Overall the front matter was rather interesting in the fact that there were phrases and certain fonts from the title and then proceeded to continue doing the same in the first chapter. With the title using “BEST SELLING AUTHOR OF AUTHENTIC HAPPINESS” and then proceeding in the first page of the front matter “This Book Will Help You Flourish”. I thought that it was an interesting way to have these specific statements in big fonts. I find it interesting because it makes it stand out more than anything and I found it as a hook for readers. On the very first page the author states, “the goal of psychology has been to relieve human suffering…”, and it was a great way to correlate psychology with positive psychology and its purpose. It also allowed a different avenue on how to perceive psychology because I never thought about psychology as a scientific study to relieve human suffering.
It continues to mention that Positive Psychology is different in that its purpose is to “raise the bar for the human condition”. Which continues with the explanation of the purpose of the book and why positive psychology is being spoken about; positive psychology will allow individuals in order to get the best out of life and be able to live life to the fullest. While explaining that Flourish is meant to refine what Positive Psychology is, it begins to give a detailed explanation on what it is and what builds up Positive psychology beginning with the Five Pillars of Positive Psychology which are Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment.
He begins the first chapter by explaining how the book came to be and what had made it possible for him to write the book. An anonymous institution was the sole reason the book was possible. But as he continues he begins to explain this new concept of happiness and explains how other philosophers had perceived happiness. The author creates this notion that some of the greatest philosophers in human history made the mistake that all human actions came down to just one motive. On page 11 he begins to speak on the three elements of authentic happiness which are positive emotion, engagement, and meaning. And it is important to keep these elements in mind because he states “The first step in Positive Psychology is to dissolve the monism of “happiness” into more workable terms”. Following this breakdown of happiness itself he continues into this new concept of Positive Psychology with the explanation of the elements of the Well-Being Theory. There are five elements and each one has three properties. The elements are positive emotion, engagement, meaning, positive relationships, and accomplishment (pg 16). He continues to go in depth of every element and why it makes up Well-Being Theory.
I specifically found the excerpt of positive relationships interesting because I could actually relate to what was being said. There have been many situations where I have accomplished something and had good memories with myself, but almost every great accomplishment and moment of happiness has been/ and can relate back to another person. All the high points of someone’s life basically took place around other people (pg 20).
Overall the chapter is made up of different exercises for readers to try and we were specifically instructed to try the “What went-well Exercise” and the “Signatures Strengths Exercise” both were very interesting to partake in since it allowed me to rethink the positive that happens everyday even if something negative has happened throughout the day, there is always some positive in the midst of the negative. I enjoyed the well being exercise because I just wanted to get into bed and fall asleep but I tried it for two nights and it really made me open my eyes and see that something positive happens every day whether I notice it or not, but three positive things usually happen throughout the day. The Signatures Strengths exercise was also very interesting but I felt that there wasn’t much to annotate or write about in partaking in the exercise but it helped me realize some things which I am surprisingly strong in and help me be the person that I am today.
The notes honestly I did not go through but as I was skimming through it was a long list of sources and references that was used by the author. The back matter where it explains “About the Author” was interesting because in the beginning of the book he explains that he was the president of the Psychological Institution but I misunderstood it for the American Psychological Association. This section of the book basically establishes the author’s credibility because it also goes on to explain that his work and research is supported by many different institutions like the National Institutes of Health and many others like it. So this credibility allows for the reader to assure the author is a professional in his field of work.
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