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The Hope Circuit

On sale

5th April 2018

Price: £20

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781473683792

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One of the most important psychologists alive today tells the story of the transformation of modern psychology through the lens of his own career and change of heart.

Martin E. P. Seligman is one of the most decorated and popular psychologists of his generation. When he first encountered the discipline in the 1960s, it was devoted to eliminating misery: the science of how past trauma creates present symptoms. Today, thanks in large part to Seligman’s own work pioneering the Positive Psychology movement, it is ever more focused on the bright side; gratitude, resilience, and hope.

In this his memoir, Seligman recounts how he learned to study optimism; including a life-changing conversation with his five-year-old daughter. In wise, eloquent prose, Seligman tells the human stories behind some of his major findings. He recounts developing CAVE, an analytical tool that predicts election outcomes (with shocking accuracy) based on the language used in campaign speeches, and the canonical studies that birthed the theory of learned helplessness – which he now reveals was incorrect. And he writes at length for the first time about his own battles with depression at a young age.

All the while, Seligman works out his theory of psychology, making a compelling and deeply personal case for the importance of virtues like hope, anticipation, gratitude, and wisdom for our mental health. You will walk away from this book not just educated but deeply enriched.


Angela Duckworth, CEO of the Character Lab and bestselling author of Grit
Here is a major thinker who sees deeply into human nature and tells a good story. In The Hope Circuit, Marty Seligman displays both these gifts. This book is his best writing and thinking yet.
Sir Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham
Martin Seligman is simply the most important and influential psychologist of the last 30 years. This stunning memoir will tell you why, and reading it will change your life for the better.
Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and the author of How the Mind Works
For half a century Martin Seligman has enlightened and inspired students of the human mind with his arresting findings and his visionary insights. He has been unafraid to plumb the dark recesses of the psyche, but just as bold in illuminating our better angels. This book combines a history of psychology by a man who shaped it, an explanation of powerful ideas about mental life, and a delightfully candid and reflective memoir.
Richard Layard, Director of the Well-Being Program at the London School of Economics
The positive psychology movement is a beacon of hope in our contemporary culture. Its founder, Martin Seligman, is one of today's most influential psychologists. In this book, he tells his remarkable journey - from studying failure to promoting human flourishing. It is a fascinating story.
Roy F. Baumeister, author of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength
This warm, lively, beautifully written book tells the stories behind some of the grand ideas and developments that have reshaped psychology - as well as the struggles, missteps, conflicts, and misunderstandings that nearly derailed them. Through it all emerges the author's infectious excitement about exploring the human mind and his roaming quest for how to make life better for the mass of humanity.
Arthur C. Brooks, PhD, President of the American Enterprise Institute
Martin Seligman is an intellectual giant, and readers will look to his memoir The Hope Circuit for secrets to his phenomenal impact as a scholar. What they will find is a deeply human story of his own struggles, hopes and ideas, told in an inspiring way. The Hope Circuit is more than an autobiography; it is a handbook for each of us to build a life dedicated to human flourishing.
John Ratey, author of Spark and Driven to Distraction
One of our most important psychologists alive takes us on a surprising personal journey through his own highs and lows, twist and turns, overcoming tremendous obstacles to discover some of the most groundbreaking and iconic concepts in psychology. For a time his concept of 'learned helplessness' dominated the field as we looked to undo the past and now has us looking forward with positive psychology to grow our resilience , gratitude and hope. If you have an interest in the human condition, you will love this book.
George E. Vaillant, MD, author of Triumphs of Experience
This inspiring and rewarding well-documented record of a lifetime is a beautifully written page-turner. In addition, The Hope Circuit is the saga of how American psychology came of age.
Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard University and author of Multiple Intelligences
This valuable memoir reveals how an influential new approach in psychology is intertwined with the life story of its leader.
Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph. D., professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, and author of The How of Happiness
The Hope Circuit is riveting. It turns out that one of the greatest psychologists of all time is also one of our greatest story tellers. Offering an unparalleled glimpse into a particular time and place and history of science, Marty Seligman's book will entertain you, fascinate you, disabuse you, and move you. Along with Marty, you will laugh, grieve, and rage and, alighting on the last page, insist on a sequel.
The Honorable Kevin Rudd, 26th Prime Minister of Australia
Martin Seligman has written a fascinating and intimate portrait of both his own life and the discipline of psychology. A deeply gifted scholar, practitioner and communicator, he reminds us that positive psychology has profound implications for the way we live and work-and for public policy.
Steven Hollon, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Psychology, Vanderbilt University
The Hope Circuit is a remarkable blend of personal growth and scientific discovery. Seligman is one of the giants of science and in this treatise he bares his sole as to how he came to the revelations that have so changed the field. Preparedness, safety signal, learned helplessness, and positive psychology are among the most original and important contributions to psychology in the last half century. The treatise reads as a character study and as a road map for how to do science and it is always fascinating and illuminating.
Rhonda Cornum, Brigadier General (retired), PhD, MD, and Director of Health Strategy for TechWerks
In my life, Martin Seligman rapidly evolved from just brilliant scientist, to become my good friend and mentor after we started the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program in 2008. This book, The Hope Circuit, which is both entertaining and refreshingly honest, helps me understand how he become the scientist, visionary and patriot I met and admire today.
Kirkus Reviews
A noted psychologist charts a life spent in service to positivity. The brass-tacks account of how positive psychology came into being, and Seligman's openness in discussing some of its problems, is a rewarding read.
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project
Martin Seligman is renowned for his contribution to the field of positive psychology - and in this thought-provoking and surprisingly candid memoir, he explains how hard-won his wisdom has been.
Judith Woods, The Telegraph
In his new book, The Hope Circuit: A Psychologist's Journey from Helplessness to Optimism, he makes a compelling case for looking forward, in every sense... We Brits might not care for happiness hyperbole, but Seligman might just be right - an injection of optimism never goes amiss.
Carol Midgley, The Times
I think Seligman has a point ... The worse it is, the happier we are...there is a British form of optimism: hope for the best and prepare for the worst. And if it happens, go for a therapeutic pint in the pub...
The Psychologist
...a set of ideas focused on positive experience, civic fulfilment and positive traits that would permeate into popular culture and government policy.
Scientific American
A fascinating read for anyone interested in learning more about the history of psychology and the personality of one of the most prominent psychologists of all time.
Dr. Seligman learned how to be optimistic, and ...leaning on many of the ideas he explores in his book The Hope Circuit... you can, too.
GQ magazine
Dr. Seligman learned how to be optimistic, and ... leaning on many of the ideas he explores in his book The Hope Circuit ... you can, too.