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Learned Optimism
Cover of Learned Optimism
Learned Optimism
How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
Borrow Borrow

National Bestseller
The father of the new science of positive psychology and author of Authentic Happiness draws on more than twenty years of clinical research to demonstrate how optimism enchances the quality of life, and how anyone can learn to practice it. Offering many simple techniques, Dr. Seligman explains how to break an "I—give-up" habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue. These skills can help break up depression, boost your immune system, better develop your potential, and make you happier..

With generous additional advice on how to encourage optimistic behavior at school, at work and in children, Learned Optimism is both profound and practical–and valuable for every phase of life.


"Vaulted me out of my funk.... So, fellow moderate pessimists, go buy this book." —Marian Sandmaier, The New York Times Book Review

National Bestseller
The father of the new science of positive psychology and author of Authentic Happiness draws on more than twenty years of clinical research to demonstrate how optimism enchances the quality of life, and how anyone can learn to practice it. Offering many simple techniques, Dr. Seligman explains how to break an "I—give-up" habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue. These skills can help break up depression, boost your immune system, better develop your potential, and make you happier..

With generous additional advice on how to encourage optimistic behavior at school, at work and in children, Learned Optimism is both profound and practical–and valuable for every phase of life.


"Vaulted me out of my funk.... So, fellow moderate pessimists, go buy this book." —Marian Sandmaier, The New York Times Book Review

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  • OverDrive Read
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Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    1050
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    6 - 9

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One ITwo Ways of Looking at LifeTHE FATHER is looking down into the crib at his sleeping newborn daughter, just home from the hospital. His heart is overflowing with awe and gratitude for the beauty of her, the perfection.The baby opens her eyes and stares straight up.The father calls her name, expecting that she will turn her head and look at him. Her eyes don't move.He picks up a furry little toy attached to the rail of the bassinet and shakes it, ringing the bell it contains. The baby's eyes don't move.His heart has begun to beat rapidly. He finds his wife in their bedroom and tells her what just happened. "She doesn't seem to respond to noise at all," he says. "It's as if she can't hear.""I'm sure she's all right," the wife says, pulling her dressing gown around her. Together they go into the nursery.She calls the baby's name, jingles the bell, claps her hands. Then she picks up the baby, who immediately perks up, wiggling and cooing."My God," the father says. "She's deaf.""No she's not," the mother says. "I mean, it's too soon to say a thing like that. Look, she's brand-new. Her eyes don't even focus yet.""But there wasn't the slightest movement, even when you clapped as hard as you could."The mother takes a book from the shelf. "Let's read what's in the baby book," she says. She looks up "hearing" and reads out loud: " 'Don't be alarmed if your newborn fails to startle at loud noises or fails to orient toward sound. The startle reflex and attention to sound often take some time to develop. Your pediatrician can test your child's hearing neurologically.'"There," the mother says. Doesn't that make you feel better?"Not much," the father says. "It doesn't even mention the other possibility, that the baby is deaf. And all I know is that my baby doesn't hear a thing. I've got the worst feeling about this. Maybe it's because my grandfather was deaf. If that beautiful baby is deaf and it's my fault, I'll never forgive myself."'Hey, wait a minute," says the wife. 'You're going off the deep end. We'll call the pediatrician first thing Monday. In the meantime, cheer up. Here, hold the baby while I fix her blanket. It's all pulled out."The father takes the baby but gives her back to his wife as soon as he can. All weekend he finds himself unable to open his briefcase and prepare for next week's work. He follows his wife around the house, ruminating about the baby's hearing and about the way deafness would ruin her life. He imagines only the worst: no hearing, no development of language, his beautiful child cut off from the social world, locked in soundless isolation. By Sunday night he has sunk into despair.The mother leaves a message with the pediatrician's answering service asking for an early appointment Monday. She spends the weekend doing her exercises, reading, and trying to calm her husband.The pediatrician's tests are reassuring, but the father's spirits remain low. Not until a week later, when the baby shows her first startle, to the backfire of a passing truck, does he begin to recover and enjoy his new daughter again.THIS FATHER and mother have two different ways of looking at the world. Whenever something bad happens to him—a tax audit, a marital squabble, even a frown from his employer—he imagines the worst: bankruptcy and jail, divorce, dismissal. He is prone to depression; he has long bouts of listlessness; his health suffers. She, on the other hand, sees bad events in their least threatening light. To her, they are temporary and surmountable, challenges to be overcome. After a reversal, she comes back quickly, soon regaining her...
About the Author-
  • Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and a past president of the American Psychological Association, is a leading motivational expert and an authority on learned helplessness. His many books include Authentic Happinessand The Optimistic Child. Dr. Seligman's research has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Aging, the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 1, 1991
    Not just another paean to positive thinking, psychologist Seligman's pep talk is grounded in clinical evidence that pessimists give up more easily, get depressed more often and are more susceptible to disease than are optimists. Our ``explanatory style,'' the way we rationalize our setbacks, is a key to our personal outlook, and this style crystallizes in childhood by age eight, according to the author, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. To cure ``learned helplessness,'' he outlines a set of cognitive techniques designed to foster healthy optimism. Included are tests enabling readers to measure levels of pessimism or optimism and degrees of depression. Seligman also offers advice to parents on helping their children escape defeatism. Written in a popular, conversational style, yet incorporating much new research, this upbeat guide may help even closet negativists change their attitudes and behavior. BOMC alternate.

  • Philadelphia Daily News

    "Vaulted me out of my funk. . . . So, fellow moderate pessimists, go buy this book." -- The New York Times Book Review"One of the most important books of the century--an absolute must-read for all persons interested in genuinely understanding and helping our fellow human beings." --Dr. Robert H. Schuller, author of Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do "Dr. Seligman makes an optimistic case for optimism: you can learn it, you can measure it, you can teach it, and you will be healthier and happier for it." --Dr. Aaron T. Beck, author of Love is Never Enough"A system for reforming the most entrenched pessimist."

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Learned Optimism
Learned Optimism
How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
Martin E.P. Seligman
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