Kathryn's Reviews > Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America

Bright-Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich
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's review
Oct 24, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: nonfiction
Read from January 16 to 18, 2010

Summary: Barbara Ehrenreich has never been hugged...

I'm sorry, Barbara Ehrenreich thinks that positive thinking is ruining our country. It denies people their genuine emotions and convinces them that they can do things just with their mind. Wait, I'm sorry, is that what she said? I'm still not sure because her logic was all over the place.

Review: Obviously I can't give an impartial summary, largely because this book was more poorly argued than my senior thesis....and I wasn't a very bright college student. In fairness, her first chapter makes sense, it is important, when confronted with a life-changing or difficult situation that you first allow yourself time to grieve, but wallowing in self-pity won't get you anywhere -- grieve first, Barbara, and then rise above and believe that you can make a difference. Beyond that, this book isn't worth the paper on which it is written. Ehrenreich makes semantic leaps like, companies give you motivational posters and therefore, "think of it as a massive experiment in mind control" (116). Also, she decides that Joel Osteen's "enemy" is "negative thinking" because she never hears him say the word "devil". She hears him say things like "The enemy says your problems are too big, there's no hope; God says He will solve those problems." While, I'm not a big fan of Joel Osteen myself, it seems like a pretty clear parallel to the devil. Plus, checking his website with a simple search returns the word devil, in the same context, "What the devil is really after is your joy." So, I'm not sure where Ehrenreich is getting her important information or her logical leaps from, but wherever it is, its not worth reading. But, if you ever see Barbara Ehrenreich on the street, please give her a hug, or say a prayer for her, because clearly, she could use some more positive thinking in her own life.
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