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Customer Review

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. I feel I understand the human condition better for having read it., 18 Aug 2010
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This review is from: What You Can Change and What You Can't: Learning to Accept What You Are: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement (Paperback)
I found this to be an excellent book. I feel I understand the human condition better for having read it. Many of the chapters focus on a single difficultly, e.g. Anxiety, Phobias, Depression, Anger, Weight, Alcohol. Seligman describes what is known about each, and considers the outcomes of various treatments based on scientific studies which he references (without this intruding on the main text's readability). He is honest about it when he goes beyond the evidence and ventures his own opinion. As an example of the kind of question he considers: In treating alcoholism, should the goal be total abstinence, or controlled moderate drinking?

It's best to point out this is not a book about Positive Psychology, as that is what Seligman is probably best known for. And yet probably very relevant to Positive Psychology all the same - not much point in studying human strengths without some sort of primer on human weaknesses.

I found the book very readable, comprehensive and enjoyable (for some reason I struggled with "Authentic Happiness" by the same author).

Just in the chapter on dieting I would have liked more detail, or suggestions for further reading at the popular science level of this book (as I've already said, there are plenty unobtrusive references to original research). It's still a great chapter though, and in my view this stuff about dieting can't be repeated enough in our weight-obsessed culture:

- You can lose weight in a month or two on almost any diet.
- Most people gain almost all their weight back in four to five years, with perhaps 10 percent remaining thin (there are about a dozen well-executed long-term studies involving thousands of dieters, and all of them show basically the same dismal result).
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Location: the Unitied Kingdom

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