The former president of the American Psychological Association repaves the path to true happiness.
Seligman (Authentic Happiness, 2002, etc.) parlays his 20-year experience studying and applying theories about personal contentment into an instructional book on personal growth through affirmative, upbeat reinforcement—a continuance of the author’s “positive psychology” movement. The author surprisingly admits that the word happiness has become virtually meaningless because of its rampant overuse in contemporary society, and he focuses on the promotion of individual well-being. Promoting these concepts in schools and the armed forces (“resilience training”) could be a key element, he writes, in the advancement of happiness in youth and those consistently engaged in difficult, demanding situations. Seligman discredits the rampant overuse of anti-depressants in the administration of “biological psychiatry,” advocating instead for increased curative efforts rather than temporary symptom suppression. Utilizing interactive exercises, case histories and examples from everyday life (health and wealth factors), the author energetically coaches those interested in self-improvement and personal growth. But is acquiring happiness such a complex, theoretical accomplishment? Seligman believes so and never wavers in his belief in a well-honed, systematic process of managed satisfaction. Though certain sections become garrulous and repetitive, graphs, charts and tables offer refreshingly visual proof of the success of his model, including a reprint of his “Signature Strengths Test.” An elusive quality for some, a natural condition for others, happiness, Seligman avows, is a priceless emotion to cultivate and preserve.
A relentlessly optimistic guidebook on finding and securing individual happiness.