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Flourish: A New Understanding of Happiness and Wellbeing: The practical guide to using positive psychology to make you happier and healthier Paperback – 5 May 2011
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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. A happier society requires us to attend much more to the quality of our inner life, and to proven methods for improving it. This is important stuff. (Observer)
I was immediately chamred. 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. Admirable and exciting. (Sunday Times)
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. (Matthew Kirk, British Ambassador to Finland Psychologies)
A wealth of insights and stories. (Nature)
Seligman describes several exercises that are easy to do and result in a significant and lasting effect on people's self-reported sense of well-being. (For example, each night, write down three things that went well that day and why.) Coming up with these exercises is high art - the description of their effect is compelling and left me promising myself to do them... readers who persevere will remember many of the points that Seligman made in this book - and will act on at least some of them... Some of his insights could really lead to greater well-being for society as a whole. (Professor Richard Layard Huffington Post)
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)
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.See all Product description
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Judging by the reviews, I was a bit mixed as to whether this book would be useful for me or not. Having read 'Authentic Happiness', I was left with a sense that it missed something about real life and wellbeing.
I felt he courageously revealed and accepted that his last book was not a complete picture of wellbeing, and that he had concentrated too much on happiness (which is mainly linked to mood/life satisfaction) -- and did not encompass meaning, engagement, positive relationships and accomplishment. But, he is only human and he is constantly evolving (as we all are)...And, thank goodness, he has the passion and drive to continue to improve on his work. His book shows the conscious improvement on his thoughts and uncertainties, and his overview of the evidence-base, to draw his conclusion about the key elements for flourishing.
The reason for 4 out of 5, is simply that I felt he expanded a little too much on his pre-positive psychology days, at the beginning, which did not add value to the information he was presenting about flourishing for wellbeing.
However, I did like the story behind Martin Seligmans development and input into positive psychology, and he writes about a plethora of evidence-base for its effectiveness -- yet still questions certain areas that continue to be developed. He enthusiastically discusses his peers and their important contribution to creating the, say, Penn Resilience Programme.
I feel it is an amazing feat to have been able to incorporate the programme into the US Army and schools, and that it is being closely monitored. He displays a compassion for the problems many soldiers encounter when they leave the army, or real-time situations they have to deal with at home -- simply because of their links with mobile technology to their loved ones.
With his constructive reasoning he convinces me of the benefits of positive psychology, and that it is not just a 'happiology' - but a realistic portrayal of the essential elements required for inner resilience within the fast-paced and ever-changing world we live in today. I plan to use this book to inform my practice as a resilience coach/trainer.
There are definite nuggats of essential information into the complex world of wellbeing!
I am fascinated by the concept of positive psychology and how it was not considered scientific enough to be taught in my highly renowned university degree 9 years ago, but that now it’s being acknowledged as the credible theory it is, I believe it should be taught within standardised psychology degrees.
The book itself leaves me wanting more - more of the science, more of the theory, more of Seligman’s experiences.