Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification

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Oxford University Press, 2004 - Psychology - 800 pages
9 Reviews
"Character" has become a front-and-center topic in contemporary discourse, but this term does not have a fixed meaning. Character may be simply defined by what someone does not do, but a more active and thorough definition is necessary, one that addresses certain vital questions. Is character a singular characteristic of an individual, or is it composed of different aspects? Does character--however we define it--exist in degrees, or is it simply something one happens to have? How can character be developed? Can it be learned? Relatedly, can it be taught, and who might be the most effective teacher? What roles are played by family, schools, the media, religion, and the larger culture? This groundbreaking handbook of character strengths and virtues is the first progress report from a prestigious group of researchers who have undertaken the systematic classification and measurement of widely valued positive traits. They approach good character in terms of separate strengths-authenticity, persistence, kindness, gratitude, hope, humor, and so on-each of which exists in degrees.

Character Strengths and Virtues classifies twenty-four specific strengths under six broad virtues that consistently emerge across history and culture: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. Each strength is thoroughly examined in its own chapter, with special attention to its meaning, explanation, measurement, causes, correlates, consequences, and development across the life span, as well as to strategies for its deliberate cultivation. This book demands the attention of anyone interested in psychology and what it can teach about the good life.
  

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As my positive psychology master mind group agrees, this is a provocative, valuable compendium of human strengths and virtues across time and space. The depth, breadth, and width of the discussions of everything from wisdom and love to persistence and humor offer new perspectives and opportunities to live a live of more meaning and lasting joy with intention. Frankly, I love it when two brilliant psychologists can write something that is both erudite and accessible, and always inspiring! 

Review: Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification

User Review  - Liz - Goodreads

Read several of the introductions and then skimmed the rest. I wish I had the time to read the whole thing--in spite of all the scholarly language, the subject matter and the clearly thorough and fair thought put into it makes it totally worth it. Very interesting. I will have to get back to this. Read full review

Contents

1 INTRODUCTION TO A MANUAL OF THE VANITIES
3
2 UNIVERSAL VIRTUES? LESSONS FROM HISTORY
33
3 PREVIOUS CLASSIFICATIONS OF CHARACTER STRENGTHS
53
STRENGTHS OF WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE
93
Originality Ingenuity
109
Interest NoveltySeeking Openness to Experience
125
Judgment Critical Thinking
143
7 LOVE OF LEARNING
161
Social Responsibility Loyalty Teamwork
369
17 FAIRNESS
391
18 LEADERSHIP
413
STRENGTHS OF TEMPERANCE
429
19 FORGIVENESS AND MERCY
445
20 HUMILITY AND MODESTY
461
21 PRUDENCE
477
SelfControl
499

Wisdom
181
STRENGTHS OF COURAGE
197
Valor
213
Perseverance Industriousness
229
Authenticity Honesty
249
Zest Enthusiasm Vigor Energy
273
STRENGTHS OF HUMANITY
291
13 LOVE
303
Generosity Nurturance Care Compassion Altruistic Love Niceness
325
Emotional Intelligence Personal Intelligence
337
STRENGTHS OF JUSTICE
355
STRENGTHS OF TRANSCENDENCE
517
Awe Wonder Elevation
537
24 GRATITUDE
553
Optimism FutureMindedness Future Orientation
569
Playfulness
583
Religiousness Faith Purpose
599
28 ASSESSMENT AND APPLICATIONS
625
REFERENCES
645
INDEX OF NAMES
763
SUBJECT INDEX
789
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About the author (2004)

Christopher Peterson is at University of Michigan. Martin E. P. Seligman is at University of Pennsylvania.

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