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

Book Cover
Average Rating
Publisher:
Macmillan Audio
Pub. Date:
2009
Language:
English
Description

Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright-sided is a sharp-witted knockdown of America's love affair with positive thinking and an urgent call for a new commitment to realism

Americans are a "positive" people—cheerful, optimistic, and upbeat: this is our reputation as well as our self-image. But more than a temperament, being positive, we are told, is the key to success and prosperity.

In this utterly original take on the American frame of mind, Barbara Ehrenreich traces the strange career of our sunny outlook from its origins as a marginal nineteenth-century healing technique to its enshrinement as a dominant, almost mandatory, cultural attitude. Evangelical mega-churches preach the good news that you only have to want something to get it, because God wants to "prosper" you. The medical profession prescribes positive thinking for its presumed health benefits. Academia has made room for new departments of "positive psychology" and the "science of happiness." Nowhere, though, has bright-siding taken firmer root than within the business community, where, as Ehrenreich shows, the refusal even to consider negative outcomes—like mortgage defaults—contributed directly to the current economic crisis.

With the mythbusting powers for which she is acclaimed, Ehrenreich exposes the downside of America's penchant for positive thinking: On a personal level, it leads to self-blame and a morbid preoccupation with stamping out "negative" thoughts. On a national level, it's brought us an era of irrational optimism resulting in disaster. 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.

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ISBN:
9781427218063
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work IDfd92b08b-fd1d-94f2-8b50-cc03b2a93dbb
Grouping Titlebright sided how the relentless promotion of positive thinking has undermined america
Grouping Authorbarbara ehrenreich
Grouping Categorybook
Grouping LanguageEnglish (eng)
Last Grouping Update2021-04-13 04:15:51AM
Last Indexed2021-04-13 04:48:04AM
Novelist Primary ISBN9781427218063

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Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright-sided is a sharp-witted knockdown of America's love affair with positive thinking and an urgent call for a new commitment to realism

Americans are a "positive" people—cheerful, optimistic, and upbeat: this is our reputation as well as our self-image. But more than a temperament, being positive, we are told, is the key to success and prosperity.

In this utterly original take on the American frame of mind, Barbara Ehrenreich traces the strange career of our sunny outlook from its origins as a marginal nineteenth-century healing technique to its enshrinement as a dominant, almost mandatory, cultural attitude. Evangelical mega-churches preach the good news that you only have to want something to get it, because God wants to "prosper" you. The medical profession prescribes positive thinking for its presumed health benefits. Academia has made room for new departments of "positive psychology" and the "science of happiness." Nowhere, though, has bright-siding taken firmer root than within the business community, where, as Ehrenreich shows, the refusal even to consider negative outcomes—like mortgage defaults—contributed directly to the current economic crisis.

With the mythbusting powers for which she is acclaimed, Ehrenreich exposes the downside of America's penchant for positive thinking: On a personal level, it leads to self-blame and a morbid preoccupation with stamping out "negative" thoughts. On a national level, it's brought us an era of irrational optimism resulting in disaster. 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.

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title_displayBright-sided How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America
title_fullBright-sided How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America
title_shortBright-sided
title_subHow the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America
topic_facetNonfiction
Sociology