Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being
  • Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being
  • Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being

Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being

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by Martin E. P. Seligman
     
 

“This book will help you flourish.”

With this unprecedented promise, internationally esteemed psychologist Martin Seligman begins Flourish, his first book in ten years—and the first to present his dynamic new concept of what well-being really is. Traditionally, the goal of psychology has been to relieve human suffering, but the goal of

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Overview

“This book will help you flourish.”

With this unprecedented promise, internationally esteemed psychologist Martin Seligman begins Flourish, his first book in ten years—and the first to present his dynamic new concept of what well-being really is. Traditionally, the goal of psychology has been to relieve human suffering, but the goal of the Positive Psychology movement, which Dr. Seligman has led for fifteen years, is different—it’s about actually raising the bar for the human condition.

Flourish builds on Dr. Seligman’s game-changing work on optimism, motivation, and character to show how to get the most out of life, unveiling an electrifying new theory of what makes a good life—for individuals, for communities, and for nations. In a fascinating evolution of thought and practice, Flourish refines what Positive Psychology is all about.

While certainly a part of well-being, happiness alone doesn’t give life meaning. Seligman now asks, What is it that enables you to cultivate your talents, to build deep, lasting relationships with others, to feel pleasure, and to contribute meaningfully to the world? In a word, what is it that allows you to flourish? “Well-being” takes the stage front and center, and Happiness (or Positive Emotion) becomes one of the five pillars of Positive Psychology, along with Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment—or PERMA, the permanent building blocks for a life of profound fulfillment.

Thought-provoking in its implications for education, economics, therapy, medicine, and public policy—the very fabric of society—Flourish tells inspiring stories of Positive Psychology in action, including how the entire U.S. Army is now trained in emotional resilience; how innovative schools can educate for fulfillment in life and not just for workplace success; and how corporations can improve performance at the same time as they raise employee well-being.

With interactive exercises to help readers explore their own attitudes and aims, Flourish is a watershed in the understanding of happiness as well as a tool for getting the most out of life. On the cutting edge of a science that has changed millions of lives, Dr. Seligman now creates the ultimate extension and capstone of his bestselling classics, Authentic Happiness and Learned Optimism.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Seligman, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the guru of the "positive psychology" movement, abandons his previous emphasis on happiness, which he now views as simplistic, to examine how individuals might achieve a richer, multilayered goal: a life of well-being. He identifies four factors that can help individuals thrive: positive emotion, engagement with what one is doing, a sense of accomplishment, and good relationships. Those expecting a guide on how to achieve these goals will be disappointed; Seligman's approach is largely conceptual and empirical, although he has some useful things to say, such as how even soldiers with PTSD can be taught resilience to recover and even grow from their traumas, and how students of all ages can be taught focus, delayed gratification, and GRIT, a combination of drive and perseverance. But Seligman includes too much on the mechanics of conducting his studies. Also, he can be self-congratulatory regarding his own theory, and harsh and reductionist on traditional treatments ("psychology-as-usual—the psychology of victims and negative emotions and alienation and pathology and tragedy"). This is a potentially important book whose impact may be limited by its flaws. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Former president of the division of clinical psychology of the American Psychological Association, Seligman (psychology, Univ. of Pennsylvania) wrote the book on positive psychology. Here, he goes beyond his previous volumes (Learned Optimism; Authentic Happiness) by explaining how to achieve well-being by mastering its components—positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and purpose, and accomplishment. Seligman expands his prescription for personal happiness and demonstrates how teaching resiliency to young people, those in the armed services, and business personnel has helped them overcome trauma and flourish in their environments. Seligman includes over 40 pages of annotated bibliography, websites, and interviews. This is particularly helpful for people who want to know why learned optimism works and the variety of venues in which it has been successful.
Kirkus Reviews

The former president of the American Psychological Association repaves the path to true happiness.

Seligman (Authentic Happiness, 2002, etc.) parlays his 20-year experience studying and applying theories about personal contentment into an instructional book on personal growth through affirmative, upbeat reinforcement—a continuance of the author's "positive psychology" movement. The author surprisingly admits that the word happiness has become virtually meaningless because of its rampant overuse in contemporary society, and he focuses on the promotion of individual well-being. Promoting these concepts in schools and the armed forces ("resilience training") could be a key element, he writes, in the advancement of happiness in youth and those consistently engaged in difficult, demanding situations. Seligman discredits the rampant overuse of anti-depressants in the administration of "biological psychiatry," advocating instead for increased curative efforts rather than temporary symptom suppression. Utilizing interactive exercises, case histories and examples from everyday life (health and wealth factors), the author energetically coaches those interested in self-improvement and personal growth. But is acquiring happiness such a complex, theoretical accomplishment? Seligman believes so and never wavers in his belief in a well-honed, systematic process of managed satisfaction. Though certain sections become garrulous and repetitive, graphs, charts and tables offer refreshingly visual proof of the success of his model, including a reprint of his "Signature Strengths Test." An elusive quality for some, a natural condition for others, happiness, Seligman avows, is a priceless emotion to cultivate and preserve.

A relentlessly optimistic guidebook on finding and securing individual happiness.

From the Publisher
"Repaves the path to true happiness. A relentlessly optimistic guidebook on finding and securing individual happiness." –Kirkus

"Important" —Publishers Weekly

"I was immediately charmed... Seligman's intentions are admirable and exciting. He is consumed by his mission, which is to take psychology on from its traditional role in alleviating misery, and broaden it into positive psychology — the entirely different art of teaching us how to be wiser, stronger, more generous to others, more self-disciplined, and more capable of dealing with difficulty and rejection... The book is full of nuggets about why positive approaches work."
The Sunday Times

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439190753
Publisher:
Free Press
Publication date:
04/05/2011
Edition description:
Simon & Schuster
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

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