mentioned in Dog Ear how I wasn’t going to review this. I then decided, what the hey, a book’s a book, right?
This kinda came to light in a recent rough patch in the relationship (like YOU don’t have them). I mentioned that I have problems with a depression (and how to tell if your’s are extreme – they certainly feel extreme, don’t they?). So the book was pushed on me.
I swallowed it like I would caster oil. Ugh. Just dry medical studies, cases proving the good doctor’s point, and little inter-psychology battles he faced. At first I didn’t think I’d even get through it – tough read. But it comes with a test you can take that tells you how you deal with situations, if you are optimistic or pessimistic, and how bad it is.
What’s at stake here? Turns out optimists are more resilient to diseases. They live longer. They have less problems, more friends, richer lives. And it’s all right there, study after drab study. But I’ll give Dr. Seligman credit; he raised some very interesting points. Like why, if optimism is so good, didn’t we evolve past it. And is optimism always the best strategy? There were some very thought-provoking points raised, ones that I’m carrying with me.
The book also comes with the test he gives people to determine where they fall. He’s pretty much got this down to a science, no pun intended – and has used it on everything from Naval Academy entrants to life insurance salesmen, using it to determine who will succeed (optimists) and who will fail (pessimists). So I took the test and was pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn’t as bad as I thought – overall, I’m somewhat optimistic. I guess you could tell that from my political stance.
But don’t dispair – even if you come up with a boner score, there are strategies in the back (journaling and the like) to help you turn a leaf and become a more optimistic person. So you’re not stuck, but you’ve work ahead of you.
Overall (and looking back while tearing through an action book) I’d have to say I found it useful. Comes down to this – if you think you are pessimistic, if life is getting your down and everything feels useless and pointless, maybe you should consider getting this book. No, it’s not a fun read but it is a very useful one.