What You Can Change and What You Can't: Learning to Accept What You Are: The ...

If you believe that dieting down to your "ideal" weight will prolong your life; that reliving childhood trauma can undo adult personality problems; that alcoholics have addictive personalities, or that psychoanalysis helps cure anxiety, then get ready for a shock. In the climate of self-improvement that has reigned for the last twenty years, misinformation about treatments for everything from alcohol abuse to sexual dysfunction has flourished. Those of us trying to change these conditions are often frustrated by failure, mixed success, or success followed by a relapse. But have you ever asked yourself: can my condition really be changed? And if so, am I going about it in the most effective way? Grounding his conclusions in the most recent and most authoritative scientific studies, Seligman pinpoints the techniques and therapies that work best for each condition, explains why they work, and discusses how you can use them to change your life. Inside, you'll discover: the four natural healing factors for recovering from alcoholism; the vital difference between overeating and being overweight, and why dieters always gain back the pounds they "lost"; the four therapies that work for depression, and how you can "dispute" your way to optimistic thinking; the pros and cons of anger, and the steps to take to understand it and much more!

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By Michelle (Columbia, MO) · ★★★★☆ · February 01, 2012
Another Martin Seligman psychology book that just snuck into my pile and got itself read. Dr. Seligman fairly dispassionately gives us the good news and the bad news about what psychological traits, functional and dysfunctional, are amenable to change or are immutable for the vast majority of peo... ...more
By Katie (Portland, OR) · ★★★☆☆ · February 21, 2009
I'd actually rate this more like 3.5 to 4 stars. I greatly enjoyed the whole book with the exception of a couple of chapters, but the last part on childhood put me off badly enough with it's blatant bias and cherry-picking of studies that I had to downgrade my overall rating of the book. It's too... ...more
By Jon (Salt Lake City, UT) · ★★★☆☆ · June 09, 2012
Amazingly, this book is out of date. There have been too many advances in psychological research since Seligman wrote it, that his summaries and conclusions are out of date. For example, the current research says that naltrexone is very effective at helping people avoid relapse of alcohol and opi... ...more
By Marshall (Sunnyvale, CA) · ★★★☆☆ · June 17, 2012
Pretty interesting psychology book. A very candid look at what psychologists and biologists have found out about our changeability. Huge industries have been erected around change, particularly dieting. Every brand has its own promise for change, which often contradicts the other brands. They don... ...more
By Nikhil P. (Houston, TX) · ★☆☆☆☆ · July 27, 2011
This was a hot self improvement-pop psychological mess. It is a shame because I agree wholeheartedly that any therapy should be forward thinking and allows a person to assume personal responsibility, but having distinctions in degrees of emotional difficulty in child abuse cases--mild fondling by... ...more
By Jennifer (Guelph, ON, Canada) · ★★★★☆ · April 28, 2013
Marty Seligman wrote this book in 1993 as an antidote to the rash of self-help advice that came onto the market in the 1990s. His goal was to tell the public "which treatments work and which treatments fail, which problems can be conquered and which are intractable, which shortcomings can be impr... ...more
By Joshua (Pittsburgh, PA) · ★★★☆☆ · January 25, 2012
The sections on depression, anxiety, phobias, and anger are excellent and insightful. In much of the rest of the book, however, the author seems to overstep his bounds, spending exhaustive amounts of time presenting personal postulates on subject areas outside his expertise. The most frustrating... ...more
By Babak (San Francisco, CA) · ★★★★★ · September 10, 2014
I started reading this book when a friend had a family tragedy. I noticed the book discusses the research findings on PTSD. After reading a few chapters I kept reading. Quite fascinating ...

I loved Dr.Seligman's scientific approach and attention to details of research, which I couldn't do myself.... ...more
By Mary Jo · ★★★☆☆ · April 02, 2012
This is a very clinical and research-based psychology book, not a feel-good pop-psych self-help book. I imagine it would be great reading for a Psych 101 class. It gives an overview of several common mental health issues, a review of the research that has been done about various treatments, and r... ...more
By Enoch (Provo, UT) · ★★★★☆ · September 10, 2011
This book is a great view into the mental reasons of why we have a difficult time changing our habits. It starts with understanding the troubles of our psychological world (i.e. anxiety, phobias, depression, etc.), then discusses a number of key areas people struggle (i.e. diet, alcoholism) and f... ...more