May 16, 11
Read in May, 2011
Bright-Sided has a terrific introduction about the history and influence of positive thinking in our culture. Ehrenreich's writing is always clear, well-supported and interesting but I was surprised how engaged I got in her argument that positive thinking is too often a mindless, childish whitewash over the reality of nature and our culture. She cites measures of happiness that place Americans way down the list although we work so hard at the happiness business. She wrote a terrific chapter about how positive thinking moved back and forth between the business world and the “new Christian” churches. Lots of folks were getting rich and telling others it was just a matter of “attitude.” Toward the end of the book she explored the connection between positive thinking and the last recession caused by the mortgage crisis as people believed they could take out unrealistic loans and everything would be okay. The last chapter addressed her final reflections, the best was: what we need is more critical thinking (hard questions) instead of a sugar coated un-realistic thinking.