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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Our willingness to go deep into debt and keep spending is intimately related to our optimism. I was surprised and disappointed that I was so bored by this, especially since Ehrenreich’s Nickel ehrenreicb Dimed: Individuals will suffer, families will suffer, the country will suffer, perhaps the world will suffer. Do I have to dislike everythin Ehrenreich is the Richard Dawkins of positive thinking. Scientists have found that the mere act of smiling can generate positive feelings within us, at least if the smile is not forced.

If only we had been happier we would not have become sick. My parents could never afford to give their children visits to Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Knotts Berry Farm, or summer camp yes, we lived in Southern California ; but all four ehrdnreich us were sent to a three-day, eight-hours-a-day Silva workshop.

He wouldn’t be dissuaded and insisted he was plugged into the abundance of the universe. So how about a rant that supports her suspicion of the recent American fad with ‘Positive Thinking? While few would argue that being positive can feel good and many of us would prefer to be around “positive” people, how much we are actually able to control our reaction to circumstances and what effect that ultimately has in our lives is still significantly up for debate.

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

To my knowledge, no one knows how antidepressant use affects people’s responses to happiness surveys: So what’s the problem? We need to brace ourselves for a struggle against terrifying obstacles, both of our own making and imposed by the natural world. Those who set themselves up as instructors in the discipline of positive thinking — coaches, preachers, and gurus of various sorts — have described this effort with terms like “self-hypnosis,” “mind control,” and “thought control.


The week I was reading this book, my mother happened to ask what I had been reading lately during our regular phone call and I replied that I was reading a book about positive thinking. Martin Seligman is rude and controlling. Before you back away from this title, understand that the opposite of positivism bagbara not negativism, but realism.

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

In her remarkable book, Never Saw It Coming: One of the most prevalent messages ehrenriech within this “support” network is that maintaining a positive attitude towards one’s disease is imperative.

Yet the idea that anyone in America can succeed despite their background and that those who don’t have only themselves to blame is regularly used to deny our less fortunate citizens benefits that are already the norm in other Western Democracies. I suspect I’m in the minority when I say I don’t believe having a positive, vright outlook will cure cancer.

Thirdly, Ehrenreich uses personal anecdotes from her experience with breast cancer. What’s wrong with being sad and depressed when you’re sick and suffering; horrified by the bombing of innocents; furious with inequality, racism, misogyny, ageism; outraged by corporate malfeasance and immunity?

Its great to have a basic positive outlook on challenging situations — especially if you follow it up with diligent ‘what-can-be done’-to-solve-the-problem-and-move-towards-desired-results’but false positives are nothing but balongna.

Ehrenreich also covers the origins of this malign mania, and quite plausibly and with plenty of evidence, roots it in the Calvinist beliefs that would have been pervasive in Americans original northern European colonisers and migrants. 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. In his final State of Union address inBill Clinton struck a triumphal note, proclaiming that “never before has our nation enjoyed, at once, so much prosperity and social progress with so little internal crisis and so few external threats.

The majority of Americans surveyed believe they will be above mean income in the future even though this is mathematically impossible. Optimism is a cognitive stance, a conscious expectation, which presumably anyone can develop through practice. Americans are a uniquely positive people, more likely to believe they will move up in life than people in other countries do.


Preview — Bright-Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich. Barbara Ehrenreich is an American journalist and the bestselling author of sixteen previous books, including the bestsellers Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch. She also blames positive thinking in part for the economic meltdown. View all 10 comments. I’ve been waiting my whole life for someone to write this book.

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And Coelho is not the only one going around saying such vacuous platitudes. 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. In fact, one of the classics of sociology, Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalismmakes a still impressive case for capitalism’s roots in the grim and punitive outlook of Calvinist Protestantism, which required people to defer gratification and resist all pleasurable temptations in favor of hard work and the accumulation of wealth.

She had a range of feelings, but those feelings weren’t positive enough, motivational enough, or spiritual enough for the bullies out there that push ‘Positive Thinking.

Whereas in order to achieve the magic of spoon-bending, all you have to do is tell a room full of kids that they can really do this, and then go take an extended coffee break while they use their magic powers.

While I like to think that I broadly agree with her, I’m sometimes put off by the way she says things and the spin she likes to put on certain people.

This kind of thinking just makes one more burden for the patient to bear.