoming clear that my thinking is VERY cyclically pessimistic; I even feel a clenching in my chest every time I return to one of my negative beliefs. But even today, the first day I've consulted with this book, I've used some of its technique to challenge my negative thinking, with positive results. I'd been putting off returning a friend's text because I thought he might be upset with me, but just examining that belief made me realize how knee-jerk and baseless it is. Having reoriented myself, I texted him back.

It's one small step but that felt VERY powerful. I already did feel compelled to reattribute much of my depression as pessimism, and if I do that there will be ways to positively change every thought I have. All we are is the set of assumptions we make about the world, and I'm amazed at how little I've been examining my own assumptions.

I am so happy I bought this book. Take a look at the preview and see if it resonates with you; it did with me because it's so research-based, not airy or cheerful at all. Just useful and powerful. If you struggle with any sort of depression or ineffectiveness, I recommend you give those first few pages a read. It really might give us all a way to get better.
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on August 28, 2010
This book was recommended to me by my psychologist, as an up and coming theory for treatment of depression. The author was inspired to study depression because of his own father's depression. "Learned optimism" is based on the idea of "learned helplessness," or the theory that if a person believes that he/she has no control over the bad things that happen to him/her--that bad things just occur randomly and for no reason--then the person gives up trying to find ways to make his/her life better and as a result he/she becomes depressed. "Learned optimism" is designed to teach a person with "learned helplessness" that while he/she might not have control over life's events, what he/she does have control of is his/her own thinking about those events. The book includes a questionnaire that is designed to test whether or not you suffer from depression. It can also be taken online, which I recommend, because it automatically scores the questionnaire for you. If you take it in the book, you have score it yourself, which can be a little complicated. The book then explains the significance of your score, and gives exercises to help you change the way you think about different events so that you begin to think more optimistically. It also has a children's section, with its own questionnaire. Because the author is an academic who has limited experience working with actual patients, his theories are based almost completely on research conducted in a laboratory. While I think that the book makes some good points and has some good suggestions, I think that rather than using this book as a means to an end, it could be used as a starting point for discussions between doctors and their patients in treatment. My main objection to the book is the adult questionnaire. You are told that even if you have not experienced an event, to guess what you would do based on your past experience in a similar event. I found that the description of some of the events were so vague that it is was difficult to decide what I would do in that situation, so I just randomly picked one answer. I found the children's questionnaire to be more relatable because I understood the situation better. There are also quite a few chapters based on the laboratory research and the comparison of the author's research with other research being conducted on the same subject. As a person who has suffered for many years with depression, I found the book to be limited in its usefulness to me. I think the causes of depression are much more complicated than those that are discussed in the book. With the years of personal counseling that I have been through, I feel that I understand myself and the roots of my depression pretty well, and have advanced beyond the theories in this book. Again, I think this would be an excellent book to use as a starting point for a patient who is just starting out in therapy for depression. All treatment needs to begin with a theory, and we need academics to continue to advance their theories for the use of doctors and patients in the field.
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on May 17, 2017
This book helped me realize a lot of the negative and self defeating things I tell myself. It helped me change the dialogue I have with myself to be more forgiving and optimistic. I will say that this book has a large section of chapters towards the end that are too repetitive and self-fulfilling. You learn of the principles in the beginning of the book and learn how to apply them at the very end. If you are a slow reader like myself, I might suggest reading part one (chapters 1 - 5) and part three (chapter 12 - 15) then going back and reading part two if you want examples of the method. I loved this book so much I bought a second book for my sister as a high school graduation present.
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on April 18, 2016
This book changed my life. I bought it on a recommendation and found it very relevant to me as well as others. What I learned was that I was talking negatively to myself. Once aware, I have been able to catch these thoughts and replace them with more realistic assessments of situations.
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on April 16, 2015
Used to be that a shrink told you what was wrong with you. Seligman has created an entirely new approach for psychological guidance, a positive psychologist in a world of negative psychologists. He really annoyed some psychologists/psychiatrists who promptly told him what was wrong with HIM! But he absolutely fulfills the title of his book, which allows you to take on (Learn) optimism.. Personally, it's been a double-blessing to me -I'm a business coach, and I use his inspirational model full-time. As a 15-year coach, I pretty well know what mistakes my clients are making - and as a student of Learned Optimism, I have learned how to help my clients find what they do right!
My 2-step process: 1. Buy the book, praise it, give it away!. 2. Repeat step one!
It's done wonders for my business, and for my clients!
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on April 30, 2017
Probably the most important book I have ever read besides the bhagavad-gita. A must-read, for everyone. I am teaching my friends about learned optimism and learned helplessness, it has LITERALLY changed my life in ways I never thought imaginable. The author is the former chair of the American Psychiatric Association, has been practicing medicine in mental health for 40 years - top expert cracks the case on why you feel so bad so consistently and blows open the myths about mental health that saturate our current understanding of the mind.
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on May 8, 2014
Martin Seligman is the founder of positive psychology and the value of optimism. This book tells you all about why and how.
Optimism is not some vague positive idea about trying to see the good in situations, to see the world through rose-tainted glasses. This would be naive. Instead, he describes what benefits (in health, relationships and career) you get out of keeping a positive attitude, why that is the case and how to do something about this. Optimism is more justified 'self confidence', although that does the book injustice.

The core of the argument is actually the opposite, which is not 'pessimism', but helplessness. If you feel helpless in situations or your life, you will not attempt to change it and thus changes in your situation are unlikely to occur. You will not try to improve your performance, you will not try to solve your problems and you feel like a burden to the world. A feeling of helplessness can be created by circumstances in which you were helpless, and your mind has widened this feeling to encompass your entire life. A feeling of (general) helplessness is thus the first step towards a depression.

Learning to be optimistic actually means to see your failures as situational and temporary, and not necessarily (completely) your fault. Also you learn to process difficult times while staying optimistic by using the ABCDE-method: adversity (what happened) - Belief (what do you tell yourself about your role, what do you Think) - Consequence (what do you feel based on your thoughts) - Disputation (counterarguments against your first thoughts) - Energy (new energy and confidence coming from disputation).

I thoroughly recommend this book to every person with doubts or who knows people with doubts about themselves.
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on June 29, 2017
It's a great reference book. It is not a book to read cover to cover. Take the quiz and the results tell you which chapters pertain to you. I have several copies now and give them to family and friends that could benefit from this. Many people are optimistic, but that's on the outside. How do you feel about yourself. Before reading this, I thought I was very optimistic, but then realized that I'm very pessimistic towards myself internally. This book helps you to overcome that!
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on September 19, 2012
Learned Optimism will change the way you think about being negative. Martin Seligman was, "accustomed to focusing on what was wrong with people and then on how t fix it." He is known as the father of the new science of Positive Psychology, and draws on more than 20 years of experience as a clinical research Psychologist, to demonstrate how optimism enhances the quality of your life. He claims that when we practice techniques we can change. His overall theory talks about how to look at what was going right and how to make it even better! What a great way to think of things. I believe corporate America needs to get into this seat and drive!
This book will help you discover your own pessimistic tendencies, if you have them, or those of people you love and care about. It will introduce you to the techniques that have helped others undo lifelong habits of pessimism. You will look at your setbacks with new perceptiveness. I enjoyed learning from Martin Seligman and hope you do as well. © 2012 Jackie Paulson
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on September 20, 2016
I can see why some wouldn't enjoy reading as it does follow the trajectory of the paychology rather closely. For the technical minded it's great.

The principles are powerful and effective. It quickly gets to the heart of pessimistic thinking and backs its assertions with the science.

The prose is very easy to read if you can stick with the story of the science and experimentation. If, however you need a quick solution to your pessimism, skip to section 3 as the author will suggest.

I recommend for anyone struggling to overcome the power of their negativity.
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