You Will Be Cheerful, Or Else!

Barbara Ehrenreich takes on the ridiculous and downright creepy ideology of “positive thinking,” which is closely related to the colossal fraud of motivational speaking and “life coaching” and other ways to separate credulous losers from their money. A world without Dale Carnegie, Ziz Ziglar and Tony Robbins would be a much better place (yes, I know the first two are already dead, but their influence continues).

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  • colnago80

    Leave us not forget the eminently forgettable Norman Vincent Peale, author of the tome, The Power of Positive Thinking.

  • Gregory in Seattle

    I can’t watch YouTube from work, so it might be mentioned in the video, but….

    I highly recommend her book, “Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America.” It starts with her own experiences as a woman with breast cancer dealing with the relentless “positive attitude” meme among support groups and charities, then proceeds to look at positive thinking and New Thought theology, The Secret, and various corporate implementations of this philosophy. Very interesting reading.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    Oh yeah? Who moved YOUR cheese, Ed?

  • gingerbaker

    What’s the matter with life coaching?

  • caseloweraz

    I greatly admire Barbara Ehrenreich’s work, which is why I’m disappointed that her Web forums have turned into spamfests.

    I tried to inform her of this on 10 September. I got no response, and the spam is as thick as ever. Guess I’ll try again, with a different email address.

  • georgewiman

    Dale Carnegie was actually good. His How To Win Friends focused more on relationships and less on the thought policing. He also wrote a good book on public speaking. Peale was more like Rick Warren or Joel Osteen – every time I see their faces I only want to

  • georgewiman

    … (hit “submit” by accident) No wait, that isn’t what I want to do to Warren & Osteen. Um, “Make them watch this video.” Yeah, that’s what I meant. Not punch them in the face or anything like that.

  • ryanlangford

    I wish I could send this to my boss without getting fired for it. He believes all this nonsense, and often lectures to at us for not being positive (he doesn’t seem to see any contradiction of yelling at us while demanding we be positive….).

  • Eamon Knight

    @3: Yeah, we got treated to that damned Cheese thing right about when my & my wife’s employer started re-orging and downsizing. Note that the mice who go looking for New Cheese are painted as superior to the mice who complain about loss of the old cheese, the lazy whiners. In that context, the message really did come across as: “We’re screwing you over for your own good, so STFU and take it”.

    That company finally slid into bankruptcy about seven years later. Wife & I landed on our feet, but I know the pensioners are just *loving” finding New Cheese to replace the 30% of the pension fund that went down with the ship (not to mention the people on long-term disability, who were left high and dry).

    Fucking CorpSpeak bullshit.

  • Snoof

    The thing that bugged me about Who Moved My Cheese? was that they never answered the question.

    Who _did_ move the cheese? Where did the cheese come from in the first place? Why is there a maze? How come there are people _and_ mice in the maze? What the hell is going on?!

    These perfectly good questions go unanswered because the underlying message of the book has nothing to do with positivity. It’s telling people “Don’t ask inconvenient questions. Don’t actually think about your situation. Don’t wonder who decides how to allocate scarce resources. Just be thankful we’re leaving you any cheese at all, you ungrateful little plebs.”