Description: This introduction to the relatively new field of positive psychology is a collection of essays based on a presentation called the First International Positive Psychology Summit.
Purpose: The book is intended to provide a broad introduction to the main tenets of the ideology of positive psychology. The contributors aim to nudge clinicians from the perspective of putting out fires, clinically, to the overall concept of fire prevention, looking at humanity from the viewpoint of what we do well versus what's wrong with us.
Audience: It is written for students, academics, and providers of psychological services. The editors and many of the contributors (Seligman, specifically) are well known for their publications and tremendous contributions to the field of clinical psychology.
Features: The contributors provide a new way of measuring strengths, rather than diagnostic criteria, and looking at background influences in Classical European Psychology. A number of essays discuss lifelong development as well as the role of work and spirituality in keeping humankind happy and fulfilled. The book is well written by the forerunners in the field and it is refreshing in its insistence on looking for the positive. Some authors try too hard to put down the advances of clinical work in an attempt to strengthen the utility of positive psychology, and this feels unnecessary. Positive psychology is another important and relative tool for clinicians, and many clinicians have already discovered its tremendous usefulness in augmenting people's resources.
Assessment: This is a unique book, as the field itself is rather new. It would be a great textbook for a graduate course and is highly interesting reading that is recommended for those in the provision of mental health services.