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'Bright-Sided': When Happiness Doesn't Help

Oct 13, 2009 (Talk of the Nation)

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When author Barbara Ehrenreich was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was bombarded with wildly optimistic, inspirational phrases. But a cheerful outlook, she argues, does not cure cancer.

In her new book, Bright-Sided, Ehrenreich explores the negative effects of positive thinking, and the "reckless optimism" that dominates America's national mindset.

"We need to brace ourselves for a struggle against terrifying obstacles," Ehrenreich writes, "both of our own making and imposed by the natural world. And the first step is to recover from the mass delusion that is positive thinking."

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