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📙 Handbook of Positive Psychology by Shane J. Lopez, C.R. Snyder — free pdf


Coming from a philosophical background, and this book being only the second text on positive psychology I've read after Haidt's "The Happiness Hypothesis," I was thoroughly blown away by the scope of this gargantuan collection of essays. Like any anthology it has its perks and dull points. The first section of essays is admirable in trying to sketch out the goals and direction of the young evolving science and proposing applied methods that distinguish it from clinical psychology/counseling psychology. The next two sections are somewhat dry, however the third section picks up concerning practical concerns of the development of individuals over their lifespans, from positive psychology's forecasted role in child developmental programs to giving an empirical analysis of wisdom and life-longings. The sections on "Cognitive Approaches" and "Interpersonal Approaches" were by far the most intriguing. The topics of creativity, mindfulness, time, optimism, hope theory, self-efficacy, problem solving appraisal, curiosity, and courage among others are covered extensively each in their own essays. These sections are especially reminiscent of Aristotelian and Nietzschean virtue theories and take up the task appropriate of positive psychology of giving more scientific analyses of long held cross cultural consensus on virtues and various prosocial behaviors. If positive psychology is to grow as a newly demarcated field of study and not be a mere recapitulation or Aristotelian atavism it must couple this scrutinizing scientific eye with the guiding passion of the ancients. Overall, this text is worth the read and although some essays may not have appealed to me, other essays may advance other readers' personal research. It is a dense read and not for the timid reader.

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