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