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Happiness Library: Flourish

March 2013 Atria Paperback You don’t have to get very far in Flourishto glimpse the practical applications of positive psychology. Author Martin Seligman, Ph.D., writes on page 20: “We scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.” Seligman’s latest book explores how we can increase feelings of well-being and why it’s vital to do so. Reading this book is a good way to catch up on important milestones in the positive psychology movement like “post-traumatic growth” research on soldiers. Martin, who introduced the world to positive psychology as president of the American Psychological Association in 1998, is required reading for those who follow this field.
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Library—Profit from the Positive

Profit from the Positive: Proven Leadership Strategies to Boost Productivity and Transform Your BusinessAugust 2013, McGraw-Hill EducationMargaret Greenberg and Senia Maymin set out to write a guidebook that would help people use the research findings of positive psychology. The tools they describe “don’t cost anything, and you don’t need anybody’s permission to implement them,” Margaret says.Here’s why these authors are uniquely qualified to share positivity tools: They met while earning their Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) degrees at the University of Pennsylvania, and both are successful business coaches. “Every one of these tools is backed up by science,” Margaret says. Senia says people tell them, “These are really small things to implement—as soon as I’ve tried them, I can see the results.”The book is tightly organized into three parts and nine chapters. Numbered points make the chapters easy to follow. Margaret and Senia hope you take it along on an airplane ride and land ready to make changes.While the book promises to transform your business, the positive principles are tools anyone can use. Procrastinators will find the advice in “Trick Yourself into Getting Started” especially helpful—these tips help you get off dead center. For example, while they were collaborating on the book, Margaret made it a practice to write Senia an email about her progress. In her email, Margaret described as completed things she hadn’t finished, but she found it helped her begin working. (That’s tool No. 2.)Replace “bosses” with “parents,” and you have practical advice for family life. Margaret and Senia encourage a focus on the positive and an emphasis on recognizing strengths over criticizing shortfalls.The discussion guide at the back of the book, the website and a Facebook page encourage discussion. Senia says, “The learner mindset—the mindset of not being an expert and constantly learning—that’s something Margaret and I wear as a hat, and we really encourage.”These days, Margaret and Senia are taking their knowledge on the road. “Writing the book and researching it is the first phase,” Margaret says. “But now really getting it accessible and mainstreamed and in the hands of people, that’s the whole next phase.”
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Library—The Slight Edge

Eighth edition, November 2013, Greenleaf Book Group PressAlready a classic, The Slight Edgeoffers a path to success via awareness of the importance of the numerous small decisions we make each day. Jeff Olson describes his philosophy as easy to do and easy not to do—and each decision we make is a step in the right direction or away from it. There is no middle ground, he says. This anniversary edition offers “The Secret of Happiness,” a chapter based on discoveries in positive psychology. The author carefully outlines what you can expect by adding steps pioneered by Shawn Achor in The Happiness Advantageto your daily routine and taking advantage of research results: “Success does not lead to happiness,” he writes. “It’s the other way around: more happiness creates more success.”Listen to Jeff Olson discuss the Slight Edge and other concepts of success and well-being on our Live Happy Now podcast, now available on iTunes.
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Sharing Brings Happiness

Happiness is like a kiss. You must share it to enjoy it.” —Bernard Meltzer (Radio Host, 1916-1998)Have you ever shared a story because it made you smile? Ever find yourself walking by a stranger and flashing a smile? What about watching someone dig for change and giving some of your own to cover the rest of their purchase? Research proves that sharing in all its forms is a truly powerful way to bring happiness. You can share things that are special to you—like a book, a tool or even a recipe. Or you can share a smile, a special event in your life, or even your affection.Sharing is fundamental to the development of all human relationships and civilizations. We begin learning to share as soon as we are able to communicate. Often it begins with our parents teaching us the importance of sharing a toy with a friend. In the mind of a toddler, this idea seems absurd at first. They are thinking, “Why would I want to give up this awesome thing I’m playing with?” But even at that young age, they quickly realize the payoff. And what is it? It is the joy they feel when they see the happiness they have brought someone else. Not only does sharing bring us joy, it teaches us the importance of taking care of others. In many cultures, it is quite common to share your home with your elders. But sharing doesn’t have to be a grand gesture to be appreciated. It can be as simple as sharing something you feel with someone, like a compliment. “You look so pretty today,” is one example. Those simple words can often make someone feel special and cared for, and in return, make the one who said them happy. Sharing is truly a win-win!One of the best things you can share with others is your own happiness. Tell them what made you happy and why. Your story just might inspire a change in them.A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships determined that sharing our good news provides us with an extra dose of positive emotion, more than merely recalling it or writing about it. The research also determined other benefits of sharing a positive experience, such as making it easier to remember, the opportunity to learn new positive implications of our news from another’s perspective, and the extra joy we feel when making another person happy through our good news.The next time something good happens to you, don’t keep it to yourself. Share it—because just like smiling, happiness can be contagious!
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