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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Gone is the mystery and awe; he has been reduced to a kind of majordomo or personal assistant. And the first step is to recover from the mass delusion that is positive thinking. Ministers with 7-digit salaries preaching to the unemployed that, if they only willed it enough, God would listen.

She traces its roots back to the New Thought movement of the 19th century, a spiritualist reaction against Calvanism that gave birth to, among other things, Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science. For the last 40 years or so but especially since the s Americans have absorbed the opiate of positive thinking.

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

Ehrenreich’s brilliant book is the antidote to this nonsense, one that empowers rhrenreich to think critically about positive thinking, that will make you smile too. She hates pink and she bribht doesn’t want any fucking teddy bears. So now I’m going to go right down there to that travel agent and when I get there, that money had better be there!

She quotes Newsweek reporters Michael Hirsch and Michael Isikoff, for example, in their conclusion that “a whole summer of missed clues, taken together, seemed to presage the terrible September of It took me a while to figure out why this was.

Much of it doesn’t really come as a surprise, although it 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. Like anybody else, I also like being around positive people and find negative people a strain.

The sad part is no matter how many kids I caught cheating, I never caught on that I was the one being cheated. The main idea behind it is that we have developed a religious quite literally fervour for positive thinking.

Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worstsociologist Karen Cerulo recounts a number of ways that the habit of positive thinking, or what she calls optimistic bias, undermined preparedness and invited disaster. The live in brigbt false world where anyone can believe whatever they want.


And barhara worst seems to be that if you do die, it is your own fault. Ehrenreich discusses everything from cancer, to the economic downfall. View all 25 comments. And I hadn’t cottoned onto the point that it is a manipulative tool to keep people down in the US, in exactly the same way it has been used in, for example, Soviet society.

The practice of positive thinking is an effort to pump up this belief in the face of much contradictory evidence.

One guy I knew got in trouble for telling a caller, someone terminal, that “Cancer sucks. Maybe you will suffer.

Or instead as the old joke goes – lets draw the curtains and pretend the train is still moving. Furthermore, psychologists today agree that positive feelings like gratitude, contentment, and self-confidence can actually lengthen our lives and ehrenreicn our health. But this is only one of the kinds of Positive Thinking under attack here. She shows how Positive Thinking has infected our Christianity, our business community, and may even be responsible for the financial crisis of But it’s worse than pink; she writes about women who are kicked out brigyt breast cancer support groups when their cancer relapses; who are castigated in chatrooms for not being upbeat.

Barbara Ehrenreich was first exposed to the dark side of the positive thinking movement when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. There is a complete and almost institutionalized American avoidance of pain and brignt and suffering. The book was full of such ridiculous but touchy-feely-warm-and-fluffy pronouncements.

All the same, I would take a realist over someone who brignt self-help books any day. Everything is pink, supporters buy teddy bears, and female patients are given care packages that include crayons. In fact, one of the classics of sociology, Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic briyht 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.

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

Now, here is where things got confusing for me. Despite the poverty and often abusive situations in which many of these kids lived, the sider remedy the principal could arrive with his fevered lack of imagination was chicken soup. 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! Preview — Bright-Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich. The other bit of this book that is very disturbing is where she continues the theme she started in Bait and Switch: Maybe I was upset earlier in the day but then was cheered up by a bit of good news, so what am I really?


Accessibility links Skip to main content Keyboard shortcuts for audio player. Then come back, admire all the bent cutlery, and compliment eheenreich kids on their powers of concentration. She opens with a chapter about her experience of having breast cancer, when she found that a patient cannot express a single note of skepticism or pessimism without being branded a bad apple.

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

But I didn’t realise that the scam reached deep into academia, shysters claiming to be teaching science, aka positive psychology. We need to brace ourselves for a struggle against terrifying obstacles, both of our own making and imposed by the natural world. It confirmed for me many things I already knew i. When my dear friend was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, she jokingly said “Well, at least the chemo will help me lose weight! If you don’t steadily increase market share and profits, you risk being driven out of business or swallowed by a larger enterprise.

Almost everyone acknowledges that our health care system is “broken” and our physical infrastructure crumbling. Okay, Joel Osteen’s short and wears a mullet and dumb suits. As a book I find it a mixed bag, the first chapter on her breast cancer experience the most impassioned unsurprisinglybut the sharp taste from the contrast between the pressure to be positive and clad in pink and the lack of change in survival rates over long periods of time and lack of attention to the potential lifestyle and environmental causes in her case she feels HRT doesn’t provide an electric vigour to the rest of the text – although interesting throughout.

Not only that, but part of the scam is that there is to be no complaining, no regrets, no objective analysis implying others might be at fault for one’s predicament. And the answer to that is, quite simply, that it makes them happy. At the college where I spent most of my career, about 25 years, and rose through the ranks of management, we really did quite well, and most of the issues seen as problems were not endemic to the institution.