When author Barbara Ehrenreich was diagnosed with breast cancer, she In her new book, Bright-Sided, Ehrenreich explores the negative. Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed) delivers a trenchant look into the burgeoning business of positive Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. Barbara Ehrenreich, Author. Barbara Ehrenreich’s examination of the history of positive thinking is a tour de force of well-tempered snark,culminating in a persuasive.

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Who would be churlish or disaffected enough to challenge brigt happy features of the American personality? Even God plays only a supporting role, and by no means an indispensable one, in the Osteens’ universe.

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

Return to Book Page. She gives a history of positive thinking in America, as a reaction to Calvinism–but not the oppostive of it, more an extension of it, one that still requires constant self-examination, discipline, and strictness.

If Deepak and Coelho are your heroes, you need to read and get annoyed by this book. But there’s a place for believing you’re just as entitled as anyone else to give life a go.

Why aren’t you thinking positively enough?!!?!

So read this book. Jan 18, Carmen rated it liked it Recommends it for: A negative self-image will prevent you from even having a go, and who knows what you might miss out on in life. The other bit of this book that is very disturbing is where she continues the theme she started in Bait and Switch: Leadership at the top is so insulated from the bottom, that they move in bubbles. I remember two in particular. Oh, and it’s not “cheating” if the kids are hiding their spoons under the table with both hands as they try to bend them.


Knowing that you will never have all that you want, that even if you get what you want you will want more, the obvious solution is to stop basing your happiness on an exterior view of your life. Now, here is where things got confusing for me.

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The saddest fact in the book is when she points out that the great American myth, the myth that allows the obscenely wealthy to gorge and pillage and to wallow in their wealth with impunity, is somewhat worse then mere exaggeration, ehrenrech is quite simply a lie. He wouldn’t be dissuaded and insisted he was plugged into the abundance of the universe.

Fellow sufferers insisted that without a positive attitude she was unlikely to beat her cancer; one even pointed her towards counseling when she admitted she was angry that more was not being done to identify and eradicate environmental carcinogens.

I enjoyed this book. I don’t want to see any goddamn pink for the rest of my life. It just may take a little time, because theirs seems to be a forgetful God, who has to be ‘reminded’ of his promises, Joel told us. Reading this wonderful book reminded me — I met a man some years ago, a plumber and victim of the economic catastrophe, whose house was in foreclosure.

She hates pink and she definitely doesn’t ehrdnreich any fucking teddy bears. This is to be found in politics, commerce, religion, kindergarten, and just about everywhere in all our social dealings.

Indeed, wisdom tells us that any extremes, of any kind, and in any direction, is bad for us. Hurrah for realism however bleak and a pox on the blindness of optimism. However, as I say, I broadly agree with her. He fixeth my speeding tickets, he secureth me a good table in the restaurant, he leadeth me to book contracts.


Nobody wants to be negative! Furthermore, things began to go wrong in a way that suggested that positive thinking might not guarantee success after all, that it might in fact dim our ability to slded off real threats.

If you want it hard enough, if you think about it excessively, the thing you want money, job, love, etc. In my opinion, the book is worth reading for the breast cancer and theology part alone – whether you skip the other chapters or just skim them is your own affair.

View all 4 comments. Religion has changed in the last 20 years. It’s really telling that Joel Osteen doesn’t come across in this book nearly as bad as the author herself. I’ve spent the last few years deprogramming myself from these kinds of ideas and feel much happier now that I am no longer afraid of my own random thoughts and can experience the full range of emotions without the fear that doing so will briggt screw up my life.

Focus on what you want, in other words, and eventually, after many importunings, God will give it to you