A book review
Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman is a book for the causal intelligent reader who wants to improve their lives. You don’t need any specialist knowledge in psychology but you do need to be able digest some information about the studies that Seligman uses to support his ideas. It’s also for someone motivated to put his ideas into practice and so hopefully improve their quality of life.
Martin Seligman is one of the founders and leading lights in the new positive psychology movement. This book will give you an excellent introduction to this field. Seligman gives convincing arguments based on research as well as practical tips on how to develop lasting happiness, find meaning in your life and to understand your own strengths and weaknesses.
This book falls somewhere between a self book and a text book introducing this topic. Though there is a danger of falling between two stools I think here this works. I found the support from studies increased my confidence in his advice and the practical exercises and tips stopped the book being theoretical.
Authentic Happiness will provoke you to think about your happiness in many ways. How satisfied are you with your life? How optimistic are you? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your character? There are tools included to get you evaluating yourself and practical exercises such as writing letters of gratitude and forgiveness. Seligman will get you thinking about your work life, your love life and your family life. You can also work through a questionnaire with your children to get to know their strengths and weaknesses too.
Seligman describes the research well so that it doesn’t appear too academic. Seligman writes well and often draws the reader in with some personal stories. Authentic happiness has some great advice that could well transform the way you look at your life.