Bright-sided

How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America

Author: Barbara Ehrenreich

Publisher: Metropolitan Books

ISBN: 1429942533

Category: Social Science

Page: 256

View: 7928

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A sharp-witted knockdown of America's love affair with positive thinking and an urgent call for a new commitment to realism Americans are a "positive" people—cheerful, optimistic, and upbeat: this is our reputation as well as our self-image. But more than a temperament, being positive, we are told, is the key to success and prosperity. In this utterly original take on the American frame of mind, Barbara Ehrenreich traces the strange career of our sunny outlook from its origins as a marginal nineteenth-century healing technique to its enshrinement as a dominant, almost mandatory, cultural attitude. Evangelical mega-churches preach the good news that you only have to want something to get it, because God wants to "prosper" you. The medical profession prescribes positive thinking for its presumed health benefits. Academia has made room for new departments of "positive psychology" and the "science of happiness." Nowhere, though, has bright-siding taken firmer root than within the business community, where, as Ehrenreich shows, the refusal even to consider negative outcomes—like mortgage defaults—contributed directly to the current economic crisis. With the mythbusting powers for which she is acclaimed, Ehrenreich exposes the downside of America's penchant for positive thinking: On a personal level, it leads to self-blame and a morbid preoccupation with stamping out "negative" thoughts. On a national level, it's brought us an era of irrational optimism resulting in disaster. 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.

Bright-sided

How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America

Author: Barbara Ehrenreich

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 0805087494

Category: Psychology

Page: 235

View: 7442

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Exposes the downside of America's penchant for positive thinking, which the author believes leads to self-blame and a preoccupation with stamping out "negative" thoughts on a personal level, and, on a national level, has brought on economic disaster.

Smile Or Die

How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World

Author: Barbara Ehrenreich

Publisher: Granta Books

ISBN: 1847081738

Category: Social Science

Page: 235

View: 8998

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A brilliant, savagely funny attack on the cult of positive thinking - Ehrenreich's most commercial book since Nickel and Dimed.

Bait and Switch

The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream

Author: Barbara Ehrenreich

Publisher: Metropolitan Books

ISBN: 9781429915700

Category: Political Science

Page: 256

View: 5515

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The bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed goes back undercover to do for America's ailing middle class what she did for the working poor Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed explored the lives of low-wage workers. Now, in Bait and Switch, she enters another hidden realm of the economy: the shadowy world of the white-collar unemployed. Armed with a plausible résumé of a professional "in transition," she attempts to land a middle-class job—undergoing career coaching and personality testing, then trawling a series of EST-like boot camps, job fairs, networking events, and evangelical job-search ministries. She gets an image makeover, works to project a winning attitude, yet is proselytized, scammed, lectured, and—again and again—rejected. Bait and Switch highlights the people who've done everything right—gotten college degrees, developed marketable skills, and built up impressive résumés—yet have become repeatedly vulnerable to financial disaster, and not simply due to the vagaries of the business cycle. Today's ultra-lean corporations take pride in shedding their "surplus" employees—plunging them, for months or years at a stretch, into the twilight zone of white-collar unemployment, where job searching becomes a full-time job in itself. As Ehrenreich discovers, there are few social supports for these newly disposable workers—and little security even for those who have jobs. Like the now classic Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch is alternately hilarious and tragic, a searing exposé of economic cruelty where we least expect it.

Nickel and Dimed

On (Not) Getting By in America

Author: Barbara Ehrenreich

Publisher: Metropolitan Books

ISBN: 9781429926645

Category: Social Science

Page: 224

View: 1617

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Our sharpest and most original social critic goes "undercover" as an unskilled worker to reveal the dark side of American prosperity. Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job -- any job -- can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing-home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She lived in trailer parks and crumbling residential motels. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you int to live indoors. Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom. You will never see anything -- from a motel bathroom to a restaurant meal -- in quite the same way again.

Natural Causes

An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer

Author: Barbara Ehrenreich

Publisher: Twelve

ISBN: 1455535885

Category: Social Science

Page: 256

View: 9702

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A New York Times bestseller! From the celebrated author of Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich explores how we are killing ourselves to live longer, not better. A razor-sharp polemic which offers an entirely new understanding of our bodies, ourselves, and our place in the universe, NATURAL CAUSES describes how we over-prepare and worry way too much about what is inevitable. One by one, Ehrenreich topples the shibboleths that guide our attempts to live a long, healthy life -- from the importance of preventive medical screenings to the concepts of wellness and mindfulness, from dietary fads to fitness culture. But NATURAL CAUSES goes deeper -- into the fundamental unreliability of our bodies and even our "mind-bodies," to use the fashionable term. Starting with the mysterious and seldom-acknowledged tendency of our own immune cells to promote deadly cancers, Ehrenreich looks into the cellular basis of aging, and shows how little control we actually have over it. We tend to believe we have agency over our bodies, our minds, and even over the manner of our deaths. But the latest science shows that the microscopic subunits of our bodies make their own "decisions," and not always in our favor. We may buy expensive anti-aging products or cosmetic surgery, get preventive screenings and eat more kale, or throw ourselves into meditation and spirituality. But all these things offer only the illusion of control. How to live well, even joyously, while accepting our mortality -- that is the vitally important philosophical challenge of this book. Drawing on varied sources, from personal experience and sociological trends to pop culture and current scientific literature, NATURAL CAUSES examines the ways in which we obsess over death, our bodies, and our health. Both funny and caustic, Ehrenreich then tackles the seemingly unsolvable problem of how we might better prepare ourselves for the end -- while still reveling in the lives that remain to us.

Sham

How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless

Author: Steve Salerno

Publisher: Crown Forum

ISBN: 1400054109

Category: Self-Help

Page: 273

View: 5735

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A critique of the self-help movement assesses the pervasive damage that it has done to every aspect of American society, explaining how the notion of victimization has blurred the concept of personal responsibility and right and wrong, and how the idea of empowerment teaches that the belief that we can do something is more important than developing the skills to accomplish the task. Reprint. 20,000 first printing.

Dancing in the Streets

A History of Collective Joy

Author: Barbara Ehrenreich

Publisher: Metropolitan Books

ISBN: 9781429904650

Category: History

Page: 336

View: 4954

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From the bestselling social commentator and cultural historian, a fascinating exploration of one of humanity's oldest traditions: the celebration of communal joy In the acclaimed Blood Rites, Barbara Ehrenreich delved into the origins of our species' attraction to war. Here, she explores the opposite impulse, one that has been so effectively suppressed that we lack even a term for it: the desire for collective joy, historically expressed in ecstatic revels of feasting, costuming, and dancing. Ehrenreich uncovers the origins of communal celebration in human biology and culture. Although sixteenth-century Europeans viewed mass festivities as foreign and "savage," Ehrenreich shows that they were indigenous to the West, from the ancient Greeks' worship of Dionysus to the medieval practice of Christianity as a "danced religion." Ultimately, church officials drove the festivities into the streets, the prelude to widespread reformation: Protestants criminalized carnival, Wahhabist Muslims battled ecstatic Sufism, European colonizers wiped out native dance rites. The elites' fear that such gatherings would undermine social hierarchies was justified: the festive tradition inspired French revolutionary crowds and uprisings from the Caribbean to the American plains. Yet outbreaks of group revelry persist, as Ehrenreich shows, pointing to the 1960s rock-and-roll rebellion and the more recent "carnivalization" of sports. Original, exhilarating, and deeply optimistic, Dancing in the Streets concludes that we are innately social beings, impelled to share our joy and therefore able to envision, even create, a more peaceable future.

The Antidote

Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking

Author: Oliver Burkeman

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 1429947608

Category: Self-Help

Page: 256

View: 5668

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Self-help books don't seem to work. Few of the many advantages of modern life seem capable of lifting our collective mood. Wealth—even if you can get it—doesn't necessarily lead to happiness. Romance, family life, and work often bring as much stress as joy. We can't even agree on what "happiness" means. So are we engaged in a futile pursuit? Or are we just going about it the wrong way? Looking both east and west, in bulletins from the past and from far afield, Oliver Burkeman introduces us to an unusual group of people who share a single, surprising way of thinking about life. Whether experimental psychologists, terrorism experts, Buddhists, hardheaded business consultants, Greek philosophers, or modern-day gurus, they argue that in our personal lives, and in society at large, it's our constant effort to be happy that is making us miserable. And that there is an alternative path to happiness and success that involves embracing failure, pessimism, insecurity, and uncertainty—the very things we spend our lives trying to avoid. Thought-provoking, counterintuitive, and ultimately uplifting, The Antidote is the intelligent person's guide to understanding the much-misunderstood idea of happiness.

Living with a Wild God

A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything

Author: Barbara Ehrenreich

Publisher: Twelve

ISBN: 1455501751

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 256

View: 3254

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed comes a brave, frank, and exquisitely written memoir that will change the way you see the world. Barbara Ehrenreich is one of the most important thinkers of our time. Educated as a scientist, she is an author, journalist, activist, and advocate for social justice. In LIVING WITH A WILD GOD, she recounts her quest-beginning in childhood-to find "the Truth" about the universe and everything else: What's really going on? Why are we here? In middle age, she rediscovered the journal she had kept during her tumultuous adolescence, which records an event so strange, so cataclysmic, that she had never, in all the intervening years, written or spoken about it to anyone. It was the kind of event that people call a "mystical experience"-and, to a steadfast atheist and rationalist, nothing less than shattering. In LIVING WITH A WILD GOD, Ehrenreich reconstructs her childhood mission, bringing an older woman's wry and erudite perspective to a young girl's impassioned obsession with the questions that, at one point or another, torment us all. The result is both deeply personal and cosmically sweeping-a searing memoir and a profound reflection on science, religion, and the human condition. With her signature combination of intellectual rigor and uninhibited imagination, Ehrenreich offers a true literary achievement-a work that has the power not only to entertain but amaze.

This Land Is Their Land

Reports from a Divided Nation

Author: Barbara Ehrenreich

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 9780805090154

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 256

View: 6289

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Denounces the twenty-first-century's first political decade as the cruelest in memory, in a report that analyzes such modern challenges as political and corporate corruption, the widening economic gap, and a rise in extreme conservatism.

Blood Rites

Origins and History of the Passions of War

Author: Barbara Ehrenreich

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 9780805057874

Category: History

Page: 304

View: 1079

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A study of the human attraction to violence and war ranges from the human sacrifices of the ancient world to the Holocaust, tracing the impulse to slaughter to the blood rites enacted by the earliest human hunters. Reprint. 17,500 first printing.

I Like Giving

The Transforming Power of a Generous Life

Author: Brad Formsma

Publisher: WaterBrook

ISBN: 1601425767

Category: Self-Help

Page: 224

View: 834

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“Important and exciting! I Like Giving could be the beginning of a movement of generosity.” –Mark Batterson When you choose to live a generous life, you start to change and so does the world around you. Something incredible happens when giving becomes your own idea, not something you do out of duty or obligation. When you move from awareness to action, miracles happen. As you make giving a lifestyle, you’ll realize you’re not only loving life more, you’re also creating a more generous world— a better world for all of us. Rich with inspiring stories and practical suggestions, I Like Giving helps you create a lifestyle of generosity. Inside you’ll find: • Giving—something you get to do, not something you’ve got to do. • How to raise kids with a sensitivity to others’ needs. • You don’t have to be a millionaire to make a difference. • Practical ideas for giving to people around you every day. I Like Giving is about experiencing the joy of giving. We all have something to give. Giving goes way beyond money or things. It can be a listening ear, a touch, or simply the gift of time. Giving is living.

Happiness

Lessons from a New Science

Author: Richard Layard

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101117710

Category: Psychology

Page: 320

View: 6196

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There is a paradox at the heart of our lives. We all want more money, but as societies become richer, they do not become happier. This is not speculation: It's the story told by countless pieces of scientific research. We now have sophisticated ways of measuring how happy people are, and all the evidence shows that on average people have grown no happier in the last fifty years, even as average incomes have more than doubled. The central question the great economist Richard Layard asks in Happiness is this: If we really wanted to be happier, what would we do differently? First we'd have to see clearly what conditions generate happiness and then bend all our efforts toward producing them. That is what this book is about-the causes of happiness and the means we have to effect it. Until recently there was too little evidence to give a good answer to this essential question, but, Layard shows us, thanks to the integrated insights of psychology, sociology, applied economics, and other fields, we can now reach some firm conclusions, conclusions that will surprise you. Happiness is an illuminating road map, grounded in hard research, to a better, happier life for us all.

FEAR OF FALLING

Author: Barbara Ehrenreich

Publisher: Pantheon

ISBN: N.A

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 292

View: 9867

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An analysis of the professional middle class from the liberal elite of the 1960s to the yuppies of the 1980s and the amount of power and influence they wield over the American culture.

America the Anxious

How to Calm Down, Stop Worrying, and Find Happiness

Author: Ruth Whippman

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 1466882662

Category: Psychology

Page: 256

View: 981

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NAMED ONE OF THE 40 BEST BOOKS OF 2016 BY THE NEW YORK POST A New York Times Editor's Choice pick “Ruth Whippman is my new favorite cultural critic...a shrewd, hilarious analysis.” —Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B (coauthored with Sheryl Sandberg) "I don't think I've enjoyed cultural observations this much since David Foster Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. Reading this book is like touring America with a scary-smart friend who can't stop elbowing you in the ribs and saying, "Are you seeing what I'm seeing?!" If you want to understand why our culture incites pure dread and alienation in so many of us (often without always recognizing it), read this book." —Heather Havrilesky, writer behind "Ask Polly" for New York Magazine and nationally bestselling author of How to Be a Person in the World Are you happy? Right now? Happy enough? As happy as everyone else? Could you be happier if you tried harder? After she packed up her British worldview (that most things were basically rubbish) and moved to America, journalist and documentary filmmaker Ruth Whippman found herself increasingly perplexed by the American obsession with one topic above all others: happiness. The subject came up everywhere: at the playground swings, at the meat counter in the supermarket, and even—legs in stirrups—at the gynecologist. The omnipresence of these happiness conversations (trading tips, humble-bragging successes, offering unsolicited advice) wouldn’t let her go, and so Ruth did some digging. What she found was a paradox: despite the fact that Americans spend more time and money in search of happiness than any other nation on earth, research shows that the United States is one of the least contented, most anxious countries in the developed world. Stoked by a multi-billion dollar “happiness industrial complex” intent on selling the promise of bliss, America appeared to be driving itself crazy in pursuit of contentment. So Ruth set out to get to the bottom of this contradiction, embarking on an uproarious pilgrimage to investigate how this national obsession infiltrates all areas of life, from religion to parenting, the workplace to academia. She attends a controversial self-help course that promises total transformation, where she learns all her problems are all her own fault; visits a “happiness city” in the Nevada desert and explores why it has one of the highest suicide rates in America; delves into the darker truths behind the influential academic “positive psychology movement”; and ventures to Utah to spend time with the Mormons, officially America’s happiest people. What she finds, ultimately, and presents in America the Anxious, is a rigorously researched yet universal answer, and one that comes absolutely free of charge.

Cancer Is Funny

Keeping Faith in Stage-Serious Chemo

Author: Jason Micheli

Publisher: Fortress Press

ISBN: 1506408486

Category: Humor

Page: 189

View: 8079

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Jason Micheli, a young father, husband, and pastor, was diagnosed with a bone cancer so rare and deadly that his doctors didn’t classify it with one of the normal four stages—they simply called it “stage-serious.” As Micheli struggled with despair and faced his own mortality, he resolved that although cancer kills the body, it would not kill his spirit, faith, or sense of humor. Micheli knew that the promise of faith makes hope possible. And approaching cancer as fodder for some bowel-busting humor helps, too. His reflections are not trite. Instead, he writes honestly about being stricken with lethal cancer in the midst of a promising career and raising two young children. He struggles with his commitment to the God who, as he writes, may or may not be doing this to him. Because figuring this out for himself—not to mention explaining it to his congregation and his sons—is so important that theology is now a matter of life and death. This is a funny, no-holds-barred, irreverent-yet-faithful take on the disease that touches every family. Micheli’s story teaches us all how to stay human in dehumanizing situations—how to keep living in the face of death.

The Power of Positive Thinking

10 Traits for Maximum Results

Author: Norman Vincent Peale

Publisher: Touchstone Books

ISBN: 9780743234801

Category: Religion

Page: 240

View: 7779

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WIth more than seven million copies sold, this 50th anniversary edition delivers a message about the power of faith and how positive thinking can lead to the secret of success.

Frantic Panoramas

American Literature and Mass Culture, 1870-1920

Author: Nancy Bentley

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press

ISBN: 0812201248

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 376

View: 5741

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Late nineteenth-century America saw an explosion in mass culture—from sensationalist tabloid newspapers to amusement parks to Wild West shows. Historians and critics have traditionally observed the advent of mass culture as undermining literature's central role in the public sphere. Literary writers of the time either reacted with a public show of disdain or retreated to conduct their own private experiments in style and form. In Frantic Panoramas, Nancy Bentley questions these narratives of opposition. For literary writers, Bentley explains, the confrontation with mass culture was less a retreat than a transformation, an ordeal through which habits of contemplative appreciation could be refashioned into new forms of critical thought. By grappling with the energies that marked mass culture, authors came to recognize kinds of human experience that were only then becoming visible as public. William Dean Howells shaped the plots of his novels around tabloid events like rail and trolley accidents and the public chaos of apartment house fires. Although Henry James was distressed at the way dime fiction had changed the very definition of literature, his meditations on mass culture led him to reimagine the novel as a collective "workshop" in which authors and readers jointly discovered new meaning. Bentley offers close readings of these and other writers such as Edith Wharton, James Weldon Johnson, Pauline Hopkins, and Gertrude Bonnin to demonstrate how leading artists took inspiration from commercial culture to create new and distinct literary forms. Drawing on original archival research and a historically grounded theory of realism, Frantic Panoramas is an innovative and comprehensive study of how the emergence of mass culture affected literary culture in America.

The Wellness Syndrome

Author: Carl Cederstr?m,Andre Spicer

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0745688713

Category: Philosophy

Page: 200

View: 7843

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Not exercising as much as you should? Counting your calories in your sleep? Feeling ashamed for not being happier? You may be a victim of the wellness syndrome. In this ground-breaking new book, Carl Cederström and André Spicer argue that the ever-present pressure to maximize our wellness has started to work against us, making us feel worse and provoking us to withdraw into ourselves. The Wellness Syndrome follows health freaks who go to extremes to find the perfect diet, corporate athletes who start the day with a dance party, and the self-trackers who monitor everything, including their own toilet habits. This is a world where feeling good has become indistinguishable from being good. Visions of social change have been reduced to dreams of individual transformation, political debate has been replaced by insipid moralising, and scientific evidence has been traded for new-age delusions. A lively and humorous diagnosis of the cult of wellness, this book is an indispensable guide for everyone suspicious of our relentless quest to be happier and healthier.