November 3, 2009

News & Opinion: Barbara Ehrenreich in Milwaukee: November 4th, 2009

By: Sally Haldorson @ 8:11 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

If you are in Milwaukee on November 4th, we encourage you to attend Barbara Ehrenreich’s appearance at Alverno College’s Pittman Theater at 7pm. This event is co-sponsored by Boswell Books, a local independent bookstore owned and operated by the former buyer and general manager of the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, our former sister company. Click on the link below for more details. coverartBarbara Ehrenreich’s new book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, is destined to incite debate and spark both praise and diatribe—just the way she likes it. The author of numerous books of sharp social criticism including Nickel and Dimed, in which she describes her experience trying to work in and make a living with minimum wage positions, and Bait and Switch, in which she explores just how difficult it is to succeed financially even as a typical educated middle-class American. While some may label Ehrenreich as a malcontent or a complainer, she is instead a serious scholar of America who, like a good parent, is tough on America exactly because she loves it. Julia Baird, when writing about Ehrenreich’s new book for Newsweek, refers to Psychology Today research that claims: “[l]ast year, 4,000 books were published on happiness, up from 50 in 2000.” We need only to look around our bookshelves here at 800-CEO-READ to see that this prevalence of positivity occurs in the most current business books as well. As we described in The 100 Best, business books are problem–solvers, so of course when readers look for advice, they look for help that will bring their problems to a positive end. Barbara Ehrenreich isn’t spreading that same message. Instead, she sends up a cautionary flag against just such irrational exuberance (to quote Jon Stewart in his interview with Ehrenreich). Positivity often distracts from what is really going on, she argues, and hard work and a realistic point of view can actually be of more benefit than putting on a happy face. Certainly she will have her detractors, but most will find that her nuanced argument (yes, nuanced, despite her ability to wield words like sledgehammers) speaks an authentic and surprisingly uplifting language. Visit these links to see video and to read more about Bright-Sided. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Democracy Now ABC News National Public Radio The New York Times Newsweek The Boston Globe

About Sally Haldorson

Sally Haldorson's job as 800-CEO-READ’s General Manager is to make 800-CEO-READ a great place to work for our employees, and a consistently high-performing customer service organization for our clients, authors, and our partners in the publishing industry. In addition to her General Manager duties ensuring collaboration, integration, and quality, she reads, writes, reviews, curates, and edits for the company. Helping craft The 100 Best Business Books of All Time used parts of both skill sets. Outside of work, she is most likely to be found hitting a tennis ball around or hanging out with her boys (husband, child, dog) at home.