When I sat down at the end of last year to plan this one, I set myself the intention to read at least 6 non-fiction books. So far I’m on a good path, because 2 weeks ago I finished the newest book by Martin Seligman called Authentic Happiness. This article will help me to remember the most important aspects of the book and it also aims at giving you a, subjective, review of the book.
Martin Seligman can be regarded as the father of positive psychology and he still teaches this subject at the University of Pennsylvania. It is the second book I read written by him after Flourish. Often, you find American non-fiction books to be quite easy and pleasant to read. His style is a little more difficult to read and you can see that he is a true scholar. He uses a lot of different and fancy words and I often found myself looking up a word or two. However, you can also understand most of its meaning without knowing every single word.
More importantly is the content. He structured his book into three parts. The first part is about positive emotions. He always aims at what we can do do increase our own happiness in a lasting way. In this part, he focuses on how we can do that by looking at what we can do with situations that happened in the past and are now influencing our emotions. Secondly, he looks at what we can do to look more brightly into the future and, last but not least, he investigates how we can increase our happiness by focusing on the present.
In the second part, he focuses on signature strengths. I wrote two related articles about this topic. The last one is called: Do you know your strengths and how to use them? He is convinced that to life a good life (something all the old philosophers were trying to find) can only be achieved when we regularly apply our signature strengths. These are our top strengths.
In the third part of his book, he looks at many of our most important areas of life, such as love, work, and raising children and how we can use our signature strengths there.
What I really like about the book is his use of stories from his own life to illustrate a point. It makes it not only personal and easier to read, but it also helps me to see the connection to the real world. It is nice to have the newest scientific evidence, but for me it always helps to see how I can apply the science in my life or how I can help others with their own questions.
All in all, I can recommend the book. Especially if you are into positive psychology.
The next book review will be about the 5 Love Languages =)
Have a wonderful day and take care, Stephan