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Flourish: A New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being - and How To Achieve Them [Paperback]

Martin E. P. Seligman
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 May 2011
From the author of the International Bestseller Authentic Happiness. In this groundbreaking book, one of the world's foremost academic psychologists and founder of the Positive Psychology movement offers a new theory on what makes people flourish and how to truly get the most out of life. Flourish is a fascinating evolution of Seligman's thinking, and offers inspiring stories of Positive Psychology in action - innovative schools that add resilience to their curricula; a new theory of success and intelligence; and evidence on how positive physical health can turn medicine on its head. Building on his game-changing work on optimism, motivation and character, Seligman shows us how to flourish and bring well-being into both our personal lives and society as a whole. Well-being is a way of thinking that the new coalition government is taking very seriously indeed.

Frequently Bought Together

Flourish: A New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being - and How To Achieve Them + Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realise Your Potential for Lasting Fulfilment + Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
Price For All Three: 30.35

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Product details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing (5 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857885694
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857885699
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 14.8 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"At last, psychology gets serious about glee, fun and happiness. Martin Seligman has given us a gift - a practical map for the perennial quest for a flourishing life."
Daniel Goleman, author of /Emotional Intelligence

"The spread of positive psychology is a key development in world culture. This book tells the remarkable story..."
Richard Layard, author of /Happiness: Lessons from a New Science

"One of the leading psychologists in the world has applied his wisdom and experience to the task of increasing wellness, resilience, and happiness for everyone..."
Aaron T. Beck, MD, founder of Cognitive Therapy

No psychologist in history has done more than Martin Seligman to discover the keys to flourishing and then give them away to the world. Flourish is full of specific techniques you can use to change yourself, your relationships, and your organization. More importantly, Seligman teaches you how to look at life and see possibilities, rather than constraints. If you lead people, work with people, or know any people, you should read this book.
Jonathan Haidt, author of The Happiness Hypothesis

A compelling view of a positive human future, for individuals, corporations, and nations, brilliantly told.
Tony Hsieh, #1 NY Times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of Zappos.com, Inc.

You might think you know about well-being and positive psychology, but there's so much more you can learn in FLOURISH. With flashes of brilliance, rigorous research, and stories so absorbing that they're impossible to put down, Seligman s new book contains wisdom garnered over a long and storied career...If you liked Authentic Happiness, you will like Flourish ten times more. This book is bound to be not only a source of knowledge, but a fount of inspiration.
Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want

Brilliant, beautiful, useful, and true. How many books can you say that about? Well, you can say it for sure about Flourish. Written by a master of research as well as a thoroughly joyful man, Flourish will allow you to flourish if you simply read the book and follow its sane, sage, ground-breaking advice...You actually can plan your way to a joyful and fulfilling life. Read and rejoice!"
Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of Shine: Using Brain Science to Bring the Best from Your People

"Since Martin Seligman launched the positive psychology movement more than a decade ago, his methods have attracted a global following, including David Cameron... The rise of positive psychology has been all but unstoppable, with Seligman s book Authentic Happiness its key text... now, in his book Flourish, happiness is out and well-being, or 'flourishing', is in."
Psychologies

"His most personal and boldest book so far... Seligman s book is a paean to applied science, a blue-print for how to translate empirical evidence from the laboratory to the real world... everyone stands to benefit from his initiatives."
Nature

"...some of his insights could really lead to greater well-being for society as a whole."
Huffington Post

"I finished his new book, Flourish, a convert... less an academic or therapeutic enterprise than a game-changing crusade."
New Scientist

"The reason western policy-makers are excited by Seligman's approach is that he has apparently found a way to turn the lessons of ancient philosophy into an evidence-backed science"
The Spectator

--...

"Martin Seligman did the world a service by focusing his profession s attention away from correcting negatives and towards promoting positives...flourishing is to be welcomed."
Financial Times

"Martin Seligman is the inventor of positive psychology and a major figure in the well-being movement. This makes him a significant figure in world culture... this is important... Full of fascinating detail of how this extraordinary venture is developing"
Richard Layard, for Observer

"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

--...

About the Author

Martin Seligman PhD, Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of the Positive Psychology Network, gave the Centennial address to the British Psychological Society in 2002 and is an Honorary Professor at the University of Cardiff. A former President of the American Psychological Association, he has written 20 books including the bestselling Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness and in 2009 was awarded the British Academy s Wiley Prize in Psychology. He is widely considered the pre-eminent expert on applied psychology in the world.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a rejection of happiness? 30 Oct 2011
By D&D TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Seligman was the first to move psychology from focusing exhaustively on what's wrong to looking at what's right. And that changed everything.

That change of focus may seem obvious now but it was actually a stroke of genius because it's hard - almost impossible - to create good from bad. Could anyone learn to play a musical instrument well from bad musicians, for example? However, given psychology's obsession up until then on what was wrong, Seligman's amazing accomplishment - creating an important branch that studies what is right - is akin to an instant U-turn by Allure of the Seas, currently the world's largest cruise ship (the size of a city block 16 floors high).

"Flourish" is not a repeat of his previous books as some appear to claim. Actually it represents Seligman's rejection of happiness as THE measurement of what's right. He explains this at length here but the essence seems to be that he has recognised the shallowness of measuring happiness, especially since it is so subjective but also because mood plays such a large part in happiness. He now argues that well-being is far more important.

Why only three stars? I felt there was really only a booklet worth of value in this book which, like so many written by academics (whose jobs can require them to "publish or die"), has a lot of "filler" (which can be entertaining if in the right mood for it). I scanned through this book to get the bones, the few gems of wisdom, which can probably be summarised by his definition, in an early chapter, of the five elements of well-being which are:

1. positive emotion (the pleasant life - subjective and coincidentally also important for happiness),
2. engagement (also subjective, and perhaps best explained by what Cziksentmihalyi calls Flow),
3.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy if you're looking for practical advice 19 Sep 2011
By CK
Format:Paperback
"This book will help you flourish" is the claim on the back of the book. I have to disagree - there is very little here that is of practical use. Out of the 241 pages of content there are probably 10 pages of exercises/advice for the reader. The rest is about the history of positive psychology and the various people that developed it. An accurate subtitle would be "the adventures of Martin Seligman."

The book describes the ways in which positive psychology is being used to help soldiers (56 pages or 23% of the book is on this topic), schools, health, the various university degrees now available in positive psychology and different experiments highlighting the benefits of it. There is even a section on using positive psychology to help astronauts!

This may be of interest to some readers but it definitely doesn't help readers improve their lives and it isn't what the book claims to be.

If you're looking for a practical guide to positive psychology, this isnt it. If you're looking for a history of Martin Seligman's work on positive psychology then this is the book for you.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The science of well-being revisited 2 May 2011
Format:Paperback
Positive psychology has come to be defined as "the scientific study of what enables individuals and communities to thrive". "Flourish" explores this concept of thriving. The last 15 years, Martin Seligman has been one of the major driving forces behind positive psychology. He has authored influential bestsellers such as Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life (1991) and Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realise Your Potential for Lasting Fulfilment (2002). Now, again about a decade later, Seligman writes a new account of what he has been teaching and telling on conferences lately. He does so in a somewhat peculiar mix: a) a manifesto for a broad science of well-being, b) accounts of positive psychology research and practice, interlaced with c) a backstage history of positive psychology.

a) First of all, "Flourish" is a manifesto for a science of well-being. Seligman departs from his earlier "Authentic Happiness" concept and posits the broader topic of "well-being". "Authentic happiness" comprised three components: 1. positive emotion (feeling good), 2. engagement (flow) and 3. meaning. Seligman now adds two more components of well-being: 4. positive relationships and 5. accomplishment. To my humble opinion, the addition of 4. positive relationships is long overdue, whereas the addition of 5. accomplishment may turn out to be controversial.

b) Next, this book gives several examples of well-being research. Don't expect yet another pop self-help peptalk of "happiness in 5 easy steps".
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64 of 70 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what it claims to be on the dust jacket? 8 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
'This book will help you flourish' the dust jacket claims in big letters on the back. Actually it won't. 'A new understanding of happiness and well-being and how to achieve them'. No it isn't. Don't judge a book by its cover the saying says: it's a good read, although Seligman does tend to wander off topic a bit, for example when he goes on about Lisa's dancing or explains why Ehrenreich is wrong. An editor would have been good.
But how does knowing the US army has a resilience programme and big database of its test results help me flourish? How does a Seligman-centric history of well-being research help me flourish? I bought the book to learn well-being ideas and techniques - what works and what does not, and there's very little of these.
But it's a good read, and Seligman has many interesting ideas in his field - such as what is our legacy to the world going to be now wealthy countries have wealth enough to go round - can we copy Florence and leave something (well-being, rather than beauty) that will last for future generations?
I hope Seligman will ensure future editions have an honest dust jacket and preface that describe what the book is actually about, rather than what the publisher thinks will sell it. But don't buy it for the cover!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars everybody needs to read this book!
This book really could change hot life. So many great ways to improve human well being and personal happiness very interesting stuff
Published 2 days ago by Diana A.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Positive Psychology is part of the new wave of brain study that centres around cognitive change, the reworking of neural pathways. Read more
Published 1 month ago by JeniP
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read and well worth it
There was definitely a lot of work that went into writing this book, thanks to the Author and all who contributed. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Quentin
3.0 out of 5 stars Flourish
It is not a patch on Maureen Gaffney's Flourishing. It is a self-help book that is very readable all the same and it has a scholarly element to it.
Published 9 months ago by fiercecritic
5.0 out of 5 stars Positive Psychology
I really enjoyed the book and being from the cognitive behavioural school of performance it has been nice to see that psychology in this form has taken a forward looking success... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Geoff Greenwood
3.0 out of 5 stars More focussed on the history of Positive Psychology and selling you it...
If you want to learn Positive Psych, this isn't really it. If you want to learn *about* Positive Psych - i.e. the history, the process that led to its creation, fine, go for it. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Matt
4.0 out of 5 stars Astonoshing
In three years at university i never bought a book, but this is something else. It fits well with my way of being, it gives you ideas and philosophies that will make you think more... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Bruno Santos
5.0 out of 5 stars Positive psychology bible
For anyone interested in psychology this is a must read. I'd also recommend it for anyone studying psychotherapy or mental health. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Ali247
4.0 out of 5 stars Flourishing
Whilst Martin Seligman can be considered the father of positive psychology and flourishing is one of the key principles, this text is a little disorganised and his earlier work... Read more
Published 19 months ago by A. Rawcliffe
4.0 out of 5 stars A good informative read.
Hi,

Judging by the reviews, I was a bit mixed as to whether this book would be useful for me or not. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Lisa McLoughlin
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