Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America

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Picador, Aug 3, 2010 - Social Science - 256 pages
84 Reviews


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 is the key to getting success and prosperity. Or so we are told.

In this utterly original debunking, Barbara Ehrenreich confronts the false promises of positive thinking and shows its reach†into every corner of American life, from Evangelical megachurches to the medical establishment, and, worst of all, to the business community, where the refusal to consider negative outcomes--like mortgage defaults--contributed directly to the current economic disaster.†With the myth-busting powers for which she is acclaimed, Ehrenreich exposes the downside of positive thinking: personal self-blame and national denial. 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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User Review  - bluepigeon - LibraryThing

I have never won the lottery. And clearly, this is because I have never really wanted to win the lottery. And when my friend got cancer, it was because she wanted it, and really, it is a gift, no ... Read full review

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User Review  - GingerbreadMan - LibraryThing

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, and flunking out of various support groups for failing to see it as a gift, Ehrenreich sets out to investigate the notion of positive thinking and itís ... Read full review

About the author (2010)

Barbara Ehrenreich is the bestselling author of sixteen previous books, including Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch, Bright-sided, This Land Is Their Land, Dancing In The Streets and Blood Rites. A frequent contributor to Harper's and The Nation, she has also been a columnist at The New York Times and Time magazine. Visit Barbara Ehrenreich's website at

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