I just finished reading Flourish a book about positive psychology by Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology. I’ve read multiple books on the subject, and I think this one serves as a great starting off point for someone that is just starting to learn about the subject. It provides a framework that you can use to navigate the subject and name drops a bunch of the prominent figures in the field and their work, a great road map for figuring out what to dive into deeper.
Here are a few of the big topics discussed:
- The goal of positive psychology is to measure and build human flourishing. He also argues that once countries have achieved a threshold of economic prosperity and stability, that their governments should turn their attention to improving the well-being of their citizens.
- The well-being theory for flourishing based on 5 elements:
- Positive emotion
- Relationships (positive ones)
- That although our predetermined happiness baseline is genetic, as are a lot of our personality traits, there is still a lot that we can do to get to the top of our well-being range, like meditation and the What-Went-Well exercise
- The Losada Ratio, # of positive things per negative things, as a predictor of well-being in relationships (min 5:1 ratio for strong relationships)
- That traumatic events are usually the catalyst for major personal growth so long as the conditions are right (post-traumatic growth)
After this book, I’d suggest moving on to The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt, which dives into more detail on a lot of the theories and research summarized in Flourish. And The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky goes into a lot more detail on the notion of our “predetermined happiness baseline” and what we can do to move ourselves to the top of our range for happiness.