Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment Paperback – Jan 5 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
In his latest user-friendly road map for human emotion, the author of the bestselling Learned Optimism proposes ratcheting the field of psychology to a new level. "Relieving the states that make life miserable... has made building the states that make life worth living less of a priority. The time has finally arrived for a science that seeks to understand positive emotion, build strength and virtue, and provide guideposts for finding what Aristotle called the `good life,' " writes Seligman. Thankfully, his lengthy homage to happiness may actually live up to the ambitious promise of its subtitle. Seligman doesn't just preach the merits of happiness e.g., happy people are healthier, more productive and contentedly married than their unhappy counterparts but he also presents brief tests and even an interactive Web site (the launch date is set for mid-August) to help readers increase the happiness quotient in their own lives. Trying to fix weaknesses won't help, he says; rather, incorporating strengths such as humor, originality and generosity into everyday interactions with people is a better way to achieve happiness. Skeptics will wonder whether it's possible to learn happiness from a book. Their point may be valid, but Seligman certainly provides the attitude adjustment and practical tools (including self-tests and exercises) for charting the course.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Caroline Myss Author of Sacred Contracts Authentic Happiness is delightful and richly insightful. Martin Seligman has written a very practical book, guiding readers to make positive choices in life.
Steven Pinker Author of The Language Instinct A highly insightful scientific and personal reflection on the nature of happiness, from one of the most creative and influential psychologists of our time.
Elle A bold new plan for taking control of your life and finding lasting happiness.
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Top Customer Reviews
While this is the kind of book I could write a really long review about, I think I'll just discuss what I consider to be the best bits for those looking for ways to become happier- which I think is why most people would buy this book. Soooo.....
1) the book provides the reader with a "happiness formula", which is H = S + C + V. This works out to happiness = your genetic Set point + intervening Circumstances + factors under you Voluntary control. So, since your can't do much about changing your genetics, when it comes to becoming happier, that leaves room for improvement in the areas of circumstances and voluntary activities.
2) the book suggests that if you want to lastingly raise your level of happiness by changing the external circumstances of your life, you should: live in a wealthy democracy, get married, avoid negative events and negative emotion, acquire a rich social network, and get religion. Conversely, you needn't bother to do the following: make more money, stay healthy, get as much education as possible, or try to change your race or move to a sunnier climate. However even if you could alter all of these things, it would not do much for you as this stuff accounts for only a small part of your happiness. On to Voluntary efforts...Read more ›
Using personal anecdotes in addition to well-documented (and in some cases, surprising) studies, he demonstrates how we can avoid being trapped by the downward spiral of negativity and depression. This is a remarkable book that defies classification. It should not be limited to the "self-help" genre, as Seligman goes far beyond that to introduce a new way of thinking about individual potential. Highly recommended.
His formula describing happiness makes sense. It is interesting that experimental psychology is coming to the same conclusion as so many philosophers have, that in an effort to lead the good life, striving after pleasures along leave us coming up short. Seligman does't deride pursuing pleasure, in fact, he gives us some assistance getting the most from sensory pleasures, but he points toward the matching of signature strengths to opportunities as the primary source of happiness that is under our control. This does not surprise me as it seems to be an example of consiliance among many thinkers from Dewey, to Rogers and Maslow to Csikszentmihalyi not to mention the many philosophers that have reached the conclusion by more absract means.
His website has many useful tests that are scored with lightning speed and that give you comparitive data about thousands of others who have taken the same test. The only question I have about all this data his is compiling and basing his research on is how does he rule out the desire to be socially approved. I found myself struggling with some questions in an effort to distinguish between what I strive to be like, or what I would like to be like and where I actually am at currently.
Therapists, folks in the self-help market and many others will find much that is useful in this book that looks like it will the the first and most general of a field that one hopes is taking its first toddler steps.
Most recent customer reviews
Excellent introduction to positive psychology. Easy read and quite funny.Published 16 months ago by Wesdyne Amyotte
Get past the first 40 pages of the book - then the great advise begins. This book has given me tools to change the way I feel about my past and my fears of uncertainty about the... Read morePublished on Dec 22 2013 by r
Some great awareness on understanding happiness. A helpful guide on understanding who you are, what is important to you and how to get more of that.Published on Sept. 21 2013 by Brian
I would say that it is an interesting read on the research on happiness. There were some solid advices given on how to become happier... Read morePublished on June 9 2010 by DEB
A gentleman named Mr. Coffee wrote an excellent review here citing information by the great Dr. Denis Waitley and discusing why optimism is a tonic while pessimism is a... Read morePublished on May 12 2004
The great Dr. Denis Waitley conducting one of his outstanding "Seeds of Greatness" speeches asked; "Are you happy because you sing or are you singing because you are... Read morePublished on April 11 2004 by Gary Coffee
Over the last few years, like many others, the Clinton recession and bear market has played it's toll on me. Read morePublished on April 11 2004 by Rod Tomkins
I have always enjoyed Dr. Seligmans work and am a big fan of Learned Optimism which probably should be read before this one or at least in addition to it. Read morePublished on April 11 2004 by Al Buntler
I simply cannot understand most of the other reviewers here in their adoration of this book. Primarily, the book draws on insights already expressed by others without giving... Read morePublished on March 31 2004 by Louis Barbarelli
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