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Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

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Known as the father of the new science of positive psychology, Martin E.P. Seligman draws on more than twenty years of clinical research to demonstrate how optimism enchances the quality of life, and how anyone can learn to practice it. Offering many simple techniques, Dr. Seligman explains how to break an “I—give-up” habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue. These skills can help break up depression, boost your immune system, better develop your potential, and make you happier.. With generous additional advice on how to encourage optimistic behavior at school, at work and in children, Learned Optimism is both profound and practical–and valuable for every phase of life.

319 pages, Paperback

First published February 1, 1990

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About the author

Martin E.P. Seligman

55 books959 followers
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 of Prevention and Treatment Magazine (the APA electronic journal), and is on the board of advisers of Parents.

Seligman has written about positive psychology topics such as The Optimistic Child, Child's Play, Learned Optimism, Authentic Happiness," and in 2011, "Flourish."

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 980 reviews
Profile Image for Saša.
8 reviews35 followers
November 1, 2012
Don't confuse this for another bullshit self-help guide. This book is actually based on Dr. Seligman's (and others') extensive scientific research. It includes tests that offer valuable insight and effective techniques to battle those crippling negative thoughts. It's a bit lengthy, but that's the only downside I could find. Strongly recommended to anyone struggling with feelings of helplessness, pessimism, and/or depression.
Profile Image for hissi.
437 reviews13 followers
February 17, 2012
(4 out of 5) because its informative, but boring.

im reading this for my friend. to help her find optimism and hope.

what i love about this book is that it does not believe that optimism is an attitude you should adapt for every situation in life. and that is what made the book so real!

when you're friend is hurt or feeling betrayed or sad, optimism will make them feel that you are undermining their problems.
having the "I CAN DO IT" attitude does not apply in everything. >> having a drink and driving hoping for the best.
"EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY!" sometimes gives you the excuse to hurt the people you love, because you think that later you can work things out.

being optimistic is not an option in our lives. it is a NEED. if you want to perform your best in everything. you have to believe in yourself, trust yourself and be thankful for the rest.

the key is balance. like everything else. we need to Learn how to balance our optimism.
first: interrupting the vicious cycle of pessimistic beliefs. by challenging your initial reactions (negative ones in wrong situations remember that)
see the connection in ABC (adversity, belief and consequences) between the things you did (or happened to you, your beliefs, what you think about the things that happened and the consequences of your thoughts and thus, their impact on you. it is a cycle.

you cant change the circumstances happening to you, but you can change how you think about them and therefor change the consequences
but if you find that you cant shake this negativity there are two ways hat can help

1- distractions: redeploy your attention. interrupt any thought you do not want by doing a drastically measured action (say STOP! or snap a rubber band that's around your wrist, you can even study anything intently for a while.. even a pencil! - smell the lead, lick it and tap it on a desk). if thoughts still persist. promise yourself that you would find the time later in the day to think about things, more rationally and thoroughly.

2- disputations: argue your negative side. prove and show that its not correct.(deeper, more lasting remedy)by

a- find evidence to counter the pessimistic beliefs
b- find alternative explanations for your actions
c- explore the implications of your pessimistic beliefs
d- examine the usefulness of these beliefs

example:
you didn't do well on an exam, you feel like a loser and a stupid brick and u want to quit.

(a) the person next to you got a lower grade. you are not stupid nor a loser

(b) you were sick and the time. u were juggling between family crises and work. barely having the time to study. (don't put yourself as the excuse.. like you are stupid.. the professor might as well have been an ass). and even if you are!- de-catastrophise- (SO WHAT! even if i am older than the rest.. it doesn't mean im weaker or less useful).

(c) you are not going to quit because you want this degree. you need it. and you cannot afford to think that you have the pleasureful choices of backing away or giving up.

(d)notice how u will feel when you start thinking like that. when you start BELIEVING.

***

use these techniques in the right situation. if you are going to perform a certain action and negativity is taking the best of you then DISTRACT yourself. if you are in a less demanding situation then take the time to analyse.
Profile Image for Michelle.
146 reviews20 followers
January 27, 2012
Anyone in need of an attitude adjustment (as I was when I picked up this book) will benefit from knowing that how you view good and bad events can have a big impact on how effectively you deal with the normal ups and downs of life. In a nutshell, if you see bad events as persistent (things will never change), pervasive (this disappointment means my whole life is a disaster) and personal (I always mess things up), you are a pessimist and probably not a very happy camper.

Optimists see the world from an inverse perspective: for them, good events are pervasive, persistent and personal (i.e. they take credit for their own good fortune and they believe everything will turn out okay in the end) and bad events are temporary, compartmentalized and somebody else's fault. It's this final attitude that is a bit troubling to me, but I will admit that if the only criteria for usefulness is how happy something makes you, probably blaming all your problems on other people is a useful technique. Annoying as heck, but useful.

But Dr. Seligman says all this in the first section of the book. Then he becomes a man with a hammer for whom all problems appear to be nails and he spends the last two-thirds of the book applying optimism to fix every problem and predict every success from sports team championships to the presidential election.

So, I will try to have a little bit more optimistic outlook, and if I don't succeed, it's not my fault. See, I feel better already.

Profile Image for Sanjay Gautam.
222 reviews434 followers
May 5, 2019
If you think your problems are permanent and all pervasive: you are inviting pessimism.
If you think your problems are temporary and limited in scope: this is learned optimism.
Profile Image for Harold Griffin.
40 reviews20 followers
June 14, 2016
Ah, self-help books. Long ago I read some N.V. Peale and Dale Carnegie about thinking positively, making friends, influencing people, stopping worrying, starting living. So here I am, negative, solitary, uninfluential, worrisome, nearing extinction. And a dubious endorsement for all those books!!

Actually the old books were all right, inspirational enough in grim times, but almost always plodding and predictable. "Just when he was about to leap from a window in despair, William K. Bloop of Keokuk, Ioway, saw a light in a chapel. There he saw a man with no arms, no legs, one eye,
no nose. But a vision came to Bloop: the man had a shining bald scalp. The next day Bloop cashed in his life insurance policy and started manufacturing toupees and is now President of a billion dollar rug company!"

I can't remember the Seventies (too much feverish Disco) , but I recall that the self-help genre headed downward, as if that were possible. Touchier, feelier, full of mumbo-jumbo. Even worse prose, extolling yoga postures, abdominal breathing, chopping water, carrying wood (or was that the other way)? And when the stuff that sold books started to get promoted on PBS channels as if it were Holy Writ, well, I exited, growling.

With that preface, Martin Seligman's Learned Optimism was not a bad read. Dr. Seligman promotes the proposition that optimism is generally (but not always) better than pessimism, which can lead to depression. He says that he does not espouse Dr. Peale's simplistic solution of positive thinking or repeating mantras. Rather, he suggests that when humans can reduce their sense of helplessness and pessimism by examining the negative events in their lives, explaining to themselves that bad results are not personal, pervasive, or persistent. That is to say, humans should avoid concluding that such results come because of innate flaws in themselves that will never change and that will cause adverse results to keep recurring. Explaining adverse results to oneself differently will make one happier, healthier and more successful! Yay!! (Some might call this positive thinking.) And excessive ruminating on adverse events in our lives, needless to say, can only bring unhappiness. Though isn't that what psychiatric practice is built upon?

Dr. Seligman, writing in 1990, did recognize that sometimes things are our fault, and that pessimists often have a better handle on reality than blithe optimists. And, while I agree that it's sometimes too easy for some of us to take the blame for problems that are not really of our own making but the result of transient circumstances, I wonder in this year of 2016 how many folks are really blamin' themselves for much of anything. (Witness the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Blame problems on anyone but yourself!! Occupy Wall Street! Build a Wall!!)

I was quite impressed by the opening chapters (and the concluding one, in which the author discussed the self-centered society and some possible means to better living). For all my cynicism, Dr. Seligman is at times an excellent writer and a thoughtful thinker. However, the book suffered through a tedious middle in which some of the writer's principles are rather tediously applied to many aspects of life. Seems to me that the thesis of this book was pretty simply stated and easily understood yet was pounded into the ground. But that's being too pessimistic! So forget that. Remember this: if you feel you're being crippled by pessimism, give this book a good skim. Or, look on the bright side, think positive thoughts, eat an apple every day and stay regular. One way or another you'll be a happier clam.




Profile Image for Nita.
Author 3 books75 followers
June 15, 2010
If only this stuff were as easy to apply as it is to understand.

Here's a quick summary: 1) Be specific. I'm not a bad person. I just made a mistake. 2) Notice the tendency to think of a negative outcome as more likely than a positive one. 3) Notice the tendency to take responsibility or blame yourself for things that could possibly be someone else's fault. The book includes a word of caution about blaming others. The idea isn't to shirk self-responsibility, it's just to notice and reframe the knee-jerk habit of always blaming oneself for life's problems.

I'm not doing justice to this small, powerful book. Some of the examples were a bit obvious, but the premise is sound and I found it helpful. It includes a link to an on-line test to take before reading the book. I scored miserably poorly on that test. Major pessimism. The book raised my awareness to unhealthy thinking habits and gave me better solutions.
Profile Image for ياسمين خليفة.
Author 3 books305 followers
December 30, 2015
تعلم التفاؤل
عندما تقرأ هذا العنوان لأول وهلة قد تظن أنك بصدد قراءة كتاب تنمية بشرية
يتحدث عن اهمية التفاؤل والتفكير الايجابي والتحفيز وما الى ذلك من الموضوعات المكررة
ولكن هذا الكتاب يختلف تماما عن كتب التنمية البشرية
لأن من كتبه طبيب نفسي يعتبر ابو علم النفس الايجابي في أمريكا فالابحاث التي قام بها دكتور مارتن سليجمان عن التفاؤل والتشاؤم فتحت باب لعلم النفس لكي ينظر كيف يمكن أن يعيش الانسان حياة سعيدة بدلا من ان يركز على علاج الامراض النفسية فقط
كتاب تعلم التفاؤل ليس موجها للمتشائمين فقط ولكنه موجه ايضا للمتفائلين لأنه يبحث عن تأثير التفاؤل على حياة الانسان من الناحية الايجابية والسلبية
والكتاب يثبت لنا ان التشاؤم هو الطريق الاكيد نحو الاصابة بمرض الاكتئاب وان المتشائمين رغم انهم يرون الواقع بصورة دقيقة
لكنهم يعانون في حياتهم أكثر من المتفائلين لأنهم يهزمون أنفسهم بتفكيرهم السلبي وتوقعهم للأسوأ دائما
الكتاب ايضا يعلمنا كيف تؤثر أفكارنا على المشاعر التي نتبابنا ثم التصرفات التي نقوم بها
ويعلمنا كيف نقيم أفكارنا ونختار الافكار الايجابية إذا أردنا أن نكون متفائلين وما هي الحالات التي يكون فيها التشاؤم مجديا أكثر من التفاؤل
لقد قرأت هذا الكتاب بنسخته الاصلية بالانجليزية ولكنه مترجم أيضا إلى العربية رغم أن القاريء العربي سيشعر بالاستغراب اثناء قراءته لأنه موجه بالأساس للقاريء الامريكي او الغربي عموما والامثلة التي يشرحها الكتاب عن أسباب انتشار الاكتئاب في المجتمع الامريكي تختلف تماما عن اسباب انتشار الاكتئاب في مجتمعنا العربي
ومع ذلك فإن القاريء العربي بإمكانه أن يستفيد من بعض الادوات التي أوردها الدكتور سيلجمان في الكتاب لتحسين حالته النفسية وتغيير نظرته للحياة
إذا كنت متشائما فبعد قراءة هذا الكتاب ستقتنع بالدليل القاطع أن التشاؤم شر لك وإذا كنت متفاءل فستتعلم كيف تتخلى عن التفاؤل الاعمى وتستطيع أن ترى الحياة بصورة واقعية أكثر إذا تطلبت الظروف
Profile Image for Stacy.
208 reviews18 followers
January 22, 2015
I first read this in 2013. I was really looking for something to help me with a problem I have struggled with all my adult life: learned helplessness. What is learned helplessness? An overwhelming feeling of powerlessness that stems from either a traumatic event (true for me), or some persistent failure to succeed (also true for me, but the root cause was a traumatic event). What I discovered was that, somewhere along the line, I had become a serious pessimist.

I think the reason this book turned the trick for me was that it turned optimism into a process rather than some just-out-of-reach brass ring. I'd been tagged by an overwhelming feeling of despair for years. I felt a real sense of relief when I read what Seligman had to say on the unhappiness caused by learned helplessness (which is in turn caused by pessimism): this is a nameable and fixable problem. Suddenly, something that felt totally ethereal and therefore unsolvable suddenly had a name and a possible solution--something within my control. Just reading the book put me in a better frame of mind. (I, er, didn't do the exercises when I first read this. I would suggest going ahead and doing them and not waiting.)

Basically, I think the steps can be boiled down to these:

1. Pay attention to your thoughts. When you start to feel overwhelmed:

2. Distract yourself.

This really only works short-term, but it's a good technique to use when you can't sit down and do the next step. Even something as simple as "I'll think about this later" can get the Inner Critic to shut up. I've also found that finding something constructive to do helps. Painting works great for me. Something else might work for you. For longer-lasting results:

3. Refute the Inner Critic.

Seligman doesn't call it this--I can't remember his wording, and he explains it a lot better than I do here. But to really do the job, you have to refute the constant ruminating your brain does. Don't let it go unchecked. The key here isn't dismissing the Inner Critic, it's mitigating what it says to you so that it doesn't spiral out of control. So it's not a dismissive "Haters gonna hate" or a mindless list of affirmations.

I can see how some believe the book is more theoretical than practical, but there are steps to helping your thought process in there. Most importantly, I think, is that Seligman manages to convey all of this in a way that totally does not blame the reader. In fact, he points out that it can be difficult to know if you are a pessimist. (If you frequently experience people reacting negatively to you and you don't know what you said wrong, you might be a pessimist.)

All I can say is, this book really helped me. I had a small writing job that turned into a lot of work, which wound up pulling me out of poverty-level wages. In two years, I've not gone back. I went from sleeping on a friend's sofa to getting my own place. (Not the greatest apartment, but still, it's mine, and I've paid my own rent for the better part of a year and a half now.) I'm not saying my life is all sunshine and roses, or that I don't still struggle. I'm still in the negative numbers when I take the test. But even a movement of four points (-8 to -4) has yielded huge results for me. I've definitely felt a push into a better life from reading this book. I just have more work to do.
Profile Image for Isabell.
223 reviews8 followers
August 3, 2016
I enjoyed the insights the author provided into the history of learned helplessness theory, as well as bits and pieces about the beginnings of cognitive behavioral therapy. This book has a lot of research and quite a bit of psychology in it, some of it boring to me, some of it fascinating, some of it convincing, some of it unconvincing.

It is not just a self-help guide to positive thinking. In fact, the author decries positive thinking, making the point that chanting inflated mantras to oneself daily is ineffective in the long run.

Instead, he says, we must learn to rationally dispute our pessimistic thoughts the way we would dispute a verbal attack on us by a rival. There are three chapters teaching how to do just that, with one chapter focusing specifically on how to teach children those same skills. Children seem to be on Seligman's mind a lot, as a good portion of his research focuses on them. I agreed with everything he had to say about children, and about the effect divorce has on them (basically he says, don't divorce!, and, don't fight in front of them!, and in this day and age, that's a brave thing to say. I love him for that).

He says many brave things, and I agree with most of them. Some of his statements are over-simplified and unconvincing, however. I am not satisfied with his reasoning as to why women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression (it's their tendency to ruminate, he says). And while I generally agree with his theory that the epidemic of depression has hit us because of our increased focus on the "I" and individual rights, coupled with a decrease in the "We" (ie community, country, duty, God, meaning), it leaves unexplained why groups such as stay-at-home mothers, one of those last valiant troops left fighting in the "We" battlefield, are at particular risk for depression. Are they more pessimistic as a group? Do they ruminate even more than working mothers? Unlikely.

To be fair, his research isn't concerned with the why of depression, but rather with the how to beat it in the long-run. Given that, I wish he had focused a bit more on actual skill teaching (in the end, what he actually teaches is only a few pages long), or at the least provided a work book to accompany his main book.

In either case, this was certainly an interesting read. And as I agree with him that depression will be the thing to beat for future generations, I can't wait to read his "The Optimistic Child: Proven Program to Safeguard Children from Depression & Build Lifelong Resilience."

Profile Image for Fateme.
4 reviews1 follower
July 3, 2019
و اما خوش بینی آموخته شده😊
طی فصول 1 تا 14 نویسنده به خوشبینی و بد بینی و اثراتشون در عرصه های مختلف زندگی پرداخت که جنبه کاملا فردی داشت . بهترین فصل ،فصل 10_سلامت_هست. نکته ای که تو این فصل جالب توجه بود این واقعیت است که طی مطالعات علمی ثابت شده که افراد خوشبین دستگاه ایمنی مقاوم تری نسبت به افراد بدبین دارند و همین باعث سلامت جسمانی و طول عمر بیشتر آنها میشود.
از همه ی این ها که بگذریم تا حالا فکر کرده این که چرا افسردگی در عصر حاضر روبه افزایش است؟
جواب این سوال را سلیگمن عزیز در فصل 15 میدهد: بعد از جنگ جهانی دوم ، طلوع فرد و غروب جمع عاملی بر ایجاد و افزایش افسردگی شده است.
طبق نظر سلیگمن خوشبینی به تنهایی نمیتواند معنایی به بار آورد و خوشبینی تنها ابزاری است تا به انسان کمک کند تا به اهدافی که تعیین کرده است دست پیدا کند . در صورتی که این اهداف پایبند معنا و مشترکات(اجتماع،خانواده،خداو...)باشد، افسردگی خاتمه پیدا میکند.

پ.ن:این کتاب پر از تحقیق و تمرین و در بعضی از مواقع حاوی مطالب تکراری است. خواندن اش به کسانی توصیه میشود که حوصله ی این مدل مطالب را دارند.
Profile Image for Andria.
274 reviews8 followers
March 19, 2019
First, I'd like to reassure those concerned about a severe shift in my temperament that I only read this book on the advice of my psychologist and would have never touched a book with this title otherwise. I found the nugget of wisdom at the core of this book to be extremely helpful and ultimately worth the read. But even then, I think ascribing the thought patterns described as "optimism" and "pessimism" is a misnomer. Ultimately it's about positive and negative self talk and the impacts those things can have on motivation and learned helplessness. That's it!

The rest of the book is hilariously bad. The two major problems that take up most of its content are 1) it is out of date 2) the author is sketchy. I would really like to see an update of these concepts written by someone else who can incorporate the last 20 years of advancements in psychology.

Dr. Seligman! What can I say about this dude? He has strong opinions about optimists and pessimists but fails to identify himself as either. I first started to get skeeved out when he pretty much blamed his father's mindset for his suffering after he suddenly fell paralyzed, ill, and possibly brain damaged. He comes off as a sociopathic creep at worst and a smug opportunist at best. For example, most of his core research was done on behalf of insurance companies trying to figure out how they could best retain salespeople. Why was a tenured professor taking a handsomely paid side gig helping telemarketers sell financial scams and how could such an obvious conflict of interest be construed as legitimate research? (Hey, it was the 80s!) The chapter about the laughably subjective CAVE method and analysis of sports teams was an obvious attempt by the author to get to spend more time with his son. His practical advice veers between the absurd and hypocritical (he advocates parents postpone divorce because of the negative impacts it can have on children but got one himself). There are better and more thorough critiques of Seligman and his legacy of dog torture a Google search away so I will end mine here, other than to say that he comes off like an alien trying and failing to demonstrate human emotions.

If you have to try this out, the abridged audiobook is only 2 hours long.
Profile Image for Daniel Silvert.
Author 4 books20 followers
July 13, 2011
Authors like Dr. Martin Seligman give ‘self help’ books a good name. In his meticulously researched yet engaging style, Seligman’s Learned Optimism makes a near bullet proof case for optimistic thinking as an inexhaustible engine for personal improvement. Seligman focuses on a person’s ‘explanatory style’ as the key indicator of how they will respond to difficult situations. Explanatory style is what we say to ourselves when the chips are down. According to Seligman, this self coaching is both deeply imbedded and rarely questioned. In other words, ‘if I’m saying it to myself, it must be true!’ In response, Dr. Seligman makes the case that there are many ‘truths’ out there and consciously choosing which to focus on can dramatically improve the quality of your life.

Here’s how it works: In the face of an unfortunate event a ‘Pessimist’ will employ a three stage strategy: First they focus heavily on the negative consequences and ‘personalize’ the attribution. (“This is my fault). Second, they decide that the difficulty of the situation is permanent (“It will never change”). Third, they confirm that the change is part of a much larger pattern of failure, that it is pervasive (This will ruin everything). This trifecta of gloom locks in a self fulfilling prophecy of failure, which in turn validates the ‘logic’ and ‘accuracy’ of the pessimistic person’ diagnosis.

Optimists, as one would expect, react to unfortunate events differently. The optimist identifies external forces that have influenced the negative event, thus they don’t take it as personally. Next, optimists accept that negative events are both unavoidable and a temporary pause from an otherwise positive progress towards their goals. Lastly, negative events are compartmentalized as ‘isolated phenomenon.’ Negativity is, therefore, episodic, not pervasive.
Incredibly, when good events happen, the script flips. Optimists will see the positive as personalized, permanent, and pervasive, while the pessimist will take good news as de-personalized, temporary, and isolated.

Of the two explanatory styles, which do you think results in longer life spans, happier marriages, and more satisfying careers? Exactly. Read this book to maximize your optimism.
Profile Image for Mirela.
61 reviews24 followers
June 5, 2020
Summary: think in terms of sometimes when bad thing happens, do not take it personally, and do not stretch it over a whole life, keep it where it is.
example:

a) Today I had a bad meeting. I slept badly this night so I was tired. Noone probably noticed. = good, positive thinking

b) Today I had a bad meeting. I am stupid it is always like that. Noe everyone thinks I am incapable= bad, pessimistic thinking in terms of always, invasive and personal


And that is all you need really from this book.
Profile Image for Hamidreza Amiri.
30 reviews18 followers
October 8, 2016
خوش بینی آموخته شده یا learned optimism. کتاب پر از آزمایشهای روانشناسیه که احتمال میده موجودات اگه یه مدت درماندگی رو تجربه کنن، درماندگی رو یاد میگیرن! نویسنده که روانشناس معروفی هم هست، توی چند فصل کتاب، اثر خوشبینی رو بر سلامت، ورزش و حتی انتخابات ریاست جمهوری و سنای آمریکا بررسی کرده. گرچه برای خود من خیلی از این تستها و پیش بینی هایی که کرده جای سوال داشت و مبهم بود، اما در کل کتاب جالبی بود و از بعضی حرفهای حاشیه ایش لذت بردم.
32 reviews8 followers
November 16, 2010
I had a very divided reaction to this book.

The Pros:

First of all, ‘learned helplessness’ is quite arguably one of the most important and revolutionary concepts in psychology today. It’s made a wonderful contribution to Aaron Becks’s Cognitive Therapy; cognitive behavioral therapy having an unmatched track record for its treatment of depression – an epidemic in our society today. As a result of his research, Seligman offers real, learnable, and proven effective techniques for learning to be more optimistic. It is certainly one of my favorite concepts in psychology.

Furthermore, I love that he challenges the notion of the exponential rise in depression today as being a largely genetic phenomenon. I found this to be some very refreshing common sense. The unprecedented level of depression in this society today cannot be attributed to biology (or solely to biology) – something else is at work here. I don’t mean to say that there is no biological basis for depression – there most certainly is. However, it only makes sense that something in our society is going on, perhaps at times triggering particular genes on a wide scale, to create such an unprecedented level of depression. I found the last chapter to be very insightful where he examines radical individualism (he calls it the ‘Maximal Self’) as the source of depression from a more sociological position – an often overlooked source for depression in contemporary society.

The three major hypotheses of explanatory style were also quite enlightening: 1) Mother’s Explanatory Style; 2) Adult Criticism: Teachers and Parents; and 3) Children’s Life Crisis. In addition to these hypotheses of explanatory style are the three essential aspects of explanatory style: permanence, pervasiveness and personalization.


The Cons:

While I did obtain some solid information/advice in this book, it has some problems and I believe Seligman has some holes in his argument.

The main problem for me was that Seligman seemed to create too much of a mutually exclusive relationship between optimism and realism. One quote I found rather disturbing to illustrate my point: “The pessimist seems to be at mercy with reality, whereas the optimist has a massive defense against reality that maintains good cheer in the face of a relentless indifferent universe” (p. 111) – Sorry, Dr. Seligman, I may be misreading you, but you lost me here. While this was somewhat remedied toward the end of the book, it felt a little too inconsistent with the rest of the book’s tone.

Tying into this, not only does Seligman not take nearly enough of a look at ‘false’ or ‘misguided’ optimism, he seems to – at times – endorse it. This is a serious problem that has not been examined adequately (I suspect that he generated a lot of empirical data, and was a little too eager to tailor his theory to fit in with this). Having spent some time in corporate America, I believe this false optimism is creating record levels of denial in our country, which seem to be extending at an alarming rate – all in the name of being more optimistic. Only towards the end of the book does he seem to write more about the perils of optimism with a brief section in the middle regarding depressives having a more accurate memory and owning up much more readily to both their failures and their successes rather than the optimists who tend to look upon the past through rose-colored glasses.

In all fairness, he does write a little bit about the problem of a lack of personal responsibility today and how he has no interest in personally endorsing this kind of psychology. Again, I just didn’t feel like he spent enough time here.

Lastly, on a minor note, I believe he is too overconfident in his beliefs why women suffer depression at a rate twice that of men. While this is an established statistic, there is much debate over what this statistic means exactly. Are women somehow biochemically or hormonally predisposed to depression? Perhaps. Or do they report it more readily than men? Do men hide their depression through substance abuse or other non-constructive outlets? – I believe Seligman is too simplistic here in his offered explanation.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Yasamin Yaldaei.
49 reviews27 followers
January 12, 2019
به جرأت می‌تونم بگم یه کتاب علمی، روانشناسی و کاربردی همه‌چی تمام بود. بیان نظریه، اثبات با آزمایش‌های انجام‌گرفته فراوان، مثال‌های دقیق و کامل و در نهایت راهکارهای عملی، همه و همه انقدر خوب بیان شده بودند که کمتر کتاب توسعه فردی تمام اینها رو باهم داراست. دلیل اصلی هم این می‌تونه باشه که نویسنده کتاب یک تحصیل‌کرده روانشناسی و محقق و استاد دانشگاه این زمینه است.

کتاب از سه بخش تشکیل میشه. بخش اول با تعاریف «درماندگی فراگرفته‌شده» و ارتباطش به افسردگی، تعریف روانشناسانه‌ «خوش‌بینی» و «بدبینی» و ویژگی‌های افراد دارای این دو خصیصه شروع میشه. از نظر نویسنده افراد «خوش‌بین» اتفاق‌های بد رو «موقت»، «وابسته به عوامل خارجی» و «محدود به همان واقعه» می‌بینند. برعکس، «بدبین‌ها» نقطه نظر مقابلی دارند. در ادامه بخش آزمایش‌های مختلفی که روی انسان‌ها و حیوانات برای اثبات تاثیر شیمیایی «درماندگی» حاصل از شکست بر روی مغز بررسی میشه. این آزمایش‌ها نشون میدند که انسان و حیوان بعد تجربه شکست، دچار احساس درماندگی میشن و اگر این «درماندگی فراگرفته‌شده» به موقع درمان نشه، منجر به افسردگی میشه. در ادامه نتایج تحقیقاتی جالبی از آمار افسردگی در کودکی و بزرگسالی، یا درصد افسردگی بین مردها و زن‌ها هم ارائه میشه. همچنین تست میزان افسردگی معتبری هم برای خواننده موجوده.

بخش دوم تماما به مثال‌های «درماندگی فراگرفته‌شده» در حوزه‌های مختلف زندگی می‌پردازه. بخش بلندی که شامل حوزه‌های شغلی، ورزشی، مدرسه، سیاست و جامعه میشه. و تمام این نتایج دستاورد نویسنده کتاب و همکارها و دانشجوهاش در طی سالها بررسی بدبینی و درماندگی است.

و بخش سوم و پایانی کتاب بهترین پایان رو برای این همه مطلب ساختاریافته ارائه میده. تو این بخش می‌فهمیم حالا که بدبینی به «درماندگی فراگرفته‌شده» می‌انجامه و اون هم به افسردگی، خب چطور سعی کنیم «خوش‌بین» بشیم، اون هم خوش‌بینی درست و اصولی و منطقی نه آبکی و سطحی و کورکورانه. تو این فصل یاد می‌گیریم همون‌طور که درماندگی فراگرفتنیست، خوش‌بینی هم یاد گرفتنیست. یاد می‌گیریم ریشه بدبینی‌هامون ذات منتقد و ایرادگیر درونمون هست و نباید عقایدمون رو «وحی منزل» در نظر بگیریم. نباید بی‌چون‌وچرا هرچه ذهنمون در موردمون میگه رو بپذیریم، باید عقاید و باورهامون رو به چالش بکشیم و زیر سوال ببریم. و در چند فصل آخر کتاب است که با روش‌های منطقی و عملی، این «به چالش کشیدن» رو یاد می‌گیریم. و با همین شک و تردید به باورهای خودمان است که به سمت خوش‌بینی می‌رویم.
Profile Image for Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance.
5,740 reviews279 followers
June 6, 2012
I've been fascinated with happiness in the last five years, so it seems obvious that this book, now considered a classic in the field, would be a book I should read.

And now that I have, I must say that I agree with the crown that has been placed upon this book's head; it's a worthy read for anyone interested in happiness.

I took away from it a paradoxical and disquieting idea: the happiest people are the most optimistic, but fail again and again to see the dark truths in life, while the unhappiest people are able to see and act on the grimmer life truths yet suffer deeply from the sadnesses that looking at reality brings.

What do you do with that?

Seligman encourages us to use optimism in most everyday situations, to keep us buoyed up, to face the daily difficulties of life, but to weigh in with realism in situations that could endanger our physical existences.

I have heard that Seligman has a new edition of this book (this is a library book, copyright 1991) which I probably need to seek out. I am also interested in reading his book entitled Flourish.
Profile Image for Christina Zolotarova.
74 reviews19 followers
Read
October 21, 2017
это не очередной селф-хелп, а научное исследование выученной беспомощности и ее последствий - пессимизма и депрессии. с тестами, примерами и советами. если постараться, оптимизму можно (и нужно) научиться. но, конечно, это работа над собой, а не волшебная пилюля.
3 reviews1 follower
January 12, 2020
Two stars for two brilliant viewpoints the author makes: 1) the learned helplessness theory, which is well-grounded in biology, experiments and simply fascinating; 2) the good advice that we should teach kids in an optimistic way. Deducting three stars for 1) the book slips from lab controlled animal experiments to causation to prediction....and eventually to correlation 2) based on the study-based conclusions, which are only valid within the study contexts, the author gave disturbing overarching advice to organizations 3) the last section talking about tactics really is not useful. It's a very basic run-down of CBT. Maybe it was useful when the book was published, but for 2020, any good CBT workbook beats this brief section by miles.

The author makes two claims: 1) pessimism causes depression, while optimism immunes people from depression. 2) pessimism causes failure, while optimism causes success. The first claim is convincing and intuitive, especially with the studies on clinical depression. The second claim is repulsive and I believe inaccurate. For me, the accurate depiction of what the author finds should be: 1) pessimism leads to learned helplessness in some people 2) pessimism, even without learned helplessness, can cause depression or lower mood in general 3) learned helplessness causes failure, but pessimism does not *cause* failure other than through its relation to helplessness. After reading the entire book, I cannot find any study that proves why pessimistic people who are persistent and motivated cannot succeed as much as optimistic people.

Before I go on, I must admit that I am taking it personally because I am a pessimist - both self-perceived before reading this book and unequivocally self-diagnosed by the test of this book. However, I think of myself as a very persistent and motivated pessimist. In fact, much of my persistence is caused by my pessimism. For example, I know that I (personal) am less talented (permanent) in most sports (pervasiveness) than most people. This is why I try four or five times harder before I even start to evaluate my performance as a success or a failure. I am equally, if not more, pessimistic on good events. I believe that many of my successes are the results of good luck. That is why even facing a challenge that I have succeeded in before, I put in as much effort as the first time. For me, pessimism is a personality trait that can be used for or against you, and this book mostly asserts one way without any justification.

The most repulsive part of the book is how the author recommends using his optimism test in hiring decisions and college admissions. Specifically, he recommends that we hire unqualified optimists over qualified pessimists because unqualified optimists are predicted to perform better than qualified pessimists. Now, the statistical claim, that on average, optimists are predicted to perform better than pessimists, is probably true. But by the same logic, men are predicted to perform better than women, whites are predicted to perform better than blacks, and people with high SES background are predicted to perform better than low SES background. Why is that true? Well, men are more optimistic than women, and I will put my bet on whites are more optimistic than blacks, and high SES people are more optimistic than low SES people. Oh and by the way, even the author points out that people might be pessimistic *because* they grew up with unfortunate life events, in poverty, or are discriminated against. So when people grow up in unfortunate circumstances, they learn to be pessimistic, and then we are justified to not hire/admit them even when they manage to become as qualified as people who grow up in more fortunate circumstances?

Another baffling part of this discussion is that, when faced with high dropout/quit rates, or lower than academic successes, instead of looking for ways the program can help those qualified people realize their own potential, the CEOs and deans of colleges prefer to discard them and instead have optimistic people who won't quit as a replacement.

In contrast, I take the first part of the book, where the author argues that pessimism causes depression, seriously. I think this is a much more accurate claim, but even this claim makes me uneasy. Specifically, the author argues that the downsides of pessimism are many, while the upside of pessimism is only that pessimistic people are more objectively correct and wiser. For the author, this means that optimism clearly wins in this cost-benefit analysis. I find this hard to swallow - especially because as academic researchers, we are devoting our career to advance the scientific understanding of the world, so being correct and wise seems like a noble goal, not a nuisance. Even when I believe the author's argument that pessimism leads to depression, I would personally be okay with average or mild depression if it comes with knowing the truth and being wise, rather than being an ignorant optimist.

In all, I am disappointed after reading this book. I had high hopes for it because I am a firm believer in CBT and I thought this book would help me understand how and why CBT works effectively, and how we can use similar principles to live a happier life for healthy people. The reason I like CBT is that CBT persuades one to see the truth by discarding their biases. At first glance, the author seems to agree with me by advocating "flexible optimism" in the last section of the book. However, this is directly at odds with the rest of the book. The optimism test classifies someone who is completely objective (G-B score of 0) as a pessimist, if not a depressive. Therefore, the optimism test implies that to reap the benefits of optimism, one must deviate from the truth. This is a conclusion I am not willing to swallow - so, for now, I will choose to keep my pessimism and mild depression tendencies.
Profile Image for Nikolay.
97 reviews78 followers
July 3, 2017
Learned Optimism is not a self-help book, it’s based on a lot of scientific research and is not a light read. But worth it.

This book validated so many of my life beliefs, so from now on, it may be the confirmation bias speaking :) Still, here are few pieces I strongly related to.

“The skills of becoming happy turn out to be almost entirely different from the skills of not being sad, not being anxious, or not being angry.” We focus so much on being happy that we forget that not being sad may be more practical and open more doors to being happy. I think I am good example of this – I am bad at being sad and this has helped me at often being moderately happy.

The core idea is that in addition to our talent and our desire to get better at something, success also depends on how we explain why things happen, or our explanation style. There are three aspects of it:

* Personal vs. Impersonal – optimists more often think that if something bad happened it wasn't always them, while pessimists usually blame themselves;
* Specific vs. General – optimists localize bad news to a very specific area, while pessimist often think a small problem will ruin their whole life;
* Temporary vs. Permanent – optimists think it too shall pass, while for pessimists the bad stuff is never going to go away.

Which side are we on affects our lives a lot – from our resilience to failure to our ambition, to our chances to end up sad & depressed.

Of course, a healthy pessimism is much needed sometimes. Those who blame others for their errors are assholes, in addition to optimists. And when errors are costly, pessimism can be a lifesaver, making us think through the worst of outcomes.

Optimism is not a silver bullet, but learning more about it has helped me understand better why I am the person I am. And being more conscious of my explanation style has helped me be more in control of my own actions.
Profile Image for Kirsti.
2,438 reviews96 followers
December 13, 2008
Compelling account of the author's decades of research. Seligman is best known for developing the concept of learned helplessness, which is covered in most psychology courses.

The book includes a test so you can determine how optimistic you are in different situations. I think it's an extremely well-designed test because it's often hard to tell what the "right" answer is.

The author studies optimism in many groups: rats, dogs, college students, life-insurance sales reps, East German working men, and Olympic swimmers. He seems to be a classic optimist -- when others attack his theories, he is thoughtful instead of defensive, and he often ends up collaborating with those detractors on new studies. (Of course, he's telling things from his point of view. I don't know what they think of him, but he is generous when it comes to crediting others, which I think is a good sign.)

Interestingly, as children we pick up our optimism/pessimism cues from our mothers, not from our fathers, siblings, friends, or other relatives. Nobody knows why this is.

Unlike many self-help books, there's no bad-mouthing of pessimists here. In fact, Seligman describes studies that seem to prove that pessimists are much better at seeing the world as it really is. Unfortunately, pessimism leads to serious consequences -- poorer health, less success on the job, and a less fulfilling personal life. (Why? Pessimists give up, or they never try in the first place. So much for starting an exercise regimen, going back to school, asking somebody out, etc.) The author explains how to balance optimism and pessimism and when to listen to each voice, though of course it could take a lifetime to perfect this process.

I got so much out of this book that I volunteered to give a presentation on it at my workplace, which is not the kind of thing I usually do.
Profile Image for Gilgamesha.
469 reviews11 followers
January 1, 2019
Seligman, known as the father of positive psychology, convinced me through endless examples of research done by experts on how an optimistic outlook on life can lead to better quality of life and success and happiness and a tool in overcoming adversity. I really enjoyed the first half of the book but the second half became excessively repetitive. He inundated me with too many examples of scenarios that the optimism questionnaire was successful in...one or two was sufficient. The end of the book was a bit of a let down though. I understand the need to change the narrative of your inner dialogues but that is the extent of his recommendation on how to achieve optimism. He gives several different examples of how the ABCDE method could be used to rewrite your own pervasive and permanent thoughts about adversity. While all of this is great I was hoping he actually also gave examples of research settings where this method is shown to work. He didn't get into that at all but expects us to trust him this the effective way to overcome pessimism. I am not convinced.
Profile Image for Brandon.
177 reviews
January 24, 2022
Valuable information diluted in scientifically overwrought and poorly structured writing.

Notes:
- Our explanatory style, or how we make sense of experience, is vital to well-being (physically, mentally, emotionally).

- There are three dimensions of explanatory style:
(1) Permanence: do you think difficulties are temporary or forever?
(2) Pervasiveness: are difficulties specific or universal?
(3) Personalization: who or what do we believe is responsible for our difficulties?

- Pessimists explain difficulties as permanent, pervasive, and personalized problems.
- Optimists make sense of challenges as temporary, specific, and impersonalized (the individual is not at fault).
Profile Image for Mario Tomic.
159 reviews301 followers
October 22, 2014
Really cool book explaining all the different thought processes we have and the differences of lives between optimists and pessimists. I enjoyed reading this one, the main conclusion I got from the book is that optimism is a skill like any other that can be learned over time if we put in the effort. The second thing would be that the book presented a good solutions for so many people that waste their lives on thinking in negative patterns and skepticism worrying about things that never happen. Overall a great read from the field of positive psychology, you'll definitely be more optimistic and happier in your life if you read this book.
Profile Image for Sophie.
158 reviews90 followers
September 12, 2022
If you're looking for a book that offers simple techniques to change your life, you're better off looking elsewhere. "Learned Optimism" by Martin E.P. Seligman is a condescending and tone-deaf read that will do nothing more than belittle you. Seligman attempts to offer a scientific twist on the magic of positive thinking, but ultimately fails in doing so. The author is a master in gaslighting, making readers feel as though their problems are not worth addressing. This book is definitely not for the average person – I'm not sure who it would be marketed towards.
Profile Image for Cav.
625 reviews77 followers
January 30, 2022
"Why is it that in a nation that has more money, more power, more records, more books, and more education, that depression should be so much more prevalent than it was when the nation was less prosperous and less powerful?"

I enjoyed Learned Optimism. Although the book has the word "optimism" in its title, the scope of the writing here is actually quite broad.

Author Martin Elias Peter Seligman is an American psychologist, educator, and author of self-help books. Seligman is a strong promoter within the scientific community of his theories of positive psychology and of well-being. His theory of learned helplessness is popular among scientific and clinical psychologists. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Seligman as the 31st most cited psychologist of the 20th century.

Martin Seligman:


This one is on the reading list of Dr. Michael Gervais's course "Finding Your Best." Optimism, and cultivating a positive mindset are core components of that material.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this one going in, tbh, as many of these mindset/self-help books can border (or even delve) into the realm of pop pseudoscience. Fortunately, this one is a primarily science-driven book, with much of the research coming from the author's own work.

Seligman gets the writing here off on a good foot, with a well-written intro. He mentions problems with the field of psychology. Namely, it only treated pathologies, and did not focus on the positive. He then covers a brief history of the field of psychology; from Freudian theory, to Skinner's behaviorism, to the modern biomedical approach.
He mentions that his father had multiple strokes while still young, and that his dealing with this influenced his later work.

Seligman also takes a shot at the self-esteem movement early-on, and speaks to the scope of the current mental health problem in our modern western societies:
"As you read this book, you will see that there is an epidemic of depression among adults and among children in the United States today...
...If this epidemic continues, I believe that America's place in the world will be in jeopardy. America will lose its economic place to less pessimistic nations than ours, and this pessimism will sap our will to bring about social justice in our own country.
This problem will not be ended by Prozac. We are not going to give anti-depressant drugs to an entire generation. Anti-depressant drugs are ineffective before puberty, and there are grave moral dangers to making an entire generation dependent on drugs for their mood and their productivity.
We are also not going to do therapy with an entire generation, because there are simply not enough good therapists to go around.
What we can do is to take the skills that you will learn in this book and translate them into an educative mode. In the schools and homes of America, we can teach them to all young people at risk for depression, thereby overcoming depression in our own lives, and in the lives of our children."

As its title implies, optimism and pessimism are central themes to this book. Once thought to be a fixed and permanent component of an individual's psyche, Seligman says that pessimism can be modulated:
"A pessimistic attitude may seem so deeply rooted as to be permanent. I have found, however, that pessimism is escapable. Pessimists can in fact learn to be optimists, and not through mindless devices like whistling a happy tune or mouthing platitudes ("Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better"), but by learning a new set of cognitive skills. Far from being the creations of boosters or of the popular media, these skills were discovered in the laboratories and clinics of leading psychologists and psychiatrists and then rigorously validated."

Seligman also explores the concept of tenacity, now coined "grit," bringing to mind Calvin Coolidge's famous quote:



How optimistic or pessimistic someone is can be measured, says Seligman, and he includes a self-test here. He notes that there are some broad-based differences between the outlooks of optimistic people versus pessimistic people. Optimists tend to view setbacks as temporary, localized, and changeable. Pessimists, to the contrary, often view setbacks as fixed, all-encompassing, and immutable.

There is also an interesting story here about the insurance company Met Life. They were losing a lot of money on job churn; each employee cost many thousands to train, and when they left, that money was gone. With Seligman's help, a new approach was tried; hiring people based on their optimism scores alone. The results were far better than expected, and many of these people well outperformed the others that Met Life previously employed.

Finally, Seligman covers some super-interesting research that shows how mindstates, and optimism can improve the prognosis of many diseases, and even positively correlate with life-or-death outcomes of terminal diseases like cancer.


**********************


Learned Optimism was a great look into the topic. The book is quite in-depth, and there is lots of super-interesting information presented here.
However, if I had to find fault with the book, I would say that it was much longer than it could have been. The audiobook version I have clocked in at a lengthy ~14 hours. There is a really long chunk of writing near the end detailing the author's predictions for American elections, and another that extensively details back-and-forths with his patients that seemed somewhat superfluous.
In fact, the entire last ~half of the book was fairly long-winded and dry, IMO...
It could have done well with a more rigorous editing; for the sake of both brevity and clarity.
I would still recommend it to anyone interested.
3.5 stars.
43 reviews1 follower
January 21, 2019
Really excellent
Some of it of course a bit out dated but so agree with most all of it!
Profile Image for Kathryn.
255 reviews109 followers
October 5, 2011
I was expecting Learned Optimism to be as airy-fairy and worthless as Full Catastrophe Living, and was very pleased to discover that it is quite the opposite. It is a scientific treatment of optimism and its effects on how people respond to problems; that is, it examines who gives up and who perseveres, and why.

Dr. Seligmann has been studying optimism his entire life. He leads us through his intellectual journey, beginning when as a young grad student, he was exposed to a study in which a group of dogs had been shocked in a room they couldn’t escape, with no control over the shocks. When placed in a shuttlebox, from which they could readily escape, and shocked, they simply lay down and “gave up”. The professor was confused, but Dr. Seligmann opined that the dogs had given up because they had “learned” that they could not get away from the shocks, and there was no use trying. The professor basically said he was an idiot, because that didn’t jibe with either Freudian BS or behavioral psychology, which were the prevailing schools of thought at the time.

So then-student Seligmann and another grad student, with the reluctant agreement of the PI (primary investigator), devised a new experiment. They took three groups of dogs. The first group was shocked, but were situated such that they could learn to turn off the shock by pushing a button with their noses. The second group received exactly the same shocks as the first group, but without any buttons; that is, their shocks stopped when the other dogs, unbeknownst to them, pushed the button. The third group received no shocks at all. Finally, the dogs were placed in the shuttlebox. Those from the first group leaped out to escape the shocks; those from the second group lay down and gave up; and those from the control group also leaped out to escape. Seligmann had essentially proven that the second group had been “taught” that they could do nothing about the shocks.

The book proceeds to explain Dr. Seligmann’s continued experiments. He performed a similar experiment on humans, in which pressing the right combination of buttons would turn off an annoying sound for one group, while another group could do nothing to turn off the sound, and got the same results when the humans were placed in a situation where the annoying sound was easily escaped. The group that had “learned” that there was nothing they could do basically sat down and gave up.

However, there was a flaw. Among both dogs and humans, there were certain percentages of the first group who never tried, and there were certain percentages of the second group who never gave up. So Dr. Seligmann continued to explore the concept of optimism. He eventually found that there are three dimensions: personal, pervasive, and permanent.

For example, let’s say you fail a test. You might say, “I didn’t study hard enough,” versus, “The professor made that test too hard.” The former is an example of taking failure personally. (Of course, most of the time, it IS true that you didn’t study hard enough; but it is also sometimes true that the professor’s test was unfair.) Or you might say, “I am so stupid. I will never do well in anything,” versus, “Wow, I really don’t get quantum physics [or whatever].” That’s a demonstration of pervasiveness – a pervasive pessimist thinks that a failure in one area translates to failure in every area. And finally, you might say, “Wow, I am stupid. I will never do better,” versus, “I’ll do better next time,” which demonstrates permanence.

So, someone who doesn’t take failure personally and who doesn’t believe that failure is pervasive or permanent is optimistic, and will generally succeed in life. (Caveat: Experiments have demonstrated that moderate pessimists often have a much better handle on reality than optimists.) And you can learn to be optimistic, by identifying whether your pessimism is personal, pervasive, or permanent (or some combination), and learning to dispute the pessimistic part of yourself. The book repeated several times that if some drunk on the street yelled, “Hey, you suck!” you wouldn’t pay any attention to him, would you? So why listen when part of yourself says that? Dispute yourself the same way you would dispute someone else.

From now on, I’m going to picture my critical inner voice as a drunk hobo.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Howard.
351 reviews60 followers
March 13, 2016
I read Learned Optimism for the first time several years ago. It pulled me out of a dark place and into more flourishing place. This 2nd reading took me to a new level of optimism and hope about my ability to control my emotional reaction to adversities in life. Reading it again in a few years should bring me to a real level flourishing I really want to be in.

Seligman challenges conventional notions about depression. He makes a hopeful case that pessimism is not a symptom of depression but the primary cause of it. We each have inner dialogues constantly playing in our minds. These dialogues come in reaction to adversity. Those of us with "pessimistic explanatory styles" develop depressive symptoms--it is common sense but quite profound. Optimism can be learned; depression can be cured.

In the tradition of humanistic psychology and cognitive therapy, Seligman provides us a tool for growing toward an optimistic explanatory style: ABCDE. Adversity occurs. When we ascribe a pessimistic (pervasive, permanent, personal) explanatory belief, we experience emotional consequences. We can dispute the belief with an explanation that is specific, temporary, not personal. Read the book to find out the power of this.

We have poor ways of explaining the difficulties in our life, mostly on a subconscious level. We can quickly tap into our inner dialogue and begin to challenge these destructive thought patterns. Once we begin disputing these patterns, and we replace them, we become energized by positive and empowering emotions. Only in extreme cases are we slaves to depression.

I would recommend this book to anybody looking for a way to believe in themselves again, to believe they can take control of their emotional life and live the rich life they have always wanted to live.
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