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So get that extra cookie and talk with someone you love, and push yourself over the mathematical hump.

“Our discovery of the critical 2.9 positivity ratio,” Fredrickson and Losada wrote, “may represent a breakthrough.” * * * Less than a month into his program at the University of East London, Nick Brown was making breakthroughs of his own.

“And then I was about two feet from the front, and the woman in front of me, she was one step away from him—had been queuing for twenty minutes—she just decided she didn’t want a book anymore and walked off.” “Well there you go,” Brown said, greeting Wiseman, “the science of luck.” The two men laughed and got to talking. He asked Wiseman where he could find “evidenced-based stuff,” science-backed skills he could use to motivate employees and gain the upper hand of the hucksters and quacks hawking Tony Robbins-esque fluff.

The emerging field, Wiseman said, was called positive psychology.

The critical positivity ratio, then, represented a stark dividing line—the difference between a bummer of a life and a blissful one.And in a study of people with severe depression, Seligman found that positive psychotherapy relieved, “depressive symptoms on all outcome measures better than treatment as usual and better than drugs.” Similar findings have afforded positive psychology a level of public credibility that few other psychological subfields enjoy. Department of Education, the Penn Resiliency Program (part of the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center) began a four-year study of positive psychology’s effects on ninth-graders at a high school outside of Philadelphia.Centers and academic programs have sprouted up across the world, the most influential of them being Seligman’s own one-year, ,000 Master of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. Six years later, in 2008, Seligman entered into a far-reaching collaboration with the U. Army, resulting in a 5 million government-funded “Army-wide” program known as Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF).He had been poring over the original papers that informed Fredrickson and Losada’s 2005 article—papers written or co-written by Marcial Losada. In his research on business teams, for instance, “the length of the business meetings weren’t even mentioned.” “Normally you have a method and the method says we selected these people and we picked these numbers and here’s the tables and here are the means and here’s the standard deviation,” Brown says.“He just goes: ‘Satisfied that the model fit my data, I then ran some simulations.’ The whole process was indistinguishable from him having made the data up.” In scrutinizing Fredrickson and Losada’s work, Brown happened upon a line in their 2005 paper that caught his attention: “Losada (1999) established the equivalence between his control parameter, c, and the Lorenzian control parameter, r.

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