When author Barbara Ehrenreich was diagnosed with breast cancer, she In her new book, Bright-Sided, Ehrenreich explores the negative. Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed) delivers a trenchant look into the burgeoning business of positive Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. Barbara Ehrenreich, Author. Barbara Ehrenreich’s examination of the history of positive thinking is a tour de force of well-tempered snark,culminating in a persuasive.

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As the economy has brought more layoffs and financial turbulence to the middle class, the promoters of positive thinking have increasingly emphasized this negative judgment: Ehrenreich’s extreme focus on Aided Secret in this book is really a strawman argument.

Meanwhile, in a competitive business world, the companies that manufacture these goods and provide the paychecks that purchase them have no alternative but to grow. The book talks extensively about the ‘modern science of happiness’ and some of what she says contradicts what is said in Stumbling on Happiness – a book I really quite enjoyed and would also recommend.

Let’s cut across country! Lists with This Book. Positive thinking, when it has no basis in truth, no foothold in objective reality, is a dangerous thing.

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. Take the business of positive “affect,” which refers to the mood we display to others through our smiles, our greetings, our professions of confidence and optimism. To the extent that positive thinking had become a business itself, business was its principal client, eagerly consuming the good news that all things are possible through an effort of mind. I’ve been waiting my whole life for someone to write this book.

Aug 27, Simon Wood rated it it was amazing. You van defy the inevitable disfigurements and come out, on the survivor side, actually prettier, sexier, more femme Fellow sufferers insisted that without a positive attitude she was unlikely to beat her cancer; one even pointed her towards counseling when she admitted she was angry that more was not being done to identify and eradicate environmental carcinogens.

‘Bright-Sided’: When Happiness Doesn’t Help : NPR

You must have done something wrong. Though nowhere near as depressing as Calvanism, these philosophies still heavily emphasized personal effort and striving, teaching that perfection was attainable if one worked hard enough and that problems in the physical body or external world were a reflection of work still needing to be done. As she so thoughtfully points out, “We want our airplane pilots to anticipate failed engines as well as happy landings.


This was a useful message for employees, who by the turn of the twenty-first century were varbara required to work longer hours for fewer benefits and diminishing job security.

Or that I don’t ehrdnreich cheap sived So read this book. And the first step is to recover from the mass delusion that is positive thinking. By highlighting the evil aspects of ‘being positive’ this book should be essential reading — a mild, but hopefully effective antidote to the poison that inhabits every extreme position. We can only hope this is the last we hear of the cancer. Though it’s a little bloated, “Bright-sided” is nonetheless well worth your consideration.

I perked up again in Chapter Five, which was a skilled and razor-sharp take-down of positive theology. Dec 03, Trevor rated it really liked it Recommended to Trevor by: Open Beight See a Problem? After going through countless exercises, e. You’re not supposed to feel sorry for yourself over some terminal illness.

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Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America

At the college where I spent most of my career, about 25 years, and rose through the ranks of management, we really did quite well, and most of the issues seen as problems were not endemic to the institution. The practice of positive thinking is an effort to pump up this belief in the face of much contradictory evidence.

Oct 31, Katie rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Books Featured In This Story. Maybe I was upset earlier in the day but then was cheered up by a bit of good news, so what am I really? In the end, Ehrenreich calls for a resurgence of realism and the freedom to be someone who asks the hard questions and points out the flaws in an idea or system. One was in the early years of my career and there was no question the members of the group needed something to bring them together.


While positive thinking has reinforced and found reinforcement in American national pride, it has also entered into a kind of symbiotic relationship with American capitalism.

Now, in addition to feeling angry and scared, she had to feel guilty about not looking on “the bright side. I completely agree with her assessment of “The Secret” and other such programs being complete BS. What was the point in agonizing over balance sheets sidrd tedious analyses of risks — and why bother worrying about dizzying levels ehrenreicu debt and exposure to potential defaults — when all good things come to those who are optimistic enough to expect them?

By the twentieth century, though, it had gone mainstream, gaining purchase within such powerful barbata systems as nationalism and also doing its best to make itself indispensable to capitalism. Someone said, “Hey, we have a compass and we know the lodge is west of here–right over that ridge. But it’s worse than pink; she writes about women who are kicked out of breast cancer support groups when their cancer relapses; who are castigated in chatrooms for not being upbeat.

I’ve spent the last few years deprogramming myself from these kinds of ideas and feel much happier now that I am no longer afraid of my own random thoughts and can experience the full range of emotions without the fear that doing so will somehow screw up my life.

View all 34 comments. Osteen’s books are easy to read, too easy – like wallowing in marshmallows. Do I have to dislike everythin Ehrenreich is the Richard Dawkins of positive thinking.

We struggled up the hill, almost reached the summit, but never quite made it over the top, and soon one initiative was replaced sjded another. Ehrenreich includes loads of examples.