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.
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Germanwings crash: Captain of doomed plane was only 'on board because he changed job to spend more time with his children'
- 2 Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
- 3 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
- 4 Germanwings crash: 'Andreas Lubitz planned to marry pregnant girlfriend', claims German report
- 5 Germanwings plane crash: Transcript reveals passengers 'screamed for over five minutes' before plane crashed into mountain
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans