Pursuing the Good Life 100 Reflections on Positive Psychology

Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2012-12-31
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
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When we think of psychology, we think of a field dedicated to understanding and curing the dark side of life - addictions, phobias, compulsions, anxieties, and on and on. But there is a field of psychology that looks at the bright side, that considers seriously such questions as what makeslife most worth living? And how can we pursue a good life? That field is called, not surprisingly, positive psychology. In Pursuing the Good Life, one of the founders of positive psychology, Christopher Peterson, offers one hundred bite-sized reflections exploring the many sides of this exciting new field. With the humor, warmth, and wisdom that has made him an award-winning teacher, Peterson takes readers on alively tour of the sunny side of the psychological street. What are the roles played by positive emotions and happiness, by strengths of character, by optimism, and by good relationships with others? How can we pursue the good life in families, workplaces, schools, and sports, no matter who we areor where we live? With titles such as "You May Now Kiss the Bride - And Would You Like Fries With That?" and "How Can You Tell If Someone from France is Happy?" Peterson good-humoredly explores these questions and many others, including such diverse topics as the difference between employment andwork, the value of doing the right thing, and why books matter, among other subjects. Throughout, Peterson shows that happiness is not simply the result of a fortunate spin of the genetic wheel. There are things that people can learn to do to lead happier lives. Pursuing the Good Life is both an enjoyable read and an invaluable guide to making the good life part of your everydayexistence.

Author Biography

Christopher Peterson was Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan. One of the world's most highly cited research psychologists and a founder of the field of positive psychology, Peterson was best-known for his studies of optimism and character strengths and their relationship to psychological and physical well-being. He was a frequent blogger for Psychology Today, where many of these short essays first appeared.

Table of Contents

Positive Psychology and the Good Life
What is Positive Psychology, and What is it Not?
Parsing Positive Psychology
How Do Americans Spend Their Time?
Blaming the Science Versus Blaming the Victim: A Third Alternative
Perfect People
The Future of Unhappiness
Positive Psychology and Bullshit
The Bad Company of Positive Psychology
Taking on the Criticisms of Positive Psychology
The Future of Positive Psychology: Science and Practice
Positive Emotions and Experiences
What Do You Think About in the Shower?
Savoring and Dampening Positive Feelings
Who Most Enjoys the Small Things in Life?
Fast Food and Impatience
Passion and Positive Psychology
The Positive Analogue of a Phobia
Sunday Afternoon with Daniel Kahneman
Money and Happiness
Does Happiness Have a Cost?
Does Happiness Have a Cost? Part Two
Heritability and Happiness
Smiles and Longevity: Game Faces and Life Faces
Happiness Outliers
Positive Traits and Talents
The Last Lecture: A Positive Psychology Case Study
Is Optimism Undermining America?
Optimism Goes Underground
Good Hope and Bad Hope
Strengths or Weaknesses?
Character Is Sexy
There Are No Saints
Does It Matter Where We Live?
Growing Greatness
David and Goliath and the Good Life
Steve Jobs: Lessons for the Good Life
What Have You Done for Yourself Lately?
Positive Relationships
Other People Matter: Two Examples
Gratitude: Letting Other People Know They Matter Benefits Us
Gender and Friendship
Tears and Testosterone
Dealing with the Pain of Romantic Breakups
Happiness, Small Talk, and Big Talk
Having a Friend and Being a Friend
Infants Get It Right
Viral Happiness
Enabling Institutions: Families
Books Matter
You May Now Kiss the Bride -- And Would You Like Fries With That?
Living Happily Ever After
What Good Are Fathers?
Enabling Institutions: Workplaces
Leadership Style and Employee Well-Being
Doing the Right Thing
Positive Psychology and Assholes
Positive Psychology and Unemployment
Enabling Institutions: Schools
Did You Bring a Stuffed Animal to College?
Paying Students for Good Grades
Teaching Positive Psychology to an Entire University
The 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps
Doing the Right Thing EL With a Business Plan
Saturday Afternoon with President Obama
Enabling Institutions: Sports
When Losing Isn't Losing
I Love the NFL, But ...
Streaks in Sports and Life: Not for Men Only
Brett Favre versus Cal Ripken?
Team Sports, Happiness, and Health
Team Celebration and Performance
The NBA Finals: Does the Best Team Win?
Enabling Institutions: Geographical Places
Geography and Happiness: A Book Review
Happy Places: Happy States
Are Happy Places Also Deadly Ones?
Gauging the Happiness of a Nation
How Can You Tell If Someone from France is Happy?
Gross National Happiness
Positive Psychology and China
Gauging the Happiness of Nations: A View from North Korea
Happy Places: Third Places
Can You Be Too Cheerful?
"Strong" Accents Define America
Does Anyone Write Letters Anymore?
You Can't Savor a Nutrient
I Hate E-mail
Technology and Happiness: A Book Review
Don't Pick My Brain
First, Think Inside the Box
It is What it is
Joy in the Misfortune of Others: Sports and Beyond
Bucket Lists and Positive Psychology
Pursuing the Good life
Days are Long -- Life is Short
I Resolve to Take Benjamin Franklin Seriously
How to Smile
How to Talk
Finding the Right Bank to Rob
Ikigai and Mortality
University of Michigan Squirrels
A But-Free Day
Getting Lost in Buildings -- and Life
Giving Thanks by Mental Subtraction
What's in Your Closet?
The Good Life: Ends and Means
There Are No Bad Racks
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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