We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I took his course at Harvard. Not earth-shaking academically-- but a great reading list. His personal emphasis on resilience, and on personal choices making the difference in life had a good effect in my life at a time when I was (then) alienated from the institutional church (the creepy, not-yet-outed, socially climbing Peter Gomes was the University chaplain then).
Frankly, the reason I liked Vaillant was that he was writing about people more like the people in my family than most psychological studies, so his results were more relevant to my friends and I. The studies his book "Adaptations to Life" were based on were of the same Harvard men over decades. So he was looking at people of at least reasonable intelligence and competence and ambition....And it was eerily fascinating to see how people turned out.
Of course, I joked that I felt that my family was a bit like the Brewsters in "Arsenic and Old Lace" so I needed cheering up and exhorting. Better to read that one could choose constructive behaviors and defences than to merely pray that one was adopted.
George Vailliant wrote the wonderful "Natural History of Alcoholism" based on those participants in the longitudinal study who became alcoholic adults. As a result he rejected what he had been taught about causation: that all alcoholics self-medicate because they have some "underlying" problem.
He is (at least was) a non-alcoholic advisor to AA who recommended that med school students attend a specific number of AA meetings. The number: fifty.