Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A New Blog on Happiness

I noticed a new blog ad up this morning advertising a site called happier.com. Martin Seligman, author of books such as Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment and Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life is an advisor to the site.

I went over to the blog to take a look and found a good post there on how to give holiday shopping stress the heave-ho. The post describes those who are satisficers --where one buys things that are "good enough" and maximizers--who are always looking for "the best." Guess which person is happier? The satisficers and maximizers are from the research of Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. Here is a quick video of Dr. Seligman explaining the problem of holiday gift giving:

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Blogger RAMZPAUL said...

Holiday gift? Real men give Christmas gifts. :-)

8:45 AM, December 16, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


Whichever suits you.

8:52 AM, December 16, 2008  
Blogger Andrew J. Rosenthal said...

Dr. Helen:

Thanks for you link to our site. At happier.com, we're excited to work with Dr. Seligman and other leaders in positive psychology to help make people happier and more resilient.

I'm glad you liked our entry from Suzie Pileggi on reducing holiday stress. We've actually put together an entire library of video clips from Dr. Seligman. We'll be updating our
blog frequently with new video, and many of the cilps will become part of the tools at happier.com

Since we're just in the beta stage with http://happier.com, we're always looking for feedback and guidance. We're hoping that the readers of your [great] blog will sign up for a free account and share comments and feedback with our team.


9:03 AM, December 16, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for writing. I hope some of my readers might be interested in your site--I am and I have always been a fan of Seligman's work. Glad to know there is now a website to learn more about positive psychology. So much of our field has been negative.

9:20 AM, December 16, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Wow, Dr. Seli got old! I still recognize his expressions, but the lack of hair took me back!

A really brilliant researcher with a gift for communication.

Good enough gifts are like good enough parents, good enough!


9:29 AM, December 16, 2008  
Blogger jlbussey said...

Your video says that it's been removed. This one works:

11:25 AM, December 16, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


Thanks, updated so it should work now.

1:24 PM, December 16, 2008  
Blogger Fetiche Nouvelle said...

Holiday shopping agony is a solved problem.

5:48 PM, December 16, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

I don't think an old guy should tell me how to shop. If I feel like looking at 100 cameras I'm going to do it, and I'll be very happy about it, thank you.

8:25 PM, December 16, 2008  
Blogger Trust said...

@Cham said... "I don't think an old guy should tell me how to shop. If I feel like looking at 100 cameras I'm going to do it, and I'll be very happy about it, thank you."

You're free to do so, it's America. Some guy gave his advice that people tend to be happier if they avoid stress of over-doing it. You don't have to listen to him, but dismissing him because of he's an "old guy" is insulting. (It would be like dismissing you because you are a "young gal.")

Merry Christmas

8:30 AM, December 17, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Well, let's talk about this old geezer who is confidently telling the world how to shop for a camera via YouTube. I wonder how much time he spends in Best Buy or Wal-Mart. If Martin Seligman was telling me he was a professional shopper with 20 years of experience buying cameras for clients, I'd take his advice.

He claims he is some sort of psychological expert, good for him. But I've bought a few cameras as gifts. There are many things to consider. Does the receiver have access to a computer? Will they be able to work with files and SD cards? What will they be taking pictures of? Is weight an important issue? Will they need high resolution pictures? How much zoom? How many features will they need? Do they already own photoshop?

If the giver only considers 3 cameras, most likely they will pick the wrong one and the receiver is going to have to return the camera to the store. Martin Seligman should stick to doing whatever he does, but he shouldn't be telling people how to shop for a camera.

8:47 AM, December 17, 2008  
Blogger Sad_Dad said...

I look forward in getting gifts for my children, I buy one thing for them each BUT, a lot of thought goes into it, and they are usually the perfect gifts every year.

12:20 PM, December 17, 2008  
Blogger Suzie said...

Dr. Helen,

Thank you for your blog. I find your postings interesting and look forward to reading more of them.

I'm glad you enjoyed my story "Give Holiday Shopping Stress the Heave-Ho (and Spend Less too!). Thanks for posting it. I hope your readers will find Barry's tips and Marty's commentary very helpful during this often stressful time of year.

Stay tuned for more articles on happier.com that will feature practical tips on how we can apply positive psychology to our daily lives to increase our overall well-being. Afterall, who doesn't want a healthier and happier life! :)


3:02 PM, December 17, 2008  
Blogger Trust said...

Old geezer? Wow, that settles it. He can't possibly have any wisdom then.

Way to explain why he's wrong without any personal insults. May your grandchildren regard your wisdom the same some day.

6:38 PM, December 17, 2008  
Blogger Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the link Dr. H.

Though I don't like shopping much, I used to enjoy listening throughout the year for gift suggestions and then buying something for Christmas that was needed and well received. With my wife's family, they all exclusively give gift certificates--which, in my opinion, removes all the fun.

Oh well, at least our youngsters still enjoy traditional giving and receiving. Also, I still have a few years to enjoy things until the kids discover that I am a dork.

9:32 PM, December 17, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


Trust is correct, you could have made your point without the insult. Dr. Seligman is the top expert in the area of happiness-- and he is talking about shopping from a psychological perspective to keep one's mental sanity. I agree that he may not be the top expert in choosing the right camera depending on your needs (or he might be, I don't know) but that is not the audience he is speaking to. He is talking to an audience looking for tips on how to shop without stress. In that, he succeeded.

4:48 AM, December 18, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Helen and Trust:

You and I are seeing 2 different messages when we watch this video. You see a guy giving advice, I see a guy telling people what to do, as in giving directives.

He says: "If you are shopping for a camera look at 3 cameras and make your choice among them." Another way to word that without the directive could be, "You might think about looking at a small number of cameras rather than a large selection." There is a huge difference between those 2 sentences. Mr. Seligman comes across authoritative and bossy. You might have some history with this man, I don't. All I see is this video and he isn't winning me over.

8:41 AM, December 18, 2008  
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