Flourish by Martin E.P. SeligmanFlourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being by Martin E.P. Seligman
Narrator: Jesse Boggs
Published by Simon Schuster Audio on April 5, 2011
Source: Purchased
Genres: Psychology
Length: 9 hrs 30 mins
Pages: 349
Format: Audiobook
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This book will help you flourish.

With this unprecedented promise, internationally esteemed psychologist Martin Seligman begins Flourish, his first book in 10 years - and the first to present his dynamic new concept of what well-being really is. Traditionally, the goal of psychology has been to relieve human suffering, but the goal of the Positive Psychology movement, which Dr. Seligman has led for 15 years, is different: it’s about actually raising the bar for the human condition.

Flourish builds on Dr. Seligman’s game-changing work on optimism, motivation, and character to show how to get the most out of life, unveiling an electrifying new theory of what makes a good life - for individuals, for communities, and for nations.

In a fascinating evolution of thought and practice, Flourish refines what Positive Psychology is all about. While certainly a part of well-being, happiness alone doesn’t give life meaning. Seligman now asks, What is it that enables you to cultivate your talents, to build deep, lasting relationships with others, to feel pleasure, and to contribute meaningfully to the world? In a word, what is it that allows you to flourish?

“Well-being” takes the stage front and center, and Happiness (or Positive Emotion) becomes one of the five pillars of Positive Psychology, along with Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment—or PERMA, the permanent building blocks for a life of profound fulfillment. Thought-provoking in its implications for education, economics, therapy, medicine, and public policy - the very fabric of society - Flourish tells inspiring stories of Positive Psychology in action, including how the entire U.S. Army is now trained in emotional resilience; how innovative schools can educate for fulfillment in life and not just for workplace success; and how corporations can improve performance at the same time as they raise employee well-being.

With interactive exercises to help readers explore their own attitudes and aims, Flourish is a watershed in the understanding of happiness as well as a tool for getting the most out of life. On the cutting edge of a science that has changed millions of lives, Dr. Seligman now creates the ultimate extension and capstone of his best-selling classics, Authentic Happiness and Learned Optimism.

In the last couple of months, I’ve been reading and learning about positive psychology and happiness in general. I did not get much out of Flourish. I sincerely doubt that on its own it helps many people flourish.

The base idea is good, I think. The PERMA concept is what brought me to the book. Well-being, happiness, flourishing, whatever you want to call it, consists of 5 pieces: Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Achievement. But we learn very little about how to achieve flourishing.

Mostly, Flourish is an over-view of what Dr. Seligman has achieved to date and what he hopes to achieve in the future. We learn about his work with the army, with a private school in Australia, with the people who pay a lot to join his Masters program. We learn that he thinks very highly of himself and his theories. We learn about the important people he’s met and major positions he’s held.

What we don’t get is much practical advice on how to flourish. There are a couple of takeaways, like writing down one thing that went well that day and how/why it happened, but overall the book was more about his understanding, his theory, his work, than actually helping the reader increase his/her sense of well being. Maybe I just had the wrong expectations going in.

About Martin E.P. Seligman

Commonly known as the founder of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman is a leading authority in the fields of Positive Psychology, resilience, learned helplessness, depression, optimism and pessimism. He is also a recognized authority on interventions that prevent depression, and build strengths and well-being. He has written more than 250 scholarly publications and 20 books. Dr. Seligman’s books have been translated into more than twenty languages and have been best sellers both in America and abroad. Among his better-known works are Flourish, Authentic Happiness, Learned Optimism, The Optimistic Child, Helplessness, and Abnormal Psychology.
Since 2000, Dr. Seligman’s main mission has been the promotion of the field of Positive Psychology. He is expanding Positive Psychology to education, health, and neuroscience, and has applied his research to groups like teachers and students, the U.S. Army, athletes, and every-day people. His goal is to make the world happier.
Dr. Seligman lives with his wife, Mandy, and their children. He is an avid bridge player and has won over 50 regional championships. He was inspired by Aaron Beck, a renowned psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania and the father of cognitive therapy.

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