Prof. Barbara Held Debunks Power of Positive Thinking on CBC

Story posted July 11, 2007

The Power of Positive Thinking was the title of Norman Vincent Peale’s 1952 best-seller, but the theory the title embodies has had legions of followers for generations. The latest iteration can be found in The Secret, a power of attraction movement that has hit a media trifecta, appearing in book, film and CD form.

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Prof. Barbara Held

Barbara Held, Barry N. Wish Professor of Psychology and Social Studies, has become the go-to person for counterpoint on this issue. Professor Held appears in a syndicated radio segment concerning the backlash developing against the latest wave of positivism. It has played across Canada on many CBC radio stations. Listen to the segment here.

Held has been quoted on what she describes as "the tyranny of the positive attitude" in newspapers across the country, including The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. She has also discussed the topic on NBC's Today Show. Click here for a link to the story and to see portions of the interview with Prof. Held.

Held's book, Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching: A 5-Step Guide to Creative Complaining (St. Martin's Griffin, 2001), in which she urges people to stop pretending that everything is fine, has been referenced widely in conjunction with Held's viewpoints. The book was the subject of another appearance on Today, in 2001.

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