The Power of Character Strengths

Appreciate and Ignite Your Positive Personality

Ryan Niemiec and Robert McGrath are two of the leading figures in the positive psychology movement and, more specifically, within the organization called the VIA Institute on Character. (VIA is short for “Virtues in Action.”) The organization has played a leading role in the study of virtue as it applies to flourishing. It was created by Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson who worked with over 50 scientists to create a deeper understanding of the power of character strengths. They also created the VIA Inventory of Strengths test that has been taken by millions of people from around the world. Ryan is the Education Director of the VIA Institute while Robert is the Senior Scientist. This book is “An Official Guide from the VIA Institute on Character” that helps us “Appreciate and Ignite Your Positive Personality.” Big Ideas we explore include a quick look at the VIA origin story, the 24 character strengths (you know the Top 5?), finding balance (underuse vs. overuse vs. optimal use!) and the Top 2: Hope + Zest!


“What you have in front of you is the first book of its kind. It is a book about what is best within you—your many strengths of character.

As the poet Walt Whitman once observed, ‘Character and personal force are the only investments worth anything.’ This book offers a recipe for that investment in yourself. You’ll never regret having taken time and energy to work on personal development that helps you grow as a person and helps others.

What lies before you on these pages is nothing compared to what lies within you. It is a reflection of you and your potential. You are about to see and bring forth that potential not just for yourself but also for others. The way you use your strengths—individually and collectively—makes you unique and special. Your character strengths support you and support others. No two people use their strengths in the same way. In this book, you will find out how you can use your strengths to be your best self, the person you most want to be!

… Ultimately, give the gift of your character strengths to others by expressing them throughout your life. It is our hope that your increased use of character strengths—multiplied across each individual—will contribute to a better world.”

~ Ryan M. Niemiec and Robert E. McGrath from The Power of Character Strengths

As you know, I’m a big fan of integrating Ancient Wisdom + Modern Science + Practical Tools to help us close the gap between who we’re capable of being and who we’re actually being so we can Optimize our lives, actualize our potential, and give the world all we’ve got.

So… When a friend (thanks, Michelle Gielan!) introduced me to Ryan Niemiec and I saw this book I immediately got it.

Ryan Niemiec and Robert McGrath are two of the leading figures in the positive psychology movement and, more specifically, within the organization called the VIA Institute on Character. (VIA is short for “Virtues in Action.”)

The organization has played a leading role in the study of virtue as it applies to flourishing. It was created by Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson who worked with over 50 scientists to create a deeper understanding of the power of character strengths. They also created the VIA Inventory of Strengths test that has been taken by millions of people from around the world.

These days, Ryan is the Education Director of the VIA Institute while Robert is the Senior Scientist. This book is “An Official Guide from the VIA Institute on Character” that helps us “Appreciate and Ignite Your Positive Personality.” If you’d like a deeper dive into the science of virtue I think you’ll dig it. (Get a copy here.)

Of course, it’s packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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About the authors

Authors

Robert E. McGrath

Professor of Psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Authors

Ryan M. Niemiec

Is a psychologist, coach, researcher, and international workshop leader.