Positive-Psychology-Coaching
Getting started in Positive Psychology

If you’re just getting familiar with Positive Psychology, here are some books that offer good introductions.

Martine E.P. Seligman

1. Flourish by Martin E.P. Seligman

Here Marty 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. Amazon

2. The Hope Circuit: A Psychologist’s Journey from Helplessness to Optimism by Martin E.P. Seligman

In his latest work, Marty has created a wonderful, beautifully written memoir that touches on the most important moments in his life and serves as a partial history of Positive Psychology as well.  When Marty first encountered psychology in the 1960’s, the field was focused on eliminating misery.  Today, thanks in part to the Positive Psychology movement, it is focused increasingly on what makes live worth living.  Filled with fascinating nuggets from Marty’s life from his near miss in the fourth grade at winning the Albany Quiz Kids Championship (with its ticket to compete on the wildly popular radio show in Chicago) to his friendship and subsequent falling out with Carl Sagan to his time with Chris Peterson and many more.  Worth reading.  Amazon.

Tom Rath

3. Fully Charged, by Tom Rath

Rath’s latest book reveals the three keys that matter most for our daily well-being, as well as our engagement in our work. Drawing on the latest and most practical research from business, psychology, and economics, this book focuses on changes we can make to create better days for ourselves and others. Are You Fully Charged? will challenge you to stop pursuing happiness and start creating meaning instead, lead you to rethink your daily interactions with the people who matter most, and show you how to put your own health first in order to be your best every day. Amazon
To hear Tom’s interview with Mentor Coach, go here.

Sonja Lyubomirsky

4. The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy But Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy But Does,
by Sonja Lyubomirsky

Focusing on life’s biggest, messiest moments, Sonja Lyubomirsky provides readers with the clear-eyed vision they need to build the healthiest, most satisfying life. Lyubomirsky argues that we have been given false promises—myths that assure us that lifelong happiness will be attained once we hit the culturally confirmed markers of adult success. This black-and-white vision of happiness works to discourage us from recognizing the upside of any negative and limits our potential for personal growth. A corrective course on happiness and a call to regard life’s twists and turns with a more open mind, The Myths of Happiness shares practical lessons that prove we are more adaptable than we think we are. Amazon
To hear Sonja’s interview with MentorCoach, go here.

Robert Emmons

5. The Little Book of Gratitude: Create a life of happiness and wellbeing by giving thanks,
by Robert Emmons

Easily accessible and available to everyone, the practice of gratitude will benefit every area of your life and generate a positive ripple effect.
This beautiful book discusses the benefits of gratitude and teaches easy techniques to foster gratitude every day. It also includes an 8-week gratitude plan. Amazon

To hear Bob’s most recent interview with MentorCoach, go here.

Barbara Fredrickson

6. Love 2.0: Creating Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection, by Barbara Fredrickson

We all know love matters, but in this groundbreaking book positive emotions expert Barbara Fredrickson shows us how much. Even more than happiness and optimism, love holds the key to improving our mental and physical health as well as lengthening our lives.

Using research from her own lab, Fredrickson redefines love not as a stable behemoth, but as micro-moments of connection between people—even strangers. She demonstrates that our capacity for experiencing love can be measured and strengthened in ways that improve our health and longevity. Amazon
For Barbara’s interview with MentorCoach, go here.
For Barbara’s two-month Master Class on Love 2.0 for MentorCoach, go here.

Ryan Niemiec

7. Character Strengths Interventions: A Field Guide for Practitioners, by Ryan Niemiec

This book is the epitome of positive psychology: it takes the backbone of positive psychology character strengths and builds a substantive bridge between the science and practice. Working with clients’ (and our own) character strengths boosts wellbeing, fosters resilience, improves relationships, and creates strong, supportive cultures in our practices, classrooms, and organizations. This unique guide brings together the vast experience of the author with the science and the practice of positive psychology in such a way that both new and experienced practitioners will benefit. Amazon

Tal Ben-Shahar

8. The Joy of Leadership, by Tal Ben-Shahar

The difference between flourishing and floundering is 10X. The difference between quantity and quality is a factor of 10. The difference in levels of engagement is exponential. People functioning at the highest level are what the authors call 10x leaders. Research on these leaders consistently brought up five major strengths. This book teaches readers to become a 10x leader using these five key areas, the SHARP framework (Strengths, Health, Absorption, Relationships, Purpose) Amazon
To hear Tal’s interview with MentorCoach, go here.

Christopher Peterson

9. Pursuing the Good Life: 100 reflections on Positive Psychology, by Christopher Peterson

In Pursuing the Good Life, one of the founders of positive psychology, Christopher Peterson, offers one hundred bite-sized reflections exploring the many sides of this exciting new field. With the humor, warmth, and wisdom, Peterson takes readers on a lively tour of the sunny side of the psychological street. What are the roles played by positive emotions and happiness, by strengths of character, by optimism, and by good relationships with others? Peterson good-humoredly explores these questions and many others, including such diverse topics as the difference between employment and work, the value of doing the right thing, and why books matter, among other subjects. Amazon
To hear Chris’ interview with MentorCoach, go here.

Ilona Boniwell

10. Positive Psychology in a Nutshell: The Science of Happiness by Ilona Boniwell

‘What makes us fulfilled?’ and ‘Is happiness necessary for a good life?’ Discover the latest thinking on the topics of happiness, flow, optimism, motivation, character strengths and love, and learn how to apply it to your life. Ilona Boniwell presents an engaging overview of the science of optimal functioning and well-being, which combines real readability with a broad academic base applied to day-to-day life.

Robert Biswas-Diener and Ben Dean

11. Positive Psychology Coaching: Putting the Science of Happiness to Work for Your Clients, by Robert Biswas-Diener and Ben Dean

Positive psychology moves psychology from a medical model toward a strengths model to help clients shore up their strengths and thereby lead happier, more fulfilling lives. Positive Psychology Coaching: Putting the Science of Happiness to Work for Your Clients provides concrete language and interventions for integrating positive psychology techniques into any mental health practice.

Taking a Deeper Dive in Positive Psychology

For an additional, more in-depth look into some topics in positive psychology, or for a slightly different angle, these are some recommended books. Check back periodically, as this list will continue to be updated.

Your Wellbeing Blueprint; Feeling Good and Doing Well at Work by Michelle McQuaid & Dr Peggy Kern

“With more than 100 positive interventions to choose from, this book gives you everything you need to become an informed, confident, and active steward of your own wellbeing so you can wholeheartedly show up and be fully engaged in life” Amazon

Your Strengths Blueprint: How to be Engaged, Energized, and Happy at Work, by Michelle McQuaid & Erin Lawn

“This book is your blueprint to discovering, developing, and delivering on your strengths at work – those things you’re good at and actually enjoy doing.” Amazon

Photo Adventures in Cuba; Unlock Your Power of Positivity by Judy Krings

Take a virtual journey into positive psychology with one of MentorCoach’s faculty!

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment, by Martin Seligman

A seminal work by the man considered by many to be the Father of Positive Psychology.

Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Change by David Cooperrider & Diana Whitney

By using this change method to systematically tap human potential, organizations, communities, and individuals become more effective.

The Appreciative Inquiry Handbook: For Leaders of Change, 2nd edition, by David Cooperrider, Diana Whitney, & Jacqueline Stavros

In this thoroughly revised and updated edition of one of the most popular change methods in the world, the authors track recent changes in the field and explain how AI contributes to sustainability and the bottom line. Amazon

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

A smart and funny book by a prominent Harvard psychologist, which uses ground-breaking research and (often hilarious) anecdotes to show us why we’re so lousy at predicting what will make us happy – and what we can do about it. Amazon

Positive Psychology on the College Campus by John Wade, Lawrence Marks, Roderick Hetzel (editors)

Positive Psychology on the College Campus provides innovative strategies that can be employed with students to enhance both their personal development and educational experiences. Amazon

Applied Positive Psychology

Applied Positive Psychology: Integrated Positive Practice, by Tim Lomas, Kate Hefferon, & Itai Ivtzan

Consisting of the latest cutting-edge theory and research in the subject and structured around a pioneering multidimensional model of wellbeing, this book will provide you with the knowledge and tools to apply positive psychology in many areas of life.

Positive Psychology in Practice: Promoting Human Flourishing in Work, Health, Education, and Everyday Life, by Stephen Joseph (editor)

An international team of contributors representing the best and brightest in the discipline review the latest research, discuss how the findings are being used in practice, explore new ideas for application, and discuss focus points for future research.

Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Positive Psychology: The Seven Foundations of Well-Being, by Todd Kashdan & Joseph Ciarrochi (editors)

Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Positive Psychology: The Seven Foundations of Well-Being, by Todd Kashdan & Joseph Ciarrochi (editors)

Edited by leading researchers in the field of positive psychology, Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Positive Psychology is the first professional book to successfully integrate key elements of ACT and positive psychology to promote healthy functioning in clients.

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Todd Kashdan and Joseph Ciarrochi.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck

In this brilliant book, Dweck shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we approach our goals.

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Carol Dweck.

A Primer in Positive Psychology, by Christopher Peterson

A Primer in Positive Psychology, by Christopher Peterson

A Primer in Positive Psychology is thoroughly grounded in scientific research and covers major topics of concern to the field: positive experiences such as pleasure and flow; positive traits such as character strengths, values, and talents; and the social institutions that enable these subjects as well as what recent research might contribute to this knowledge.

Use this link to request access to the most recent MentorCoach interview with Christopher Peterson.

Emotional Equations: Simple Steps for Creating Happiness + Success in Business + Life, By Chip Conley

Emotional Equations: Simple Steps for Creating Happiness + Success in Business + Life, By Chip Conley

Using brilliantly simple logic that illuminates the universal truths in common emotional challenges, Emotional Equations offers a way to identify the elements in our lives that we can change, those we can’t, and how to better understand our emotions so they can help us . . . rather than hurt us.

Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, by Daniel Goleman

Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, by Daniel Goleman

Drawing on rich case studies from fields as diverse as competitive sports, education, the arts, and business, he shows why high-achievers need all three kinds of focus, and explains how those who rely on Smart Practices—mindfulness meditation, focused preparation and recovery, positive emotions and connections, and mental “prosthetics” that help them improve habits, add new skills, and sustain greatness—excel while others do not.

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Daniel Goleman.

Character Strengths Matter: How to Live a Full Life, by Shannon Polly & Kathryn Britton (editors)

This book includes many ideas for using your character strengths in new ways. Based on the unusual premise that a key way to build strength is to act ‘as if’ you have that strength already, this book includes short passages to read aloud to try on particular character strengths. Amazon

Mindfulness and Character Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing, by Ryan Niemiec

At the core of this hands-on resource for psychologists and other practitioners, including educators, coaches, and consultants, is Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice (MBSP), the first structured program to combine mindfulness with the character strengths laid out in the VIA Institute’s classification developed by Drs. Martin E. P. Seligman and Christopher Peterson. Amazon

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Ryan Niemiec.

Positive Leadership: Strategies for Extraordinary Performance, by Kim Cameron

Kim Cameron shows how to reach beyond ordinary success to achieve extraordinary effectiveness, spectacular results, and what he calls “positively deviant performance”–performance far above the norm. Amazon

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth

In this must-read book for anyone striving to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows parents, educators, athletes, students, and business people-both seasoned and new-that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a focused persistence called “grit.” Amazon

Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace, by Bryan Dik, Zinta Byrne, & Michael Steger (editors)

In this groundbreaking book, editors Bryan Dik, Zinta Byrne, and Michael Steger have brought together experts in counseling and vocational psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, and the fields of executive coaching and management to investigate how meaningful work can be fostered and sustained throughout a wide range of work environments. Amazon

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Bryan Dik and this link for Michael Steger’s interview.

Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification, by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman

In this groundbreaking book, editors Bryan Dik, Zinta Byrne, and Michael Steger have brought together experts in counseling and vocational psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, and the fields of executive coaching and management to investigate how meaningful work can be fostered and sustained throughout a wide range of work environments. Amazon

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Bryan Dik and this link for Michael Steger’s interview.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s famous investigations of “optimal experience” have revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. Amazon

The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles, by Karen Reivich & Andrew Shatté

Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatté are seasoned resilience coaches and, through practical methods and vivid anecdotes, they prove that resilience is not just an ability that we’re born with and need to survive, but a skill that anyone can learn and improve in order to thrive.  Amazon

No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness, by Michelle Segar

Translating twenty years of research on exercise and motivation into a simple four-point program, [Segar] helps readers broaden their definition of exercise, find pleasure in physical activity, and discover realistic ways to fit it into their lives.  Amazon

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Michelle Segar.

Awakening Compassion at Work: The Quiet Power that Elevates People and Organizations, by Monica Worline and Jane Dutton

“Compassion is an irreplaceable dimension of excellence for any organization that wants to make the most of its human capabilities.” Authors

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Monica Worline.

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, by Adam Grant

For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return. Amazon

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Adam Grant.

The Strength Switch: How The New Science of Strength-Based Parenting Can Help Your Child and Your Teen to Flourish, by Lea Waters

This game-changing book shows us the extraordinary results of focusing on our children’s strengths rather than always trying to correct their weaknesses. Amazon

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Lea Waters.

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek

START WITH WHY shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way — and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does. …And it all starts with WHY. Amazon

Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The classic study of the creative process from the national bestselling author of Flow, creativity is about capturing those moments that make life worth living. Legendary psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi reveals what leads to these moments—be it the excitement of the artist at the easel or the scientist in the lab—so that this knowledge can be used to enrich people’s lives. Amazon

Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the Upward Spiral That Will Change Your Life, by Barbara Fredrickson

With Positivity, you’ll learn to see new possibilities, bounce back from setbacks, connect with others, and become the best version of yourself. Amazon

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Barbara Fredrickson.

The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want, by Sonja Lyubomirsky

The How of Happiness is a comprehensive guide to understanding the elements of happiness based on years of ground-breaking scientific research. Amazon

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Sonja Lyubomirski.

Nine Things Successful People Do Differently, by Heidi Grant Halvorson

Take your cues from the short, powerful 9 Things Successful People Do Differently, where the strategies and goals of the world’s most successful people are on display—backed by research that shows exactly what has the biggest impact on performance. Here’s a hint: accomplished people reach their goals because of what they do, not just who they are. Amazon

Use this link to request access to the most recent MentorCoach interview with Heidi Grant Halvorson.

Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney

Drawing on cutting-edge research and the wisdom of real-life experts, Willpower shares lessons on how to focus our strength, resist temptation, and redirect our lives. Amazon

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Roy Baumeister.

Profit from the Positive: Proven Leadership Strategies to Boost Productivity and Transform Your Business, by Margaret Greenberg and Senia Maymin

Whether you lead three employees or 3,000, this book shows you how to increase productivity, collaboration, and profitability using the simple yet powerful tools from the new field of Positive Psychology. Amazon

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Senia Maymin and Margaret Greenberg.

Mindfulness, 25th anniversary edition, by Ellen Langer

In the years since it was first published, this influential book based on the highly innovative findings of social psychologist Dr. Ellen J. Langer and her team of researchers at Harvard made its mark for its unique concept of mindfulness, thoroughly adapted to contemporary life in the West. Amazon

Use this link to request access to the most recent MentorCoach interview with Ellen Langer.

Born To Be Good: The Science Of A Meaningful Life, by Dacher Keltner

Illustrated with more than fifty photographs of human emotions, Born to Be Good takes us on a journey through scientific discovery, personal narrative, and Eastern philosophy. Amazon

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Dacher Keltner.

Introducing Positive Psychology: A Practical Guide, by Bridget Grenville-Cleave

This Practical Guide explores how we can all have a “life of enjoyment”, in which we savor the positive emotions that are part of healthy living; a “life of engagement” where we feel confident we can tackle the tasks we face; and a “life of affiliation”, being part of something larger than ourselves. Amazon

Positive Psychotherapy for Psychosis: A Clinician’s Guide and Manual, by Mike Slade,‎ Tamsin Brownell,‎ Tayyab Rashid,‎ & Beate Schrank

Divided into two sections – Theory and the Intervention Manual – this book offers methodologically rigorous research, case studies and detailed aims and instructions for clinicians and therapists. The structured, step-by-step manual, for use with clients, includes downloadable handouts, session materials, activities, guides and therapist tips. Amazon

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Tayyab Rashid.

Positive Psychology: Self-help Strategies for Happiness, Inner Strength and Well-being, by Miriam Akhtar

Positive Psychology shows you how to develop a virtuous circle of positive emotions, learn to savor each moment and cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Simple mindfulness exercises will provide great benefits and you will find yourself more resilient and able to care for your mind, body and spirit. Amazon

What Doesn’t Kill Us: The New Psychology of Posttraumatic Growth, by Stephen Joseph

Drawing on the wisdom of ancient philosophers, the insights of evolutionary biologists, and the optimism of positive psychologists, What Doesn’t Kill Us reveals how all of us can navigate change and adversity— traumatic or otherwise—to find new meaning, purpose, and direction in life. Amazon

Getting Grit: The Evidence-Based Approach to Cultivating Passion, Perseverance, and Purpose, by Caroline Adams Miller

Whether you’re seeking to grow beyond your limits at work, at home, on the sporting field, or in any leadership role, Getting Grit is a powerful resource to help you bring out the qualities that will help you succeed and thrive. Amazon

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, by Brené Brown

Brown explains how vulnerability is both the core of difficult emotions like fear, grief, and disappointment, and the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, empathy, innovation, and creativity. She writes: “When we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives.” Amazon

Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts, by Suzann Pileggi Pawelski and James Pawelski

Combining extensive scientific research and real-life examples, this book will help you find and feed the good in yourself and your partner. Amazon

Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire

Revealing the latest findings in neuroscience and psychology, along with engaging examples of artists and innovators throughout history, the book shines a light on the practices and habits of mind that promote creative thinking. Amazon

The Psychology of Passion: A Dualistic Model (Series in Positive Psychology), by Robert Vallerand

The concept of passion is one we regularly use to describe our interests, and yet there is no broad theory that can explain the development and consequences of passion for activities across people’s lives. In the Psychology of Passion, Robert J. Vallerand presents the first such theory, providing a complete presentation of the Dualistic Model of Passion and the empirical evidence that supports it. Amazon

Toward a Positive Psychology of Relationships: New Directions in Theory and Research, by Meg Warren and Stewart Donaldson

Providing an invaluable resource for scholars and researchers, this book investigates positive psychology and relationships theory and research across a range of settings and life stages―intimate, work, educational, senior/retirement, and in the context of diversity. Amazon

Practicing Positive Leadership: Tools and Techniques That Create Extraordinary Results, by Kim Cameron

In his previous book Positive Leadership, Cameron identified four strategies that enable these organizations, and the individuals within them, to flourish: creating a positive climate, positive relationships, positive communication, and positive meaning. Here he lays out specific tactics for implementing them. These are not feel-good nostrums—study after study (some cited in this book) have proven positive leadership delivers breakthrough bottom-line results. Amazon

How to Be a Positive Leader: Small Actions, Big Impact, by Jane Dutton and Gretchen Spreitzer (editors)

Positive leaders are able to dramatically expand their people’s—and their own—capacity for excellence. And they accomplish this without enormous expenditures or huge heroic gestures. Read about how this happens in companies such as Wells Fargo, Ford, and Burt’s Bees. Amazon

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein

Using dozens of eye-opening examples and drawing on decades of behavioral science research, Nobel Prize winner Richard H. Thaler and Harvard Law School professor Cass R. Sunstein show that no choice is ever presented to us in a neutral way, and that we are all susceptible to biases that can lead us to make bad decisions. But by knowing how people think, we can use sensible “choice architecture” to nudge people toward the best decisions for ourselves, our families, and our society, without restricting our freedom of choice. Amazon

Procrastination, Health, and Well-Being, by Fuschia Sirois and Timothy Pychyl (editors)

Procrastination, Health, and Well-Being brings together new and established researchers and theorists who make important connections between procrastination and health. Amazon

Use this link to request access to the MentorCoach interview with Timothy Pychyl.

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