Senia Maymin and Kathryn Britton are the senior editors of PositivePsychologyNews.com. Together they have edited two books in the Positive Psychology News series: Resilience: How to Navigate Life's Curves and Gratitude: How to Appreciate Life's Gifts. Kathryn co-edited the third book in the series, Character Strengths Matter, with Shannon Polly. Their co-authored articles are here.
Senia Maymin, MAPP '06, is the coauthor of Profit from the Positive. Maymin is an executive coach to entrepreneurs and CEOs. Her PhD is in organizational behavior from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Full Bio. Her solo articles are here and her articles with Margaret Greenberg are here.
Editor’s Note: Today, we want to share with you some books we are giving to our friends, in case they give you ideas for holiday gifts. These books include our favorite books about positive psychology and some novels that carry positive messages.
(We only show the picture of the book cover the first time the book is mentioned. The book cover images are deleted from the email version of this posting, so come to the online article if you want to see them.)
First, we recommend (with huge jumping-up-and-down excitement) the first PPND book, Resilience: How to Navigate Life’s Curves. [Later we added the other 2 titles in the Positive Psychology News series.]
This year I listened to a lot of unabridged fiction using audible.com. My favorite was Anthony Trollope, insightful novels of manners. The Jane Austen for men, much better than Dickens. Start with Barchester Towers (audio, book), Phineas Finn (audio, book), The Last Chronicle of Barset (audio, book).
I delighted to recommend books by friends! My favorite kinds of books to recommend. In about the past year, there were a few books published by friends and colleagues:
- Publicani by my dad, Zak Maymin. Fabulous novel set five years in the future, about the universal fight for human rights. Readers write: “riveting page-turner,” “I got this book in the evening and was finished by lunch the following day – I just couldn’t put it down!” “you will be thinking about the ideas in this book long after it’s over.”
- Strengths-Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie (review)
- Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead by Nancy Ancowitz (review)
- The Happiness Equation: 100 Factors That Can Add To or Subtract From Your Happiness. by Bridget Grenville-Cleave, Ilona Boniwell, and Tina Tessina (review)
- Positive Psychology Workbook Series starting with Invitation to Positive Psychology by Robert Biswas-Diener and colleagues (review)
- Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide by Caroline Miller and Michael Frisch (review)
- Pathways to Greatness by Scott Asalone and Jan Sparrow (review)
- The Collected Works of Ed Diener. There are three volumes: The Science of Well-Being, Assessing Well-Being:, and Culture and Well-Being.
- Positivity: by Barbara Fredrickson (review)
- Curious? by Todd Kashdan (review)
I am going to add to Senia’s list, rather than overlap it — except for congratulating Caroline Miller for publishing the first book, Creating Your Best Life, based on a MAPP capstone project. Both Positive Leadership by Kim Cameron and Rethinking Your Work: Getting to the Heart of What Matters by Val Kinjerski open up the view that work can be engaging, fulfilling, and meaningful, even in times like these that cause people to be driven by fear of losing their jobs. I haven’t gotten my copy yet, but I’m looking forward to the new Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology and Work edited by Alex Linley.
As for a novel, I love My Antonia by Willa Cather. It’s like Sherri’s article about Timothy — the story of a long resilient life. Antonia faces hardship with humor and love. I also enjoyed the vivid, detail-filled depiction of life on the Nebraska prairies over 100 years ago.
Timothy T.C. So:
We have been talking about globalization for many years, but how well do we understand people from different cultures and nations, in particular of their wellbeing? Ed Diener, who has studied thousands of people in over 140 nations of the world, present most of his major publications on culture and well-being of his Social Indicators Research Series: Culture and Well-Being. I found it is the best written publication in the regarding topic and it is also definitely a must-read to cultural psychologists, positive psychology scholars and practitioners, and everyone interested in culture and happiness
One of my favorites this year was edited by Carmelo Vázquez and Gonzalo Hervás, La ciencia del bienestar: Fundamentos De Una Psicologia Positiva. First rate, up-to-date work on positive psychology that was originally written in Spanish. I use it a lot in my classes. (Editor’s note: There’s a brand new book out by the same authors, Psicologia Positiva Aplicada.)
I strongly recommend and really enjoyed these books:
- Spiritual Evolution by George Vaillant
- The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want by Sonja Lyubomirsky
- Happiness from the Inside Out: The Art and Science of Fulfillment by Robert Mack
- Why Good Things Happen to Good People by Stephen Post and Jill Neimark
Some favorite / recommended books:
- Spiritual Evolution: A Scientific Defense of Faith by George Vaillant. I enjoyed George’s work because it so beautifully explains how our positive emotions evolve, how our brain is involved, and most importantly I found the book incredibly hopeful and optimistic. It’s one I want to read again.
- The Pursuit of Perfect: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life. by Tal Ben-Shahar. Tal’s book has helped people already. They love this book. It has something for everyone.
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
- Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, and Thrive. by Barbara Fredrickson. Positivity is a joy because before now Fredrickson’s work was only available in journal articles; now we have a book that is for everyone. Definitely a must-read for everyone.
- The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living by Russ Harris. I haven’t yet finished the Happiness Trap, however it’s a very interesting read about a new area I know little about. It has practical information which I have already been able to use to good effect. This book came recommended from others in the positive psychology world.
- Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen. This book and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society are novels, but as with all good novels we can see Positive Psychology at work in so many ways.
- The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom is always a top favorite
This year also:
- The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander
- The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn
And a heavyweight for people in this field:
- Handbook of Positive Psychology in Schools by Rich Gilman (Editor), E. Scott Huebner (Editor), Michael J. Furlong (Editor)
I fell in love with Why we do what we do: Understanding self-motivation. by Edward Deci and Richard Flaste this year. It’s an in-depth look at intrinsic motivation and self-determination theory that’s thoughtfully written and includes a nice balance of research and case studies.
My favorites were Positivity and Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide.
I’ve given both as presents and they’ve been really well received.
Marie-Josée Salvas Shaar:
I have two favorites:
- The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler, MD. This book scientifically explains how our bodies and minds are changed by the foods we eat and how food manufacturers intentionally engineer foods that will make us want to eat more. Their industry as well as the pharmaceutical industry are the big winners because our resulting eating patterns gave rise to the number 1 health issue in America. Also identifies practical ways to start our much needed food rehab.
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. This is the best book I’ve ever read to help stop self-defeating internal voices. It presents new and convincing arguments!
My two favorites:
- One from the world of positive psychology: Strengths-Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie. I love how they’ve sorted the 34 strengths into 4 leadership domains and I love the research on what employees seek from their leaders.
- From outside the world of positive psychology: Mortenson & Relin’s Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time about the difference one person can make in the world – so inspiring!
I have two hot picks for this year. And one enduring classic.
- Barbara Fredrickson’s Positivity. Because it tells the story of the 3 to 1 positivity ratio and why it is important for our well-being. Who wouldn’t say yes to an ‘upwards spiral of development’ that leads to flourishing and transformation?
- I also like The Happiness Equation: 100 Factors That Can Add To or Subtract From Your Happiness by Bridget Grenville-Cleave, Ilona Boniwell & Tina Tessina. A wonderful summary of what does and doesn’t make us happy. Its strength lies in the way it draws on the science while still being very accessible. Very well written.
- The reference book I’ve used most often during this year while planning workshops has been the brilliantly concise Positive Psychology in a Nutshell (2nd Edition) by Ilona Boniwell.
- Here are all the books we have reviewed in the past year.
- We also made a similar list of good gifts last year around the Holidays, and here it is.
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Image: Cat on a bookshelf courtesy of tillwe