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At a time of deep crisis the notion of flourishing seems unimaginable. However, distinguished psychologist Maureen Gaffney believes passionately that not only is it possible for us to flourish, but in an increasingly uncertain world, it is essential that we plan to do so.

Flourishing is about achieving a deeper sense of well-being, meaning and purpose despite, and indeed very often because of, adversity. Indeed, Maureen Gaffney explains that adversity can be a positive turning point in our lives if we decide that our goal is not merely returning to the status quo, but having better lives. Her message is that we can do this and in this exciting and innovative book she shows us how.

Drawing on her vast experience of working with people and organisations, and on a fascinating body of recent research, Maureen Gaffney has written a gripping, stimulating and inspiring manifesto on how to flourish and why we need to. Learning to flourish - and helping others to flourish - is the most powerful and worthwhile investment we can make in our own well-being and in our country's future.

320 pages, Paperback

First published December 28, 2011

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Maureen Gaffney

12 books11 followers

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Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews
68 reviews9 followers
March 15, 2014
This book is phenomenal! It is extremely well written and inspiring. It is one of those books where I ended up highlighting 1/3 of the book and I review those highlights again and again. It is very insightful and opens the door to so many topics dealing with personal well-being and growth. Inspired by this book I now have at least 10 new books on my to read bookshelf, e.g. on post-traumatic growth, optimism, focus, goal-setting etc.
Profile Image for Derbhile Graham.
159 reviews7 followers
July 14, 2014
I'm not usually a devotee of self helps books, but this book is potentially life changing. Lightbulbs popped in my head every few pages. Rather than glibly promote positive thinking, it explains why we think negatively and why we need to reinforce positive experiences to counteract the negative ones. Saying that no one drives you crazy without your cooperation, or that dwelling on a problem actually makes it worse, may seem like stating the obvious to some, but it is one thing to comprehend these truths logically and quite another to comprehend them with your gut. This book works at that gutter level. Skip the last chapter though, I felt that that didn't tie in well with the rest of the book.
Profile Image for Aoife Driver.
35 reviews1 follower
July 20, 2015
I loved Maureen gaffney a other book the way we live now. With this book I got a lot of insights and valuable information but it took me 7 days to read because it was so sense with information some of it slightly repetitive. I particularly enjoyed the relationship and personality info as well as the first hand stories. All in all I got a lot from this book but struggled to get through parts of it.
July 5, 2020
A very insightful read.
A lot of useful information reinforced by some interesting experiments and research.
I’ve highlighted and underlined throughout. I believe this will be a book I will come back to several times.
Profile Image for Karolina Janus.
14 reviews
November 24, 2019
I genuinly loved every chapter of this book. It’s extremely well-written, in elegant and well-argued manner. I’ve found it very insightful, with relevant psychological concepts explained in a straightforward, yet engaging way. As you progress with reading, you slowly start learning about yourself and your unique experiences. There is a logically convincing explanation for every argument brought.

Some central topics of this book are:

- Economy of the Heart
- Importance of Attention
- Power of Positivity

What’s Flourishing?

It’s enduring a positive experience throughout your whole life. Gaffney outlines a 10-steps strategy to achieve it.Here are just a few key concepts that I’ve found particularly interesting on this journey:

In order to function normally in our personal & working lives we have to experience at least 3 positives to every negative. And if we want to flourish, be at our best, the positivity ratio needs to be ramped up to 5:1. If we fall below the 3:1 threshold, we will be trapped in a downward spiral of languishing and failure.

Positive and negative emotions are not the opposites - rather, they are relatively independent systems in our brain - our twin pillars of survival.

Based on our past experiences and habits, our brains are wired to experience certain emotions - fear, happinesss, gratitude, stress, anxiety.. If we experience too many negative feelings, the whole trick is to re-wire our brain and be open to positive thoughts & experiences - in this way our brain's plasticity will allow us to balance the positive and the negative. The only way to do it though is by remaining conscious and active in this practise.

Flourishing means understanding how different parts of yourself work and how to manage these most effectively to remain in harmony with your true self. Knowing what your true self is, is the first step. After guiding us through the 10 strategies leading to the nurturing life and optimal existence, Gaffney brings us back home to the Power of Optimism, leaving last word to David Landes:

„In this world the optimists have it, not bacause they are always right but because they are positive. Even when wrong, they are positive, and that is the way of achievement, correction, improvement and success. Educated eyes-open optimism pays; pessimism can only offer the empty consolation of being right.

The one lesson that emerges is the need to keep trying. No miracles. No perfection. No millennium. No apocalypse. We must cultivate a sceptical faith, avoid dogma, listen and watch well, try to clarify and define ends, the better to choose means.”
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Eleena Syuhada.
18 reviews1 follower
July 24, 2020
This book tells you exactly the things you wished you knew from the very start of life. The author used simple language and elaborate explanations to talk about the complexity of the human brain and how we can take this beautiful creation into advantage to make ourselves flourish in all aspects of life.

A very recommended read for everyone and anyone who’s looking for inspiration to take charge and upgrade your life, and to be a more efficient, positive human being as a whole! Very thankful to have come across this book :)
118 reviews2 followers
April 12, 2012
Could be framed as Dr Gaffneys Magnum Opus. A distillation of the past few decades of Positive Psychology research, and practical advice and activities suggested. The Ten Step framework for Flourishing (being in a state where positive experiences negate more inherently impactful negative ones) includes activities that are all largely solid and achievable. In fact, the sheer volume of information and strategies within make it a book that will become a source of ongoing reference.
11 reviews
March 3, 2012
A great insight into life and how we can be our best in all areas of it.
As ever, Maureen Gaffney is practical and descriptive and 'Flourishing'is one of those books worth dipping into in the future as a reference tool.
Profile Image for Penelope.
2 reviews
May 2, 2012
I'm surprised that i'm enjoying this book, as I find the topic too similar to all of the self-improvement stuff. However the book is contemporary and well researched and well structured, and helpful.
Profile Image for Michele.
60 reviews2 followers
February 5, 2013
This was a very good book- it broke things down into reasonable bits so that the reader can really consider where they are, WHY, and what steps they want to take not just to get by, but to thrive, despite it all.
Profile Image for Rebekah Burder.
53 reviews
January 29, 2013
Not your typical self-help book. It's more a collection of the author's research and ideas on what it meant to flourish. I found it very helpful, and am going to go through it again to pull out what I need to apply in my life. Very well-written.
2 reviews1 follower
April 28, 2012
This book may have changed my life.It certainly gives a common sensical blue print for a better life. I amon my second read and it just perks me upto read a few pages.
Profile Image for Margaret.
171 reviews
August 11, 2012
I enjoyed this book, although I don't think there was anything especially new here. But I'm always looking for studies that show students how they can be successful. And this one had several :)
Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews

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