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Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America (Englisch) Audio-CD – Audiobook, 13. Oktober 2009

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“Deeply satisfying. . . I have waited my whole life for someone to write a book like Bright-sided.” ―The New York Times Book Review

“A brilliant exposé of our smiley-faced culture.” ―Forbes.com

“Insightful, smart, and witty. . . Ehrenreich makes important points about what happens to those who dare to warn of the worst.” ―BusinessWeek

“Ehrenreich's examination of the history of positive thinking is a tour de force of well-tempered snark, culminating in a persuasive indictment of the bright-siders as the culprits in our current financial mess.” ―The Washington Post

Bright-sided scours away the veneer of conventional wisdom with pointed writings and reporting. . . . Helping us face the truth is Ehrenreich at her best.” ―The Miami Herald

“Contrarians rejoice! With a refreshingly caustic tone, Barbara Ehrenreich takes on the relentlessly upbeat attitude many Americans demand of themselves, and more damagingly, of others.” ―USA Today

“A rousing endorsement of skepticism, realism, and critical thinking.” ―San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Ehrenreich delivers her indictments of the happiness industry with both authority and wit. . . . Bright-sided offers both a welcome tonic and a call to action--and a blessed relief from all those smiley faces.” ―The Plain Dealer

“Precisely crafted, hard-hitting. . . analysis of the national mass fantasy of wishful thinking ” ―The Dallas Morning News

“Relentless and persuasive. . . In a voice urgent and passionate, Ehrenreich offers us neither extreme [between positive thinking and being a spoilsport] but instead balance: joy, happiness, yes; sadness, anger, yes. She favors life with a clear head, eyes wide open.” ―San Francisco Chronicle

“Ehrenreich reprises her role as Dorothy swishing back the curtain on a great and powerful given.” ―The Oregonian

“A message that deserves to be heard.” ―Jezebel

“Gleefully pops the positive-thinking bubble. . . Amazingly, she'll make you laugh, albeit ruefully, as she presents how society's relentless focus on being upbeat has eroded our ability to ask--and heed--the kind of uncomfortable questions that could have fended off economic disaster.” ―FastCompany.com

“Ehrenreich convinced me completely. . . I hesitate to say anything so positive as that this book will change the way you see absolutely everything; but it just might.” ―Nora Ephron, The Daily Beast

“Ehrenreich delivers a trenchant look into the burgeoning business of positive thinking.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Bright, incisive, provocative thinking from a top-notch nonfiction writer.” ―Kirkus, starred review

“Wide-ranging and stinging look at the pervasiveness of positive thinking. . .” ―Booklist, starred review

“We're always being told that looking on the bright side is good for us, but now we see that it's a great way to brush off poverty, disease, and unemployment, to rationalize an order where all the rewards go to those on top. The people who are sick or jobless--why, they just aren't thinking positively. They have no one to blame but themselves. Barbara Ehrenreich has put the menace of positive thinking under the microscope. Anyone who's ever been told to brighten up needs to read this book.” ―Thomas Frank, author of The Wrecking Crew and What's the Matter with Kansas?

“Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil: please read this relentlessly sensible book. It's never too late to begin thinking clearly.” ―Frederick Crews, author of Follies of the Wise: Dissenting Essays

“Barbara Ehrenreich's skeptical common sense is just what we need to penetrate the cloying fog that passes for happiness in America.” ―Alan Wolfe, author of The Future of Liberalism

“In this hilarious and devastating critique, Barbara Ehrenreich applies some much needed negativity to the zillion-dollar business of positive thinking. This is truly a text for the times.” ―Katha Pollitt, author of The Mind-Body Problem: Poems

“Unless you keep on saying that you believe in fairies, Tinker Bell will check out, and what's more, her sad demise will be your fault! Barbara Ehrenreich scores again for the independent-minded in resisting this drool and all those who wallow in it.” ―Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

“In this hard-hitting but honest appraisal, America's cultural skeptic Barbara Ehrenreich turns her focus on the muddled American phenomenon of positive thinking. She exposes the pseudoscience and pseudointellectual foundation of the positive-thinking movement for what it is: a house of cards. This is a mind-opening read.” ―Michael Shermer, author of Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time

“Once again, Barbara Ehrenreich has written an invaluable and timely book, offering a brilliant analysis of the causes and dimensions of our current cultural and economic crises. She shows how deeply positive thinking is embedded in our history and how crippling it is as a habit of mind.” ―Thomas Bender, author of A Nation Among Nations: America's Place in World History

-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Barbara Ehrenreich is the bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch, Bright-sided, This Land Is Their Land, Dancing in the Streets and Blood Rites, among others. A frequent contributor to Harper's and The Nation, she has also been a columnist at The New York Times and Time magazine. She is the winner of the L.A. Times Book Prize for Current Interest and ALA Notable Books for Nonfiction.
Ehrenreich was born in Butte, Montana, when it was still a bustling mining town. She studied physics at Reed College, and earned a Ph.D. in cell biology from Rockefeller University. Rather than going into laboratory work, she got involved in activism, and soon devoted herself to writing her innovative journalism. She lives and works in Florida.

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I have been reading english books a long time but first time I found out that it is possible to order two books with different names and get exactly the same book. Namely Smile or die and Bright sided. Not nice !
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x96368c30) von 5 Sternen 227 Rezensionen
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HASH(0x9637b858) von 5 Sternen Ehrenreich attacks "the cult of cheefulness" 21. Oktober 2009
Von S. McGee - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Barbara Ehrenreich is not the kind of person you're likely to find brandishing a sign reading "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade"; you're more likely to find her picketing the vendors, demanding a more varied and tasty supply of fruit. If you're thinking of picking up any of her books, be prepared for Ehrenreich's typical trenchant and skeptical (but never cynical attitude to be applied to whatever topic she's tackling. In this case, that is the whole universe of the phenomenon known as positive thinking, which she debunks with gusto and flair.

In the past, Ehrenreich has sometimes gone out to encounter her stories; in this case, the subject for her book came to her, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and found herself uncomfortably sharing her new world with people so eager to put a positive spin on a horrible phenomena that even women facing a terminal diagnosis were bullied into labeling themselves breast cancer "survivors", since 'victim' was simply too negative a word to be used. Dissenting from this perspective is a kind of treason, she writes, and apt to provoke the professionally-sunny tempered to suggest that she somehow earned the cancer by not being upbeat enough. More important than her personal observations and experiences, however, are the broader conclusions she draws from this experience. "The effect of all this positive thinking is to transform breast cancer into a rite of passage," she writes, "not an injustice or a tragedy to rail against but a normal marker in the life cycle, like menopause or grandmotherhood."

That's the important message of this book -- that by being relentlessly upbeat (to the point of becoming self-delusional) we miss out on what is authentic. Although neither a scientist or theologian, she is competent enough on both fronts to debunk the 'positive thinking' industry's fuzzy arguments based on quantum physics (she points out the gaping scientific flaws in the pseudo-scientific comments) and to point out how little the message of positive thinking 'pastor-preneurs' like Joel Osteen has to do with the uncomfortable core message of Christianity, which revolves around sacrifice and service to others, not wealth and feeling good about oneself. Indeed, the thread that runs throughout this book (although it's not as explicitly developed as it could have been) is that the positive thinking movement is essentially a very selfish one. Positive thinking is all about oneself: I am good at what I do, my worth will be recognized, I will receive all the wonderful things -- money, love and tangible goods -- that I desire; all with the subtext of a sense of entitlement. As Ehrenreich points out, the focus is never on others, or on broader society. "Other people are not there to be nurtured or to provide unwelcome reality checks. They are there only to nourish, praise, and affirm."

The problem with this blithe approach is that sometimes, ignoring reality can be dangerous. I became self-employed seven years ago, and know first-hand the importance of putting forward my most upbeat, can-do attitude when talking to potential employers, and the need not to be downcast when people say 'no'. On the other hand, simply being cheery, upbeat and entitled, isn't the answer, either; I need to be aware of the reasons people are saying no (it's not that I'm not upbeat enough; it may be that my skills aren't up to date or the proposal I presented didn't measure up). Ehrenreich tackles the real-world problems this attitude creates for all of us with her timely look at the impact of positive thinking as a contributor to the subprime mortgage debacle and the subsequent credit crunch; she hits the nail squarely on the head when she points out how the positive thinking-inspired sense of entitlement helped convince homebuyers or homeowners to take out mortgages that sober, realistic second thought should have told them they couldn't afford, while throughout the financial system, those providing the capital that fueled the credit bubble were equally susceptible to such magical thinking and focused on the short-term positives rather than the long-term risks.

While Ehrenreich's goal is to sound the alarm rather than provide counter-nostrums, she does urge us all, collectively, to step back and think about our lives and the society in which we live in realistic rather than idealistically selfish ways. She emphasizes the importance of critical thinking, which requires skepticism, and points out that most human advancement stems from that; at the same time, she makes a plea for us to step back from focusing on ourselves and what we want to our society and what it needs.

This is more uneven than some of Ehrenreich's books. At its best -- when she is making careful and well-reasoned points about the need to be realistic rather than draw smiley faces all the time -- this is an excellent book. (Do we really want airplane pilots who fail to plan for what might go wrong because that would be negative thinking? She doesn't mention Sully Sullenberger's name, but it's hard to escape the analogy.) She also points out the extent to which Americans delude themselves about their real position, and what that means, and introduces some data points likely to shock anyone willing to pay attention, such as the fact that while we prize the ideal of social mobility and assume (positive thinking at work again!) that it's there for us to grab if only we work hard enough at it, the French, the Scandinavians, the Germans and the Canadians are all more likely in fact to move upward from their socio-economic position at birth than we are. I would have been more impressed with the book, however, had Ehrenreich been able to distinguish between those who want to wear blinkers to screen out unpleasant realities and those who simply want a return to civility in public discourse. (After finishing this, I ran an errand and watched as someone bumped into another person on the sidewalk, and turned and verbally abused the person he had just nearly knocked over, screaming and shouting -- and this was a well-dressed individual.) Those who would like a civil 'civil society' may use some of the same language, but they're not advocating 'positive thinking' at all costs, just good manners.

In some cases, the arguments repeat those Ehrenreich has made in her previous books, notably the excellent Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, in which Ehrenreich spent many months living exactly the same lives as America's working poor, doing the same jobs they do and trying to make ends meet without s safety net. That stands as her tour de force for me, since she reported the lives led by people on the margins not as an outsider looking in, but as someone living that experience herself -- it's a five-star book that Ehrenreich draws on heavily for those parts of Bright-Sided that deal with job losses, employment laws, etc.

The various strands that make up this book -- the positive-thinking brand of Christianity, the wishful thinking in the subprime meltdown, etc. -- are none of them new or surprising to anyone who has been keeping up with essay-length articles in publications like the Atlantic, Harper's or The New York Times Magazine (among others). What Ehrenreich does here is pull those strands together and provide a framework for thinking about them as part of a trend that may be dangerous to our society in the long run. I'd recommend this to anyone as an intriguing read, although I strongly suspect that few of those she's hoping to reach will listen. They are more likely to criticize her for not thinking positively about the world -- if she did, I can almost hear them say, society would be so much better...
411 von 435 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9637be40) von 5 Sternen The dark side of positive thinking 13. Oktober 2009
Von Todd Bartholomew - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
With "Bright-Sided" Barbara Ehrenreich delivers the same sharp assessments she delivered in Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America and Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream, in this case a trenchant look into America's obsession with presenting a "positive" image at all times and at all costs. Spurred by her own reaction to a bout of breast cancer Ehrenreich came face-to-face with the near obsessive culture of positivity, which led to her questioning not only what purpose it serves, but how it came to exist. While Americans like to project a "positive" cheerful, optimistic and upbeat image we seldom reflect on why our culture insists upon this particular norm. Ehrenreich traces the origins of this "cult of optimism" from its origins in 19th Century American life up to the present prevalence of the "gospel of prosperity" in churches, "positive psychology" and the "science of happiness" in academia and in literature. Ehrenreich points out it is most pervasively rooted in business culture where the refusal to deal with negativity (potential and real) has resulted in a rash of negative outcomes, from the S&L crisis of the 1980s/1990s to the current mortgage led economic downturn. As with "Nickel and Dimed" Ehrenreich revels in not just mythbusting but in exploring corners of society seldom plumbed or contemplated. For Ehrenreich this lack of introspection and dealing with negativity in an appropriate manner has led us individually and as a society to "irrational exuberance" and now near disaster. Ehrenreich is at her best poking fun at the pseudo-science of positivity and poking holes in positivist theory.

Obviously Ehrenreich isn't for everyone and certain some people who insist on positivity in their lives will simply refuse to read such a potentially negative book. But Ehrenreich isn't a "negative Nelly" as some would fear; she's speaking truth-to-power and to a certain extent satirizing society. She seeks to question why we are so relentlessly positive, even when that positivity is unwarranted, and to get us to see what the true cost is when we are too accepting and nowhere near critical enough. It you set aside your preconceived notions about positivity and positivism you might just find this a richly rewarding book!
284 von 306 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x961a3324) von 5 Sternen an important book 15. Oktober 2009
Von Christopher Locke - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Ehrenreich makes the point (and it can't be made too often) that the Law of Attraction, as promulgated via such works of irrationalist pseudoscience as The Secret and the books of Esther and Jerry Hicks, has the down-side effect of making out-of-work, poor, sick, and otherwise "unlucky" people responsible for their own condition. She tells how Rhonda Byrne (The Secret) opined that tsunami victims had attracted their own misfortune. Ehrenreich also spells out how convenient this "philosophy" is to the greed heads that have lately been so busy raping America and the global economy. Don't revolt, don't complain, it's all your own fault.

She covers how Emerson and the Transcendentalists attempted to break free from the toxic effects of Calvinism on early American life, but how that attempt got sidetracked into New Thought (Phineas Quimby, Mary Baker Eddy, etc), with its increasingly laser-like focus on "prosperity" and get-rich-quick schemes. The scholarship that went into this intellectual/cultural history is impressive. Closer to present time, she unpacks how many evangelical mega-churches have leveraged this new, and very un-Christian, gospel in the style of huckster marketeers and predatory CEOs. But my favorite is the number she does on Martin Seligman and his "Positive Psychology" boondoggle. This isn't just a good book, it's an important one and much needed. I hope it will shape attitudes and change minds.
78 von 83 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x961a36f0) von 5 Sternen A needed book 24. Oktober 2009
Von Adrienne - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
A lot of folks either are so invested in their own personal universe where they get all the ice cream and cake they want or they heard what the book was about, read the dust-jacket and decided they knew what was in the book. This is an important book, along the same lines and for much the same reasons as Susan Jacoby's "The Age of American Unreason", Charles Pierce's "Idiot America" or Wendy Kaminer's "Sleeping with Extra-terrestials". What I found so wonderful about the book is the way she calls out the purveyor's of various misunderstood bastardizations of quantum theory for missing the whole point and for the hypocritical way they use and discard science as it is rhetorically convenient. What's more, she is spot on that this is a worldview that, no matter how fuzzy, soft, kind and gentle it tries to make itself out to be is ultimately selfish, harsh and, dare I say, callous.

I say this as someone who was a practitioner, in the 80's and very early 90's, of just this kind of thinking. I read Shakti Gawain and Starhawk. I clutched my crystals and thought to 'attract to myself' all the things that I thought I deserved or wanted. What made the difference, however, was not wishing the Universe to deliver but going out and *doing* something about my life. Ultimately, that deep encounter with reality made me a more compassionate person. What's more, although my introduction to QM was through New Age books, the more I read, the more intrigued I became and then when I actually started to read some *actual* material written by people who *actually* spent their adult lifetimes studying QM I found a theory that was, in reality, far more elegant and beautiful than the people who invoke it to give their fantasies a patina of scientific legitimacy.

If you have practiced 'The Secret' and wondered why, for instance, you still need your glasses, or have been bothered by the question, that none of these New Age gurus or boosters ever care to entertain, about what possible thing a little girl whose parents never came home from their jobs at the World Trade Center did to 'attract' being an orphan to herself, read this book. Even if you are deeply enmeshed in this philosophy--maybe, perhaps, particularly if you are enmeshed in it--read this book.

Her exposition on people avoiding the news was particularly sobering because I know a lot of folks who avoid the news and yet what little they know of it they feel qualified to comment upon--they hated George Bush but couldn't really tell you the first thing about what was wrong with his policies. Opposed both the war in Iraq and Afghanistan for no adequately explored reason.

Not a shiny, happy book but a very necessary book.
72 von 78 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x961a37d4) von 5 Sternen Positive Thinking, Or, Class-Conflict by Another Name 14. November 2009
Von Jon Morris - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This is the first book I have read by Ehrenreich, though I have known of her for years and share many of her political proclivities. She is the sort of cultural critic that one will associate with Noam Chomsky or "Alternative Radio." Unfortunately, this book never really rises above its politics, and one cannot help but suspect that Ehrenreich is essentially preaching to the choir.

Ehrenreich's writing style is accessible and witty, and I found myself laughing aloud on several occasions, but this was because I tend to share her views, not because her arguments were particularly well constructed or the information enlightening. Yes: positive thinking is ubiquitous in America. Yes: it has had a deleterious effect on our economy and perhaps on our culture at large. But this much I knew before getting into the book; all the book does is confirm my suspicions, and this is perhaps what makes it suitable for fans, but not for a more general audience.

The most engaging chapter is the third, where Ehrenreich traces the development of positive thinking to the evolution of American religious beliefs. Would that there were more chapters like this! Instead, most of the book sticks to the standard leftist arguments: positive thinking is Conservative vs. Liberal, Religious vs. Secular---with some perfunctory exceptions granted. This is worth noting, of course, but I wish that the book had been more comprehensive.

For example, how can a book on positive thinking not mention the Stoic philosophers of antiquity whose influence was felt not only on Christianity but also upon the Founding Fathers? Stoicism was born of an epoch of crisis and doubt, so why not consider how the cultural context of the Stoics was similar to our own?

While the book is about the way in which Positive Thinking has undermined America in particular, wouldn't a chapter with a cross-cultural perspective highlight the fact? How are trends different in Europe or in Asia? What sets the tone in the European or Asian workplace? What is expected of an entry-level worker or a middle-manager there? It seems to me that a comparison of this sort would at least give the reader a better idea of the degree to which American culture has forsaken reality for the comforting illusion found in positive thinking.

Finally, why is there no chapter on the pernicious effect that positive thinking is having on education, where No Child Left Behind has come to mean that every student can be an Honors student -- all they have to do is wish hard enough or have a teacher that is positive enough to make it (magically) happen for them!? Positive thinking in education has come to mean that every composition gets a gold star, that every artwork will win a prize, and that every student will pass the standardized test with a 90 or above. Woe to the teacher or parent who (negatively) suspects otherwise.

The scourge of positive thinking has infected every facet of American culture but, sadly, Ehrenreich's book neglects or ignores much of this, reducing the phenomenon to yet another example of class conflict. Readers who are sympathetic to Ehrenreich's politics and liberal agenda will find the book an amusing confirmation of what they believe. But I fear that anyone who does not will find little to sway them here. For the more literary-minded I would suggest Eric G. Wilson's Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy; it, too, is a short book that challenges American optimism, but as a manifesto in praise of melancholy, it is (paradoxically) more narrowly focused and richer in ideas.
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