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  • Cited by 23
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
May 2021
Print publication year:
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Book description

Mattering, which is about feeling valued and adding value, is essential for health, happiness, love, work, and social well-being. We all need to feel valued by, and add value to, ourselves, others, co-workers, and community members. This book shows not only the signs, significance, and sources of mattering, but also presents the strategies to achieve mattering in our personal and professional lives. It uses research-based methods of change to help people achieve a higher sense of purpose and a deeper sense of meaning. Each chapter gives therapists, managers, teachers, parents, and healthcare professionals the tools needed to optimize personal and collective well-being and productivity. The volume explains how promoting mattering within communities fosters wellness and fairness in equal measure. By using the new science of feeling valued and adding value, the authors provide a guide to promoting happier lives and healthier societies.


‘This deeply illuminating volume is essential reading for those interested in mattering, meaning in life, and mental health. The authors provide a wonderfully comprehensive, integrative overview of mattering in a wide variety of domains. I recommend this ground-breaking book as the go-to resource.'

Mario Mikulincer - Founding Dean, Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology, Interdisciplinary Center

‘In this brilliant book, the authors elevate the notion of mattering. It is written in a personal, evocative, and passionate way, using the authors' own meaningful encounters alongside critically needed ideas. The book reads like a fascinating novel that creates a framework for a more authentic life and just world.'

David Blustein - Duganne Faculty Fellow and Professor of Education and Human Development, Boston College

‘What a great book on mattering! The authors have a real gift for turning complex academic ideas into something that many people can understand and apply to their own lives. The mattering wheel is a great resource around which we can plan actions to ensure that everyone matters.'

Angie Hart - Professor of Child, Family and Community Health, University of Brighton

‘It is difficult to describe all that the Prilleltenskys have accomplished with How People Matter. With gentleness and humor, the book embraces big, important elements under the heading of mattering: love, political action, Black Lives Matter, meaning in life, meaning to each other. They show the inseparability of social currents from our own well-being as they incisively describe contemporary ‘me culture’; they introduce illuminating new concepts like ‘wellfair’ and the building of a ‘caring sector’ in society; they offer clear, helpful strategies for putting their concepts to work in our lives. Loving, funny, brilliant, honest, and open, the Prilleltenskys emerge as the kind of friends that we all wish we had. Their work is liberation psychology for everyone.’

Laura Smith - Columbia University, and author of Psychology, Poverty, and the End of Social Exclusion

‘How People Matter is a wonderfully detailed user’s guide to help people feel valued for what they do and actually add value with what they do. It combines discussion of relevant research with lots of very practical tips that will help us lead more useful, productive, and fulfilling lives. There is a valuable lesson on almost every page.’

Barry Schwartz - University of California, Berkeley, and author of Why We Work and Practical Wisdom

‘A book on mattering or feeling valued and adding value is timely and immensely critical. This book deepens our understanding of the power of dignity and self-worth and calls us to action as individuals and as a ‘collective we’ to enhance mattering for all. It spans the arenas of mattering for the self, for relationships, for work, and for communities, giving us frameworks and tools to spur understanding and action. It marries concerns for wellness and fairness at all levels and offers inspiration and actions to make their fusion a reality. The book is both practical and wise, integrating diverse streams of social science to make mattering a process we can appreciate, understand, and act upon.’

Jane Dutton - Robert L. Kahn Distinguished University ProfessorEmerita of Business Administration, University of Michigan, and author of Awakening Compassion at Work

‘This book is a joy to read and I did not want it to end. It should go a long way toward making mattering a bigger focus in the academic community and in people’s lives. But what most comes through these pages is the heart and humanity of Isaac and Ora Prilleltensky. They remind us that mattering, like life, is about people, and it represents a way forward during a time when a way forward is perhaps needed more than ever.’

Gordon Flett - York University, Toronto, and author of The Psychology of Mattering

‘Feeling good by doing good has the ring of a self-help cliché. There is a healthy dollop of self-help in this entertaining and beautifully written book - but there is also so much more. Adding value to others and oneself is a credo for how to create a better society, one that fosters good relationships and well-being. And it is all based on evidence that takes us from the individual, relationships, and work to what needs to happen in society. Psychology in a very social perspective - grand.’

Sir Michael Marmot - University College London, and author of the The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity, and The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World

‘This book is a much-needed read for professionals, especially those in leadership positions, but ultimately for anyone who honors the importance of living a more meaningful life and nurturing a higher level of belonging during the current turbulent times … Highly recommended.’

J. E. Perez Source: CHOICE

‘Through How People Matter, Isaac and Ora Prilleltensky make a critical and timely call: to pursue meaning, to balance rights and responsibilities, to seek both wellness and fairness, at home, at work, and in social life. It is a judicious appeal for our troubled times.’

Julio Frenk - MD, MPH, PhD, President, University of Miami

‘In their insightful and compelling book, Isaac and Ora Prilleltensky offer us a path out of our current crisis of self-absorption and self-obsession. They do this by teaching us how to balance our concern with our own wellbeing with actions that promote the well-being of others, and by helping us recognize that all of us - especially those whose skin color, income, birthplace, or disability status differs from our own - matter.’

Mark Pancer - Professor Emeritus, Wilfrid Laurier University, and author of The Psychology of Civic Engagement

‘How People Matter is a timely challenge to the notion of self-absorption that threatens our humanity and our planet. An in-depth explanation of personal and political dimensions of mattering within the arenas of self, relationships, work, and community is skillfully integrated with practical guidelines for finding balance between valuing the self and adding value in all these arenas. This inspiring work can be applied in any context to facilitate transformation toward wellness and fairness for all.’

Ansie Elizabeth Kitching - Associate Professor in Educational Psychology, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

‘With their new book How People Matter, Isaac and Ora Prilleltensky join the ranks of Martin Seligman and Brené Brown as brilliant scientists and teachers who translate what they have learned into accessible and practical advice. By exploring the role of mattering to self, to others, at work, and within a community, the Prilleltenskys provide a thoughtful road map for how adding value and feeling valued leads to a fulfilling life.’

Julie Haizlip - University of Virginia Schools of Nursing and Medicine

‘Increasing employee engagement and creating inclusive environments are hot topics on corporate ‘to-do’ lists. But many leadership teams struggle with how to accomplish these goals and how to know what initiatives will make a cultural impact. The psychological concept of mattering can provide a road map for leaders looking to develop productive and positive energy in their organization. In this fascinating and extremely practical new book, the authors provide a great resource for leaders to create an environment where employees feel seen, heard, and appreciated and where they can make a contribution to the enterprise. This is creating an environment where people feel they are valued and their work is valuable. This is mattering, a topic every manager should master. Let Isaac and Ora be your guides!’

Rebecca Lamperski - Executive Director, Learning and Development, Comcast University

‘Using humor, research, and real-life examples, Ora and Isaac Prilleltensky deftly lay out the foundation of why mattering is so important to wellbeing and happiness. Here they offer a practical approach to how we can feel valued and add value in all areas of life. This book is not only timely but also necessary for personal and systemic change.’

Karen Guggenheim - social entrepreneur, co-founder of WOHASUFoundation and World Happiness Summit

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