Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America

Front Cover
Picador, Aug 3, 2010 - Social Science - 256 pages


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.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bibleblaster - LibraryThing

If you're interested in investigating the shadows on the sunny side of the entertaining look at the history, recent manifestations, and unforeseen ramifications of the "positive thinking ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - amymerrick - LibraryThing

Ehrenreich provides an antidote to everyone who believes that success is solely a result of attitude. From reading about people whose livelihoods were discarded during the Great Recession, it seems ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2010)

Barbara Ehrenreich is the bestselling author of many 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.

Bibliographic information