Ellen'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
Dec 31, 2009

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bookshelves: non-fiction

I found this book disappointing. I agree with Ehrenreich that the "positive thinking" movement is a load of malarky, and I found her arguments about the harm that positive thinking does in business world and in the prosperity gospel movement to be convincing. But the section on breast cancer patients really turned me off. I think it's true that patients should be allowed to deal with cancer in their own ways and not be shunned or ostracized for being angry or upset about their disease. I also agree that harping on patients that having a negative attitude can physically harm you just gives the something else to feel bad about in a pretty crappy situation. But seriously, Ms. Ehrenreich, is it so bad for cancer patients to come to see the good in their experiences and to make the best of terrible situations? Reading such a dismissive account of people's attempts to view their illness in a positive light made me feel very uncomfortable, like I was kicking someone who was already down.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Candice (new)

Candice Interesting review. I was thinking of reading this. I guess I still will read it, but I'm glad to know a little more about what's in it.

Kathy Sarlog I agree with your comment. For those suffering from cancer, one of the few variables that can be controlled is outlook.

Katie Thanks for putting into words regarding "kicking folks when they're already down" (along those lines). I felt like there was some bitterness that undermined her arguments most notably in this chapter.

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