"According to Leo Tolstoy’s famous statement "all happy families are alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way". Knud Larsen in his book on human happines proves the opposite. Summarizing the classical and recent research in successful human adaptation, adjustment and well-being of the soul and body he shows the many faces of individual human happiness. Moreover, the book opens the perspective into the directions of social, cultural and biological evolution. What I like most in the book, is its usefulness. Knud has many practical pieces of advice suggesting that we can improve our well-being if we try. I wish Anna Karenina had read this well-conceived, well written text.", Gyorgy Csepeli, Professor of Social Psychology, Chair of the Interdisciplinary Social Research Program of the Doctoral School of the Faculty of Social Science at ELTE, Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies at Kőszeg (iASK)
"This unique, reader-friendly volume covers psychological aspects of successful living with such diversity and depth that I have not encountered hitherto. It is essential reading for psychology undergraduates as well as more seasoned academics and practitioners", Howie Giles, Distinguished Professor Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA & Honorary Professor of Psychology, University of Queensland, Australia
"This book by Professor Larsen is very enjoyable reading and covers the many challenges humans face across the lifespan. The focus is on positive psychology as supportive solutions are offered for the many challenges of living. This is also a relatively rare book that evaluates adaptation from a socio-cultural perspective since most books today emphasize cognitive aspects of coping and development. I especially appreciated how Professor Larsen weaved his salient knowledge of cross-cultural psychology into this important work on human adaptation. In the book the author discusses the issue of adaptation in its varying aspects of human life and through the prism of cultural influence on personality and behavior.", Askar Jumageldinov, Ph.D, Assistant Professor at Catholic University in Lyon
"This book uniquely ties together the author’s personal experiences with in-depth research on human adaptation. What strikes the reader is the very personal narrative that illustrates the many points of struggling with the challenges of being human. The book combines the best of classical literature along with very current and meaningful research. The whole human journey is evaluated from identity and finding meaning, through optimizing health in midlife to facing the final existential questions related to both death and longevity. A very thoughtful book.", Sven Morch, Ph.D , Professor, University of Copenhagen
"An enlightened and enlightening story of the challenges we meet through our life course. Although the general reader may find useful information to the journey of life it is also a volume packed with research-based information from the psychological and social sciences with implications for how we can grow as human beings and live satisfying lives together.", Reidar Ommundsen, Professor Emeritus, University of Oslo
"I have found the work of Knud Larsen to dove-tail with my own work on behalf of indigenous and third world peoples since I first became acquainted with him in the context of supporting the People of Cuba.
Dr. Larsen, as manifest in this career-capping work, has the ability – rare among non-ethnologist academics – to be engaged in the inner cognitive world of people inside other cultures while viewing their society in his own unique perspective.
This broad and deep treatment will deepen and broaden my own view of the peoples that I have engaged with on the cognitive level. It also broadens my view of the challenges of my own life and how to live a happy life.", John Allison, Cognitive ethnologist and author
Table of Contents
Introduction, Chapter 1 Identity and Meaning: Moving Toward a Healthy Self-Concept, Chapter 2 Developing Emotional Maturity and Emotional Intelligence, Chapter 3 Communication: The Key to Effective Living, Chapter 4 Human Sexuality, Chapter 5 Gender and Human Happiness, Chapter 6 Friends, Lovers and Marriage: Is Lasting Love Possible?, Chapter 7 Stress and Illness: Maladaptation or Coping Rationally with Adversity, Chapter 8 Rational or Irrational Appraisal of the Situation: Stress and Post-Traumatic Disorder, Chapter 9 The Search for Meaning and Living Life to the Fullest, Chapter 10 Finding the Balance: Meeting the Challenges of Midlife, Chapter 11 Death and Dying: Denial and Acceptance, Chapter 12 Living a Long and Healthy Life: Socio-Economic Status and Positive Human Psychology
Knud S Larsen is Professor Emeritus at Oregon State University and academician of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Arts. He taught widely at universities across the world and is the recipient of senior Fulbright awards in both Vietnam and Bulgaria. The author received the St. Kliment Blue Ribbon Medal for contributions to social science at Sofia. On Research Gate the author is ranked higher than 90 percent of scholars listed.