Some people believe in the power of positive thinking. The rest of us believe in David Rakoff.The satirical essayist and This American Life contributor demonstrates the positives of negativity in his new book, Half Empty, in which he paints a picture of melancholy and anxiety that looks a lot like a man practicing one-handedness on the off chance he loses an arm.In a mere 224 pages, the sharp-tongued, self-aware Rakoff explores the alien world of childhood, Hollywood Boulevard, longing for pork, his short-lived movie career (involving Bronson Pinchot), Mormon converts from Tonga, and the numerous disappointments of the musical Rent. All of which serve as evidence for his theory of “defensive pessimism,” the practice of expecting the worst so that life won’t get the best of you.As for the book? We’re just sorry to say that you won’t be disappointed.Available online at amazon.com, $13. Photo: Courtesy of Random HouseGot some time on your hands? We’ve got a whole stack of great new reads.Up to 50% off M.AndonìaDesigner Maria Argyropoulos puts art within reach with her line of inventive yet functional bags, totes, and iPad sleeves in vintage fabrics and racy animal prints. All are up to 50% off today on Swirl.