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50 Years of Positive Thinking

After 50 years, the power of positive thinking can still help you change your life.

Norman Vincent Peale

At 96, I still get around the country quite a bit. Recently, after I spoke at a conference in Southern California, a young man came up to me. “Mrs. Peale,” he said, “I wanted to tell you that I noticed an old copy of The Power of Positive Thinking on my granddad’s bookshelf. I leafed through it and couldn’t stop reading.”

I can’t believe it’s been 50 years since The Power of Positive Thinking was first published. It was the beginning of the Cold War and people needed a sense of hope and optimism, a fresh and encouraging vision to keep them going. That’s when my husband, Norman Vincent Peale, put together a book of ideas about how to use one’s faith in God to live a daily life of joy and effectiveness.

I chuckle when I read articles today about how scientists and physicians, after extensive research, have finally concluded that a person’s attitude often plays a major role in their overall health and recovery from illness. Indeed, a positive outlook might be the most important thing we can have in life. That’s what I told Norman nearly three decades ago when he’d give up in frustration because a book he was working on wasn’t going quite right. “It’s just not good enough, Ruth,” he’d say.

“You need a dose of your own medicine, Norman,” I told him. “Trust God and think positively. People will always need reminding.” The Power of Positive Thinking was published in October 1952; it has been translated into 42 languages and has sold more than 20 million copies all over the world.

Fifty years ago. Since then our culture has gone through incredible changes. Men have walked on the moon, women have become CEOs of major corporations, children use computers the way they used to play with Tinkertoys. Technology has speeded up our lives, and tragically terrorism has invaded our home front. Especially in today’s troubled world, the message of positive living is timeless: Believe in God, believe in life, believe in yourself and your future. And a rewarding and adventurous life will be yours.

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