Friday, Sep. 04, 2009

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

Oprah Winfrey. Smiley faces. Joel Osteen. Motivational speakers. These are just a few of the hyper-happy things that set Nickel and Dimed author Barbara Ehrenreich's teeth on edge. In Bright-Sided, Ehrenreich describes the national insistence on positive thinking as a "mass delusion." As a breast-cancer survivor, she has a particular ax to grind against a "pink ribbon culture" that believes in the healing effect of a positive attitude. "Cheerfulness is required," scowls Ehrenreich, "dissent a kind of treason." And if we're so damn happy, she asks, why do Americans account for two-thirds of the global market for antidepressants? Her solution: less forced gaiety, more realism.