Review of Character Strengths Matter – How to Live a Full Life, edited by Shannon Polly and Kathryn Britton


  • Denise Quinlan


Strengths, VIA, Character strengths


Character Strengths Matter is a compilation volume of brief articles about each of the 24 character strengths of the Values in Action (VIA) classification of character strengths, plus a section on applying strengths in different contexts.  The editors, Shannon Polly and Kathryn Britton, have two clear purposes for this book: to help readers learn about and use character strengths to live a ‘full life’ and to raise funds for the Christopher Peterson Memorial Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. The premise for the book is that that using one’s character strengths in service of self and others across one’s life domains will contribute to a pleasant, engaged, and meaningful life. This is not a theoretical or research-focused book. Dedicated to using strengths in daily life, this book provides a smorgasbord of stories, reflections, ideas and tips. Its strength lies in the variety of the content and the playfulness of its approach. Like any good smorgasbord, you aren’t likely to want everything that’s on offer – but you should be able to find something that’s novel, interesting and satisfying.


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