Monday, June 26, 2017

Bright-Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich

Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined AmericaBright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I appreciated her critique of the positive-thinking culture in culture and business. I find the former irritating and the latter oppressive. The research shows that pessimists make the best attorneys. I've always suspected that would be true in a number of other fields where anticipating and averting disaster would be beneficial to a cheery facade. But the demands on sick people to be positive and even to pray are exhausting. What are we to make of how we've treated both the most positive and religious people who die from cancer- not to mention the grumps and atheists we tortured with this advice right to the grave? I agree with the premise that there is a sinister intersect of religion, magic and the corporate world in all this victim-blaming.

That said, I think Ehrenreich wasn't very fair to the scientific study of happiness and positive psychology. (Says the person who is obsessed with Jonathan Haidt and his books.)

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