2nd Monday Book Club

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Date(s) - 10/10/2022
6:30 pm - 8:15 pm

Palmer Library

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We will meet on Monday, October 10th at 6:30pm in the Palmer Library at UUFSD to discuss  Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America, (2009), by Barbara Ehrenreich.

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 19th-century healing technique to its enshrinement as a dominant, almost mandatory, cultural attitude.

Call or text Cathy Leach-Phillips with questions at 650 224-1974, or email bookclub@uufsd.org

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 myth-busting 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.

Posted by Cathy Leach-Phillips