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The Positive Power Of Negative Thinking [Paperback]

Julie Norem
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Through individual case studies, Norem (psychology, Wellesley Coll.) here demonstrates her case for "defensive pessimism" as an effective tool for managing one's anxiety. For example, by imagining all of the worst-case scenarios, a speaker prepares better for a speech. Norem has developed a questionnaire to help readers determine whether they use defensive pessimism or strategic optimism (believing things will work out for the best) in daily life. She goes further to explain that much of the positive self-concept information preached since the 1980s is unrealistic and illusory. While admitting that defensive pessimism annoys other people, Norem argues that the strategy helps those who are anxious to curb their emotions and get moving toward their goals. Norem has published in Self, Men's Health, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, but her style here more resembles that of an academic journal article. Further, her arguments are not convincing. Of marginal value for academic libraries. Lisa Wise, Broome Cty. P.L., Binghamton, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

What would Norman Vincent Peale say? If Wellesley psychologist and professor Norem had her druthers, Mr. Positive Thinking, after reading her arguments and 18-year research results, would probably agree that negativism has its place. As a method to cope with anxiety, the construct of negative pessimism--setting low expectations, then reviewing and planning for all possible outcomes--certainly wins out over drugs and alcohol, as it does over two less visible anxiety-handling strategies: avoidance and selfhandicapping (unconsciously providing oneself with performance excuses, such as disorganization and procrastination, that will be less incriminating if situations go awry). In the author's helpful guide, disguised case histories help readers see the very real possibilities inherent in strategic optimism and its opposite--and ways to avoid clashes between these two personalities. Enlightening, if not energizing, to those anxiety-prone among us. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Julie K. Norem, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychology at Wellesley College. Her work on defensive pessimism has been cited in the New York Times, SELF, the Washington Post, Men's Health, McCall's, and American Health. She lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
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