Professor Belli | Spring 2022 | City Tech | ENG 3402: Topics in Literature

response Flourish by Martin E. P. Seligman

Flourish by Martin E. P. Seligman is a self-help-related book that focuses on the theory of well-being through the use of “positive psychology” rather than that of authentic happiness itself. As the tittle insinuates, this book claims to help you flourish (page 1). When I hear flourishing, I hear growth, development, prosperity, and etc. But, as a self-help book, its focal point is on the growth of one’s well-being rather than generally or in the exterior/surroundings. “And so this book will increase your well-being and it will help you flourish” ( Page 2). From page 13, Seligman shares his experience of a change in perception about the topic of “positive psychology”, when he used to think of it as happiness and that its goal was to increase life satisfaction, but now thinks of the topic as “well-being,” and that “the gold standard for measuring well-being is flourishing, and that the goal of positive psychology is to increase flourishing.” He  believed “ Positive psychology makes people happier,” whether one teaches, applies, exercises it, it all makes people happier (page 2). He even goes and states that the people with the highest well-being he has ever known are the ones who work in positive psychology” (Page 2). From the first part of the book: “ A New Positive Psychology,” Seligman claims to have a different and new view of psychology that is positive, avoiding the big mistake made by four great scientists – who are: Thales, Aristotle, Nietzsche, and Freud – when they each came to think that all human actions rise to one reason. His claim was that they all follow the concept of monism, stating that they made “the grand mistake of monism”(page 9).  The author’s view used to be closer to that of Aristotle in term as happiness, but goes deeper in meaning. He explains that monism needs to be no more in order for positive psychology to work, using practicable terms, such as: positive emotion, engagement, meaning, positive relationships, and accomplishment, which he thinks that none of the elements defines well-being, but each contributes to it.“The first step in positive psychology is to dissolve the monism of happiness into more workable terms.” on the other hand, The theory in Authentic Happiness is that happiness could be analyzed into three different elements, which are: positive emotion, engagement and meaning” (page11). For an individual to flourish in positice psychology, the core features,such as :positive emotion, engagement, interest, meaning, and purpose are a must as well as three of those additional features: self-esteem, optimism, resilience, vitality, self-determination, positive relationships. One can do signature strength exercise and positive  therapy to achieve positive psychology



1 Comment

  1. Julie Lynch

    Hi, Dmondel. I like how you written your response very well. When reading your post, you make the readers understand what the book is about, in a way of Seligman is not only speaking about ”happiness” but is discussing well-being. I love how you broke down different key points of the evidence you have stated and gave a strong mindset on the summarizing the whole first two chapters. What I see in the post what others have mentioned or put down was explosions/fireworks It was a great way of catching people attention to go more in-depth with the reading.

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