Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification / Edition 1

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"Character" has become a front-and-center topic in contemporary discourse, but this term does not have a fixed meaning. Character may be simply defined by what someone does not do, but a more active and thorough definition is necessary, one that addresses certain vital questions. Is character a singular characteristic of an individual, or is it composed of different aspects? Does character—however we define it—exist in degrees, or is it simply something one happens to have? How can character be developed? Can it be learned? Relatedly, can it be taught, and who might be the most effective teacher? What roles are played by family, schools, the media, religion, and the larger culture? This groundbreaking handbook of character strengths and virtues is the first progress report from a prestigious group of researchers who have undertaken the systematic classification and measurement of widely valued positive traits. They approach good character in terms of separate strengths-authenticity, persistence, kindness, gratitude, hope, humor, and so on-each of which exists in degrees.

Character Strengths and Virtues classifies twenty-four specific strengths under six broad virtues that consistently emerge across history and culture: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. Each strength is thoroughly examined in its own chapter, with special attention to its meaning, explanation, measurement, causes, correlates, consequences, and development across the life span, as well as to strategies for its deliberate cultivation. This book demands the attention of anyone interested in psychology and what it can teach about the good life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above, especially those interested in positive psychology." —Choice

"Peterson and Seligman's Character Strengths and Virtues adds a needed balance to the psychological literature. Topics such as character and virtue have too long been only in the domains of moral philosophy and politics. This work provides a needed psychological foundation for studying some of the attributes that are most important to a world that is foundering on the shoals of wars, terrorism, and atrocities. I recommend the book very highly."-Robert J. Sternberg, IBM Professor of Psychology and Education, Yale University; Director, Center for the Psychology of Abilities, Competencies, and Expertise (PACE Center), Yale University; Past President, American Psychological Association

"Peterson and Seligman's endeavor to focus on human strengths and virtues is one of the most important initiatives in psychology of the past half century. I am pleased to have had the opportunity to make a small contribution to this paradigm-changing effort."-Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Education and Cognition, Harvard Graduate School of Education

"The book helps, in other words, with a coherent conversation about human qualities or character. Perhaps it can ultimately help people to remain 'attached to their values' as well."—Family Medicine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195167016
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/8/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 816
  • Sales rank: 574,995
  • Product dimensions: 10.19 (w) x 7.34 (h) x 1.59 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Michigan

University of Pennsylvania

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Table of Contents

Sect. I Background
1 Introduction to a "Manual of the Sanities" 3
2 Universal Virtues? - Lessons From History 33
3 Previous Classifications of Character Strengths 53
Sect. II Strengths of Character
Strengths of Wisdom and Knowledge
Introduction 93
4 Creativity [Originality, Ingenuity] 109
5 Curiosity [Interest, Novely-Seeking, Openness to Experience] 125
6 Open-Mindedness [Judgment, Critical Thinking] 143
7 Love of Learning 161
8 Perspective [Wisdom] 181
Strengths of Courage
Introduction 197
9 Bravery [Valor] 213
10 Persistence [Perseverance, Industriousness] 229
11 Integrity [Authenticity, Honesty] 249
12 Vitality [Zest, Enthusiasm, Vigor, Energy] 273
Strengths of Humanity
Introduction 291
13 Love 303
14 Kindness [Generosity, Nurturance, Care, Compassion, Altruistic Love, "Niceness"] 325
15 Social Intelligence [Emotional Intelligence, Personal Intelligence] 337
Strengths of Justice
Introduction 355
16 Citizenship [Social Responsibility, Loyalty, Teamwork] 369
17 Fairness 391
18 Leadership 413
Strengths of Temperance
Introduction 429
19 Forgiveness and Mercy 445
20 Humility and Modesty 461
21 Prudence 477
22 Self-Regulation [Self-Control] 499
Strengths of Transcendence
Introduction 517
23 Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence [Awe, Wonder, Elevation] 537
24 Gratitude 553
25 Hope [Optimism, Future-Mindedness, Future Orientation] 569
26 Spirituality [Religiousness, Faith, Purpose] 599
Sect. III Conclusions
28 Assessment and Applications 625
References 645
Index of Names 763
Subject Index 789
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2004


    This book is very good in that it appraoches veirtue from a modern perspective.

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    Posted May 24, 2010

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    Posted June 20, 2010

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    Posted February 15, 2014

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