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

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

ISBN13: 9780805087499
ISBN10: 0805087494
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Review-A-Day

"'Flapdoodle', crows Ehrenreich, and the fun begins. Like flying monkeys tearing apart the Scarecrow, she shreds theories based on quantum physics (neuronal impulses are far too large to be influenced by quantum effects), magnetism (the magnetic properties of thought are swamped by competing magnetisms — like the Earth's!), and magic (pay no attention to that man behind the curtain)." Kassten Alonso, the Oregonian (read the entire Oregonian review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed) delivers a trenchant look into the burgeoning business of positive thinking. A bout with breast cancer puts the author face to face with this new breed of frenetic positive thinking promoted by everyone from scientists to gurus and activists. Chided for her anger and distress by doctors and fellow cancer patients and survivors, Ehrenreich explores the insistence upon optimism as a cultural and national trait, discovering its 'symbiotic relationship with American capitalism' and how poverty, obesity, unemployment and relationship problems are being marketed as obstacles that can be overcome with the right (read: positive) mindset. Building on Max Weber's insights into the relationship between Calvinism and capitalism, Ehrenreich sees the dark roots of positive thinking emerging from 19th-century religious movements. Mary Baker Eddy, William James and Norman Vincent Peale paved the path for today's secular $9.6 billion self-improvement industry and positive psychology institutes. The author concludes by suggesting that the bungled invasion of Iraq and current economic mess may be intricately tied to this 'reckless' national penchant for self-delusion and a lack of anxious vigilance, necessary to societal survival." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"[A] tour de force of well-tempered snark, culminating in a persuasive indictment of the bright-siders as the culprits in our current financial mess." Washington Post

Review:

"Bright, incisive, provocative thinking from a top-notch nonfiction writer." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Wide-ranging and stinging look at the pervasiveness of positive thinking..." Booklist (starred review)

Review:

"In this hilarious and devastating critique, Barbara Ehrenreich applies some much needed negativity to the zillion-dollar business of positive thinking. This is truly a text for the times." Katha Pollitt, author of The Mind-Body Problem: Poems

Synopsis:

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; on a national level, it's ushered in an era of irrational optimism resulting in disaster. This is Ehrenreich at her provocative best.

Synopsis:

A sharp-witted knockdown of Americas love affair with positive thinking and an urgent call for a new commitment to realism.

Synopsis:

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

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.

Synopsis:

A sharp-witted knockdown of Americas 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 Americas 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, its 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.

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of numerous books, including Dancing in the Streets and The New York Times bestsellers Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch. A frequent contributor to Harpers and The Nation, she has also been a columnist at The New York Times and Time magazine.

In Bright-sided, Barbara Ehrenreich reveals how the positive thinking movement, though seemingly harmless, has in fact deluded America and played a role in some of the most destructive events in recent U.S. history. Far from just a “healthy mindset,” bright-siding is an epidemic of self-deception that has spread to all circles of American life, from preachers who celebrate the power of prayer, to doctors who promote optimisms healing abilities. It led officials to overlook clues of 9/11 and overestimate the strength of New Orleans levees, and enabled the business world to make egregiously unsafe loans that caused the worst financial crisis since World War II. Ehrenreich exposes the consequences of the belief that positive thinking is the key to achieving success and prosperity—a notion which, at its most dangerous, prevents people from even considering the negative outcomes of major events or their own actions. 

“In this hard-hitting but honest appraisal, Americas cultural skeptic Barbara Ehrenreich turns her focus on the muddled American phenomenon of positive thinking. She exposes the pseudoscience and pseudointellectual foundation of the positive-thinking movement for what it is: a house of cards. This is a mind-opening read.”—Michael Shermer, author of Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time
“We're always beingtold that looking on the bright side is good for us, but now we see that it's a great way to brush off poverty, disease, and unemployment, to rationalize an order where all the rewards go to those on top. The people who are sick or jobless—why, they just aren't thinking positively. They have no one to blame but themselves. Barbara Ehrenreich has put the menace of positive thinking under the microscope. Anyone who's ever been told to brighten up needs to read this book.”—Thomas Frank, author of The Wrecking Crew and What's the Matter with Kansas?
 
“Unless you keep on saying that you believe in fairies, Tinker Bell will check out, and whats more, her sad demise will be your fault! Barbara Ehrenreich scores again for the independent-minded in resisting this drool and all those who wallow in it.”—Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
 
“In this hard-hitting but honest appraisal, Americas cultural skeptic Barbara Ehrenreich turns her focus on the muddled American phenomenon of positive thinking. She exposes the pseudoscience and pseudointellectual foundation of the positive-thinking movement for what it is: a house of cards. This is a mind-opening read.”—Michael Shermer, author of Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time
 
“Once again, Barbara Ehrenreich has written an invaluable and timely book, offering a brilliant analysis of the causes and dimensions of our current cultural and economic crises. She shows how deeply positive thinking is embedded in our history and how crippling it is as a habit of mind.”—Thomas Bender, author of A Nation Among Nations: Americas Place in World History

“Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil: please read this relentlessly sensible book. Its never too late to begin thinking clearly.”—Frederick Crews, author of Follies of the Wise: Dissenting Essays

 
“Barbara Ehrenreichs skeptical common sense is just what we need to penetrate the cloying fog that passes for happiness in America.”—Alan Wolfe, author of The Future of Liberalism
 
“In this hilarious and devastating critique, Barbara Ehrenreich applies some much needed negativity to the zillion-dollar business of positive thinking. This is truly a text for the times.”—Katha Pollitt, author of The Mind-Body Problem: Poems
 
"Ehrenreich convinced me completely. . . I hesitate to say anything so positive as that this book will change the way you see absolutely everything; but it just might."—Nora Ephron, The Daily Beast

"Accomplished social critic Ehrenreich eviscerates the positive-thinking movement, which she blames for encouraging us to 'deny reality, submit cheerfully to misfortune, and blame only ourselves for our fate.' The author argues that the promotion of unwarranted optimism began in the early days of the American republic, was taken up by 19th-century philosophers and mystics—William James urged people to repeat to themselves 'Youth, health, vigor!' while dressing in the morning—and entered the American mainstream in the 20th century, when it became an integral part of consumer culture. Ehrenreich's quarrel is not with feeling upbeat but rather with the 'inescapable pseudoscientific flapdoodle' of life coaches and self-improvement products claiming that thinking positively will result in wealth, success and other joyful outcomes. Such magical thinking has become a means of social control in the workplace—where uncheerful employees are ostracized—and prevents action to achieve social change. With life coaches, business motivators and evangelical preachers promoting delusional expectations . . . positive thinking can claim partial credit for a major role in such recent disastrous events as the Iraq war and the financial meltdown. Ehrenreich's many interviews include meetings with psychologist Martin Seligman, whose 'positive psychology,' she finds, offers little credible evidence to make it any different from the wishing-will-make-it-so thinking of writers from Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends & Influence People) to Rhonda Byrne (The Secret). The author's tough-minded and convincing broadside raises troubling questions about many aspects of contemporary American life, and she provides an antidote to the pervasive culture of cheerfulness—reality-based critical thinking that will encourage people to alter social arrangements in ways that improve their lives. Bright, incisive, provocative thinking from a top-notch nonfiction writer."—Kirkus Reviews

"Ehrenreich delivers a trenchant look into the burgeoning business of positive thinking. A bout with breast cancer puts the author face to face with this new breed of frenetic positive thinking promoted by everyone from scientists to gurus and activists. Chided for her anger and distress by doctors and fellow cancer patients and survivors, Ehrenreich explores the insistence upon optimism as a cultural and national trait, discovering its 'symbiotic relationship with American capitalism' and how poverty, obesity, unemployment and relationship problems are being marketed as obstacles that can be overcome with the right (read: positive) mindset. Building on Max Weber's insights into the relationship between Calvinism and capitalism, Ehrenreich sees the dark roots of positive thinking emerging from 19th-century religious movements. Mary Baker Eddy, William James and Norman Vincent Peale paved the path for today's secular $9.6 billion self-improvement industry and positive psychology institutes. The author concludes by suggesting that the bungled invasion of Iraq and current economic mess may be intricately tied to this 'reckless' national penchant for self-delusion and a lack of anxious vigilance, necessary to societal survival."—Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of fourteen books, including This Land Is Their Land and the New York Times-bestsellers Bait and Switch and Fear of Falling. A frequent contributor to Harper’s and the Nation, she has also been a columnist at the New York Times and Time magazine.

Table of Contents

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

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Lara Gardner, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by Lara Gardner)
An excellent examination of "positive-thinking" in this country. It shows how constant positive thinking teaches us to ignore reality and causes us to blame ourselves when things go wrong--things that are often caused by systemic problems in society--with the result that no one questions or tries to fix these ills. This is a great book and one that should be read by all.
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(6 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805087499
Author:
Ehrenreich, Barbara
Publisher:
Metropolitan Books
Author:
Reading, Kate
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Success in business -- United States.
Subject:
Happiness - United States
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
General
Subject:
Customs
Subject:
Traditions
Subject:
Customs & Traditions
Subject:
anthropology;cultural anthropology
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20091031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
6 CDs, 8 hours
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.26 x 5.5 x 0.67 in

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
History and Social Science » American Studies » 80s to Present
History and Social Science » American Studies » General
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Sociology » American Studies
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Metropolitan Books - English 9780805087499 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed) delivers a trenchant look into the burgeoning business of positive thinking. A bout with breast cancer puts the author face to face with this new breed of frenetic positive thinking promoted by everyone from scientists to gurus and activists. Chided for her anger and distress by doctors and fellow cancer patients and survivors, Ehrenreich explores the insistence upon optimism as a cultural and national trait, discovering its 'symbiotic relationship with American capitalism' and how poverty, obesity, unemployment and relationship problems are being marketed as obstacles that can be overcome with the right (read: positive) mindset. Building on Max Weber's insights into the relationship between Calvinism and capitalism, Ehrenreich sees the dark roots of positive thinking emerging from 19th-century religious movements. Mary Baker Eddy, William James and Norman Vincent Peale paved the path for today's secular $9.6 billion self-improvement industry and positive psychology institutes. The author concludes by suggesting that the bungled invasion of Iraq and current economic mess may be intricately tied to this 'reckless' national penchant for self-delusion and a lack of anxious vigilance, necessary to societal survival." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "'Flapdoodle', crows Ehrenreich, and the fun begins. Like flying monkeys tearing apart the Scarecrow, she shreds theories based on quantum physics (neuronal impulses are far too large to be influenced by quantum effects), magnetism (the magnetic properties of thought are swamped by competing magnetisms — like the Earth's!), and magic (pay no attention to that man behind the curtain)." (read the entire Oregonian review)
"Review" by , "[A] tour de force of well-tempered snark, culminating in a persuasive indictment of the bright-siders as the culprits in our current financial mess."
"Review" by , "Bright, incisive, provocative thinking from a top-notch nonfiction writer."
"Review" by , "Wide-ranging and stinging look at the pervasiveness of positive thinking..." (starred review)
"Review" by , "In this hilarious and devastating critique, Barbara Ehrenreich applies some much needed negativity to the zillion-dollar business of positive thinking. This is truly a text for the times."
"Synopsis" by , 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; on a national level, it's ushered in an era of irrational optimism resulting in disaster. This is Ehrenreich at her provocative best.
"Synopsis" by ,
A sharp-witted knockdown of Americas love affair with positive thinking and an urgent call for a new commitment to realism.
"Synopsis" by , A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

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.

"Synopsis" by , A sharp-witted knockdown of Americas 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 Americas 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, its 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.

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of numerous books, including Dancing in the Streets and The New York Times bestsellers Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch. A frequent contributor to Harpers and The Nation, she has also been a columnist at The New York Times and Time magazine.

In Bright-sided, Barbara Ehrenreich reveals how the positive thinking movement, though seemingly harmless, has in fact deluded America and played a role in some of the most destructive events in recent U.S. history. Far from just a “healthy mindset,” bright-siding is an epidemic of self-deception that has spread to all circles of American life, from preachers who celebrate the power of prayer, to doctors who promote optimisms healing abilities. It led officials to overlook clues of 9/11 and overestimate the strength of New Orleans levees, and enabled the business world to make egregiously unsafe loans that caused the worst financial crisis since World War II. Ehrenreich exposes the consequences of the belief that positive thinking is the key to achieving success and prosperity—a notion which, at its most dangerous, prevents people from even considering the negative outcomes of major events or their own actions. 

“In this hard-hitting but honest appraisal, Americas cultural skeptic Barbara Ehrenreich turns her focus on the muddled American phenomenon of positive thinking. She exposes the pseudoscience and pseudointellectual foundation of the positive-thinking movement for what it is: a house of cards. This is a mind-opening read.”—Michael Shermer, author of Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time
“We're always beingtold that looking on the bright side is good for us, but now we see that it's a great way to brush off poverty, disease, and unemployment, to rationalize an order where all the rewards go to those on top. The people who are sick or jobless—why, they just aren't thinking positively. They have no one to blame but themselves. Barbara Ehrenreich has put the menace of positive thinking under the microscope. Anyone who's ever been told to brighten up needs to read this book.”—Thomas Frank, author of The Wrecking Crew and What's the Matter with Kansas?
 
“Unless you keep on saying that you believe in fairies, Tinker Bell will check out, and whats more, her sad demise will be your fault! Barbara Ehrenreich scores again for the independent-minded in resisting this drool and all those who wallow in it.”—Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
 
“In this hard-hitting but honest appraisal, Americas cultural skeptic Barbara Ehrenreich turns her focus on the muddled American phenomenon of positive thinking. She exposes the pseudoscience and pseudointellectual foundation of the positive-thinking movement for what it is: a house of cards. This is a mind-opening read.”—Michael Shermer, author of Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time
 
“Once again, Barbara Ehrenreich has written an invaluable and timely book, offering a brilliant analysis of the causes and dimensions of our current cultural and economic crises. She shows how deeply positive thinking is embedded in our history and how crippling it is as a habit of mind.”—Thomas Bender, author of A Nation Among Nations: Americas Place in World History

“Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil: please read this relentlessly sensible book. Its never too late to begin thinking clearly.”—Frederick Crews, author of Follies of the Wise: Dissenting Essays

 
“Barbara Ehrenreichs skeptical common sense is just what we need to penetrate the cloying fog that passes for happiness in America.”—Alan Wolfe, author of The Future of Liberalism
 
“In this hilarious and devastating critique, Barbara Ehrenreich applies some much needed negativity to the zillion-dollar business of positive thinking. This is truly a text for the times.”—Katha Pollitt, author of The Mind-Body Problem: Poems
 
"Ehrenreich convinced me completely. . . I hesitate to say anything so positive as that this book will change the way you see absolutely everything; but it just might."—Nora Ephron, The Daily Beast

"Accomplished social critic Ehrenreich eviscerates the positive-thinking movement, which she blames for encouraging us to 'deny reality, submit cheerfully to misfortune, and blame only ourselves for our fate.' The author argues that the promotion of unwarranted optimism began in the early days of the American republic, was taken up by 19th-century philosophers and mystics—William James urged people to repeat to themselves 'Youth, health, vigor!' while dressing in the morning—and entered the American mainstream in the 20th century, when it became an integral part of consumer culture. Ehrenreich's quarrel is not with feeling upbeat but rather with the 'inescapable pseudoscientific flapdoodle' of life coaches and self-improvement products claiming that thinking positively will result in wealth, success and other joyful outcomes. Such magical thinking has become a means of social control in the workplace—where uncheerful employees are ostracized—and prevents action to achieve social change. With life coaches, business motivators and evangelical preachers promoting delusional expectations . . . positive thinking can claim partial credit for a major role in such recent disastrous events as the Iraq war and the financial meltdown. Ehrenreich's many interviews include meetings with psychologist Martin Seligman, whose 'positive psychology,' she finds, offers little credible evidence to make it any different from the wishing-will-make-it-so thinking of writers from Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends & Influence People) to Rhonda Byrne (The Secret). The author's tough-minded and convincing broadside raises troubling questions about many aspects of contemporary American life, and she provides an antidote to the pervasive culture of cheerfulness—reality-based critical thinking that will encourage people to alter social arrangements in ways that improve their lives. Bright, incisive, provocative thinking from a top-notch nonfiction writer."—Kirkus Reviews

"Ehrenreich delivers a trenchant look into the burgeoning business of positive thinking. A bout with breast cancer puts the author face to face with this new breed of frenetic positive thinking promoted by everyone from scientists to gurus and activists. Chided for her anger and distress by doctors and fellow cancer patients and survivors, Ehrenreich explores the insistence upon optimism as a cultural and national trait, discovering its 'symbiotic relationship with American capitalism' and how poverty, obesity, unemployment and relationship problems are being marketed as obstacles that can be overcome with the right (read: positive) mindset. Building on Max Weber's insights into the relationship between Calvinism and capitalism, Ehrenreich sees the dark roots of positive thinking emerging from 19th-century religious movements. Mary Baker Eddy, William James and Norman Vincent Peale paved the path for today's secular $9.6 billion self-improvement industry and positive psychology institutes. The author concludes by suggesting that the bungled invasion of Iraq and current economic mess may be intricately tied to this 'reckless' national penchant for self-delusion and a lack of anxious vigilance, necessary to societal survival."—Publishers Weekly

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