Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being
by Martin E. P. Seligman

This book describes the impact of positive psychology techniques in the real world – ranging from in the US Army to a private school, to improving your health.  If you have read any of Martin Seligman‘s books before such as Learned Optimism or Authentic Happiness, this is an excellent follow-up as it focuses on application.  Martin is a PhD professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania with research supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science foundation and more, winning many awards for his scientific contributions.  Even if you haven’t read those books, the author explains his theory and core concepts at the beginning, so you can still gain enormous insights as to the power of this approach.  I love this book because he has successfully demonstrated how to create a new world in which life can be lived in a much more positive and prosperous manner.  Prosperity has typically been defined by wealth. It is commonly said that in rich nations like the USA that this may be the last generation to do better than its parents. That may be true regarding money, but the time has come for a new prosperity – one that takes flourishing and well-being as new trophy.  Learning to value attaining flourishing would mean a world in which starting in the formative years of life/education, we could create people who value the five elements of well being (PERMA):

  1. positive emotion
  2. engagement
  3. relationships
  4. meaning
  5. accomplishment

I have strived for this in my life and it is the accomplishment that I am most proud of, but realize that it is still a very different way to view success. Martin describes what this would look like within education, the army, at work, and at home and I can imagine the world being an amazing place, if we made it a more commonplace. If you want to create a new definition of prosperity in any area of your life, this is the book for you!


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