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date: 18 February 2019

(p. xxxi) Preface

(p. xxxi) Preface

Before C. R. “Rick” Snyder, hope was elusive to scholars and students of human behavior and the “fix it” philosophy dominated clinical psychology. As a result of his scholarship, collaborative spirit, and vision, an interdisciplinary group of researchers responded to his call for a Handbook of Positive Psychology with strong research on the best in people. Following his passing in 2006, contributors and Oxford University Press rallied to produce this volume, in honor of Rick.

This second edition of the Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology was produced to help you look seriously at the positive in people and the world. To this end, I asked the contributors to provide a clear-eyed analysis of their specialty area and to distill it in such a way that the reader can find intellectual value and relevance in the ideas. The 120-plus contributors to the project did a masterful job. After reading each of these 65 chapters, several times, I have renewed excitement about popular positive psychology topics and I have deeper knowledge of topics that aren't part of the public conversation about optimal human functioning.

The volume is separated into 11 parts beginning with the “Major developments in positive psychology” which highlights inventions and discusses that reveal the potency of human strengths and positive emotions and highlights the new role of positive psychology practice. In “Positive psychology perspectives on human behavior,” the chapters highlight the need for shifting our sole focus from weakness to an understanding of human behavior that includes a deep knowledge of strengths. “Positive psychology across the life span,” the third part, expands what was previously known about positive human development.

The next five parts of the book summarize the research on positive psychology constructs and processes, ranging from subjective well-being to the biologically based toughness. A new section of the volume, “Positive institutions,” discusses the role of good environments on positive behavior.

“Specific coping approaches” and “Toward better lives” highlight the pathways and strategies that can turn a good life into a great one. We purposefully end the volume with a discussion of happiness and meaning, two of the most desirable outcomes associated with positive psychology work.

My gratitude goes to Lori Handelman of Oxford University Press for her support of this project, and of me; Matthew Gallagher, the final recipient of Rick's mentoring guarantee and managing editor for this project; Christy Khan for her talent and willingness to serve; and Alli and Parrish Lopez for making me laugh everyday. My thanks also go to you, the reader, for keeping Rick's mission alive. (p. xxxii)