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Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3 to 1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  894 ratings  ·  108 reviews
World renowned researcher Dr. Barbara Fredrickson gives you the lab-tested tools necessary to create a healthier, more
vibrant, and flourishing life through a process she calls "the upward spiral." You’ll discover:

•What positivity is, and why it needs to be heartfelt to be effective
• The ten sometimes surprising forms of positivity
• Why positivity is more important than ha
Paperback, 277 pages
Published December 29th 2009 by Harmony (first published January 1st 2009)
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I've been hearing wonderful things about this book from people who loved it, but frankly, I couldn't get past the first few pages without wanting to throw up. This book has a powerful and important message, but it's completely lost in the saccharine, unrealistic delivery.

Fredrickson starts the book by portraying the same scenario viewed in two different ways: In the first, you sleep through your alarm, wake up too late for your morning workout, check your email and find that one coworker has dum
My husband scoffed at this book, but I enjoyed it because (1) the author is a scientist, (2) she uses peer-reviewed studies as the basis of her work and fleshes it out with some qualitative and anecdotal evidence around the edges, and (3) she emphasizes that statements like "Be positive" and "Don't worry, be happy" and smiley-face logos are no help at all. In fact, she describes one study in which fake-smiling while angry actually led to heart injuries.

I would need to read this book again to ge
Jeff Suwak
It's very strange that people act so antagonistic towards this book. It's written by an expert in psychology and everything in it is validated by empirical study. Yes, it's packaged as a 'self help' sort of book, but there are zero of those all-too-common, nonsensical 'folk remedies' for your psychological ailings. It's simply taking those methods that have been shown by study to work, and then advising on ways that they may be used to better one's life.

I am a bit of an afficianado/junkie for s
Barb Fredrickson is a fellow Carl, Class of '86, and clearly head and shoulders above my intellectual level!! Still, when I saw she was receiving an alumni achievement award this year, I became interested in her "broaden and build" theory and noticed she had written a book, "Positivity," which was said to be accessible for all. Does it tell you something about my summer to know it's taken me about 2 months to work my way through this easily read, 230-page book? Barb offers many good (and scienti ...more
While the message of this book is timely, i.e. that positivity can make a huge difference in the social world and that we should all work toward developing a more positive attitude,the scientific basis for these discoveries seems much more dubious. In fact, the book fits quite definitively into the self-help section and not the popular science section. Don't be fooled by the author's credentials or her constant (methinks she protests too much) appeals to the scientific validity of her discoverie ...more
Jan 25, 2012 Ryan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Ryan by: Aaron
Lately, I've been addicted to psychology books.

The Moral Animal: Why We Are, the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology triggered this obsession; Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Why We Believe in God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith and Man's Search for Meaning lent it much fuel. Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3 to 1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life is a worthy addition to this list.

The author spends half the book supporting her thesis by describin
A serious, in-depth book about happiness, which the author calls positivity to distinguish from the superficial fluffy self-help happiness stuff. She defines positivity to include joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love. This book is full of results of scientific studies done by the author and others--everything she says is backed up experimentally.

The biggest take-away here is that a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative thoughts is the tipping point f
This interesting book details the scientific research on how having a more positive attitude and outlook can "transform our lives from so-so to joyous" while impacting our health, relationships, career and just about everything else. Author Barbara Fredrickson gives concrete ideas on how to quite focusing on the negative things and start focusing on what is good and uplifting and joyous in our lives. Good common sense that we have all heard before, backed up by solid science. The only downside o ...more
Molly Westerman
Barbara Fredrickson teaches at UNC-Chapel Hill, where I got my PhD in English; I've been aware of her work in positive psychology for years because a handful of my students took her classes--and they all LOVED them. I recently ran across an interview with Fredrickson and liked her discussion of how imprecise a term "happy" is and how inadequate various measures of it are, so I decided to read her book.

I probably should have read her scholarly articles instead (and I probably will, eventually). I
*Goodbye Negative-ville, Hello Positive-ville*

If you've spent any time traveling in this here journey we call life, you've probably experienced how easy it is to fall into the downward spiral of negativity. A negative thought can easily lead to a negative feeling, which can kick off a negative behavior....which then leads to even more negative feelings, thoughts, and behaviors ad nauseam. Before you know it, the cycle can spiral out of control, and you've become a not-so-proud resident of Negat
I got ahold of this after I heard Dr. Fredrickson present some findings on a local radio station; I have a hipster distrust of happiness and was hoping for some charts and graphs and tales of horrible things done to monkeys in the name of cognitive science, all with the conclusion that we should take more long walks. Instead I got told to make a gratitude list; this book is much heavier on the self-help then on the science journalism and sells itself about the same as a diet plan. I hate to say ...more
While the title of this book definitely makes it look like just another self-help book, this one is different.

Author Barbara L. Fredrickson has scientific backing to help give tips on what to do to improve positivity in a person's life. The first part of the book is dedicated to discussing what has been extensively researched and what kind of data has been amassed over several years, on what effects positivity have on a person's life, whether it be in the work place, at home, or dealing with st
The strongest parts of book for me is author describing her research and studies. Having completed book on mindfulness recently I found a lot of the advice based on research useful. I've heard her research referenced in other positive psychology books and businesses books so it was interesting to hear her description of positivity ratios.
Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson
A life changing classic- 10 out of 10

Scholars and reputed positive psychologists keep referring to the classic work by the excellent professor Barbara Fredrikson.
Her book is so wonderful that I read through it very slowly, to prolong my enjoyment.
It has some ground breaking discoveries and also explores terrain that seems to be common knowledge from the ancient days.
If only you would apply it.
Positive people live longer, more successful professional, private live
Joan Young
I loved the practical application of science to living a life optimally. Dr. Fredrickson, herself a "happiness" skeptic, set out to help others understand what it takes to live life and flourish. Her book is filled with practical wisdom. I highly recommend it.
James Houston
A coach-type recommended this to me as a building block of better work habits and personal progress. I finished it feeling better than I did when I came to it (and was able to draw enough links between my feeling better and the content of the book), so I consider it time well-enough spent.

The big unique selling proposition here is that having at least three positive thoughts for every one negative thought is a tipping point at which your mental state goes from frustrated, malaise-ridden and ine
One of the few books in positive psychology which at least attempts to delineate science from self-help. Part one is a persuasive argument for developing positivity, supported by research. Part two presents practical, evidence based tips.

It's disconcerting that the math behind Fredrickson's most interesting claim (the positivity ratio tipping point of 3:1) appears to have been debunked (1) and that her response (2) doesn't explain why such an error made it into publication.

Also unsettling (alb
Keith Kendall
This book didn't feel like a typical "self-help" book. It felt like something that, by applying the ideas in this book can actually make a difference in my life. So, three days before finishing this book, I went to the web site, and have been taking the positivity test daily since then. So far, my scores fluctuate wildly. Just taking the test causes me to think about my day, and my attitude towards it.

"Positivity doesn't mean we should follow the axioms 'Grin and bear it' or 'Don't worry, be hap
Weegee Sachtjen
Absolutely, positively love this book. It's a fine balance between the upward spiral into positivity and our natural tendancy to view things through a negative lens. Barbara Fredrickson has made it her mission to find a way to reduce the negativity in order to let the positive aspects in life shine. The first half of the book does tend to lean towards the research, studies and experiments of her science. But the second half introduces those themes and offer tips for living a "non-negative" life. ...more
Admittedly, I was not in the correct mindset for this book: having read it at the behest of my employer and not seeking it out to enhance my life. However, I remain open to Fredrickson's approach and find merit in her central idea that that positivity is a state of mind that can be encouraged and expanded by mindful meditation and monitoring of responses to our daily environment/interactions. Negativity is not something to be avoided (as that is a fool's errand), but mitigated in seemingly small ...more
Irene McHugh
I really wanted to love every minute of this book. I wanted to learn practical methods to improve positivity in my life. While there were some specific statistics that were new and interesting to me, the majority of the generalizations were pretty self-evident.

"Hey, don't ruminate on things that worry you. That kind of thinking creates negativity."

"If the weather is agreeable, go outside for a bit to improve your positivity."

"Exercise more to generate better health, both mentally and physically.
Experience Life
If you want to wrap your head around the best, most practical lessons of Positive Psychology in the most direct way possible, start here. Barbara Fredrickson, among the first researchers to study the effects of positive emotions on health, sheds light on a recent and fundamentally important scientific finding: In any given situation, a “positivity ratio” of three positive experiences to each negative one is required in order for individuals to thrive and flourish. Any less, and we start drifting ...more
Renelle Turgeon
I decided to read this book for my Principles of Management class for my Guru Paper. I really enjoyed this book. I loved that she was a scientist and actually did hands on research to back up her results and information. I loved how see provided a guide in order to help you increase your positivity and challenges you to practice. I think more people should read about positivity because I feel that people forget to credit themselves and don’t enjoy what good there is around them. We tend to carry ...more
Alaeddin Hallak
Positive emotions are more subtle than negative ones, and we therefore need more of them to balance out our emotion ratio. The ideal ratio is 3:1 – three positive emotions for every negative one, and most of us can achieve this by practicing methods like mindfulness, meditation and writing a gratitude diary. This ratio has been shown to help us acquire a positive attitude towards life, which makes us more resilient to negative emotions, more tolerant of others and more open to new experiences.
Barbara Fredrickson is a great, talented and influential researcher. Unfortunately, she is a less talented writer... if only it were more entertainingly written!... also, reading this book i felt again this notion that it would be nice if the researchers stop trying to turn their research memoirs into self-help books, even if they, perhaps, are forced to do that by their editors. it is simply not the right milieu! in this book, for example, you will be confronted with oh so familiar advice: medi ...more
Leanna Pohevitz
It seems kind of silly to give a book on positivity a low score but I felt like it was really redundant or advice without any real advice.

I read this book for a course and it matched what she said in the course almost entirely, which made me think it was a superfluous assignment.

There definitely was some interesting research in here - about how many positives you need to negatives ration-wise in different types of relationships, but I wish I had just read those scientific journal articles inst
I especially enjoyed this book's realism about positive thinking. There are things about which we should be pessimistic, and it is actually good for us (her derogatory remarks about Pollyanna notwithstanding--obviously she's only seen the movie, not read Porter's book, which I think actually is in line with these research findings! In the book, Pollyanna isn't paralyzed because she falls from a tree when disobeying her aunt. She's randomly hit by a car. The theology all the way through is deeper ...more
I only skimmed this book. I liked that it combines research with stories. I especially like how the author provides much data and common sense to encourage the reader to decide to focus on the positives in life. Here's a link to the author's web page where you can take a 20 question daily positivity quiz to get an idea of where you're at in achieving a 3 to 1 positivity ratio.

A good companion read for this book is The Biology Of Belief: Unleashing The Po

Good description of Barbardy Frederickson research field, and how she discovered the 3:1 ratio of positive versus negative experiences that according to her model explain how some people thrive and are happier than others in their daily life.

It's based on solid research and however there is always something missing in books written by positive psychologists from this positive psychology school. This theory seems too dependent upon the culture where it was born (US) and ignoring cultural and his
read as accompanying material for a coursera course led by the author on Positive Psychology. I was surprised how much material in the book was covered thoroughly in the coursera course. This added research anecdotes to help ground the information.
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Dr Barbara Fredrickson is Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology and principal investigator of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a leading scholar within social psychology, affective science, and positive psychology.
More about Barbara L. Fredrickson...
Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become Atkinson & Hilgard's Introduction to Psychology, 15th Edition Atkinson & Hilgard Introducere în psihologie Handbook of Positive Emotions Atkinson and Hilgard's Introduction to Psychology (with Lecture Notes and InfoTrac)

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