Found in 10 comments on Hacker News
dpflan · 2020-01-19 · Original thread
Changing your perspective can be important here, and optimism can be useful to nurture and uphold. Martin Seligman is a renowned psychologist researching such topics, and his book Learned Optimism [1] is illuminating. My father introduced me to this book at point in my life where I was questioning my own abilities and my own future. It helped me breakdown negative thought patterns.

I've also recently learned that Coursera has a Foundations of Positive Psychology Specialization [2] put on by UPenn (where Seligman is a professor) -- it includes a course on Positive Psychology taught by Selgiman.

[1.] Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life -

[2.] Coursera Specialization:

braythwayt · 2015-05-07 · Original thread
Author here.

This is a funny area. I feel quite confident giving prescriptive advice about strategies for software development, but not so much about strategies for dealing with psychological issues like depression and helplessness.

What I can do is share my own experience, and tell you where to find the resources that helped me. Thus... I would say that if anything in the post feels like something that is bothering you or has bothered you in the past, go and read about Learned Optimism, the rough opposite of Learned Helplessness:

And especially Seligman’s self-help book on the subject:

The book claims that “optimism” can be measured, and that there are strategies for improving it, and discusses those strategies. I personally found that they did help me, and further that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) under the supervision of a professional helped me even more.

I also wrote a post directly about Optimism a while back, it outlines Seligman’s strategies:

There was lively HN discussion at the time, you may find it informative:

tim333 · 2014-06-18 · Original thread
Some things you could try: -

Go backpack the world a bit - beaches trekking etc. Amazing how stuff like that can change your mood.

Drugs - go to your GP - he'll give you pills - may work.

Check out Seligman / CBT. Helped me. See

tokenadult · 2013-11-18 · Original thread
You are working on something important, and I was glad to read (and upvote) a lot of the other comments you received, and especially the offers for pro-bono help. One comment below suggested that you read the literature (I presume that means the literature about suicide prevention) and I would second that advice. To expand that advice a bit, I'll note that Martin E. P. Seligman and some other psychologists who have studied depression and suicide think that the "self esteem" movement that took over United States schools after I graduated from high school may have actually INCREASED risk of suicide in the United States--certainly the rates of both attempted and completed suicide, and the rate of diagnosed youth depression, went up over the years when those school programs were put in place. In other words, don't just rely on intuition about what would be helpful, but look into actual research. Seligman's books Learned Optimism[1] and The Optimistic Child[2] are both helpful, although there should be some even newer research out by now. Reading those books may help you deal with the challenges of working on this interesting project while keeping up with your school work. Best wishes.



metabren · 2011-12-13 · Original thread
> How exactly to do that is the tricky part, though

A good start might be with the book "Learned Optimism" from Martin Seligman —

He argues that most depression is just severe learned helplessness caused by your own pessimistic inner explanations of why events happened. He makes a good case for it & suggests techniques to build better explanatory habits. I haven't finished the book yet but so far it's quite compelling.

hkarthik · 2011-12-03 · Original thread
There's some decent points about how negativity and pessimism can be debilitating. And that applies to everyone, not just entrepreneurs. But it's hard to see that through the rambling.

If you're more interested in how negativity and pessimism have measurable effects on success, I suggest reading Martin Seligman's Learned Optimism. I found it pretty eye opening.

Revisor · 2011-11-27 · Original thread
It depends on what you understand under "self-help books".

The generic, feel-good ones, sure, those are trash that usually doesn't work (they still might work given the specific situation).

The well researched, written by scientists and psychologists - I found a few that I love. In fact I'm going to buy ten pieces of one book for this Christmas because I have found it crucial.

These are the three well researched books I've read in the past 18 months that turned my life around for the better and that I heartily recommend:

[1] The Promise of Sleep

[2] Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development

[3] Learned Optimism (that's the one I'm buying ten times for this year's Christmas)

The one recommended in the article, 59 Seconds, is waiting on a pile of books (not exclusively from the self-help category, with The Algorithm Design Manual, Street Smarts, Architecture of Open Source Applications, Learn You a Haskell etc.) to be read soon.

Let's read, think and become better people.




uripom · 2011-10-14 · Original thread
I'd recommend reading Martin Seligman's "Learned Optimism" book when you have a chance, as it would be very helpful in reframing the way you think about your experience:

Learned Optimism.

Seriously. Seligman wrote a great book on the subject:

Fresh book recommendations delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.