Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America by Barbara Ehrenreich
This is an excellent overview of how positive thinking without a firm grounding in reality can have negative and even disastrous consequences. Ehrenreich discusses how she was ostracized for not adopting a positive attitude during her battle with cancer. We learn that having a positive outcome appears to have no effect on mortality time lines. The patient might feel better, but will not live longer. From there, there is a history of how American’s love of positivity came to be, a sharp criticism of The Secret, the business world and its motivational speakers that are spewing so much emptiness, the problems with religions and positive, and then a critique of the positive psychology movement. Ehrenreich isn’t anti-happiness or against positivity, just the kind that doesn’t have a grounding in the facts of the world and the real consequences of actions. For those interested in a popular examination of the positivity movement in the United States, this book will bear happy fruit. Personally, I found it mostly superfluous save the examination of the positive psychology movement.