“Positive Psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living. It is a call for psychological science and practice to be concerned with strength as with weakness; as interested in building the best things in life as in repairing the worst; and as concerned with making the lives of normal people fulfilling as with healing pathology.
Nowhere does this definition say or imply that psychology should ignore or dismiss the very real problems that people experience. Nowhere does it say or imply that the rest of psychology needs to be discarded or replaced. The value of positive psychology is to complement and extend the problem-focused psychology that has been dominant for many decades. …
Positive psychology is psychology—psychology is science—and science requires checking theories against evidence. Accordingly, positive psychology is not to be confused with untested self-help, footless affirmation, or secular religion—no matter how good these make us feel. Positive psychology is neither a recycled version of the power of positive thinking nor a sequel to The Secret.
Positive psychology will rise or fall on the science on which it is based. So far, the science is impressive.”
~ Christopher Peterson from Pursuing the Good Life
Christopher Peterson was an award-winning professor at the University of Michigan. He was also one of the founders of the positive psychology movement.
He worked closely with Martin Seligman to create one of my favorite surveys: the VIA (Virtues-in-Action <— coolest phrase ever?) Survey of Character Strengths. Check it out here and check out our Notes on Seligman’s Authentic Happiness where we discuss it in more detail.
This book is essentially a collection of 100 blog posts Chris created for his popular blog on Psychology Today. The essays are short reflections on a range of positive psychology themes—including positive emotions and experiences, positive traits and talents, and positive relationships.
(Get a copy of the book here. Check out our growing collection of Notes on great Positive Psychology books plus Positive Psychology 101 where I share my favorite Ideas from 10 of my favorite psychologists.)
As you’d expect, the book is packed with Big Ideas. I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!
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