Customer Reviews for

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

Average Rating 3.5
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Landmark Research Findings That Will Improve Your Life

Seldom have I seen a book of such extraordinary timeliness that I knew I was witnessing history in the making, but such is the case with LEARNED OPTIMISM. As Seligman writes, '... the things we say to ourselves when trouble strikes can be just as baseless as the ravings...
Seldom have I seen a book of such extraordinary timeliness that I knew I was witnessing history in the making, but such is the case with LEARNED OPTIMISM. As Seligman writes, '... the things we say to ourselves when trouble strikes can be just as baseless as the ravings of a drunk on the street. Our reflexive explanations are usually not based on reality. They are bad habits that emerge from the mists of the past...' This, in essence, gets to the heart of LEARNED OPTIMISM, as it turns out that we can radically improve our self talk during all times of disappointment. The key is to learn to dispute your first internal thoughts when you encounter setbacks. Seligman shares tips for how we can vault the walls we construct for ourselves... the ones that sometimes can stop us in our tracks right before we otherwise might have been met with spectacular success. I was thrilled to discover this extraordinary book on the subject of how we can address social and personal problems with hopelessness and depression by applying some of the most exciting findings from the field of psychology. When I took psychology classes at UC Berkeley, I was deeply impressed by studies I read about dogs that became helpless after experiencing situations they learned they had no control over. As it turns out, one of the researchers involved in these early studies, Martin Seligman, was deeply motivated to understand the root causes and possible solutions for helplessness and depression, because his father had suffered catastrophic strokes that prevented from him running for office and achieving his dreams. LEARNED OPTIMISM presents landmark research-based discoveries that not only have the power to dramatically improve your life, but also include tools you can utilize to assist others who suffer hopelessness and depression. What sets this book apart from all others is the extraordinary gift of hearing from one of the pioneers in psychology his cutting-edge ideas, research experiences, and tools for assessing and improving optimism. The significance and timeliness of this book is phenomenal, and Seligman's ability to explain why mere positive affirmations and self-esteem programs cannot help people learn optimism is priceless. There is cause for celebration in LEARNED OPTIMISM's central thesis that once optimism is learned, people have the power to overcome bouts of hopelessness or depression and become much more resilient 'can do' individuals who bounce back whenever facing problems in their lives. LEARNED OPTIMISM just might be one of the greatest findings of our time.... I give this book my highest recommendation!

posted by CynthiaSueLarson on September 6, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Overcome Depression Through Self-Delusion

For the most part I consider this book a complete waste of time. The author takes forever to get to the point (which is How to Change Your Mind and Your Life) and when he finally does, his half baked philosophy is disappointing. He seems to think that self-delusion is ...
For the most part I consider this book a complete waste of time. The author takes forever to get to the point (which is How to Change Your Mind and Your Life) and when he finally does, his half baked philosophy is disappointing. He seems to think that self-delusion is the answer to what ails us. If we find something upsetting or that causes us to be depressed, just mentally conjure up an alternative reality for ourself and all will be well. Also, I really don't see the benefit of the author's rather arbitrary categorization of 'pessimism and optimism' regarding mental self-reflection. Shouldn't the primary focus be cognitive distortion itself? Isn't that the root cause, of mental anguish, which should really be addressed? Just because 'winners' in life are often delusional (as expounded by the author), that doesn't substantiate that delusion is an optimal way to live ones life. What of the long term effect on not only the individual but society itself? The author's pick and choose method of choosing when to be 'optimistic' or 'pessimistic' regarding events, strikes me as ludicrous, as well as unnecessarily complicating the issue. Why not just focus on a commitment to a rational assessment of the events of one's life? Isn't that in itself difficult enough, without creating artificial divisions, and delusions, in which to view events? If an accurate assessment makes a person feel bad, then that should be an indication that that event is a problem and a solution needs to be pursued. Placing problems into an 'optimistic' frame of reference may make a person feel better but it does nothing to address the underlying problem. If a person chooses to delude themselves as the author advocates, how is that creating an environment where future change is even possible? Are we to just live in a fantasy world while the troublesome events around us remain unchanged? Shouldn't the core of a persons cognition always strive to adhere to self-honesty as well as an accurate assessment of reality? I don't see how a sane person could think otherwise. Obviously, I really didn't get much, that was useful, from this book. The two books I've found helpful and would recommend are 'The Feeling Good Handbook' by David Burns and 'Power Therapy: Maximizing Health Through Self-Efficacy' by Michael Aleksiuk

posted by Anonymous on March 10, 2006

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2002

    Still Good -- Needs Update on Constructive Pessimism

    This reprint edition of the original book is still good. It is based on research and theory by Dr. Seligman and other psychologists during the 1980s and earlier decades. So of course it is not up to date about the 1990s research findings limiting the benefits of optimism and demonstrating (for some people) the adaptive value of constructive pessimism. And the original optimistic bias of the American 'positive psychology' movement is now recognized by scholars such as Ed Chang to have been an overly one-sided, and thus unbalanced, theory. A good, very recent book with the new research and theory is "The Positive Power of Negative Thinking" by Julie Norem. Optimism is 51% effective, but for at least 33% of people it is a less adaptive strategy than constructive pessimism. No one-size-fits-all theory of psychological health works for human beings because individual and cultural differences are the real key. Everyone can benefit from looking at both sides of the optimism--pessimism dynamic.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1