Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Positive Power Of Negative Thinking” as Want to Read:
The Positive Power Of Negative Thinking
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Positive Power Of Negative Thinking

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  155 ratings  ·  17 reviews
How often are we urged to "look on the bright side"? From Norman Vincent Peale to the ubiquitous smiley face, optimism has become an essential part of American society. In this long-overdue book, psychologist Julie Norem offers convincing evidence that, for many people, positive thinking is an ineffective strategy -- and often an obstacle -- for successfully coping with th ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published September 5th 2002 by Basic Books (first published 2001)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Positive Power Of Negative Thinking, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Positive Power Of Negative Thinking

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  155 ratings  ·  17 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Positive Power Of Negative Thinking
Daniel Petra
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Most of us are familiar and we have probably utilized the following strategy at least sometimes:
"Hope for the best and prepare for the worst!" This book deals with one of my favorite paradoxes.
On the one hand, I consider myself to be a very optimistic person. On the other hand I like to be realistic and prudent and I do want to be ready for the worst ... just in case. This book has been extremely validating and empowering for me because it has helped me to overcome any guilt that I may have felt
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. This is a really excellent overview of “defensive pessimism,” which was a new concept for me. This is largely descriptive, and generally explains that defensive pessimism is a strategy some people use (unconsciously, sometimes) to manage their anxiety. This strategy is quite different than the prevailing “positivism” approach, so many comparisons are made between those two very different styles. This book is extremely well written and organized. It did seem to end a tad abruptly, but ...more
Mohammad alshakhas
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is my third reading for this book ,
This book changed my life and save my soul !!!
Pessimists are continually told they should try to be optimistic. What if however pessimism is hard wired, and for those people trying to be optimists doesn't work, but actually makes things worse. Julie Norem contends that there are defensive pessimists who actually benefit from their pessimism. Rather than trying to become constructive optimists, they need to embrace and make the most of their pessimism. I was about three quarters of the way through the book when I left it on a plane flight to ...more
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Most people fall into negative thinking traits that are hard to break through sometimes. However, being aware of those thoughts is essential to overcoming the self-negative talk and turn the cards into your side. I liked the phrase "self-handicappers" which used to describe how the person is its own self-ideology. To free ourselves from this negative thinking one should turn the defensive perspective into action to improve. Solutions could be wrong sometimes, but it would cost less to spend time ...more
Apr 11, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was a bit of a slog until chapter 8, when it really all came together. I feel that there's a lot to relate to in here, especially if a person takes the quiz within and identifies as a defensive pessimist. It might be hard to get an optimist to read this book, but at least there's comfort knowing that us defensive pessimists are not alone in the world. It's going on my bookshelf to read again in a few years; it will be interesting to see if my strategies have changed at all.
Aug 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Most of the times what you have to do is accept what you are either a negative pessimist or a strategic optimist out anything else. The book has a point. We mostly consider pessimists as a negative thing that we need to change. Maybe not our maybe yes. You just need to accept first.
Μαρία Ηλιάδου
Ένα εντελώς διαφορετικό βιβλίο από τα συνηθισμένα που μας ωθούν να τα βλέπουμε όλα θετικά! Μου άρεσε που διάβασα μια άλλη οπτική και βρήκα τον εαυτό μου σε πολλά σημεία.
Dec 03, 2010 rated it liked it
In The Positive Power of Negative Thinking, author Julie Norem compares defensive pessimism---a strategy for managing existing anxiety by identifying and addressing possible negative outcomes before undertaking an endeavor---with its counterpart, strategic optimism---a strategy used by people with low baseline levels of anxiety to relax before a big event and avoid triggering anxious feelings. Both strategies, Norem contends, can optimize performance for different personalities in different situ ...more
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Leí este libro porque lo mencionaba David Rakoff en su fascinante Half empty. Se trata de una defensa del pesimismo frente a la dictadura omnipresente del pensamiento positivo. Norem contrapone a los optimistas estratégicos (aquellos que evitan la ansiedad pensando que todo va a estar bien y confiando que "sobre la marcha" las cosas se solucionan) a los pesimistas defensivos (aquellos que imaginan todo tipo de catástrofes por anticipado y planifican con anticipación para evitarlas), y afirma que ...more
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: very-best-books
Great book! This book expands the dichotomy of optimism and pessimism, to include a gray area of "defensive pessimists" whose realistic perspectives on the world/future are often misunderstood. It also helps those who fall in the category to no longer squelch their world view but rather embrace and use it to increase personal success. I definitely related to this book and I highly recommend it!
Beth Perry-cantrell
Quite a relief for anxiety sufferers!
Jun 07, 2013 rated it liked it
I definitely liked the premise. Lots of advantages to thinking this way, anticipating failure modes helps preparedness.
Jul 29, 2013 rated it liked it
The style was too self-helpy for me, but I'd definitely describe myself as a defensive pessimist whose constant consideration of the worst-case scenario destroys personal relationships.
Aug 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: self-help
boo. not at all what I thought it would be about.
Indiana Cano
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is my bible!
Sharon Jones
Oct 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody who suffers from anxiety
Recommended to Sharon by: A Friend
Great read - I was on a long flight and just burned through it cover to cover. Easy to read and great insights to understanding how to channel your anxiety for good instead of evil.
lauren garcia
rated it liked it
Mar 06, 2015
rated it liked it
Jun 15, 2015
rated it really liked it
Feb 13, 2012
rated it did not like it
Jun 02, 2009
rated it it was amazing
Nov 04, 2019
rated it liked it
Mar 11, 2016
rated it really liked it
Sep 30, 2014
rated it really liked it
Dec 12, 2016
Mary Lou
rated it it was ok
Feb 15, 2016
rated it it was amazing
May 21, 2014
Eric Blommel
rated it really liked it
Jul 22, 2014
rated it really liked it
May 31, 2010
rated it really liked it
Nov 26, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Ask Daniel Petra: "Hope for the best and prepare for the worst!" 1 1 Apr 26, 2016 01:15PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Dhammapada
  • Ayn Rand's Anthem: The Graphic Novel
  • صيدلية النفس
  • 日本語総まとめ N2 文法
  • Tarantula
  • Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, The Little Book of Lykke, Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living
  • العالم كما أراه
  • It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle
  • The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth
  • Survival in Auschwitz
  • The Day That Turns Your Life Around
  • Τρελαντώνης
  • How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships
  • Whale Done!: The Power of Positive Relationships
  • Eat That Frog! Action Workbook: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
  • A Practical Guide to Self-Hypnosis
  • Pnin
  • Night Boat to Tangier
See similar books…

Related Articles

For more than a decade, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the world-renowned astrophysicist and host of the popular radio and Emmy-nominated...
79 likes · 13 comments
“In fact, being able to tolerate negative feelings can be crucial to a wide variety of life situations: delaying gratification, learning from bad experiences, truly hearing what other people have to say, and assessing our own circumstances, risks, and opportunities.” 2 likes
“Being able to tolerate negative feelings can be crucial to a wide variety of life situations: delaying gratification, learning from bad experiences, truly hearing what other people have to say, and assessing our own circumstances.” 1 likes
More quotes…