Monday, May 29, 2006

Permanent, Pervasive, and Personal

I've had this book on my to-read list since February 2005, so I figured it was about time. Seligman's concept of "positive psychology" was foundational to my program. I suppose it's pretty well dated at this point, having been first published in 1990. The link here is actually to a newer edition of the book than the one I'm reading, although I don't know if it has been updated.

The title is somewhat misleading - Seligman really spends more time discussing what he calls "explanatory styles." His thesis: you can change your explanatory style, and thus learn to be optimistic. He is careful to discuss the evolutionary advantages of pessimism, too, and shares his thoughts on when optimistic or pessimistic styles should be used.

This book places another brick in the foundation of my program. It fills in some of the holes for me. However, I don't think it was absolutely necessary that I read it, so I can't recommend it as a core text.


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