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Showing posts with the label Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology - A Book Review

  POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY: The scientific and practical explorations     of human strengths By C. R. Snyder &   Shane Lopez Reviewed by    Geoffrey W. Sutton "What is right about people?" The authors welcome their readers with the ubiquitous challenge of the positive psychology movement to consider what is right rather than what is wrong with people (p. 3). The authors designed the book as a textbook to provide a comprehensive overview of topics in the field. This is the third collaboration of the two University of Kansas authors. Unfortunately, it will be their last because senior author, C. R. (Rick) Snyder died January 17, 2006, a little more than a month after delivering the final draft of the manuscript (xxv), Readers will experience an extensive tour of the expansive landscape of positive psychology with 19 chapters organized in 8 parts followed by 60 pages of references, along with author and subject indexes. Part I contains chapters 1-4, which provi

The Happiness Hypothesis - A Book Review

 The Happiness Hypothesis:  Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom Why the Meaningful Life is Closer Than You Think     By      Jonathan Haidt Reviewed by    Geoffrey W. Sutton   The Happiness Hypothesis is one of the best positive psychology books available in 2006 because Haidt integrates lessons from ancient sages with scientific evidence about a meaningful life. Haidt begins by explaining two important systems in the mind as seen by ancient thinkers like the apostle Paul who considered the common problem of the battle between desires of the flesh and desires of the spirit. Haidt uses the metaphor of a rider atop an elephant to illustrate the difficulty in controlling the habitual ways of a large elephant charging through life with little cognitive awareness. The second powerful idea is the time-honored truth that a happy or meaningful life often hangs upon the view people take toward life events. Our experience with people shows matches the evidence that people e

Stumbling on Happiness- A Book Review

STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS      by Daniel Gilbert Reviewed by   Geoffrey W. Sutton Harvard psychology professor, Daniel Gilbert , will make you laugh as he weaves witticisms and humorous stories into an entertaining account of scientific research as we join him in Stumbling on Happiness . Essentially, Gilbert argues in chapter one, that we spend much of our time planning and executing unsuccessful strategies to attain an elusive state of happiness. In six sections, we learn why such a quest often proves beyond our grasp. In part one, Gilbert provides a brief overview of the philosophical foundations of the problem of subjective analysis of happiness. He gradually leads us to an operational definition by illustrating how common human experiences can deliver shared feelings of happiness. However, he illustrates how the elusive and subjective aspect of happiness can produce self-deception by demonstrating how the human brain misperceives visual phenomena and similarly misperceives the im

Strengthquest- A book review by Sutton

STRENGTHQUEST: DISCOVER AND DEVELOP   YOUR STRENGTHS IN ACADEMICS, CAREER, AND BEYOND By    Donald O. Clifton &    Edward Anderson Reviewed by    Geoffrey W. Sutton I read and reviewed (Sutton, 2007b) the 2004 edition of this book published by Gallup. There is a new version ( Second Edition ), which includes a third author, Laurie Schreiner. The authors present their strength-based philosophy, which fits nicely with the concurrent trend in positive psychology (Sutton, 2007a). Others have shown how the strengths approach is compatible with Christianity (e.g., see Sutton, 2007c). "A strength is the ability to provide consistent,  near-perfect performance in a given activity (p. 8)." The authors explain how talent, qua raw material, can be combined with knowledge and skill to produce a unique pattern of strengths. The book and the test have been revised. Overall, I think this approach to identifying personal strengths is a useful starting point in academic and voc

AGING WELL by Vaillant - a Book Review

AGING WELL: SURPRISING GUIDEPOSTS TO A HAPPIER LIFE By George E. Vaillant, MD Aging well is a developmental task I hope to accomplish. I became aware of the book when a student, Kathryn  R. Ward, decided to read it for a course I was teaching. I suggested some edits and her review was subsequently published in the Journal of Psychology and Christianity . Vaillant defines successful aging on page 15 as a: “vital reaction to change, disease, and to conflict.” I met George Vaillant at a Positive Psychology conference hosted by the Gallup Corporation. It was clear that he and his research team have learned a lot about aging as they have followed the progress of adults in the famous Harvard Study of Adult Development . What captured by interest was the emphasis on what works--what helps people grow and develop well. The book provides an in-depth summary of adult development from the perspective of Erickson’s developmental tasks. Using examples


  Living your Strengths By Albert L. Winseman,  Donald O. Clifton,   & Curt Liesveld A Review by Geoffrey W. Sutton Context Many U.S. Universities embraced Gallup’s approach to assessing strengths and discussing how strengths may be used in Higher Education. I attended workshops and conferences organized by the Gallup organization.   The Authors Albert L. Winesman, a former pastor in the United Methodist Church, is the global practice leader for the Gallup Organization. Donald O. Clifton (deceased) former chair of the Gallup Organization, was named the Father of Strengths Psychology by the American Psychological Association. Curt Liesveld, formerly a pastor in the Reformed Church in America, is a developmental analyst, consultant, and seminar leader with the Gallup Organization. Availability:    AMAZON BOOKS     and  CD My Review              “If you’re like most people, you have grown up with the ‘weakness prevention’ model (p. ix).” T