Granta £8.99 (235pp) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Smile or Die, By Barbara Ehrenreich
Friday 13 August 2010
It is a theory, compellingly told, that may bring a smile to your lips: the cult of 'positive thinking' is all humbug. America, the land where the smiley philosophy was born, is plagued by health care inequality, gun violence, debt, and high levels of discontent.
While it might appear like a light-weight dig at the self-help section of a bookstore, Barbara Ehrenreich's argument is serious and rigorous.
She goes from analysing America's economy to the cancer care industry to demonstrate the ways in which positive thinking has become the new 'opium of the people', leaving America's feeling personally responsible for failure. She turns our attentions to greater structural inequalities, impervious to positive thought.
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 2 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 3 Louis van Gaal gets tough with Manchester United players, with Darren Fletcher and Luke Shaw berated in public and Phil Jones left looking bemused
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?
Fight Club 2: Chuck Palahniuk sequel is a 'meta-fictional comment on the cultural response to the original'
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?
Star Wars 7: Plot details 'leak', with sequel's opening sequence and premise revealed
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia