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Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America First Edition Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This audio is a perfect antidote for anyone fed up with the power of positive thinking and all its attendant pink ribbons, smiley faces, and injunctions to have a nice day! Ehrenreich explores how medical, academic, and business gurus persuade the public that wishing, done in the right way, can make things happen. The section on the history of positive thinking that probes Calvinism and Max Weber is less original. Kate Reading hits all the right notes in conveying the author's humor, sarcasm, scientifically backed conclusions, and curmudgeonly insights. Her pace is brisk, and she captures the witty wonder of this book. A Metropolitan hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 10). (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
No critic completely dismissed Ehrenreich's critique of America's "happiness" culture. But reviewers' enthusiasm for her critique seemed to depend on their assessment of the book's moral urgency. Several critics felt that the message of Bright-Sided was essential to readers in the aftermath of last year's economic meltdown. But others felt that Ehrenreich's ideas, while relevant, had been better expressed by others. They also criticized the author for "cheap shots" and outdated research. For example, she criticizes the book Who Moved My Cheese?, which has long been superseded by other, even sillier titles. But many readers may react like Hanna Rosin, who wrote in the New York Times Book Review that even when she did not agree with Ehrenreich's arguments, she felt less guilty about not sharing in our smiley :-) culture. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
The author takes us through history with both wit and intelligence. She obviously has a bias but, to me, she does extremely well keeping it in check most of the time.
I've actually been thinking about this kind of thing a lot lately and I'm glad someone has taken the time to research it and write about it. Some may say I am falling prey to the confirmation bias but no more so than the people who believe that "thoughts are things" and that they can manifest a life of unlimited wealth and health just by visualizing it and thinking positively about it.
It's a definite "must read" if you've been trying to vibrate at the right frequency or think the right thoughts to make your life the idyllic wonderland most motivational gurus want you to believe.
Tackling the cult of positive thinking might seem like a mighty negative thing to do, but to the contrary Ehrenreich shows the way in which a dose of realism can in fact be a form of self (and other) acceptance.
The book covers a surprising amount of ground, linking seemingly disparate subject matter to form a series of compelling arguments. I found particularly fascinating the role of religion in forming what has today been passed off as various forms of science.
In a self-help driven culture rarely so self-reflective, Ehrenreich's work shines like a candle in an otherwise dark room.
What I don't like about this book is that through faint praise it appears to discount the benefits of a positive outlook. But I wholeheartedly agree that separating "positiveness" that's genuine and ideally, reality-based, from manipulation, coercion or layoff justification (which I view as similar to holocaust denial) is a tough thing to do.
In the end, maybe Bright-Sided goes a little overboard in its attempt to counter so much nonsense and hold those responsible accountable. But that doesn't make it any less accurate or the anger less justified. For something a bit lighter and laugh out loud funny (for those who get it) may I reccomend E. L. Kersten's, The Art Of Demotivation.
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