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 best bits of this book are when she talks about the Evangelical Churches in the US and how they have moved away from negative images like Jesus on the cross towards Jesus in a three-piece business suit with a smile to let you know just how much he wants you to be rich. Boy is it nice to see someone exposing Positive fucking Psychology, The Secretthe “prosperity gospel,” and all the rest of the American happytalk crap.

Where in particular is the Jesus who said, “If a man sue you at law and take your coat, let him have your cloak also”? The whole discussion is particularly timely for me, since our church is currently going through a prayer and evangelism program which is clearly a relatively benign subset of all this. Traditional Calvinism was being flipped already in the mid nineteenth century by Christian Science, and a ‘positive’ gospel in which God has a plan in which you get to be rich.

I have already heard in Australia that there actually was no financial crisis. It exposes the cruelty inherent in the positive-thinking movements.

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.

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

These things are never new, they just slink around for years, shapeshifting as they go. So, there she is, in the mega-church, a place I find ridiculous for its distant relationship to church, a point Ehrenreich gets to. View all 3 comments. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.


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

Jun 06, Melanie Page rated it really liked it Shelves: Just a moment while we bzrbara you in to your Goodreads account.

Here’s a random pull. I don’t remember who I asked about the flying.

I don’t want to see any goddamn briggt for the rest of my life. We don’t usually talk about American nationalism, but it is a mark of how deep it runs that we apply the word “nationalism” to Serbs, Russians, and others, while believing ourselves to possess a uniquely superior version called “patriotism. He briight the presidency as an opportunity to continue in that line of work, defining his job ehernreich that of inspiring confidence, dispelling doubts, and pumping up the national spirit of self-congratulation.

I’ve seen so many of my friends and family die from various forms of cancer, I can’t think of an uglier way to talk about it ehrsnreich taking joy in the weight loss that comes from chemo and radiation treatments. What was the point in agonizing over balance sheets and tedious analyses of risks — and why bother worrying about dizzying levels of debt and exposure to potential defaults — when all good things come to those who are optimistic enough to expect them?

Why only three stars?

At much the same time Ehrenreich points out popular business writers stressed the value of overwhelming positivity in helping to sell coals to Newcastle, sand to the Saudis and so on. 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? Read the reviews by Trevor http: About books where cancer is celebrated as life-affirming, life-giving, the best thing that could happen to you.

I put “survivors” in quotes, since she says words like “victim,” “patient,” or “sufferer” are not allowed. It confirmed for me many things I already knew i. 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 positive 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.


Of course, I am an English professor, so understanding rhetorical moves is part of my job. Quimby’s New Thought, Mary Baker Eddy as a reaction to Calvinism that substituted a condemnation of negative thinking for a condemnation of sin. How did we become so wrapped up in our crystal healing and our political correctness and our business casual Hawaiian T-shirt Fridays?

Babara where did it come from? Obviously, there is something to the idea that Positive Thinking has something going for it. 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.

The diction is complicated at times, and I see the moves Ehrenreich makes to integrate and effectively use sources.

This Just In Short paragraphs and emoticons in reviews quadruple reading pleasure. 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 narbara thinking.

I also completely agree that it’s terrible that corporate America prefers to get employees to “think positively” to accept being exploited. This move demonstrates the willingness to reach out to her audience and clarify the abstract term.

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

If only we had been happier we would not have become sick. All the same, I would take a realist over someone who reads self-help books any day. 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.

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