Barbara Ehrenreich, Nation contributor and author of Nickel and Dimed, presents Bright Sided, her new book about the negative aspect of positive thinking. In a conversation with GRIT TV’s Laura Flanders, she discusses how her personal struggle with breast cancer was overshadowed by her personal struggle with the cheerleaders who dominated the breast cancer support groups. “The constant exhortations to be positive, cheerful, upbeat” really got to her–because she felt as though they were telling her that “it wouldn’t get better if I didn’t get positive or upbeat.” Ehrenreich then followed the positive-thinking movement back to its roots in anti-Calvinist leaders and its evolution into the omnipresent mantra that it is today. “The alternative to manic brightness is not being depressed,” she argues, “it’s being realistic.” (For Part 2, see below.)

–Fernanda Diaz