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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This is Ehrenreich at her provocative best—poking holes in conventional wisdom and faux science, and ending with a call for existential clarity and courage. In subsequent chapters, Ehrenreich shows how variations of the same belief, which is essentially little more than magical thinking, have taken hold in different aspects of American life, and different sectors of U.

Barnara is a vast difference between positive thinking and existential courage. Preview — Bright-Sided by Barbara Bqrbara. If you want it hard enough, if you think about it excessively, the thing you want money, job, love, etc.

Ehrenreich includes loads of examples.

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Okay, so this is ehrenreeich the best time in my barbarq to read this book, ’cause on Monday I am having a diagnostic mammogram. He wouldn’t be dissuaded and insisted he was plugged into the abundance of the universe. Without our heavy use of antidepressants, Americans would likely rank far lower in the happiness rankings than we currently do.

As someone who was exposed early on to the fantasy that what you think can directly impact external reality, I am no stranger to the massive amount of internal stress caused by trying to control one’s thinking to be only positive.

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

It’s quick reading, but revealing. If only we had been happier we would not have become sick. In the well-worn stereotype, we are upbeat, cheerful, optimistic, and shallow, while foreigners are likely to be subtle, world-weary, and possibly decadent.

Her comments on how many of the devout poor were convinced the predatory mortgages they ehrenriech being offered a few years back were a gift from God were particularly poignant.


That ideology is “positive thinking,” by which we usually mean two things. Nor was I particularly interested in the development of positive thinking from Calvinism and it’s progression throughout the ages or the holes in psychology’s ‘examination’ of the effects of positive thought.

Just the act of signing the declaration made them all traitors to the crown, and treason was a crime punishable by execution.

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. Though I prefer the more provocative UK title: Eventually she gets round to the ‘science’ of this, which turns out to be as flakey as one might expect of an outlook which endorses to ‘infinity and beyond’ coupled with a refusal to acknowledge criticism – the smell of money attracts more than just flies.

I like and agree with her message about bringing realism and clear eyesight back. These folks barbra abandoned science where evidence is examined and results are replicated in favor of revelation.

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

Evangelical mega-churches preach the good news that you only have to want something to get it, because God wants to “prosper” you. Well, I basically slept my way through this. About books where cancer is celebrated as life-affirming, life-giving, the best thing that could happen to you.

Dec 16, Cara rated it did not like it. This is to ehrenrreich found in politic This is a superb examination of a current cultural malaise which has taken over and dominated western thinking: Americans are a “positive” people.

The popularity of books like “The Secret”, the practice of advising people who have been laid off to “take control” of their situation through positive visualization, the explosive growth of the “motivational seminar” business, the rise of evangelical churches peddling the message that “God wants you to be rich” — all are manifestations of the same fundamental belief, not just in the importance of a positive attitude, but in its ability to bring about change.

Furthermore, psychologists today agree that positive feelings like gratitude, contentment, and self-confidence can actually lengthen our lives and improve our health. She uses the mortgage crisis as an example of a system in which people who tried to warn the higher-ups about what was going to happen got fired.


Dec 17, Ciara rated it it was ok Shelves: What a crock of shit. This isn’t Ehrenreich’s strongest offering, nor is ehrereich going to set your world on fire like Nickel and Dimed: And we hope–the author and I–that the global financial meltdown has stopped it in its course.

In the Declaration of Independence, the founding fathers pledged to one another “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. I initially thought this book would be limited to the evils of positive thinking in healthcare. As the economy has brought more layoffs and financial turbulence to the middle class, the promoters of positive brbara have increasingly emphasized this negative judgment: Business has changed in the last varbara years.

In ehfenreich, I don’t think cancer, or any other illness, gives a fart if I’m chipper, whereas if I take it seriously and realistically, rather than being determinedly, insistently, optimistic as to the outcome, then although I may be bloody miserable, at least I’ll be doing whatever it takes to improve my health. Barara is, we are told, a practical reason for undertaking this effort: This kind of thinking just makes one more burden for the patient to bear.

Cultural skeptic that she is, Ehernreich poured through the literature on the subject and found that, not only did science fail to support the hypothesis that a bzrbara attitude contributes to healing cancer, but that those who failed to recover from cancer often experienced an especially cruel form of victim blaming at the hands of those who were convinced that it was their own faulty negative thinking that kept them sick. But we cannot levitate ourselves into that blessed condition by wishing it.