Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment
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Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  4,489 ratings  ·  212 reviews
A national bestseller, Authentic Happiness launched the revolutionary new science of Positive Psychology—and sparked a coast-to-coast debate on the nature of real happiness.

According to esteemed psychologist and bestselling author Martin Seligman, happiness is not the result of good genes or luck. Real, lasting happiness comes from focusing on one’s per...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 5th 2004 by Atria Books (first published 2002)
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Sheila
So many self-help books, questionnaires, and popular psychology books talk about what’s wrong with our lives and how to make the bad bits better. Martin E. P. Seligman asks us to look instead at what’s good, and learn to turn good into excellent, making this a book on mental wellness, rather than mental illness. It’s a refreshing change.

Wouldn’t you rather feel more happy instead of less miserable? But this isn’t just a question of looking at half-filled cups when they might be half-empty. Simpl...more
Stringy
Fascinating book from the man who decided that the psychology of mental illness needed to be paired with research into mental wellness. Seligman believes there's more to mental good health than the mere abscence of illness or sadness, and has inspired a group of researchers to work with him on creating a new branch of psychology to figure it out.

He catalogues the different ways of being happy: about the past, the future and the present. He focuses mostly on present happiness, dividing it into tw...more
Jennifer
I'd known about Seligmman's work for quite some time. I first started taking questionnaires at his website back in 2008. The fact that three years later, I still haven't taken them all, should be a pretty good indicator that I've never been converted to a true believer. But I do keep coming back, so there are aspects of his work that I find interesting.

This book and the test center at his website are really tie-ins to each other. It was because my results kept saying "for more information, see t...more
Tera
Apr 07, 2011 Tera added it
The cover of this book seems pretty pathetic; I'll be the first to admit I was put off by it. 'Authentic happiness' from one little book. Right... However, it was recommended to me by a professional therapist, so I bought it. I'm just making my way through the preface, and I'm already pleased. Who doesn't love a good dig into Freud? Here's a quote I liked:

"Freud's philosophy, as bizarre as it sounds when laid out so starkly, finds its way into daily psychological and psychiatric practice, wherei...more
Alletia
Seligman as father of Positive Psychology is a convincing advocate for augmenting the disease model of traditional psychology and for broadening the base of those who understand the benefits of promoting authentic happiness. While most of what he describes does not sound new, the read is worth while as it backs up all those long held beliefs buried in the self help sections of bookshops with solid emperical evidence. I could not help feeling almost validated and clever in recognising some of my...more
Chris Walker
My father gave me Dale Carnegie's How to Stop Worrying and Start Living to read as an anxious adolescent. Later I read Norman Vincent Peale. This book mentions how Norman Vincent Peale's positive thinking grew out of early Protestantism (Methodism) in the United States and the notion of our having a free will to better ourselves (rather than being passive vessels waiting to be filled with grace). The author asks the question as to whether the development of Positive Psychology, the program at th...more
Rebekah
I originally read this book for a college course, where we were actually only supposed to read excerpts. It interested me so much that I read the whole book, but always felt the injustice of being unable to dive as deeply into it as I wanted, since it was my senior year of college, and I was busy with other assignments. This time, I took my time getting through it, stopping and pausing often to think about what I had just read.

I love Martin Seligman. For a little history, he was President of the...more
شريف عرفة
The Field of positive psychology is closing the gap between self-help literature and Psychology. Martin Seligman is the God father of this Science and this book is the most popular books about it. I'm studying Masters of Applied Positive Psychology after my MBA to give me the empirical evidences I need in my work as a self Development author, and it really does.
In short: This is a highly recommended book for who are interested in self development based on real scientific researches.
Patrick
Is this authentic happiness?

JDN 2456177 EDT 13:59.

When I started Authentic Happiness, I had the highest hopes—that this might finally be the way out of my depression. When I finished reading it, I felt even more hopeless and depressed. Now that I've had some time to reflect on it, I just feel ambivalent and disappointed.
Seligman promises to offer us a fundamentally new approach to psychology, focused not on curing illness but on supporting flourishing, not on treating depression but on creating...more
Brent
Once again I don't think of myself as someone who reads many self-improvement books, but I did it again.

I valued the main point in this book, but I don't think it's the ultimate solution the way Seligman describes it. The author relates that in the history of psychology, much of the practice has been focused on the negative: people's social problems, delusions, irrational behavior, depression, etc. He argues that this often ends up being counter-productive where people focusing on everything th...more
Anne Rosales
I listened to the unabridged audio version of this book, which worked out well, as it's probably not something you need to focus 100% of your attention on. I really enjoyed the first few chapters, where Seligman lays out the basis for studying "positive psychology" -- how to increase one's experience of positive emotion/states of being, versus how to decrease one's experience of the effects of psychological trauma or disorders.

I also enjoyed taking the self-assessment quizzes at Seligman's websi...more
Cara
This is a really good book.

It was slow to start, spending pages upon pages talking about the benefits of being happy. Like, duh, just wanting to be happy isn't a good enough reason? I want to be happier because, uh, I'll be happier?

Other than that, good stuff, though. Concrete suggestions backed by psychological study. Summary:

- Your past doesn't determine your future. Increase your gratitude. Forgive.
- Assume bad things are temporary and isolated to the particular context in which they occur....more
Dayla
I loved this book. This book helped me to perfect the ability to "replace negative and all encompassing" thoughts with more neutral and more local thoughts. For example, one could say, "Everyone hates me." But after reading this book, I would be able to replace that with, "Well, not everyone hates you. A few people, like _____, _______, and _______ still like you. And not only that, do you really care if people hate you because you are holding them accountable at work?" Usually, this would help...more
Stef Wakeman
I picked up this book randomly, while traveling through Costa Rica. The title itself turned me off, but I was desperate for an English language book and would have read anything at that point. I was wonderfully surprised by this book- a self-help book on promoting optimism and freedom from negative thought patterns that is pragmatic, research driven and interesting to read. Seligman is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and has a very useful website in conjunction with the book, where...more
Jairo
De lectura obligatoria para psicólogos y psicoterapeutas interesados en estar al dia con lo que esta pasando en el mundo de la psicologia aplicada en Estados Unidos. Es difícil pensar en que otro tema de psicologia se este invirtiendo mas dinero por parte de las fundaciones mas ricas e influyentes como El Fondo Templeton, (Templeton Foundation) y el gobierno federal.

El tema principal del autor es el de que la psicologia aplicada necesita adquirir prestigio académico, que actualmente no tiene, y...more
Phil Cornelius
Note: please skip to the last paragraph for a summary of this review
This book can be a useful tool. Seligman does provide an easy formula for how to make your life happier and more meaningful. He discusses outside factors that influence happiness, looking at external factors that readers may change (such as getting married), and cannot change (genetics). He goes on to look at internal factors: optimism, character strengths, etc. This is the part of the book that matters most, and so he spends mu...more
Sharlene
This book has a lot of great information. It is filled with clear, well-researched information, but it is not dry or laborious to read (with tedious information relegated to the appendices). I will have to go back to the notes I've written in the margins, so I can apply some of the advice to my own life and relationships. I am glad I read this book, and I agree with and can learn from many of the points. I should go back to my notes before I say exactly what was most beneficial, but then this re...more
Elizabeth Anne
This, in my opinion, is a must-read for anyone who would like to better understand positive psychology, the relatively new branch of psychology that studies everything related to emotional wellness, quality of life, and what makes life worth living. It provides a history of the movement and the man behind it, as well as important research in the field. And it's an enjoyable read, too!
Kipriadi prawira
An important book that introduce Positive Psychology-- the science of understanding and furthering what's "right" rather than what's "wrong" with us. The main lesson from this book is:
"Authentic happiness involves living a life full of appreciation - being mindful of each and every moment - and passionately pursuing knowledge, friendships, health and career goals."
Bob
I appreciate the author's expertise and clear style with specific examples and description of research conducted by himself and other psychologists. The point of the book is to share his teaching about positive psychology - exercises to educate yourself and to learn how to promote affirmative(positive) thinking coupled with results for actual psychological research. Having been president of the American Psychological Association and co-founder of positive psychology studies, his focus has been o...more
Katelin
Another book from Positive Psych. Much of the same research as The How of Happiness only from the man who was one of the founders of the movement of positive psychology. Focusing on strengths and again, all the research as to why/how certain behaviors cause us to be happy.
Deb Davis
Decent overview of Positive Psychology.
Sue
Martin Seligman's theories about combating negative thinking in "Learned Optimism" made so much sense to me that I wanted to see what else he had to say. "Authentic Happiness" takes his theory of Positive Psychology even further by not only teaching how to dispute negative thoughts, but how to actually create positive ones. We can create positive thinking about the past by learning forgiveness and gratitude; about the present by savoring and mindfulness; and about the future by pursuing certain...more
Danielle
Authentic Happiness is an important introduction to Positive Psychology-- the science of understanding and furthering what's right rather than what's wrong with us. If you are disenchanted with mainstream psychology's emphasis on disorder and prescribed solutions, and if you want to enhance and make permanent the good things in life, you will find this book instructive and encouraging. Seligman simplifies a budding but complicated scientific discipline into an approachable read. He has a compani...more
Greg Linster
Prior to positive psychology, the study of psychology has always seemed to focus on the negative and how best to treat the diseases of the inherently flawed human mind. Freudian Psychology was based on the assumption that man was intrinsically twisted from childhood experiences. Positive psychology on the other hand, takes a distinctly different approach.

According to Seligman, a "pleasant life", a "good life", and a "meaningful life" are all prerequisites to leading a "full life". Unfortunately,...more
Ayu Puspita Sari
Saya penasaran sama buku ini sejak saya, yang (mengaku sebagai) seorang pesimis dan skeptis akut, mendapat tugas untuk presentasi mengenai Martin Seligman dan POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY!! Ironis.

Setelah tugas berakhir, saya iseng mencari bukunya dan ternyata ada ebook bahasa indonesianya sodara-sodara! Jadilah saya membaca buku ini untuk berusaha lebih mengerti pendapat Seligman dan psikologi positif siapa tahu saya juga bisa berubah dari pesimis sejak lahir menjadi seorang optimis seperti Seligman.

Dan...more
Starfire
Authentic Happiness was a fairly good book. I've used italics there because, given how much useful material was in it, I'm kind of surprised I didn't enjoy this book more than I actually did.

I liked Seligman's emphasis on focussing on your "signature strengths" - the things you're naturally good at and derive pleasure and satisfaction from using in the workplace and in your general life (mine appear to be - very strongly - curiousity, love of learning, and love of beauty, which I can totally go...more
Jonathan Karmel
According to this book, people have a set range of happiness which basically cannot be changed. The rest of happiness is a combination of circumstances (some of which cannot be changed) and things that are voluntary and can be changed. Circumstances that are generally correlated with happiness are living in a wealthy democracy, having friends, getting married, being religious and avoiding bad events and emotions. Once you have the basics, money and education do not increase happiness. While I do...more
Lisa Sipe
I am reading a selection of books from the field of positive psychology. I selected this one based on my understanding that Martin Seligman is one of the founding fathers of the field.

The first half of the book is devoted to understanding the components of happiness, the mutability of one's level of happiness and the mindset that best fosters it. Much of the research in this half will be familiar to one who has read any of the positive psychology books.

1. There are significant intellectual, phy...more
Marie
Dec 30, 2008 Marie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: psychologists, anyone who is interested in positive psychology
Shelves: nonfiction
This book took me awhile to get through, but I finally finished it.

Seligman is a psychologist who has pioneered the ideas of "learned optimism" and "positive psychology" (trying to improve people's lives) as opposed to the typical focus on negative psychology (trying to fix people's lives).

The book starts out with a happiness and longevity study done on nuns...in which the nuns were asked to write a short sketch of their lives early in their vocations. The study found that the more optimistic, u...more
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Seligman is the Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology in the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Psychology. He was previously the Director of the Clinical Training Program in the department. Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association by the widest margin in its history and served in that capacity during the 1998 term.[4] He is the founding editor-in-chief...more
More about Martin E.P. Seligman...
Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being The Optimistic Child What You Can Change and What You Can't: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement Abnormal Psychology

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