Where can I learn about evidence based personal development?
December 18, 2013 12:50 AM   Subscribe

Most personal development is based purely on the author's personal opinion, rather than any empirical evidence. What are some good, evidence based resources for learning about personal development?
posted by casebash to Education (11 answers total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
In the broadest sense? What comes to mind is positive psychology, e.g. in (books I haven't read such as) Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness and Flourishing or The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology.

Maybe also Evidence-Based Practice of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy / Cognitive Therapy Techniques as tools for handling difficult emotions, cognitive distortions, etc. Maybe also Getting to Yes / Getting Past No, which were products of the Harvard Negotiation Project.

And if you count having a happy marriage as a matter of personal development (I think it is), then anything out of John Gottman's Love Lab.

If you mean something more specific like skill acquisition, I dunno.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 1:49 AM on December 18, 2013 [8 favorites]

"59 Seconds" is a self-help book based on science rather than personal anecdote. It is very good.
posted by jbickers at 4:50 AM on December 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

I don't know about positive psychology, these guys' take-down of if seems more evidence-based than the psychology itself.

Actual paper from that article here.
posted by ActionPopulated at 5:37 AM on December 18, 2013

I don't know about positive psychology

Yeah, they're folks who are ostensibly doing evidence-based work on personal development. This Harvard Magazine article about the trend is several years old but has a relevant comment from Daniel Gilbert (himself another good answer to the original question).
posted by Monsieur Caution at 6:41 AM on December 18, 2013

Came in to suggest 59 Seconds. As it's been done already, I'll second it instead - sounds like exactly what you're after.
posted by penguin pie at 6:51 AM on December 18, 2013

Reinvent Your Life - schema therapy, based on aggregate data of patients.

Stumbling on Happiness - Harvard prof does studies on how we can make better decisions, which would then lead to happiness.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:01 AM on December 18, 2013

Are you including adult human development/developmental psychology research in this? A lot of that work is theoretical, but some has empirical research behind it. Researchers to check out: Robert Waldinger, Robert Kegan, Susanne Cook-Greuter, Jane Loevinger, George Valliant, Lawrence Kolhberg, Otto Laske. Constructive Developmental Framework might be interesting.
posted by aka burlap at 7:04 AM on December 18, 2013

Actually, now that I think about it, I found out about "59 Seconds" from a very similar question I asked a few years ago. You might find a lot of good titles there.
posted by jbickers at 7:12 AM on December 18, 2013

Cal Newport's blog Study Hacks seems to be pretty evidence-based.
posted by Lexica at 8:07 PM on December 18, 2013

Less wrong is a rationality wiki and has several sections devoted to personal development
posted by casebash at 1:21 PM on December 19, 2013

Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development (Essays in Social Psychology) by Carol Dweck. This is a collection of essays about her research into the importance of beliefs regarding the permanence or malleability of personal qualities (e.g. intelligence, competence) and the impact those beliefs have on individual success and growth.

The book is not written for the popular press, but I found it to be very accessible and valuable. Everyone should read it.
posted by alms at 11:54 AM on January 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

« Older Specialist brick repairs in South London   |   Help me build a gangplank. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.