Author Barbara Ehrenreich has said that the notion that positive attitude increases chances of survival is a mere delusion.
In her new book titled 'Smile Or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World', Ehrenreich challenged the notion saying the modern "tyranny" of positive thinking is to blame for society's ills and was the true cause of the financial crisis.
Advertisement"Delusion is always dangerous and the big example I would give of that is the 2008 financial meltdown. There are many things that fed into that," the Telegraph quoted her as speaking ahead of the book's publication in Britain next week.
"Many, many people got way over their heads in debt - ordinary people. And in what frame of mind do you assume large amounts of debt? Well, a positive frame of mind. You think that you're not going to get sick, your car's not going to break down, you're not going to lose your job and you're going to be able to pay it off.
"Mostly, though, I blame the top levels of corporate culture which, by the middle of this decade, were completely in a bubble of mandatory optimism and positive thinking," she added.
Ehrenreich referred to the "cult-like atmosphere of high-fives" at Countrywide, the mortgage lender that became one of the biggest casualties of the subprime crisis, and claimed that executives who sounded warnings of impending financial disaster at Lehman Brothers were dismissed as "negative" thinkers.
"Corporate America had gone into this bubble of denial where bad things could never happen," she added.
Ehrenreich, a writer and sociologist, began investigating the notion of "positive thinking" after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000.
She was appalled by "the cheerfulness of breast cancer culture", with its "sappy pink ribbons" and thousands of website and blogs urging sufferers to see their illness as life-enhancing.
"There's a widespread idea - it sounds so familiar that you let it go right by you - that your immune system will be boosted if you are thinking positively," she said.
"Well, there's not a whole lot to support that. And, more to the point, it's not clear that the immune system has anything to do with recovery from cancer or with whether you get it in the first place," she added.
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