2004, Book

Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification


“Can we hold hope that positive psychology will be able to help people evolvetoward their highest potential?” The classification described in this bookbegan with this question, posed by Neal Mayerson to Martin Seligman in 1999.The Mayerson Foundation was concerned that inadequate progress was beingmade from well-worn problem-fixing approaches and that an approach basedon recognizing people’s strengths and aspirations might prove more effective.Mayerson turned to Seligman to explore the intersection of the emerging fieldof positive youth development and Seligman’s new push to articulate a newpositive psychology. It soon became clear that two prior questions needed tobe answered: (1) how can one define the concepts of “strength” and “highestpotential” and (2) how can one tell that a positive youth development programhas succeeded in meeting its goals?”

(from the preface of the book)