How often are we urged to "look on the bright side"? From Norman Vincent Peale to the ubiquitous smiley face, optimism has become an essential part of American society. In this long-overdue book, psychologist Julie Norem offers convincing evidence that, for many people, positive thinking is an ineffective strategy-and often an obstacle-for successfully coping with the anxieties and pressures of modern life. "Defensive pessimism," which involves imagining the worst possible outcomes to any action and everything that could go wrong in a given situation, actually helps millions of people manage their anxiety and perform their best work, all the while refusing to succumb to "oblivious optimism."Drawing on her own research and many vivid case histories, Norem shows how to use defensive pessimism and provides evidence and fascinating explanations of its powerful benefits. While there is no "one size fits all" prescription for confronting psychological roadblocks, Defensive Pessimism will help people identify the method that works best for them, and provide practical, proven advice on changing strategies.