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Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment [Paperback]

Martin E. P. Seligman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 5 2004
A national bestseller, Authentic Happiness launched the revolutionary new science of Positive Psychology—and sparked a coast-to-coast debate on the nature of real happiness.

According to esteemed psychologist and bestselling author Martin Seligman, happiness is not the result of good genes or luck. Real, lasting happiness comes from focusing on one’s personal strengths rather than weaknesses—and working with them to improve all aspects of one’s life. Using practical exercises, brief tests, and a dynamic website program, Seligman shows readers how to identify their highest virtues and use them in ways they haven’t yet considered. Accessible and proven, Authentic Happiness is the most powerful work of popular psychology in years.

Frequently Bought Together

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment + Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life + Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being
Price For All Three: CDN$ 41.83


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Product Description

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

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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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real McCoy Nov. 24 2010
Format:Paperback
Written by the former president of the American Psychological Association, and author of over a dozen books including the popular Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, this title is one of the better selling happiness books out there.

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...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
The biggest problem with Seligman´¿s book is it is not based on real science. His experiments consists of asking people whether they are happy. This is like asking a male teenager about his sex life. The results will not be that accurate.
The problem with surveys are many. People all have different criterion about what will qualify as happiness. It may be absence of pain for one and a state of bliss for another. Defining of these vague terms does not seem to be done very clearly in his work. Other problems that may result is that people often delude themselves about how happy they are or simply lie on the survey for whatever reason. In addition a question may be present to measure a trait but the wording of the question or the causal connection of the question to the trait is unsupported. In other words, just because this person answered this question this way does not mean the trait is necessarily reflected in that person. There´¿s a lot of subjectivity and interpretation going on. A better way to do this is have physiological indicators that correlate to happiness. People would be hooked up to wires, put through different experiences, and their levels of happiness measured. However, all we get are questionnaires which really prove nothing. This means all the conclusions from experiments done from surveys (which I believe are all of them) must be looked at with a grain of salt and not taken as gospel. I would think the general conclusions such as married people are happier than single people are probably true, but I would be suspicious of the numbers telling what percentage are happy and how much happier they are.
Seligman has this happiness formula that he either simply created out of thin air or is based on his survey experiments.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars prescription for a happy, fulfilled life Oct. 31 2002
Format:Hardcover
After wide-reaching research across time and cultures, Martin Seligman has identified six virtues: Wisdom and learning, courage, love and humanity, justice, temperance, spirituality and transcendence. In "Authentic Happiness" he describes how to strengthen your character in order to develop these life-affirming virtues. Unlike traditional psychotherapy, which revolves around a "talking cure" and seeks to identify traumatic events in a person's past, and even to assign blame, Seligman's Positive Psychology focuses on developing your "signature strengths", and on learning what you will find genuinely fulfilling in life.
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.
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a great book by a great academic researcher. There is a lot of information in here that is great food for thought. But, any time you read an academic researcher/theoretician's work, it is super important to put on your skeptic thinking cap because they are usually coming from a particular perspective and are really good at making you think that their view is it. Nonetheless, the author has some great points about a lot of aspects of life in here. NOW, if you are interested in a book that will be especially devoted to helping you find authentic wellness, and not just be an intellectual exploration, see "Effortless Wellbeing: The Missing Ingredients for Authentic Wellness" by Evan Finer. That book gives you critical ideas and practical how-to practices to activate your true self and create wellness automatically. It will help you experientially get there. Highly recommend both books. Authentic Happiness is very interesting academic reading; Effortless Wellbeing is down-to-earth practical how-to.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful tools to change your attitude for the better
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 more
Published 8 months ago by r
4.0 out of 5 stars Self Discovery
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 11 months ago by Brian
4.0 out of 5 stars authentic but not transformative happiness
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 more
Published on June 9 2010 by T. Bui
5.0 out of 5 stars I agree 100% with the review by Mr. Coffee
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 more
Published on May 12 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Optimism is the real tonic
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 more
Published on April 11 2004 by Gary Coffee
5.0 out of 5 stars Went from sad and negative to happy & positive!
Over the last few years, like many others, the Clinton recession and bear market has played it's toll on me. Read more
Published on April 11 2004 by Rod Tomkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Dr. Seligman
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 more
Published on April 11 2004 by Al Buntler
2.0 out of 5 stars Self-important Author Repackaging Some Good Ideas
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 more
Published on March 31 2004 by Louis Barbarelli
5.0 out of 5 stars A Study of Happiness
"Authentic Happiness" is a readable and fascinating, but somewhat academic, treatise about happiness by Martin Seligman. Read more
Published on March 6 2004 by Peter Hupalo
4.0 out of 5 stars Some good advice, but leaves me with some doubts
Some of ideas near the beginning of the book are effective at making me happy and not too hard to follow. This is surprising enough to make it a pretty good book. Read more
Published on Feb. 17 2004 by Peter McCluskey
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