Extended Audio Sample

Download Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America Audiobook, by Barbara Ehrenreich Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.6 out of 53.6 out of 53.6 out of 53.6 out of 53.6 out of 5 3.60 (5 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Barbara Ehrenreich Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2009 ISBN: 9781427208378
Regular Price: $14.99 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

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.

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • Among longlisted titles for AudioFile Best Voices, 2010
  • Winner of Publishers Weekly Listen Up Awards: Best Audios of the Year, 2009

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Geri | 6/25/2011

    " A quick and eye-opening read. The chapter about how positive thinking (ie, delusions of grandeur and an inability to do math) caused the financial meltdown is especially worth reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Edmund | 6/22/2011

    " Book is an interesting topic but very slow.

    I think if anything too many facts, not enough narrative which is often a problem in non-fiction.

    Glad to see a skeptic on positive psychology.

    Edmund "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann | 6/15/2011

    " This is a great interrogation of positive psychology and the lack of reason in contemporary American culture. It's time to start complaining and start acting, changing policy and getting politically active, says Ehrenreich. I couldn't agree more. All these personal affirmation need action!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Burnt | 5/6/2011

    " Thank goodness someone wants to put the boots to all this positive thinking bullshit - a scourge that destroyed at least one place I worked. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracey | 4/13/2011

    " It was interesting to learn about the history of the "positive thinking" movement and to see how it's permeated American society. The "prosperity gospel" people just make me furious. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of several books, including the New York Times bestseller Nickel and Dimed. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Progressive, Harper’s, and Time magazine and currently lives in Florida.

About the Narrator

Kate Reading is an Audie Award–winning narrator and has received thirty Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She is also a theater actor in the Washington, DC, area and has been a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company since 1987. Her work onstage has been recognized by the Helen Hayes Awards Society, among others. She and her husband live in Hyattsville, Maryland, with their two children.