Owen Hatherley's Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain (Verso, £17.99) is a sardonic snapshot of the parlous state of our built environment, published as the regeneration boom grinds to a halt. Mark Fisher's Capitalist Realism (Zero Books, £7.99) is a short polemic against the inexplicable orthodoxy that there is no alternative to the current incarnation of financial capitalism. Barbara Ehrenreich's Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World (Granta Books, £10.99) finishes this list of instructively grumpy non-fiction. Ehrenreich's cancer diagnosis led those around her to tell her she needed to look on the bright side, as it would aid her recovery. She decided instead to delve into the history of positive thinking, and shows how corrosive its influence has become in the US and increasingly in the UK.