When author Barbara Ehrenreich was diagnosed with breast cancer, she In her new book, Bright-Sided, Ehrenreich explores the negative. Barbara Ehrenreich thinks the prevalence of bogus optimism has weakened America, and she is willing to shoot fish in barrels to make that. Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America,” the new book by Barbara Ehrenreich, is based on.

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The self absorbed examination and policing of ones thoughts, the obsession with personal and often financial gain, the exhortations to cut all negative people out of your life sceptics? A short book, sharp, and well-written.

I was given this book for Christmas–I thought pretty much as a joke–“We all know you’re a crabby old grouch, so here’s some ammunition for you. It offers a different viewpoint.

Despite this, her message is a proactive one: Americans are a “positive” people. But of course it takes the effort of positive thinking to imagine that America is the “best” or the “greatest. And I hadn’t cottoned onto the point that it is a manipulative tool to keep people down in the US, in exactly the same way it has been used in, for example, Soviet society.

Though it’s a little sieed, “Bright-sided” is nonetheless well worth your consideration. Accessibility links Skip to main content Keyboard shortcuts for audio player. The point is, they fought anyway.

By the late first decade of the twenty-first century, as we shall see in the chapters that follow, positive thinking had become ubiquitous and virtually unchallenged in American culture.

However, I can see how the book would turn off some readers for its level of difficulty. Her comments on how many of the devout poor were convinced the predatory mortgages they were being offered a few years back were a gift from God were particularly poignant. View all 53 comments. Our children routinely turn out to be more ignorant of basic subjects like math and geography than their counterparts in other industrialized nations.

And I would criticize her for apparently accepting the motivational industry’s definition of happiness, her only objection being that their scheme doesn’t really produce it. It’s meant to ‘reassure’ us, or ‘encourage’ us — and there’s nothing wrong with that. It turns out that the difference between flying which humans have been longing to do for as long as we’ve had imaginative powers and warping innocent cutlery which NOBODY wants to do, because it’s stupid, plus if you wanted a spoon in a different shape than usual, you could just special-order one is that a child flying is measurable and filmable and duh-obvious.


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

The stuff comparing Calvinism and Positive Thinking is really interesting. Or that I don’t like briyht shots? Americans are a “positive” people—cheerful, optimistic, and upbeat: But the sentiment was there.

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. Of course, I am an English professor, so understanding rhetorical moves is part of my job. 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.

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

View all 12 comments. One can only speculate on the desperation leaders must wallow in to try and solve what may be serious management issues with such trivia and balderdash.

But nowhere did it find a warmer welcome than in American business, which is, of course, also global business. Despite the poverty and often abusive situations in which many of these kids lived, the only remedy the principal could arrive with his fevered lack of imagination was chicken soup. However, I do think she has got a point and if you are interested in ‘happiness’ as the key to life, perhaps you should read Aristotle’s Birght rather than any of the self-help books she refers to that contain ‘you’ or ‘your’ in their title.

Scientists have found ehrenrejch the mere act of smiling can generate positive feelings within us, at least if the smile is not forced.


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One of the most prevalent messages promulgated within this “support” network is that maintaining a positive attitude towards one’s disease is imperative. But if early capitalism was inhospitable to positive thinking, “late” capitalism, or consumer capitalism, is far more congenial, depending as it does on the individual’s hunger for more and the firm’s imperative of growth. In other words, I won’t get a Pulitzer by visualizing myself accepting it.

Happiness is, of course, a slippery thing to measure or define. The school had made a deal with the Chicken Soup tripe spewing machine, and each week before their lessons for the day would commence, students were subjected to a three minute mini morals read in a cracked, schmarmy voice that made the After School Specials of the 70s seem weighty in comparison.

Throughout the book, Ehrenreich makes her case articulately and persuasively. I’ve kept my part of the bargain. Mar 23, Hadrian rated it really liked it Shelves: In the rational explanation that many psychologists would offer today, optimism improves health, personal efficacy, confidence, and resilience, making it easier for us to accomplish our goals.

Published October 13th by Metropolitan Books first published Joel Osteen isn’t the only one she takes down, she also talks about Edwene Gaines.

In addition, positive thinking has made itself useful ehremreich an apology for the crueler aspects of the market economy. So I take it as a sign of progress that, in just the last decade or so, ehrenrecih have begun to show an interest in using happiness rather than just the gross national product as a measure of an economy’s success. It tears me up to hear my friends beating themselves up for feeling down about something by saying ‘I know I shouldn’t be like this – other people have it worse.