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Learned Optimism [Abridged, Audiobook, CD] [Audio CD]

Martin E. P. Seligman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 Aug 2001
Based on a Gallup study of over two million people who have excelled in their careers, this text uses the "StrengthFinder" programme to help readers discover their distinct talents and strengths, and reveals how they can best translate into personal and career success.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio; abridged edition edition (20 Aug 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743518020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743518024
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 11.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 974,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Dr. Robert H. Schuller author of "Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do" One of the most important books of the century -- an absolute must-read for all persons interested in genuinely understanding and helping our fellow human beings. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your usual self help book. 12 Feb 1999
By A Customer
Unlike most self help books Seligman's work is based on actual research. I would really recommend this book for people who are sick of the positive thinking movement but would still like some of the benefits. From the reviews here you might think this is just another Polyanna book. Seligman does not say that optimistic people are superior to others. In fact, he says that pessimists are more realistic. Optimists make good sales people, but you wouldn't want them to be elevator inspectors.
Seligman advocates mature optimism. Basically the higher the cost of being wrong, the more it pays to be a pessimist. With that said there are a host of benefits to be had from optimism.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By Nick SC
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Learned optimism is a very readable account of how Seligman came to his theory of learned optimism and helped in developing a validated and successful approach to regaining a sense of control in life and to depression. His review of the evidence of the massive growth in depression during the 20th century is fascinating. He regards depression as psychological in origin, and doesn't consider other changes which might have contributed, such as changes in diet, although he does discuss the benefits of exercise. Later chapters explain how you can tackle your own 'explanatory style' (how you explain to yourself your successes and failures) and can learn to believe that you can cope with adversity. Seligman is an eminent psychologist and builds his case on rigorous studies. He is critical of approaches often used in therapy.
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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
While many books explain the personal benefits of "positive thinking", repeating positive mantras, and taking positive action, this book is critically important because it shows you just how much advantage an optimistic outlook provides. The evidence is so overwhelming that I found myself realizing that everyone needs to adopt more optimism in the important areas of their life. I liked the self-administered tests in the book for checking my optimism, that of my wife, and that of my children. I have always prided myself on being realistic, and still value that quality. What I learned is that being realistic should be combined with feeling optimistic about creating ways to improve the realistic situation as I understand it. That distinction is one that has been critically valuable in my life. I strongly recommend that you read this book, and share it with people you care about. For an organization, thinking about these issues could be a critical advantage.
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153 of 162 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Improving your thinking styles 4 Feb 2002
The important message of this book is that optimistic thinking is a very important skill that can be learned. But what is meant by optimistic thinking in this book? Well, to make sense of what happens in their life, people tend to attach explanations to events after they have happened. This process is usually referred to as 'attribution'. Seligman describes how people differ in their explanatory style, in other words, they have different 'habits of explanation'. He distinguishes three dimensions of attribution: 1) permanence (is the cause of the event permanent or temporary?), 2) pervasiveness (is the cause of the event general or specific?), and 3) personalization (is the cause of the even internal -personal- or external - caused by the sitution?). The difference between optimists and pessimist can be described using these three dimensions.
Pessimists tend to believe that negative things that happen to them 1) will have a long-lasting effect, 2) will affect many situations, and 3) are caused by themselves. Also, when something positive happens the pessimist tends to explains this negatively by 1) thinking this is just temporary success, 2) won't help him in other situations than this specific one, 3) and is caused by the situation more than by his own competence.
Optimists explain situations exactly the other way around. They tend to think that negative events 1) are just a temporary setback, 2) only affect thìs situation, and 3) are externally caused (not their own fault). Positive things are also explained positively by the optimistic thinker. He will think 1) that the success will last long, 2) that the success will positively affect other situations as well, and 3) that the success was caused by his own doing.
What's the relevance of this?
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
By James Bury TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Although not that well known in this country, Martin Seligman is widely regarded as one of the most eminent and insightful psychologists of the past 100 years.

Learned Optimism shows how for many people it is the way they perceive and respond to events around them that can make the difference between a happy, successful life or a difficult one dotted with depressive episodes. He explores the reasons for this and develops alternative approaches that appear to work well.

This CD starts with a simple test to assess 6 different scales of optimism / pessimism and to create a score for each of these scales. This indicates how individuals are likely to respond to particular types of events and adversities, and how that response can be constructive or damaging. This straightaway highlights areas where we may need to be careful in our everyday lives, and then goes on to look at alternative ways to interpret and react to events.

Seligman takes the view that the majority of depressive episodes, procrastination and under-achievement stem not from messed up brain-chemistry or unhappy childhoods, but from the ways we have learned to interpret and react to everyday adversity. He provides a robust method for reframing these events and ensuring any negative effect is short-lived, this in turn leads to improved personal performance and higher self-esteem and happiness. The main message is that there is a simple method for responding more constructively to negative events, and if this is practised, it soon becomes a learned behaviour that no longer requires conscious effort.

The upshot of it is that individuals will be happier, more successful and experience fewer if any depressive episodes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Handbook for handling adversity
As far as self-help books go, I rate Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman right up there with the seminal 'How to win friends and influence people' by Dale Carnegie. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. M. K. Egan
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
I liked the book because I found that it helped me starting facing situations in a different more fruitful and optimistic way !
Published 2 months ago by KATERINA LIOKOU
5.0 out of 5 stars Learned optimism: How to change Your Mind and Your Life
An inspiring read. Really helped me to look at the way I think and to make practical changes to my life.
Published 4 months ago by Catherine Carroll
5.0 out of 5 stars scientifically based methods to become more optomistic
The practical methods suited me well. seems similar to CBT which may have evolved from this?
Stories and examples went on a bit for me.
Published 4 months ago by Lucy jones
5.0 out of 5 stars The Optimism /Happiness tests are spot on.
Martin Seligman has been in my consciousness since I read about Helplessness and Stanley Milgram many years ago in my Management training. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Don Westacott
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for those with depression
Encouraging,informative,evidence based, though questionnaires too confusing to complete and analyse, dismissed psychoanalysis , ......... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful read for anyone!
Amazing book. I've read a lot of Seligman's Journal articles as part of my academic studies over the years and trust his work and ideas. Read more
Published 6 months ago by GG
1.0 out of 5 stars Pessimistic Review!
I do not understand all these reviews. Hundreds of pages explaining experiments (typed in a dull drawn out manner - often using old fashioned fancy wording) finally getting to the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Katy Craig
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
I can only comment on the parts that I have gotten through, which is about halfway so far.
thoroughly enjoying the insights into optimism vs pessimism. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Graeme Manson
4.0 out of 5 stars Mr A B.
Great delivery time, very speedy.
A very interesting book. I haven't finished it all yet but what i have readd has been most insightful on everyday thinking & how to avoid... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mr A A Bridger
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