What makes up in bad standing sense

Book review of "The Power of Bad"

Sometimes a bad event is enough to shape life, a violent argument that breaks a relationship. The social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister and the journalist John Tierney, who worked for the New York Times for a long time, show in their book that it is mostly bad experiences that have long-term effects. The reverse is practically never the case. The negative has a much stronger effect than the positive, they explain. Based on studies, they set up a rule of thumb: To compensate for a negative experience, it takes about four positive ones. This negative tendency is likely to lead people to learn from mistakes.

Nice nostalgia

So it serves a purpose that we see black a lot. But how can we still live well? Tips from positive psychology may be particularly helpful. Different techniques are intended to help you consciously focus on the beautiful and meaningful. The authors recommend, for example, indulging in nostalgic memories every now and then: This is often experienced as creating meaning and can outsmart the "power of the bad". There is also hope for younger pessimists. This is because studies have shown a positive effect in old age. Older people may have less need to learn from their mistakes. This makes it easier for them to savor the moment and distance themselves from negative emotions.

Unfortunately, findings from positive psychology in the book are rather short. More often it is about how executives avoid the negativity trap. Baumeister and Tierney address, for example, how the performance of employees can be increased or how bad reviews on online portals can be dealt with. According to the authors, punishment is more effective than reward. Because the latter is slower to bear fruit. That is why they postulate: "Less carrot, more stick" - this applies to the world of work as well as to raising children. Feelings of guilt could also serve as a means to an end. These and other suggestions to use the tendency to negative seem a bit like manipulation.

With their book, Baumeister and Tierney once again prove the content: Some bitter tones stick. Nevertheless, the reading is enriching. Finally, they explain how the media can distort our view of the world for the worse. As a counterbalance, they provide facts that show that a lot is not as dramatic as the headlines suggest. It is possible that a very gloomy view of the world is based predominantly on false perceptions.