- Paperback: 308 pages
- Publisher: Hogrefe Publishing; 1 edition (July 30, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0889373523
- ISBN-13: 978-0889373525
- Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #632,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Positive Psychology At The Movies: Using Films to Build Virtues and Character Strengths 1st Edition
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"A wonderful example of how positive psychology affords ways to make sense of movies that show what is best about people... This is a good and smart book." -- --Prof. Christopher Peterson, PhD (Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
Positive Psychology at the Movies is an engaging read. As well as providing a plethora of ideas for educating students about values, it also stimulates intellectually and would inspire anyone with an interest in films to compile a list of must-see movies. I would see this book as a useful teaching tool for many university courses. Each chapter can be read on its own. The significance of the movies for the particular strength is linked with a clear synopsis of relevant themes and characters. I also could also envisage the whole text used as a university elective in either psychology or education. Positive Psychology at the Movies provides an engaging perspective on how to teach values education. It includes scholarly research to explain the nature and development of strengths and virtues and provides an extensive list of films that can be used to consolidate learning around the concept of positive psychology. --Australian Journal of Educational & Developmental Psychology. Vol 9, 2009, pp. 32-33, reviewed by Melissa Monfries, University of Melbourne
From the Publisher
Positive Psychology at the Movies is uniquely suited for: (1) individuals or groups wanting to understand the concepts of positive psychology and thus improve their own lives; and (2) for teaching the concepts and practical benefits of positive psychology, in university/college, work, or other settings.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Positive Psychology at the Movies" is an excellent book for teachers and students studying positive psychology. It could also be a wonderful tool for therapists who could use it to inspire strengths in their patients and to promote their personal growth and self-improvement.
This book is a fascinating depiction of all the virtues and strengths identified by positive psychology and it cites many examples of films that display each one along with practical applications after each chapter. After reading this book I've found watching the films to be a more rewarding experience for me.
There are two or three outstanding parts of the book that I would recommend to anyone interested in personal development. First, they cover every one of the strengths and virtues. Many times there is a particular strength like forgiveness or love or spirituality that you really can't see as having a place in your development. Having worked with and for top executives my entire behavioral career, I can tell you forgiveness and mercy is a difficult strength to discuss. Most people feel that they are being doormats if they forgive too easily in business. Yet, when you see what the strength looks like coming from a character in a movie, you begin to see how it really can be a strength in your own life.
Next there are several charts and lists in the book that are priceless if you want to use film to learn from or to teach from. There are lists of movies with the exact strength the main character is exemplifying and my favorite - a list of the top 100 inspiring movies in the last 100 years!
For those who teach in the field of positive psychology, this book is a treasure chest of teaching opportunities. For anyone who wants to continue their own learning and development, this is an invaluable roadmap of where to start and how to appreciate a strength using something that is in your life every day - a movie.
What I would like to see is an addendum to this great resource book. There is a company that has devoted itself to bringing thoughtful and through provoking films to wider and broader audiences. That company is The Spiritual Cinema Circle. It is a monthly, subscription based service. As a member you receive a DVD each month with a 4 - 5 films, a discussion sheet and questions to create conversation and thought around the teachings of the movies. I would like to see the Spiritual Cinema's entire catalog of movies taken through the research matrix that the authors of Positive Psychology at the Movies used. Okay, so maybe - just maybe - my strength of spirituality is coming through. And maybe - just maybe - you can see how a strength can help you develop a livelihood. Spirituality may not be on the list of top ten business skills in any education program, yet clearly I have found a way to use it in my work.
Thank you for a great book and great research.
Andrea Goeglein, PhD
Niemiec and Wedding's "Positive Psychology does a remarkable job in giving many outstanding visual representations, and related discussions, of these strengths. Having been a film student at Harvard for a while, and being a cinamaphile- having watched 1000's of films over the last 10 years- I felt I was reaching the bottom of the barrel as far as meaningful films were concerned. Also, I had a slightly elitist notion that most modern films, particularly American, were lacking character development, affirmative values and/or meaningful messages, except perhaps in the independent film arena and a small number of feature films (Scorsese's work comes to mind here). However, there is some validity in the notion of films for pure entertainment, which Hollywood has always excelled at. However, pure entertainment movies have progressively over time devolved into dangerous escapism that reaffirm negative values and stereotypes, which I find particularly true in American films that promote gratuitous violence or sex.
International cinema has been better, and more authentic, elevating, and interesting; but the globalization of technology, finance and American pop culture has watered down and diminished the number of films, although films from the emerging markets of South Korea,China,Brazil,middle eastern countries,and Mexico...are surprisingly good but often have limited distribution and access, and for some the subtitles are an issue and the translations themselves are sometimes poor. Also, despite their aesthetic or ideological merits, many of these films offer a, often justifiable, critical or negative worldview.
Anyway, many of the movies, in "Positive Psychology at the Movies epitomizing the strengths (AKA known as virtues, referring back to the works of Aristotle (Particularly his Ethics)-offer wonderful, positive, and very entertaining films in and affirmative and wholesome way. Also, they were very helpful to me in locking in my knowledge and commitment to a positive psychology character strengths based life. Furthermore, these movies tend to be ideologically non controversial and could appeal to a very broad, and diverse, audience, This ideally could lead us to realize our difference aren't so insurmountable as they appear, and the the visual representations strengths, or the virtues, are universal.
Although this book probably is more of an outstanding reference presentation on Positive Psychology movies more than being an original book on that subject. Also it offers a very comprehensive introduction to Positive Psychology's ideas and theories, and gives the reader a comprehensive introduction to many of the major books in this emerging and exciting practical and scientifically validated field.. Moreover, Niemiec and Wedding offer educators an entire course plan syllabus for utilization in the classroom. Niemiec and Wedding offer educators an entire course plan syllabus for utilization in the classroom. which could provide a very valuable creative educational experience.
But, again, the exceptional research conducted that led to these fabulous film recommendations provided me, and hopefully other and future readers, recommendations of many great, and positive, entertaining films that would be impossible to find otherwise. Finally, in our often cynical, superficial, and terror ridden time, this book leads to all reaffirmation of all that is good, noble, and inspirational (and sometimes problematic when viewing examples of the reverse of the values), and transcends the crippling cultural divisiveness of our time. The last point is particularly noteworthy in that the films display no particular cultural political, cultural, or religious bias., and can conceivably appeal to progressives and conservatives as well. Finally, I would highly recommend using "Positive Psychology at The Movies." along with Seligman's strength-based positive psychology interventions, and would also recommend the very accessible interventions of Sonja Lyubormisky's "The How to of Happiness."