Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America
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Macmillan Audio 2009
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Description

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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Format:
OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen
Edition:
Unabridged
Street Date:
10/1/2009
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781427218063
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Barbara Ehrenreich. (2009). Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. Unabridged Macmillan Audio.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Barbara Ehrenreich. 2009. Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. Macmillan Audio.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. Macmillan Audio, 2009.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Barbara Ehrenreich. Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. Unabridged Macmillan Audio, 2009.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Barbara Ehrenreich is the bestselling author of several 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.

        "A simply brilliant, hilarious satirist."—The Baltimore Sun

        "It would be hard to find a wittier, more insightful guide to the last three decades than Ehrenreich. Arguing with her is part of the pleasure of reading her."—Laura Shapiro, Newsweek

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fullDescription

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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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...

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tableOfContents

Introduction 1

Smile or Die: The Bright Side of Cancer 15

The Years of Magical Thinking 45

The Dark Roots of American Optimism 74

Motivating Business and the Business of Motivation 97

God Wants You to Be Rich 123

Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness 147

How Positive Thinking Destroyed the Economy 177

Postscript on Post– Positive Thinking 195

Notes 207

Acknowledgments 223

Index 227