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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But I didn’t realise that the scam reached deep into academia, shysters claiming to be teaching science, aka positive psychology. I said, “Now look here, God!.

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

The bottom line is always a version of “I have a program which, if you follow it, will produce good things. This book takes a look at the whole “positive thinking” culture. This experience led Ehrenreich to explore in more depth the concept of positive thinking and how it is currently experienced in America today.

In the case of “Nickel and Dimed”, probably her best-known work, the niggling reservation was the artificiality of the whole endeavor I always feel slightly guilty about my reaction to Barbara Ehrenreich’s writing.

Surprisingly, when psychologists undertake to measure the relative happiness of nations, they routinely find that Americans are not, even in prosperous times and despite our vaunted positivity, very happy at all. If people would only eat right, exercise, etc. Her rigorous and though-provoking work on this topic is a deep service to a culture addicted to denial.

Much of it doesn’t really come as a surprise, although ehrenriech was great fun reading her evisceration of the new gospel touted by preachers such Joel Osteen who encourage their followers to demand “their stuff” from God — the personal assistant. In the words of a Brookings Institute study: And the first step is to recover from the mass delusion that is positive thinking.

Ehrenreich tells us it comes from “New Thought”, the 19th c. We have the highest percentage ehtenreich our population incarcerated, and the greatest level of inequality in wealth and income. I know that some barbxra that have affected my life and the lives of my good friends suicide, divorce, rape sidde not good things and that there is no goodness that comes out of them.

In fact, 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.


For what it’s worth, my view is that a positive attitude is valuable insofar as it encourages you to believe in your right to pursue a particular goal.

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This leads to a focus on the individual’s own status, but works against genuine social change, of the kind that might ehrenreih a real difference. Author Barbara Ehrenreich says Americans cannot simply wish themselves into better conditions. In the Declaration of Independence, the founding fathers pledged to one another “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

Oh God, please, please, anything but that This is a great book. Indeed, wisdom tells us that any extremes, of any kind, and in any direction, is bad for us. Nonetheless, the belief that maintaining a positive attitude can actually affect the course of one’s disease remains prevalent, accepted unquestioningly by the majority of cancer patients, despite an almost complete lack of objective scientific evidence to support it.

There is little point writing a review of a book once Lena has written one – http: The problem is that this lie is even less true in America than it is in many other first world countries, countries where there is at least some hope of social mobility.

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

The point is, they fought anyway. Evangelical mega-churches preach the good news that you only have to want something to get it, because God wants to “prosper” you. She points a damning finger at how such ‘Christian’ churches are entirely concerned with materialism, in utter contradiction to the teachings of Christ. It left me feeling angry, which I bbarbara as the highest praise.

Just the act of signing the declaration made them all traitors to the crown, and treason was a crime punishable by execution. Oh, sides it’s not “cheating” if the kids are hiding their spoons under the table with both hands as they try to bend them. There is, we are told, a practical reason for undertaking this effort: Bright-Sided is an academic text, though the content affects the average American—especially the blue- and white-collar workers.

Ehrenreich starts out on a high note, with one of the strongest chapters in this book: We smile a lot and are often baffled when people from other cultures do not return the favor. Without our heavy use of antidepressants, Americans would likely rank far lower in the happiness rankings than we currently do.


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

If that helps them “focus,” go for it! Promoting your book 14 37 Apr 10, And Coelho is not the only one going around saying such vacuous platitudes. Now, click your heels. So, imagine my joy in reading a book, a well-researched, thoughtful one at that, which not only agrees with me don’t we all love being agreed with!

I’m not shocked to hear that The Secret is a bunch of shit or that corporations use positive thinking to brainwash and control their employees and ex-employees. I was so excited, because we’d been told this class would teach us how to develop mental powers that would allow us to break the laws of physics. Ehrenreich furthers her argument that positive thinking is undermining American by pointing out that news allows its consumers to make change, petition, or even maintain awareness.

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. Jul 07, Ivonne Rovira rated it really liked it. I quite need suffering. Though it didn’t invalidate her message, it seemed to me enough of a distraction to weaken the effectiveness of her presentation.

Thirdly, Ehrenreich uses personal anecdotes from her experience with breast cancer. One might think that psychologists who extol the virtues of positive thinking would be on firmer ground than those who have a more openly exploitative agenda, but in an entertaining chapter in which Ehrenreich describes her futile attempt to pin down positive psych guru Martin Seligman, it becomes clear that the science of happiness is much murkier than it has been presented in the press. I never found a satisfactory reason in Bright-Sidedbut that may be due to the book getting more complex.

This review was originally published at Grab the Lapels. When you feel like you are not in control of some aspect of your life your health, your job, your financesthinking positively gives you that control.

But a cheerful outlook, she argues, does not cure cancer.