Dr. Martin Seligman

<p>What do people think of him? He is a psychotherapist at UPenn school of Medicine. Have you read "Learned Optimism". Is this just another feel-good pop-psychology book? He is a leader in his field of psychotherapy....just wondering.</p>

<p>I think very highly of him. He is one of the most highly respected psychologists in the world.
I haven't read his latest books on optimism, but have read about them, and am glad that he is focusing his extraordinary research talents on what helps people thrive instead of doing more research about coping skills that don't work.</p>

<p>His bio from the U Pennsylvania Gazette:</p>

<p>"Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D., works on positive psychology, learned helplessness, depression, and on optimism and pessimism. He is currently Fox Leadership Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is well known in academic and clinical circles and is a best-selling author.*...</p>

<p>His bibliography includes twenty books and 200 articles on motivation and personality. ... He is the recipient of two Distinguished Scientific Contribution awards from the American Psychological Association, the Laurel Award of the American Association for Applied Psychology and Prevention, and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society for Research in Psychopathology. </p>

<p>Dr. Seligman received both the American Psychological Society's William James Fellow Award (for contribution to basic science) and the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award (for the application of psychological knowledge).*</p>

<p>Dr. Seligman's research and writing has been broadly supported by a number of institutions including The National Institute of Mental Health (continuously since 1969), the National Institute of Aging, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. His research on preventing depression received the MERIT Award of the National Institute of Mental Health in 1991...."</p>

<p>Thanks a lot, Northstarmom. I've seen him on public television. There are a lot of motivational speakers there. For example, Dr. Wayne Dyer. Anyway, I wanted to get a second opinion before I buy a $75 book.</p>

<p>Thanks again....</p>

<p>Any more opinions?</p>

<p>And he is a psychologist and a PhD. Sorry. Anyway, he was mentioned in the Science Times of NYTimes this week.
<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/27/science/27ther.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/27/science/27ther.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Hi Achat,</p>

<p>Is the $75.00 book one listed here? I am tempted by several of these!</p>

<p><a href="http://www.alldirect.com/bsearch.asp?cartID=245721917048051229&srchType=bookAuthor&srchString=Seligman%2C+Martin%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.alldirect.com/bsearch.asp?cartID=245721917048051229&srchType=bookAuthor&srchString=Seligman%2C+Martin&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Wow, yes, the paperback is only $8.68. The hardcover was $75. Thanks a lot! I am tempted too.. </p>

<p>I was looking for 'Learned Optimism: How to change your mind and your life'. Sounds exciting..</p>

<p>Optimism is obviously one of the biggest factors in happiness. If you think about the 10 happiest, most well-adjusted people you know don't they all exude optimism? Optimism largely governs self-concept and also determines how quickly one can bounce back from setbacks.</p>

<p>Yup, yup, absolutely true...I just want to see if Dr. Seligman can shed some new light on it. I don't like pop-psychology books, though.</p>

<p>This is always a topic of discussion in my family of origin. My mother is genetically optimistic. She always thinks something good is happening or could happen. My father has always seen the worst side. The sibling appear to have these genes distributed in different but visible ways.</p>

<p>Note that optimistic people are not necessarily kind or easy to be with always. But they don't require that you keep them from jumping off a cliff. Which is a plus, IMO.</p>

<p>I actually had the chance to interview Dr. Seligman five or six years ago for an article I was writing. I enjoyed our 15 minute phone conversation very much and the interview stands out in my mind as one of the few of the thousands I've done over the years where I actually learned something. He was very articulate and seemed very caring. He also had a good sense of humor, which doesn't always come through in phone interviews.</p>

<p>I usually swing back and forth between optimism and a low-grade pessimism (meaning not utter pessimism, not too serious). My husband is genetically optimistic. I agree that it is a plus being optimistic.</p>

<p>He has another book about raising optimistic children which I often recommend. He talks about innoculating children with challenge/and with that periodic lack of success so as to help them learn to cope in an optimistic manner. I think there is a lot to it.</p>


<p>What a very interesting notion, to innoculate kids by allowing them to experience failure. Makes a lot of sense. I have to hope it is helping S2, who has experienced fair amount of lack of success without any parent intervention needed; he does seem to bounce back fairly quickly, too! His response to being deferred from his top college choice has not been nearly the blow I had feared, even though he knows his chances now are slim to none at that school.</p>

<p>Marty Seligman has been well known and well respected in the psychology community for years. He first did research at SUNY Stonybrook back in the 70's on learned helplessness. It involved training dogs to escape a mild electric shock (given on the metal cage grate) by jumping over a barrier. Then, in the next stage, even if the dog jumped the barrier, he still got shocked. The third stage was to go back to the original paradigm (called an A-B-A design, for you scientists out there) wherein the dog could again escape the shock if he jumped the barrier, but the poor dogs just sat there and took the shock. They just gave up and assumed they were helpless. It was considered a theory of one of the causes of depression-- that one gets depressed when they feel helpless to change a situation or avoid an unpleasant experience (kinda like the college application proccess, eh?). These kinds of studies would never pass the research ethics committee's institutional review boards approval these days, as it would probably be considered inhumane to shock the dogs. And in all fairness, one of my grad school faculty members trained under Marty Seligman and had one of the dogs from the study as her pet. He was the most neurotic dog I'd ever seen, poor thing. </p>

<p>At any rate, Seligman's new research is the flip side to his early research-- to now look at the survival skills-- the resilience, the ways to learn optimism, not pessimism. It is a natural follow-up to his "doggie-downer" research (apologies to the take-off on Saturday Night live "puppy-uppers and "doggy-downers" meds jokes). At any rate, Seligman's theories are well grounded. And if you can buy his book for 8 bucks, that certainly sounds like a good investment. How about reporting back with a book review?? I'd appreciate it.</p>

<p>Okay, okay, as one who sometimes ( :) ) forgets to look on the bright side, I will bite . . .bought the book just now!</p>

<p>Me too. And thanks for the link to AllDirect.com. :)</p>