Writing: Book Review

The Need for Existential Cross-Cultural Competency in Therapy and Supervision

unsplash-logoGlen Noble Abstract Reviews the book Addressing Cultural Complexities in Practice: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Therapy (3rd ed.) by Pamela A. Hays. While acknowledging the timeliness and comprehensiveness of Addressing Cultural Complexities in Practice, this critique highlights the deficiency in addressing existential and spiritual issues in therapy in most chapters of the book. The critique argues that since meaning is the core of human experience and well-being, a cross-cultural competence in working with meaning-in-life issues is needed both for promoting the positive psychology of optimal well-being as well as for coping effectively with the inevitable dark side of human existence....

Read More

The Positive Psychology of Aging: Character Strengths or Meaning Making?

unsplash-logoGlen Noble Lighter as We Go: Virtues, Character Strengths, and Aging By Mindy Greenstein and Jimmie Holland New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2015. 285 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-936095-6 $27.95 Reviewed by Paul T. P. Wong I approach this book from a unique vantage point – both as a researcher in positive aging and a 78-year old cancer survivor. From an academic perspective, Lighter As We Go is a light weight in terms of theory and research, but from the perspective of a participant in the aging phenomenon, the book is a good read — enjoyable and helpful. The authors...

Read More

The Positive Psychology of Grit: The Defiant Power of the Human Spirit

unsplash-logoNoom Peerapong Unbroken (2014) By Angelina Jolie (Director) Reviewed by Paul T. P. Wong The film Unbroken is a faithful adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s (2010) bestselling book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. It is a biopic of Louis (Lourie) Zamperini’s struggle for survival after a plane crash until his liberation from the POW camp. An Olympic gold runner Louie Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) enlisted and trained as a bombardier after Pearl Harbor. Most of the film revolves around how he responded to the litany of adversities after his plane was shut down. After spending...

Read More

From Attunement to a Meaning-Centered Good Life

unsplash-logoGlen Noble Happiness: A Very Short Introduction By Daniel M. Haybron Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013. 168 pp. ISBN 978-0199590605 $11.95 Reviewed by Paul T. P. Wong This small book is a real gem, sparkling with brilliant insights. I have always enjoyed philosophers’ clear, analytic, and penetrating thinking about complex, subjective matters. Haybron’s book is a shining example of a brilliant philosophical mind. But unlike most philosophical writings, which tend to be written in dense prose, with all sorts of qualifiers, Happiness is a delightful book, written in a concise, lucid and highly readable style, with the occasional surprising...

Read More

Meaning Making and the Fundamental Issues of Human Existence

unsplash-logoGlen Noble The Experience of Meaning in Life: Classical Perspectives, Emerging Themes, and Controversies By Joshua A. Hicks and Clay Routledge (Eds.) New York, NY: Springer Science + Business Media, 2013. 417 pp. ISBN 978-94-007-6526-9 Reviewed by Paul T. P. Wong This review was written during a very difficult time of my life involving life-threatening situations. Having gone through the valley of death, meaning in life is no longer an academic subject but a fundamental human concern. After more than 30 years of meaning research (Wong, 2012; Wong & Weiner, 1981), I am more motivated than ever to find...

Read More

Linking Social Psychology to Existential Psychology: Promises and Challenges

unsplash-logoGlen Noble Meaning, Mortality, and Choice: The Social Psychology of Existential Concern Edited by Phillip R. Shaver and Mario Mikulincer Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2012. 438 pp. ISBN 978-1-4338-1155-5 $49.95 Reviewed by Paul T. P. Wong Overall Impression of the Book This edited volume is primarily concerned with how our existential concerns affect our goals, attitudes, and behavior. More specifically, it focuses on the four existential anxieties identified by Yalom (1980): death, meaninglessness, freedom, and alienation. The editors are correct in pointing out that these concerns weigh heavily on contemporary human beings, but they are incorrect in assuming that...

Read More

Integrating Indigenous Healing With Mainstream Psychotherapy: Promises and Obstacles

unsplash-logoGlen Noble Synergy, Healing, and Empowerment: Insights From Cultural Diversity By Richard Katz and Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu; Niti Seth, Peter Cornish, Tania Lafontaine, Danny Musqua, and Verna St. Denis (Cols.) Calgary, Alberta: Brush Education, 2012. 312 pp. ISBN 978-1-55059-386-0 (paperback) $34.95 Reviewed by Paul T. P. Wong I am torn between two minds with respect to Synergy, Healing, and Empowerment: Insights From Cultural Diversity. On the one hand, I cheer the authors for their bold vision and deep insights. On the other hand, I am disappointed that no specific information is given on how to implement their vision in North...

Read More

Finding Meaning in Meaning Research

unsplash-logoGlen Noble The Human Question for Meaning: Theories, Research, and Applications (2nd ed.). By Paul T. P. Wong New York, NY: Routledge, 2012. 719 pp. ISBN 978-0415876773 $79.95 Reviewed by William E. Smythe   Abstract Reviews the book, The Human Quest for Meaning: Theories, Research, and Applications (2nd ed.) edited by Paul T. P. Wong (see record 2012-03755-000). The meaning of life is obviously a perennial human concern, but it has also been, especially within the past few decades, a very active area of psychological research. This edited volume is an extensive compilation of the latest work in this area. It...

Read More

Big Money, Big Science, Big Names, and the Flourishing of Positive Psychology

unsplash-logoGlen Noble Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being By Martin E. P. Seligman New York, NY: Free Press, 2011. 349 pp. ISBN 978-1-4391-9075-3 $26.00 Reviewed by Paul T. P. Wong Love him or hate him, Martin Seligman is arguably the most famous positive psychologist on earth. No other psychologist has ever achieved the kind of dominant presence Seligman has in positive psychology. It is difficult to evaluate the work of such a legendary figure without being affected by the halo effect. I have only two modest objectives in this review: (a) assess the scholarly merits of...

Read More


Subscribe to the Positive Living Newsletter of the International Network on Personal Meaning to receive quarterly updates on the meaning movement, including the Paul's President's Column.


Recent Tweets

  • Work ethic means that U do what U ought to do or what needs to be done each day whether U feel like it or not.
  • Doing what is right & responsible may cost U something, but at the end U will feel good about yourself.
  • Sorrow is the natural response to a world of suffering. Hedonic happiness is people's attempt to escape.
  • US signals a sea change on Taiwan 4 decades after severing ties- Nikkei Asian Review s.nikkei.com/2IKHYxc
  • One moment of ecstasy can lead to a life of agony. What price is happiness?