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Pursuing the Good Life: 100 Reflections on Positive Psychology


Pursuing the Good Life: 100 Reflections on Positive Psychology Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When we think of psychology, we think of a field dedicated to understanding and curing the dark side of life--addictions, phobias, compulsions, anxieties, and on and on. But there is a field of psychology that looks at the bright side, that considers seriously these questions: What makes life most worth living? And how can we pursue a good life? That field is called, not surprisingly, positive psychology.

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 that has made him an award-winning teacher, 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? How can we pursue the good life in families, workplaces, schools, and sports, no matter who we are or where we live? With titles such as "You May Now Kiss the Bride--And Would You Like Fries With That?" and "How Can You Tell If Someone from France is Happy?" 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.

Throughout, Peterson shows that happiness is not simply the result of a fortunate spin of the genetic wheel. There are things that people can learn to do to lead happier lives. Pursuing the Good Life is both an enjoyable read and an invaluable guide to making the good life part of your everyday existence.

About the Author

Christopher Peterson was Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan. One of the world's most highly cited research psychologists and a founder of the field of positive psychology, Peterson was best-known for his studies of optimism and character strengths and their relationship to psychological and physical well-being. He was a frequent blogger for Psychology Today, where many of these short essays first appeared.

Table of Contents


Part I. Positive Psychology and the Good Life

1. What is Positive Psychology, and What is it Not?

2. Parsing Positive Psychology

3. How Do Americans Spend Their Time?

4. Blaming the Science Versus Blaming the Victim: A Third Alternative

5. Perfect People

6. The Future of Unhappiness

7. Positive Psychology and Bullshit

8. The Bad Company of Positive Psychology

9. Taking on the Criticisms of Positive Psychology

10. The Future of Positive Psychology: Science and Practice

Part II. Positive Emotions and Experiences

11. What Do You Think About in the Shower?

12. Savoring and Dampening Positive Feelings

13. Who Most Enjoys the Small Things in Life?

14. Fast Food and Impatience

15. Passion and Positive Psychology

16. The Positive Analogue of a Phobia

17. Sunday Afternoon with Daniel Kahneman

18. Money and Happiness

19. Does Happiness Have a Cost?

20. Does Happiness Have a Cost? Part Two

22. Heritability and Happiness

22. Smiles and Longevity: Game Faces and Life Faces

23. Happiness Outliers

Part III. Positive Traits and Talents

24. The Last Lecture: A Positive Psychology Case Study

25. Is Optimism Undermining America?

26. Optimism Goes Underground

27. Good Hope and Bad Hope

28. Strengths or Weaknesses?

29. Character Is Sexy

30. There Are No Saints

31. Does It Matter Where We Live?

32. Resilience

33. Growing Greatness

34. David and Goliath and the Good Life

35. Steve Jobs: Lessons for the Good Life

36. What Have You Done for Yourself Lately?

Part IV. Positive Relationships

37. Other People Matter: Two Examples

38. Gratitude: Letting Other People Know They Matter Benefits Us

39. Gender and Friendship

40. Tears and Testosterone

41. Dealing with the Pain of Romantic Breakups

42. Happiness, Small Talk, and Big Talk

43. Having a Friend and Being a Friend

44. Infants Get It Right

45. Viral Happiness

Part V. Enabling Institutions: Families

46. Books Matter

47. You May Now Kiss the Bride — And Would You Like Fries With That?

48. Living Happily Ever After

49. What Good Are Fathers?

Part VI. Enabling Institutions: Workplaces

50. Leadership Style and Employee Well-Being

51. Doing the Right Thing

52. Positive Psychology and Assholes

53. Positive Psychology and Unemployment

Part VII. Enabling Institutions: Schools

54. Did You Bring a Stuffed Animal to College?

55. Paying Students for Good Grades

56. Teaching Positive Psychology to an Entire University

57. The 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps

58. Doing the Right Thing EL With a Business Plan

59. Saturday Afternoon with President Obama

Part VIII. Enabling Institutions: Sports

60. When Losing Isn't Losing

61. I Love the NFL, But ...

62. Streaks in Sports and Life: Not for Men Only

63. Brett Favre versus Cal Ripken?

64. Team Sports, Happiness, and Health

65. Team Celebration and Performance

66. The NBA Finals: Does the Best Team Win?

Part IX. Enabling Institutions: Geographical Places

67. Geography and Happiness: A Book Review

68. Happy Places: Happy States

69. Are Happy Places Also Deadly Ones?

70. Gauging the Happiness of a Nation

71. How Can You Tell If Someone from France is Happy?

72. Gross National Happiness

73. Positive Psychology and China

74. Gauging the Happiness of Nations: A View from North Korea

75. Happy Places: Third Places

Part X. Rants

76. Can You Be Too Cheerful?

77. "Strong" Accents Define America

78. Does Anyone Write Letters Anymore?

79. You Can't Savor a Nutrient

80. I Hate E-mail

81. Technology and Happiness: A Book Review

82. Don't Pick My Brain

83. First, Think Inside the Box

84. It is What it is

85. Upspeak

86. Joy in the Misfortune of Others: Sports and Beyond

87. Bucket Lists and Positive Psychology

Part XI. Pursuing the Good life

88. Days are Long — Life is Short

89. I Resolve to Take Benjamin Franklin Seriously

90. How to Smile

91. How to Talk

92. Finding the Right Bank to Rob

93. Ikigai and Mortality

94. University of Michigan Squirrels

95. A But-Free Day

96. Getting Lost in Buildings — and Life

97. Giving Thanks by Mental Subtraction

98. What's in Your Closet?

99. The Good Life: Ends and Means

100. There Are No Bad Racks


Product Details

Peterson, Christopher
Oxford University Press, USA
Peterson, Christopher
Mental health
Psychology, Social.
Psychology-Mood Disorders and Depression
Publication Date:
5.4 x 7.1 x 1.4 in 0.9 lb

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Related Subjects

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Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
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