This is a great introduction to the science of why character strengths matter along with some practical tools on how to go about using those strengths in service to our families and communities so we can experience a deeper sense of joyful flourishing.
Shannon Polly and Kathryn Britton are graduates of Martin Seligman’s Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania.
In this book, they walk us through each of the 24 character strengths identified by the VIA Institute on Character that was created by Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson. (As we’ve discussed, “VIA” is short for “Virtues in Action.”)
The book is endorsed by some of our favorite positive psychology luminaries including: Martin Seligman (see Notes on , and ), Tal Ben-Shahar (, ), Barbara Fredrickson (), Adam Grant (), George Vaillant (), Ed Diener (), and Ryan Niemiec ().
Jonathan Haidt () provides a particularly powerful rec: “This is among the best books in all of positive psychology. It takes one of the most important areas of research—the character strengths—and makes it as accessible, as practical, and as inspiring as could be. I particularly love that it is written for sharing. Every couple and family should have a copy. This will become my standard dinner party gift, instead of a bottle of wine.”
I especially love that last line about giving the gift of virtue in a book rather than wine in a bottle because we played on the idea of becoming “virtue connoisseurs” in Module I of our Mastery Series. Virtue-tasting parties for the win!!
As you’d expect, the book is packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!