Book by Snyder, C.R. and Shane J. Lopez
Review by Deborah Renner Hull
Office of Advising Training and Professional Development
Arizona State University

This is not your typical psychology textbook!  After years of reading about what is wrong with people, this is a step toward discovering what is right about them.  Snyder and Lopez have included short articles from newspapers and journals, conference summaries, personal recollections, case studies, and quotes to illustrate the practical applications of positive psychology.  In addition to the usual textbook charts and graphs, there are “Personal Mini-Experiments” to assist the reader in reinforcing the concepts.  Each chapter has “Key Terms” and at least one “Appendix.”  This is a very “readable” book in spite of the textbook look.

Of interest to advisors will be the information related to identifying personal strengths, values and virtues along with developing self-efficacy, hope, resilience, well-being, love, optimism, courage, gratitude, forgiveness, and finding gainful employment.  The 60 pages of references are a bonus.  Just writing that made me feel more positive!

I requested to review this book after reading StrengthsQuest (2001) and before attending the 2006 NACADA national conference in Indianapolis.  The combination of Positive Psychology, StrengthsQuest, and Merrill Deming’s conference presentation has reinforced my belief that we should encourage students to build upon their strengths, rather than focus upon correcting their weaknesses, to achieve their goals.  Let’s start asking students, “What do you do best?” and carefully analyze the components of their responses as we assist them in making decisions about life goals, career choices, degree programs, majors, and classes.  Had I suspected it was a textbook, I probably would not have requested this book to review; however, it was well worth the time spent reading it and I have already incorporated several of the concepts into my work.


Clifton, Donald O. and Anderson, Edward. (2001). StrengthsQuest: Discover and Develop Your Strengths in Academics, Career, and Beyond. Washington, D.C.: The Gallup Organization.

Deming, Merrill.  October 20, 2006 NACADA National Conference presentation, “The Sparkling Energy of Individual Talent:  Great Activities that Tap into This Effervescence”.

Positive Psychology: The Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strengths. (2007). Book by Snyder, C.R. and Shane J. Lopez. Review by Deborah Renner Hull. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 624 pp. ISBN # 076192633X,
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