Barbara Ehrenreich: How Positive Thinking Undermines America

THU, OCT 15, 2009 (38:37)

Journalist and activist Barbara Ehrenreich discusses her book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. She shares how her own experience dealing with breast cancer showed her that the dogma of the positive thinking movement can lead to individual self-blame, and how institutional disregard for possible negative outcomes led to the national housing crisis. Americans have a singular capacity for glossing over hardships with exhortations to “look on the bright side.” The oft-prescribed power of positive thinking is certainly capable of altering our outlooks, but as Ehrenreich argues in her new book, this is not entirely for the better. This is Ehrenreich at her provocative best–poking holes in conventional wisdom and faux science, and calling for existential clarity and courage.

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