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

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

Barbara Ehrenreich

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.

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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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.

Language:

English

Narrators:

Kate Reading

Length:

7h 29m


Chapters

Free Sample

05:00

Chapter 1
Chapter 1

00:37


Chapter 2
Chapter 2

06:53


Chapter 3
Chapter 3

07:00


Chapter 4
Chapter 4

06:32


Chapter 5
Chapter 5

06:28


Chapter 6
Chapter 6

05:06


Chapter 7
Chapter 7

04:45


Chapter 8
Chapter 8

04:21


Chapter 9
Chapter 9

06:39


Chapter 10
Chapter 10

06:33


Chapter 11
Chapter 11

06:29


Chapter 12
Chapter 12

06:50


Chapter 13
Chapter 13

05:40


Chapter 14
Chapter 14

06:17


Chapter 15
Chapter 15

04:59


Chapter 16
Chapter 16

06:15


Chapter 17
Chapter 17

06:55


Chapter 18
Chapter 18

06:53


Chapter 19
Chapter 19

06:20


Chapter 20
Chapter 20

05:59


Chapter 21
Chapter 21

06:04


Chapter 22
Chapter 22

05:31


Chapter 23
Chapter 23

06:00


Chapter 24
Chapter 24

06:48


Chapter 25
Chapter 25

06:37


Chapter 26
Chapter 26

06:34


Chapter 27
Chapter 27

05:39


Chapter 28
Chapter 28

05:52


Chapter 29
Chapter 29

05:20


Chapter 30
Chapter 30

05:53


Chapter 31
Chapter 31

05:54


Chapter 32
Chapter 32

05:47


Chapter 33
Chapter 33

05:29


Chapter 34
Chapter 34

05:17


Chapter 35
Chapter 35

05:27


Chapter 36
Chapter 36

06:52


Chapter 37
Chapter 37

05:13


Chapter 38
Chapter 38

05:14


Chapter 39
Chapter 39

06:50


Chapter 40
Chapter 40

06:43


Chapter 41
Chapter 41

06:49


Chapter 42
Chapter 42

06:34


Chapter 43
Chapter 43

06:39


Chapter 44
Chapter 44

06:51


Chapter 45
Chapter 45

05:37


Chapter 46
Chapter 46

05:27


Chapter 47
Chapter 47

06:41


Chapter 48
Chapter 48

06:58


Chapter 49
Chapter 49

05:14


Chapter 50
Chapter 50

05:00


Chapter 51
Chapter 51

05:40


Chapter 52
Chapter 52

06:13


Chapter 53
Chapter 53

06:12


Chapter 54
Chapter 54

04:32


Chapter 55
Chapter 55

04:37


Chapter 56
Chapter 56

05:38


Chapter 57
Chapter 57

05:01


Chapter 58
Chapter 58

06:03


Chapter 59
Chapter 59

06:35


Chapter 60
Chapter 60

04:46


Chapter 61
Chapter 61

04:50


Chapter 62
Chapter 62

05:12


Chapter 63
Chapter 63

04:51


Chapter 64
Chapter 64

04:38


Chapter 65
Chapter 65

04:29


Chapter 66
Chapter 66

04:34


Chapter 67
Chapter 67

06:27


Chapter 68
Chapter 68

06:26


Chapter 69
Chapter 69

06:59


Chapter 70
Chapter 70

06:58


Chapter 71
Chapter 71

06:36


Chapter 72
Chapter 72

06:37


Chapter 73
Chapter 73

06:44


Chapter 74
Chapter 74

06:57


Chapter 75
Chapter 75

06:26


Chapter 76
Chapter 76

06:49


Chapter 77
Chapter 77

00:32