Learn the Top Ten Reasons that Chris Peterson's new Primer in Positive Psychology, is a fascinating read. Then come this Friday, 8/18/06, to hear him talk about it.

In this issue:

1. Memory Building With My Sister
2. Ben's Top Ten Reasons to Love Chris Peterson's Primer in
Positive Psychology
3. Chris Peterson Interview
4. Executive Wisdom: Coaching and the Emergence of Virtuous Leaders
5. Training and Workshops including Alex Linley's Positive Psychology

1. Memory Building With My Sister

My sister just visited us from Texas for the last two weeks. She has an early-onset form of dementia similar to Alzheimer's. She is still in the early stages and is loving, lucid, funny, and accepting of help as she increasingly needs it.

We spent two of the last three nights talking to each other as the video tape whirred. It's something that has been so easy for me to avoid. But her memory and ours will fade and later for us and others, these video tapes will likely be a treasure.

The secret for me was to engage her in eye contact and conversation so we both quickly forgot about the video taping. We shared things with each other, some that we never knew about until that instant. We sometimes cried, often laughed, and regardless of the content of what we said, we knew that we were also communicating who we were, how we responded to each other, how our love has deepened over the years. And, now, with her permission, I share it with you.

I did this many years ago with my Grandmother Dean. It is so easy never to do even an hour of this kind of taping. But it is so valuable later on.


Fred Bryant and Joseph Veroff, positive psychology's leading experts on "Savoring" write of "Memory-Building" (e.g., actively storing images for future recall by taking “mental photographs;” thinking of reminiscing about the event later with others)." What better way could there have been for Helen and me to memory build than this?

Bryant, F. & Veroff, J. (08/02/2006). Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience. Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc.

2. Ben's Top Ten Reasons to Love Chris Peterson's Primer in Positive Psychology

1. It's The Best. Okay. This is arguably the best introduction to positive psychology ever written. It ties all the key issues together in a compelling way. It provides understanding, depth, rich resources, and it's fun to read.

2. It's Reader-Friendly. It's a large trade paperback, 314 pages. Rich with fascinating detail, web sites, movies, overarching explanations of research. It typifies the maxim: Bad writing makes the reader feel dumb. Good writing makes the reader feel smart. Chris makes you feel smart.

3. If You Teach. If you teach positive psychology, you have to use this book. Even if your class starts in three weeks, there's still time. Listen to the founder of the field: "This is the definitive textbook in positive psychology. But more than that, it may be the single best textbook on any subject that I have ever read… (It) both made me laugh out loud and brought tears to my eyes." -- Martin E. P. Seligman

4. It's Perfect for the curious, bright professional who's new to positive psychology and wants to quickly get up to speed. If you understand The Primer, you'll be ahead of 99% of the people in your field.

5. It Sounds Like Chris. Conversational and accessible. It reads like he talks. And it reads like a conversation with someone who's twice won the honor of best teacher at the University of Michigan.

6. It Has Tiny Throw-Away Nuggets. The words "positive psychology" were first used, not by Seligman in 1998, but Maslow in 1954. "…The smiley-face icon was created for a life insurance company in 1964 by a Massachusetts graphic artist, who was paid $45 for his creation. Neither the insurance company nor artist Harvey Bell copyrighted the symbol which has--perhaps as a result--become extremely popular."

7. The Songs. Each chapter ends with films and dozens of Chris' favorite, relevant songs: "Be True to Your School" (Beach Boys); "Get Up, Stand Up" (Bob Marley & the Wailers), "To Sir, With Love" (LuLu); "I Feel Good" (James Brown); "My Sweet Lord" (George Harrison). Walking on Sunshine" (Katrina & the Waves). He admits to being a baby boomer and knows it shows in his song choice. He also believes a relevant song is a great way to signal the beginning of a class.

8. Personal Usefulness. You might even find it personally useful. Of the thousands of suggestions for increasing happiness that have been proffered in the last fifty years, indeed over the centuries, which have so far been empirically examined? It goes beyond the headlines and looks in detail at what the research might really mean for what you do.

9. It's Unpretentious. In 2003, I sometimes taught a teleclass from Chris' office at Penn. His entire office consisted of a computer, a bare floor, one table and chair, and a bookshelf with 15 scattered books. Nothing to indicate, for example, that he was among the world's 100 most frequently cited psychologists during the past 20 years. The Primer is similarly down to earth. Name one other famous academic who would write this paragraph:

"...some skeptics still believe that positive psychologists miss the "obvious" point that life is tragic... I disagree but will not belabor the point except to note that tragedy admits to gradations. Even if everything sucks, some things suck more than others, an irrefutable fact given how people actually behave if not what they say….Whether we label …preferred circumstances "positive" or "less sucky" then becomes a matter of semantics (P. 13)."

10. Find the Tenth Reason Yourself. Come listen to Chris talk about this book on Friday, August 18,2006. All details below. Enroll here.

3. Live Q&A with Chris Peterson on A Primer in Positive Psychology

Chris Peterson, Ben Dean, and CTH Readers

WHEN: Friday, August 18th

TIME: For one hour at 10 am Pacific; 11 am Mtn; 12 pm Central; 1:00 pm Eastern; 6:00 pm UTC/GMT (London)



4. Richard Kilburg's, Executive Wisdom: Coaching and the Emergence of Virtuous Leaders

If you work with executives and leaders, you will want Richard Kilburg's new book: "Executive Wisdom: Coaching and the Emergence of Virtuous Leaders."

It expands on his 2000 classic, "Executive Coaching: Developing Managerial Wisdom in a World of Chaos."

Presents theory and practical applications for developing wisdom in leaders through coaching.

A central theme is that a wise leader must know how and when to slow down. He reports this is the only way in which a leader can effectively absorb huge amounts of information, focus on what is crucial, make sound decisions, and enact them successfully.

Kilburg describes the necessity for both rational and intuitive reflection and proposes a model he calls wisdom mapping to assist executives in their reflection.

You should know that a key element of Kilburg's writing style is to present the full complexity of executive coaching. He does not "dumb down" that view. But there is a rich reward for those who read his work.


5. Training and Workshops

MentorCoach Master Classes

M. Alex Linley, Ph.D. will again teach our Positive Psychology Coaching Master Class this fall. It will be eight Thursdays, starting September 21, 2006, from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm US Eastern Time (New York Time). Or from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm GMT/UTC (London Time).

For other Master Classes in Ethics, Strategic Career Design, Executive Coaching, ADHD Coaching, Small Business Coaching, click here.

Four New MentorCoach Coach Training Programs:

MCP 94 Tuesdays. Starts August 8, 2006*
MCP 95 Wednesdays. Starts August 9, 2006*
MCP 96 Mondays. Starts Sept 25, 2006
MCP 97 Wednesday. Starts Sept 27, 2006
* Can still be easily joined

For full information. For a detailed program description.

Upcoming Coaching Workshops

Ben will be speaking on coaching and positive psychology in Urbana, IL (9/08/06), Columbus, OH (9/10/06), Kansas City, MO (9/15/06), and Pittsburgh, PA (9/17/06). For detailed information, please click here.

About Ben Dean, Ph.D.

Ben, Editor of Coaching Toward Happiness, is a coach, psychologist, founder of MentorCoach, more.


Copyright 2006. Coaching Toward Happiness. All rights reserved.

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