Reddit Reddit reviews Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America

We found 22 Reddit comments about Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

Health, Fitness & Dieting
Psychology & Counseling
Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America
Picador USA
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22 Reddit comments about Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America:

u/endtimesranter · 14 pointsr/collapse

At this very moment? I just ask because happiness is an emotion. A temporary state like the rest of the emotions (except for the severely depressed). The idea that one could live in some permanent state of happiness is a relatively new one and has been highly exploited by the self help industrial complex. It's a fucking joke. It's also used as a means of control. Not happy - there MUST be something wrong with you. Try, pills, new diet, pop psychology books, counselling, yoga, gym membership, watch lots of Oprah, go to a Tony Robbins performance, watch 87 TED Talks, a new car-house-soda-detergent-more-more more-buy-buy-buy your way to happiness. It's a fucking treadmill. Why not take the same tack but swap out the emotion? "How silly are you?" "How playful are you?" "How bored are you?" "How whatever are you?". Would you expect to be in a permanent or even near permanent state of one of those emotions? No so why happiness? The idea of happiness/always positive has been used to control the gullible and bleed them financially. I'll tell you one thing scientifically- evoloution don't give two fucks about happiness. Surviving and breeding/pass the genes.


Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America

"In this utterly original debunking, Barbara Ehrenreich confronts the false promises of positive thinking and shows its reach into every corner of American life, from Evangelical megachurches to the medical establishment, and, worst of all, to the business community, where the refusal to consider negative outcomes--like mortgage defaults--contributed directly to the current economic disaster. With the myth-busting powers for which she is acclaimed, Ehrenreich exposes the downside of positive thinking: personal self-blame and national denial. This is Ehrenreich at her provocative best--poking holes in conventional wisdom and faux science and ending with a call for existential clarity and courage."


Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World by Barbara Ehrenreich
Jenni Murray salutes a long-overdue demolition of the suggestion that positive thinking is the answer to all our problems


Anyone who is superpositivehappy at this point is either totally ignorant retard or a sadomasochist on the global scale. OR like me they just don't give a shit most of the time and see humans for the tragic absurdity they are. I know I am ranting, but what can I say? It make me happy:) If anyone ain't happy about it all I can say is FUCK YA

u/adverthrowaway · 10 pointsr/AskReddit

Read it knowing that you're not learning how to make friends or become influential. There's a reason we don't walk around saying that you've won a new friend.

This is a book about how to manipulate people. I mean hell, the guy changed his name from "Carnagey" to "Carnegie" to ride the coattails of Andrew Carnegie. His tips largely include feigning interest in people, pretending to have similar interests in order to be seen in their favor, and thinking "positively" despite how you actually feel.

I'm not trying to say the content isn't valuable in situations where being liked will get you ahead, just that if you follow the rules verbatim for your daily life you're potentially following the path to become a somewhat vapid person without a very strong sense of self.

After reading his book, do yourself a favor and read Bright-Sided.

u/SillySladar · 7 pointsr/AdviceAnimals

For those that would like to read more of the same thing from a professional writer please read

Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream

Which describes in exacting detail his exact situation.

And for those that think his attitude is the problem please read.

Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America

And then go fuck yourself.

u/winnie_the_slayer · 7 pointsr/JordanPeterson

Peterson is missing the elephant in the room, IMO. The real enemy is not neo-marxism, it is neo-calvinism. Barbara Ehrenreich wrote about this to some extent, and I think it is culturally in America's collective blindspot. Here I am defining neocalvinism as the idea that "work will set you free," or similarly "work will get you to heaven." JBP pushes this as "sort yourself out."

Notice that JBP never talks about Wilhelm Reich or his ideas. Adam Curtis covered this issue in the century of the self. Reich wrote a book The Mass Psychology of Fascism which, in a nutshell, talks about how fascism/authoritarianism is a fear-driven attack on sexuality. Notice how in US politics, since the cultural/sexual changes in America driven by them damn librul hippies on the left, the right has gone increasingly more insane, fanatical, disconnected from reality, authoritarian, and violent.

JBP's solutions to psychological troubles are usually about establishing more order through willful action and understanding. This is one version of "work will set you free." Notice the nazis had "arbeit macht frei" (the same phrase in German) at the gates of Auschwitz. Thanks to folks like Peter Levine,Lowen,Perls,etc., the psychotherapy world is now understanding the neurobiological underpinnings of the phrase "lose your mind and come to your senses." JBP once stated that catharsis does not heal old wounds, coming to understand what happened is what heals. That is the basis for his self authoring suite. The problem there is that the catharsis piece is necessary, as that brings memory fragments from the hippocampus into consciousness in the frontal cortex. See Bessel van der Kolk's The Body Keeps the Score.

The point of all this is that JBP seems to be politically and ideologically on the right, as are his followers. Notice how he attracts Trump supporters, far right types, nazis, etc. He disowns the nazis but doesn't seem to try to understand why this happens. The nature of his work is repressive of vulnerability, of existential terror of mortality, of sexuality and spontaneity.

Notice how the right believes so much in rugged individualism, "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," "I'm not responsible for my fellow americans because everyone should be personally responsible for themselves." Humans don't work that way, humans are social, our nervous systems respond to other people's pain whether we are conscious of that or blocking it, we need social contact. "Sorting oneself out" requires a positive relationship with another person (see Carl Rogers, object-relations theory, Allen Schore, etc) yet JBP and his followers seem to think they can think their way out of this by themselves, and that any particular "truth" is more important than getting along with others. Using "the truth" as a cudgel to attack/berate others is a particular pattern that Freud would have recognized, and seems common among JBP and his followers.

u/thandirosa · 3 pointsr/whatsthatbook

That was enough. It's Bright-sided.

Thanks! It's solved.

u/marbleavengers · 3 pointsr/infertility

Here's an Amazon link for those interested. Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America. Also check your public library because they probably have it. I am not exaggerating when I say this book completely changed the way I see the world and our particular moment in history. It's strange because it's all right in front of us but I hadn't had the right lens or vocabulary to see or discuss it.

u/classicrando · 3 pointsr/TwoXChromosomes

> but that doesn't justify unconscious bias.

Thank you, I get so tired of people justifying base instinctual behavior and "reactions". Personal and social evolution is about awareness of unconscious biases and trying to resist falling into them. The studies on attractiveness are nauseating - the reddit meme of

  1. be atttractive
  2. don't be unattractive
    is borne out.

    As a "professional" I try to fight any urge to relate a person's appearance or demeanor to their competence. I remind my teams of the same.
    The book "Brightsided" points out another level of this problem:

    I try to remind people, we are not hiring into a social club or interviewing for 'positive', enthusiastic people who will fit our corporate culture well. We are looking for people who are good at their job - tie wearing white guy, tattooed hipster chick, whatever. If a person wants to let her ass/boobs/piercings hang out at work, great. If she wants to take a break and 'hoop' in front of a bunch of male coworkers, great. If she is a programmer she should be judged on the quality of code she checks in and the ideas she brings during discussions. Judging "professional attire" is a slippery slope to judging people based on their looks and attractiveness and/or personality - maybe we won't get past that for mate selection (as evidenced by some of the okcupid studies among others) but we damn well should try as hard as we can for non-mating activities if we want to claim to be an enlightened society.

    LinkedIn is a step backwards in recruiting and hiring, photos were against the law for good reason (and we understand that better now).

    I never understood how tech people, who are supposed to be logical and were often shunned and bullied for being "different" have fallen into the irrational world of 'professional attire'. For Christ sake, we should all start wearing bowler hats again, because that was really professional attire. argh!
u/Steeltrap666 · 3 pointsr/misanthropy

Is it just me, or does he bear a distinct resemblance to Gonzo from the Muppets?

In all seriousness, on the topic of self-help and the whole BS "positivity" movement, I highly recommend the book "Bright-Sided" by Barbara Ehrenreich:

Here's an excellent taste of her perspective, also amusingly illustrated:

u/fivehundredpoundpeep · 3 pointsr/raisedbynarcissists

I am sick of the focus on positivity everywhere. I have rich jerks tell me how "negative' I am while I'm the one standing at the food pantry and with severe health problems. America is going down the tubes with the glad handers and be positive crap. Read this book:

My family would abuse me and then call me negative for being depressed. I have almost ended up on the streets and lost everything and my health so I am sick of the jerks, who always tell me youre not positive enough.

I am happier and more positive being away from those idiots.

I also have decided too I am not going to let anyone tell me what to feel anymore.

u/swimsurf · 3 pointsr/GetMotivated

You, my friend, need to read Brightsided. This whole "positive thinking" movement and "faked happiness" thing is complete bullshit. You need to get to the root of your problems and issues and get the help that you truly need.

Positive thinking is basically deluding yourself and hiding away from your problems.

u/nuclearqtip · 3 pointsr/depression

Sorry. That's a really shitty attitude from your brother.

I just read a really good book called Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America. It outlines how positive thinking is just as much a delusion as negative thinking. Neither one is rooted in reality. The non-stop message that "you're only having problems because your attitude is problematic" is rooted in a very old post-Calvinistic belief called New Thought (in short, physical reality could be influenced by thinking). These days there's SO much buy-in to the positivity movement, that people actually refuse to believe that some problems require more than just a "fresh new outlook". The denial is staggering. It's everywhere.

The point is, positive thinking like he's promoting is stupid because it ignores reality. The way that you escape depression is not with positive thinking, but rather a realistic approach. Take account of all the things that are good in your life, AND all the things that are not so good. Work on changing the things you can, and work on accepting the things you can't. Place a bigger emphasis on making plans and following through, rather than this inwards-facing "this doesn't feel right, my outlook must be at fault" approach. And above all, avoid the temptation to label yourself "success" or "failure" based on how you feel.

Depression is a real bitch. And people who have this "silver-lining" approach have obviously never had it. There are no benefits. There's no gain. And recognizing that is crucial, because once you accept that fact, you realize the only direction is up. That's not to say what you feel is unimportant, it is. Just be sure to recognize the difference between "this is what I feel" and "this is reality". Your brother lives on one side of the delusional spectrum. Your depression usually makes it really easy fall on the opposite end of that spectrum. Critically examine what you feel, ask yourself which parts are real, which parts aren't, and what you can realistically do to address it. Ask yourself which steps you can take to make life easier. To make it more survivable. Maybe that just means finding someone to talk to about it who's capable of showing a little empathy. And when the next wave of depression hits (as it usually does), try to ride the wave knowing it's just a feeling, and that this time you've got the tools and the preparation needed to realistically deal with it.

u/PusswhipBanggang · 2 pointsr/howtonotgiveafuck

I think giving a fuck is the main source of pain, no matter if things are good or bad. When things are bad, people agnonise over it to an extreme degree which just entrenches the problems. When things are good, people become fearful and defensive because they're scared that things will go bad, which leads people to agonise over their life in the same way as when things are bad. I think the main problem is that people experience life and cling to it too intensely. Not giving a fuck is standing back and having a healthy objective perspective.

Western society constantly shoves the idea of positive thinking down everyones throat, if things are bad you just gotta contort your attitudes to fit a fake ideal, and if things are good you gotta keep that positive steam train running full tilt, no matter if you're headed for a cliff. Positive Thinking is exactly the kind of delusional bullshit that Not Giving a Fuck is supposed to resolve. This subreddit is getting hijacked by well meaning people who don't really understand that.

A thorough debunking of the Positive Thinking mind virus: Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America by Barbara Ehrenreich

u/hotxbun · 2 pointsr/business

No, but I did read an interesting book that would likely be a critique of The Secret's ideology, Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America. Not anything heavy, but she brings up a lot of good points that we see in our everyday corporate-generated pop culture.

u/thefifthinvictus · 2 pointsr/FanFiction

Unless it's something of depth, I feel the same way. Unpopular opinion incoming ...

Since the overwhelming and loud opinion in the dominant fandom culture has been successful in dictating that one is only allowed to praise a fic (and its author) without providing any kind of non-positive feedback (neutral, negative, or even just thought provoking), many readers (at least the ones I know and converse with, which are most of my friends) don't feel the need to provide any feedback anymore. That is why we don't bother with more that a click of a kudo anymore. It has become very disingenuous.

Before people jump all over me about these words (as people usually do), I highly recommend reading Bright-sided, for some interesting takes on the negative and unforeseen outcomes of forced positivity on a community.

u/perkyN405 · 2 pointsr/politics

Excellent point. To me, aside from raw nationalism, a huge factor in this dynamic is that people are taught to put happy spins on things.

Author Barbara Ehrenreich covers this dynamic in an amazingly thorough way in her book "Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America".

u/ziddina · 1 pointr/exjw

>The main thing is the laws of attraction you attract what you are .

Uhm, you might want to read "Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America" by Barbara Ehrenreich.

I'm reading it right now & although I enjoy "positive thinking" videos, I can see how a person might become out-of-touch with reality (the feel-good gurus, not you) if all they do is try to think themselves into riches, a big home, etc.

u/GovernorOdious · 1 pointr/AskReddit

You should read Bright Sided. It's an entire book about how corporate double think is undermining America.

u/RedRaspberry · 1 pointr/loseit

> So how come nobody ever told me "madeleine, you're incredibly fat. you're not shaped like a human being. what this means is that you will NEVER integrate into society, in terms of either love or work, because no one wants to look at you, touch you, or be around you"?

Social conditioning. People are taught, and a semi-strict code of enforcement occurs, to be ultra-positive and to not tell blunt truths -- even if they are true.

Barbara Ehrenreich went so far as to write a book about how this type of mindless positive-spin lying goes on in the US, "Bright Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America". It's this same dynamic at work at a personal level.

u/ShesSoInky · 1 pointr/beta

I think you're lost.

But while we're here I am going to recommend you read Bright-Sided so you can get a better, more well rounded idea of how the world works and what makes things happen and gets goals achieved. Spoiler alert: the whole "positive thinking" thing isn't it!

u/rapidsight · -4 pointsr/web_design

Omg, that's the stupidest thing I've read all day. Let me refer you to this book: Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America

Negative/critical thinking is the foundation of human intelligence.