Making Hope Happen

Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others

Making Hope Happen

In this practical guide to the anatomy of hope and how to harness its incredible power in your own life, a leading psychologist “shines a light on one of the most powerful, and most misunderstood, emotional forces in our lives” (Daniel Pink, author of Drive).

Some people manage to bounce back quickly from setbacks, to lead happy, healthy, productive lives, no matter their circumstances. These people have found a way to make good things happen even when luck isn’t on their side. The secret ingredient they use to transform their lives, it turns out, is hope.

Using discoveries from the largest study of hopeful people ever conducted, Shane J. Lopez, PhD, “the world’s preeminent expert on hope” (Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness), reveals that hope is not just an emotion but an essential life tool. Hope is a leading indicator of success in relationships, academics, career, and business, and with Making Hope Happen, you can measure your level of hope and learn how to increase, use, and share it. In addition, Lopez shares the uplifting stories of real people who have created hope in their own lives and communities, from a CEO who befriended a curious nine-year-old to a college student who is thriving after two heart transplants.

Praised as “thoughtful and pragmatic” (Publishers Weekly), Making Hope Happen is for anyone seeking a better future—for themselves, for their business, or for the world. The message is clear: Hope is a choice. Hope can be learned. Hope is contagious. Hope can change your life.
  • Atria Books | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451666236 | 
  • July 2014
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Reading Group Guide

Classroom Activities for

Making Hope Happen
By Shane J. Lopez


Introducing Hope

Assign students a twenty-minute free write, in which they define hope. Hold a class discussion so that students can share their definitions. Discuss with students the difference between wishing and hoping, the role fear plays in keeping us from fulfilling our hopes, setting goals, and the importance of recognizing our limitations so that we can set realistic goals. Have students discuss the following statements identified by Shane Lopez in Making Hope Happen: 1) Hope matters; 2) Hope is a choice; 3) Hope can be learned; 4) Hope can be shared with others. Have students identify their source(s) of hope (self, parents, friends, religious beliefs, etc.).

Reflecting on the Nature of Hope

Have students agree or disagree with the following statements/concepts taken from Chapter Two of Making Hope Happen and then discuss their responses.

• Our thoughts about how the future affects us today.
• The present and the future are connected through our behavior.
• When hoping, I feel compelled to act.
• Hope is active, not passive.
• We have the power to make the future better than the present.
• There are multiple paths leading us to our goals.
• Hope walks hand-in-hand with fear.
• Fear can see more

About the Author

Shane J. Lopez
Photograph by Steve Symmes @ Gallup

Shane J. Lopez

Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D., a Gallup Senior Scientist, is the world’s leading authority on the psychology of hope. He has published numerous professional books on what is right with people, including The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas, with his wife and son.

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