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Elaine Fox's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Elaine Fox recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Elaine Fox's favorite book recommendations of all time.

There are many words to describe Michael J. Fox: Actor. Husband. Father. Activist. But readers of Always Looking Up will soon add another to the list: Optimist. Michael writes about the hard-won perspective that helped him see challenges as opportunities. Instead of building walls around himself, he developed a personal policy of engagement and discovery: an emotional, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual outlook that has served him throughout his struggle with Parkinson's disease. Michael's exit from a very demanding, very public arena offered him the time-and the... more
Recommended by Elaine Fox, and 1 others.

Elaine FoxThis again is a very interesting and personal book. As you mention, he developed Parkinson’s and was aware from a very early age that it was going to end his acting career. He writes in the book that there was no way he could continue his movie career with the kinds of problems that Parkinson’s brought. But one of the interesting things he makes clear is that in spite of all that he absolutely... (Source)

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Americans are a "positive" people—cheerful, optimistic, and upbeat: this is our reputation as well as our self-image. But more than a temperament, being positive, we are told, is the key to success and prosperity.

In this utterly original take on the American frame of mind, Barbara Ehrenreich traces the strange career of our sunny outlook from its origins as a marginal nineteenth-century healing technique to its enshrinement as a dominant, almost mandatory, cultural attitude. Evangelical mega-churches preach the good news that you only have to want something to get it, because God...
Recommended by Oliver Burkeman, Elaine Fox, and 2 others.

Oliver BurkemanThis is a brilliant political polemic and a critique of the problematic effects of positive thinking. Ehrenreich argues, among other things, that the idea that nothing can go wrong is a terrible philosophy to adopt in the world of business. (Source)

Elaine FoxThis, again, is quite a personal book. She talks about her own experiences of when she developed breast cancer. When she discovered she had breast cancer she was extremely concerned and worried about it. Then she was completely horrified by the deluge of messages and emails she got from people telling her that it was a good thing it had happened to her, and that it was really going to help her... (Source)

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When it comes to bad news, we’ve never had it so good.

Laurence Shorter is feeling anxious. Every time he opens a newspaper or turns on the radio he finds another reason to be tearful. It’s time to make a change. It’s time to be optimistic!

His plan is simple:
1. Learn how to jump out of bed in the morning.
2. Secure personal happiness.
3. Save the world.

The Optimist charts Shorter’s ambitious, year-long, international quest to seek out the world’s most positive thinkers, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jung Chang, Matthieu Ricard,...
Recommended by Elaine Fox, and 1 others.

Elaine FoxLaurence Shorter picked up on something that I think all of us are aware of – that there is a huge pessimism bias in the world around us, particularly in the media. He said that he was getting sick and tired of turning on the news or reading a newspaper, because all the time it just seemed to be bad news and negative stories. He thought, surely there is a brighter side of life? Surely there is a... (Source)

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Recommended by Elaine Fox, and 1 others.

Elaine FoxThis is a fairly recent book which covers a lot more than just optimism. A large part of the book looks at irrationality. The idea is that we like to think that we are very rational and straightforward but actually we are not. She has picked up on this bias, which she calls the optimism bias. It has also been called the positivity illusion in the past – the idea that all of us tend to have a more... (Source)

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The Glass Half-Full

Surveying scientific data on optimism (including the author's award-winning research) to reveal that it's not what you believe about the future that matters, but what you do about it, this book aims to teach readers ways to appropriate the habits and skills that optimists use to get what they want from life. less
Recommended by Elaine Fox, and 1 others.

Elaine FoxYes. Segerstrom is one of the top psychologists working on optimism and pessimism. One of the things that she has found out through her research, and what she writes about in her book, is that optimism isn’t just about thinking. I make a similar point in my own book. A lot of self-help books make the assumption that optimism and pessimism is all about the way we think. But Segerstrom makes the... (Source)

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