Toxic Positivity by Chase Hill - Book Review
"In our darkest times, we need support from those around us. We need someone to listen and just be there for us."
How to Be Yourself, Avoid Positive Thinking Traps, Master Difficult Situations, Control Negative Emotions and Thoughts
Ⓒ 2021, self-published
Chase Hill is a certified life coach and social interaction specialist, and has spent over a decade researching psychology, with a focus on mental attitude, emotional resilience, and assertiveness and boundary-setting in the modern world.
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What Problem Does This Book Attempt to Address?
There is positive thinking and then there is its unhealthy counterpart, toxic positivity. This book addresses what toxic positivity is, how to recognize it in yourself and others, why it is bad for your mental health, and how to deal with toxic positivity when you encounter it from yourself and others.
· Concept explanation: Acceptable
· Related stories: Few
· Data references and studies: Average
· Charts and graphics: None
· Practical application: Unfocused
This book more or less accomplishes what it sets out to do. The reader is introduced to the concept of toxic positivity and how to recognize it. That part is done well. The author then explains why toxic positivity is bad. This part is not done as well. I noticed throughout the book there were times where the author mentions a study but doesn’t do a great job explaining how it supports his argument. The connections sometimes seem hard to reach or nonexistent. Some of the reasons given for why toxic positivity is harmful do not seem directly related, but rather negative consequence of poor mental health in general. Throughout the book, occasionally it feels like the author gets off-topic to make a counterargument or tangential point that was not necessary. Overall, it takes away from the feeling that there is a strong case being made.
My main issue with this book is that it tries to do to many things - something in hindsight I should have gathered from the subtitle. Chapters 4 through 8 are not about toxic positivity. They are about emotional management. I understand the idea is to help the reader replace toxic positivity with a more useful thinking pattern. However, it feels like the author couldn’t decide what to add so he just added everything. All the techniques he explains are valid, time-tested and shown to help manage emotion. I am not arguing with the validity of the content. But the majority of this book feels very off topic. I would have preferred to see one or two chapters about what to do when you recognize yourself engaging in toxic positivity. At the end he says the top three techniques he recommends. I wish he had just focused on those three and how readers best use those specific techniques, instead of explaining every single technique he could think of.
Writing Style & Presentation
· Tone: Conversational
· Organization: Fair
· Flow: Fair
The chapter titles accurately convey what material is in each chapter and the order of the content is logical. Some of the organizational decisions in this book create repetition that could otherwise be avoided. One minor gripe I have is with the names of topics when they are in listed format. They are not consistent and it really messes with the flow. There are a few times where what is written doesn’t make sense. You can tell it made sense to the author because he knew what he meant, but not to the reader who cannot fill in the thoughts that are not there. This only happens maybe 3 times, so not frequently, but when it happens it is momentarily disruptive.
Bringing It All Together
One thing done well: I think toxic positivity is an important topic that needs more awareness, so I support the choice in topic.
One thing that could be better: Conceptual refinement
I think this is a case of a book that could have been very good with the professional guidance of an experienced publisher to help reign in and polish the author’s ideas. I think the concept of toxic positivity is an important one and not as widely known as it should be. I was looking forward to reading this book and I was pretty disappointed with it overall. The author is well-familiar with the topic and has insight that could help people dealing with toxic positivity. I think with some major editing and revisions, this book has the potential to really make a difference and help people. Unfortunately, in its current state it cannot accomplish that goal.
Comparison to Author’s Other Books:
Hill’s other book How to Stop Overthinking was a best seller on Amazon and has hundreds of positive reviews. Out of curiosity I would be interested to read that book and see how it compares to this one.
Overall recommendation: 2/5
Who I would recommend this book for: I would not recommend this book.
NOTE: This is a review-only post. There are no discussion questions planned at this time.
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