Check this out from an interview with Barbara Ehrenreich, whose new book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, promises to be a must-read (set for release in mid-October 2009).
Here's a sample from the interview:
During the Great Depression, a mind-over-matter book called Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, was a best seller, which was odd since it seemed obvious that there were other factors than one’s own desires at work in shaping the world. Today, prosperity preachers like Joel Osteen are just going on as always. These guys preach that God wants you to have everything, and if you don’t, it’s because you are thinking small—it’s not even that you’re not praying hard enough. A few weeks ago, I Googled “Osteen” and “foreclosure”; it didn’t yield anything.