Defining oneself an optimist or a pessimist may seem a shallow exercise, but all of us often describe ourselves as one or the other in a variety of occasions. Some of us tend to perceive life's challenges as overwhelming; others face them in a more upbeat manner, using them to gather strength and knowledge to better cope with future challenges. Optimism is a mental attitude that can have a positive impact on our social life, our jobs, our health. It's a perspective that encourages the implementation of constructive and realistic solutions. The volume explores a wide array of aspects: optimism's possibly genetic origins, its effects, its deviant forms (optimism can be unrealistic, bogus, or idiotic), its manifestations in non-western cultures. The final part of the book includes tests for gauging one's optimism and describes ways to foster higher levels of personal optimism. Although he abstains from supplying easy solutions, the author tries to help the reader make the most of the positive characteristics of her/his relationship to life.
Luigi Anolli teaches Psychology of Culture and Psychology of Communication at the Bicocca University of Milan.