How often are we urged to "look on the bright side"? From Norman Vincent Peale to the ubiquitous smiley face, optimism has become an essential part of American society. In this long-overdue book, psychologist Julie Norem offers convincing evidence that, for many people, positive thinking is an ineffective strategy--and often an obstacle--for successfully coping with the anxieties and pressures of modern life. Drawing on her own research and many vivid case histories, Norem provides evidence of the powerful benefits of "defensive pessimism," which has helped millions to manage anxiety and perform their best work.
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Julie K. Norem, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychology at Wellesley College. Her work on defensive pessimism has been cited in the New York Times, SELF, the Washington Post, Men's Health, McCall's, and American Health. She lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts.From Library Journal:
Through individual case studies, Norem (psychology, Wellesley Coll.) here demonstrates her case for "defensive pessimism" as an effective tool for managing one's anxiety. For example, by imagining all of the worst-case scenarios, a speaker prepares better for a speech. Norem has developed a questionnaire to help readers determine whether they use defensive pessimism or strategic optimism (believing things will work out for the best) in daily life. She goes further to explain that much of the positive self-concept information preached since the 1980s is unrealistic and illusory. While admitting that defensive pessimism annoys other people, Norem argues that the strategy helps those who are anxious to curb their emotions and get moving toward their goals. Norem has published in Self, Men's Health, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, but her style here more resembles that of an academic journal article. Further, her arguments are not convincing. Of marginal value for academic libraries. Lisa Wise, Broome Cty. P.L., Binghamton, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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