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Showing posts with the label Psychology of happiness

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

The Paradox of Choice- A Book Review by Sutton

THE PARADOX OF CHOICE:  WHY MORE IS  LESS.  HOW THE CULTURE OF ABUNDANCE ROBS US OF SATISFACTION By Barry Schwartz, Reviewed by   Geoffrey W. Sutton I'm in the market for a new tablet. There are so many good choices. There are things I like about Apple and Android. Then I think about getting close to a lightweight laptop--so, I think about Windows. Schwartz is right--at least based on my experience! Schwartz attributes his thinking about The Paradox of Choice to the preparation of an article on  self-determination for the American Psychologist. In this 265-page paperback, he explores the "darker side" of freedom using humor, examples  from daily life, and easily understood accounts of psychological research to illustrate the psychological cost of an over-abundance of choice.  In the prologue, Schwartz grants that choice is essential to autonomy, which in turn provides the grounds for well-being. However, his thesis is that at some point, "ch

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