Princesskelly's Reviews > The Power of Positive Thinking

The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
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Apr 05, 2012

did not like it
Read in April, 2012

I have always considered myself to be optimistic and positive. I’m the one in the group that always find inspiration in the bright side, sometimes annoyingly so to everyone else. I had high hopes for The Power of Positive Thinking when I started reading the book, but no matter how hard I tried to stay positive I just could not get passed how ridiculous I felt for reading it. Don’t get me wrong, I pride myself for my positivity in adverse situations, but this book seriously made me want to stab my eyes out with a fork.

In 1952, Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking found a spot on the New York Times bestseller list, where it remained for three years. Peale was famous for his blend of psychotherapy and religion, and believed that all of life’s basic problems were generally personal in nature. The Power of Positive Thinking is a step-by-step solution guide for solving all of life’s problems like feelings of inferiority, restlessness, exhaustion, worrying, making friends, and being happy. The general premise of this book is to think about the things that you want or need, pray, go see a counselor, and God will provide for you. Peale offers up easy and simplistic 15-minute practical formulas, coupled with simple steps and rules to make life better. After the first hundred pages, I was fairly confident that I understood the message of the book: think positive, quit stressing out, put your fears in God’s hands, and you’ll be just fine.

In Chapter 4, Peale provides “a three-point program” for prayers, which is really nothing more than basic psychology. Peale suggests that using this three-point-program, Peale harnessing the power of prayer will help you manifest untapped energy. He argues that Prayer Power is the solution for most of life’s problems. The first point is to “Prayerize,” meaning that one should develop a daily system of creative prayer, talking to God as if he would your best buddy, coworker, or relative with normal speech and phrasing. He suggests that those who maintain a constant conversation with God are happier because they know that God is always with them. The next step is to “Picturize.” In this step, you should paint a portrait in your head of exactly what you want, and then ingrain it into your mind. Peale posits the basics of psychology here, arguing that a realizable wish and a vivid picture in your mind are all you need. The third step is to “Actualize” the things that you have “prayerized” and “picturized,” and they will come true. Again, this is basic psychology. If you envision and plan on success, you’ll be successful. If you picture failure, you will fail. Peale’s simple guide to a better life is really nothing more than basic ideas on the human mind: confidence and feeling good stem from blocking out negative thoughts and visualizing happier times. Honestly, I really didn’t need to read hundreds of pages to tell me that thinking about wishes, dreams, sparkles, unicorns and rainbows will make me happier.

What drove me nuts about this book was that Peale repeatedly says that he’s offering some solid steps for living a better life, yet he doesn’t really say anything other than, ‘think about it, go see a counselor, and pray, pray, pray!” It’s also obvious that Peale believes that mothers are the root of all evil and trauma in life. In this book, Peale references hundreds of anonymous scholars and professionals who all endorse his ideas, but he rarely goes beyond basic namedropping to gain credibility for his ideas. Peale also repeatedly reminds us that thousands of people have had good results by using these proven methods for better living, but it sounds so vague and braggadocios that it’s hard to take seriously.

I didn’t hate this book. No, I am far too peppy and positive in my real life to waste energy on hating things. It just bored me. The repetition of the same basic idea over and over and over with reference to vague and anonymous herds of people who have found great results didn’t inspire me. Perhaps I have always understood the concept of “mind of matter,” so this book isn’t a groundbreaking revelation for me. However, if you’re looking for simplified methods for changing your mindset and pulling yourself out of the dumps, you may find some use for this book.
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07/05 marked as: read

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message 1: by Gauri (new)

Gauri Ref your note last para : looking for simplified methods for changing your mindset

I strongly suggest reading the following :

bottom up approach - you may get what you were looking for. confirmed

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