Summary of Rethinking Positive Thinking

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

Rethinking Positive Thinking book summary


8 Overall

9 Applicability

7 Innovation

7 Style


Psychology professor Gabriele Oettingen offers an antidote to common beliefs about positive thinking, goals, desires and the human mind. Some of the information she shares will be familiar to those who read actively in these fields, but much of it will be new, especially to the average reader. For that reader, though, this could have been a bit shorter, perhaps by tightening the accounts of the discovery process. (Given that, busy readers might want to focus first on Chapter 6.) Oettingen walks you through the “Wish-Outcome-Obstacle-Plan” (or WOOP) process as a path to logical reasoning free of over-optimism. Her exploration will help you approach life more realistically and get out of your own way. getAbstract recommends her research on positivity to anyone who’s trying to reach a goal and everyone interested in the workings of the human mind.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What problems positive thinking can cause,
  • What the alternatives to positive thinking offer and
  • What methods you can use to work toward goals more realistically.

About the Author

Gabriele Oettingen is a professor of psychology at New York University and the University of Hamburg. She has published more than 100 articles or chapters on the effects of future thought.



The “Cult of Optimism”
Books like The Secret and contestants’ attitudes on reality competition shows like American Idol reflect a common worldview – that imagining your “deepest wishes” makes them more likely to come true. This reflects a larger cult of optimism pervading...

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

By the same author

Customers who read this summary also read

More by category