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Optimism is causing misery, claims author

11th January 2010

An author has claimed the 'delusional' belief that everything will turn out okay is in fact making people miserable.

Sociologist Barbara Ehrenreich, writer of Smile Or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World, told the Daily Telegraph that she does not believe persistent optimism is the answer to all of life's problems.

Ehrenreich revealed that she started researching the positive thinking industry when she was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago and became tired of being told to turn her disease into a rewarding life experience.

She also said that the obsession with positivity goes beyond healthcare, citing the 'mandatory optimism' of corporate culture and people's willingness to get themselves into unmanageable debt.

'Delusion is always dangerous and the big example I would give of that is the 2008 financial meltdown. Corporate America had gone into this bubble of denial where bad things could never happen,' the writer told the newspaper.

Other works by Ehrenreich include the bestselling Nickel and Dimed, which followed the writer's experiences as she worked a variety of jobs paying poverty-level wages in the US.

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