Praise for SMART Strengths


This is the positive education book you’ve been waiting for! Highly recommended for any teacher, parent, or coach who wants to help children and youth discover who they are at their core and unleash their potential. This is not only an outstanding and substantive resource but is a practical guide for working with character strengths and building resilience. My wish is that every teacher and parent could have the opportunity to read this book.

~~RYAN M. NIEMIEC, Psy.D.: Psychologist, Education Director, VIA Institute on Character

SMART Strengths is a wonderful addition to the growing pantheon of works documenting the wisdom of the strengths-based approach in schools and the positivist psychology upon which it is based. With both apt and often moving school-based illustrations and also tools to learn how to spot and build a student’s strengths, the authors reveal that through healthy relationships with the key adults in their lives, students flourish with “growth mindsets” as opposed to stumbling because of preoccupation with deficiencies. A “must read” for all the important players (parents, teachers, coaches) in a student’s life.

~~PATRICK BASSETT, President: National Association of Independent Schools

I am excited about the possibilities SMART Strengths offers to the training of parents and educators. It represents a pathway to understanding dimensions of growth we have neglected for a long time. Strengths- based development is not merely a technical issue, but is at the very heart of the challenge of human development. Every school leader knows that the success of the school depends upon how well relationships are built. We also know that children, particularly those with little advantage and great environmental challenge, need skills of resilience. It is in overcoming obstacles by learning to use our strengths that we more completely realize our potential. SMART Strengths is practical in the best sense of that word. I plan on placing it directly into the hands of teachers, future and current school leaders, and above all, parents. I highly recommend this text to anyone interested in personal development, and especially for those who are charged with fostering and facilitating growth in others.

~~TOM WARD, Director: Principal Leadership Academy of Nashville, Vanderbilt University, Peabody College of Education

SMART Strengths will change a long standing belief among coaches, parents, teachers and supervisors that one must identify an individual’s weaknesses in an effort to help improve their performance. SMART Strengths provides a plan and roadmap for improving oneself first so we in turn may improve others. Identifying and reinforcing ones talents and strengths is the most effective way to improve the outcomes for children, students, athletes and employees. SMART Strengths can apply to any individual whose responsibility is to help others improve.

~~TIM FLANNERY, Assistant Director: National Federation of High Schools (NFHS)

SMART Strengths is the perfect “blueprint” for success – defining practical, sensible and realistic strategies for adults and students alike to utilize in their everyday life. As a parent of three adult children, a former educator and volunteer, I only wish I had had this book to use as my guide when I first began my journey. It provides the ultimate step-by-step handbook, putting a jump-start on your student’s successful future.

~~SALLIE JO TARDY MITZELL, Culver Academies parent: Westfield, Indiana

SMART Strengths provides powerful insight on the value and importance of building positive relationships by identifying and nurturing personal strengths. This book should be required reading for teachers and coaches committed to best positioning young people for success in the classroom and on the athletic field. The authors also provide parents with a dynamic and interactive experience that challenges more traditional motivational theory and offers greater perspective on the values and qualities they should demand from the children’s teachers and coaches…and themselves.”

~~STEVE STENERSEN, President & CEO: US Lacrosse

John Yeager, Sherri Fisher, and David Shearon are to be commended for writing a truly informative, impressive book. They have skillfully synthesized a large body of research about a strength-based approach for nurturing responsibility, caring, and resilience in our youth. In a clearly written style they offer practical, realistic exercises and strategies that can be applied by educators, parents, coaches, and others who work with children and adolescents. I am certain that this book will serve as an invaluable resource to be read and re-read by any of us who have the privilege of influencing the life of children and adolescents. I recommend it highly.

~~ROBERT BROOKS, Ph.D. Psychologist: Harvard Medical School Faculty; co-author: Raising Resilient Children, and The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence and Personal Strength in Your Life

This book will immediately crystallize the importance of parents, teachers and coaches joining forces for the betterment of the young people they serve. SMART Strengths is a must read for adults who want practical strategies to help youth flourish. I highly recommend it!

~~DAVID J. POLLAY, Author: The Law of the Garbage Truck: How to Respond to People Who Dump on You, and How to Stop Dumping on Others. Ocean Ridge, Florida

By coupling years of rigorous research from the field of positive psychology with real-life stories from teachers, coaches and parents, John Yeager, Sherri Fisher and Dave Shearon offer us a practical handbook for building character strengths in ourselves and our youth. SMART Strengths teaches us first and foremost that in order to become more effective teachers, coaches or parents, before we can develop the character strengths of our children, we must first apply the SMART model to our own lives.

~~DAN HAESLER, Teacher: Emanuel School, Sydney, Australia

SMART Strengths is an all-important step to bring the essential truths of positive psychology into schools. Yeager, Fisher, and Shearon outline the conceptual basis for their work and then, more importantly, offer concrete, real life examples of how we can change young people’s lives in significant ways. I hope this work will be followed by many others like it.

~~DAVID STREIGHT, Executive Director: Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education

SMART Strengths provides a foundation for helping our teachers play to their strengths at Christel House Academy, Indianapolis. This affords them to bring out the best in our underserved student population, by helping students leverage their own strengths to become more self-sufficient, and self-confident contributing members of society.

~~CHRISTEL DEHAAN, President and Founder: Christel House International

Wonderful stories and examples!

~~NELL NODDINGS, Lee Jacks Professor of Education Emerita: Stanford University

As I read I was consistently impressed by the rigor and practical application of the learning we’ve had about strengths and positive psychology to the growth of kids to their full potential. We often take for granted that parenting, teaching or coaching kids is nurturing in itself. What I learned, and what warmed my heart, was to understand that there is a breakthrough level of nurture that can be reached by applying the SMART Strengths approach to how we parent, teach and coach. I’m convinced that applying the lessons from SMART Strengths to how we do our work will yield improved results and more positive, confident, happier people across the board.

~~DUKE GILLINGHAM, Culver Academies Parent: Dayton, Ohio

SMART Strengths is a treasure chest of stories, research, and replicable strategies that can be used to empower your family and school community. Parents, students and teachers – learn to develop high-quality connections and collaborative methods to bring out the best in one another; all leading to a whole that is greater than a sum of its parts.

~~ELIZABETH SMITH, parent: Needham, Massachusetts

“An important book”, SMART Strengths is an inventory of new ideas on how we as parents and teachers can help our children develop a strengths language which will assist them with navigating the challenges they face. Taking the focus away from what is wrong with an individual is the first step. After reading this book I am convinced it is a must read for parents and educators. It was tremendously informative and helpful.

~~UNA JACKMAN, parent: Detroit Country Day School