A Summary and Review of The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale for Thinking Executives – and Those Who Want to be One

This summary and review of the book, The Power of Positive Thinking, was prepared by Heather Cosentino while a Business Management major in the College of Business at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Cover of The Power of Positive Thinking

Executive Summary

The Power of Positive Thinking written to suggest techniques and to give examples which demonstrates that you so not need to be defeated by anything in life. Your life has to be filled with joy and satisfaction. This book will help people find peace of mind, improve health, and help you enjoy life.
Too many people are defeated by the everyday struggles in life. They may feel distraught and frustrated with life but there are methods that can help people cope with this stress. It is a shame people allow themselves to be defeated by the problems, cares, and difficulties of life.
You can take on these obstacles from taking control of your mind or be in fear of them. You can learn how to cast them out of your mind by refusing to let them take over your life. You can rise above these obstacles by channeling spiritual power. You will be defeated only if you allow it to.  
The purpose of this book is very direct and simple. This book is written to help the reader achieve happy, satisfying, and worthwhile life. You can achieve this by believing in yourself and your abilities to achieve in anything you put your mind to. The reader can learn to understand a practical manner to achieve a joyful life.
The reader can absorb the teachings and if these principles are practiced then you can have a joyful fulfilling life. You will see an amazing improvement in yourself and your achievements.
By following these examples set by others your relationships, whether personal or professional, will improve, you will become more popular, have more self esteem, and a well liked individual. You will see your health and well being improve as you practice the principals established in this book. By using these techniques outlined here you can modify or change the circumstances in which you now live, assuming control over them rather than continuing to be directed by them. You are in control of your own live, you chose your destiny.
How can you be certain that these practices are worth your time? For many years the author has been teaching these principals to people. These principles have worked so effectively over so long a period of time that they are now firmly established as documented truth.  They are quick and simple techniques that everyone can do every day.

The Ten Things Managers Need to Know from The Power of Positive Thinking

1. Have faith in your abilities. Without having confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful. You have to have confidence in yourself and your ability to succeed. Your self confidence leads to self realization and successful achievements.

2. You must cast away all worrying thoughts out of your mind every day. Dwelling on your worries can take a toll on your body. This is why your mind needs to be cleaned out every day.

3. Your body is designed to produce all needed energy over a long period of time. If you have a well balanced diet and emotional life your energy will be conserved. Getting an ample amount of sleep will help your body rejuvenate energy.

4. When you get up in the morning you have two choices to be happy or unhappy. It is a simple as that. Choosing to be happy is the best choice for success. Choosing to be unhappy can cause depression and stress on the body.  

5. If you expect the best you will get the best, if you expect the worse then you will get the worse. Having a positive attitude on everything you do will increase your odds of success.

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6. You should never doubt yourself in your abilities or never believe in defeat. You should simply stand up to your obstacle. Do not crawl through life on your hands and knees defeated. By standing up to them you will find that they are not as tough as you think they are.

7. In this fast pace world environment it is becoming more frustrating for some people. You should not waste you energy on getting angry at every little thing. Always stay positive and never think negative. The first step in reducing these angry thoughts is to set your pace at your own personal tempo.

8. Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. Whatever you think you shall be. You can remake your life by flushing out old, tired, worn out thoughts and replace them with creative and new thoughts.

9. Some Americans today have lost the art of sleeping. Sleep is your body’s natural way to acquire power and energy. People who do not get an ample amount of sleep are not as relaxed as people who do get sleep every night. If you get an ample amount of sleep your mind is more organized and you can stay more focused.

10. Have you ever heard someone say that they do not care whether people like them or not?  According to human nature every human being has a desire to be appreciated. But despite your best efforts not every person is going to like you. Some people just naturally will not like you. But you should not get discouraged by this.

Full Summary of The Power of Positive Thinking


Dr. Norman Vincent Peale is a preacher that travels around the country doing conventions and helping people live a more happy satisfying life. This book is full of people’s stories that have practiced Dr. Peale teachings. These people have has their lives changed by these teachings of how to acquire satisfaction in life.
Chapter 1: Believe in Yourself The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Peal is about believing in yourself and your abilities to achieve. Peale states that self confidence leads to self realization and successful achievement. In life you will not always succeed, there will always be ups and downs, but you should always remember that tomorrow is another day. Do not beat yourself up over one mistake or failure. You cannot dwell over the bad. You must always stay confident and always think positive. You should never doubt yourself on anything you do. You have to be happy with yourself in every aspect. For example, Peale had a conversation with an individual that was uncomfortable with himself. He was always thin and he wanted to be fat. He was very healthy and energetic but that bothered him because he did not want to be thin. The kids at his school teased him for being too thin. He would eat unhealthy food like chocolate and ice cream to gain weight but he was unsuccessful. Whenever he got older and his metabolism slowed down he gained weight but he still was not happy with the way he looked. You have to have a positive attitude with whatever comes your way. Instead of judging himself he should have just said I’m happy with the way I look. It does not matter what everyone else thinks. Peale did a study on students and he asked them to state their most difficult personal problem and seventy five of them said lack of confidence. Peale states ten things you can do to become a more positive thinker and a more confident individual.
1. Create a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Never think of yourself as failing or doubt the reality of your mental picture.
2. If you encounter a negative thought, deliberately voice a positive thought to cancel the negative thought.
3. Do not build up obstacles in your thoughts. You need to minimize the obstacle and do not let them become inflated by fear.
4. Do not be influenced by other people. “No one can be you as efficiently as you can.” Remember that most people, despite how confident they may appear, are just as scared as you are.
5. At least ten times a day repeat these words of encouragement “If God before us, who can be against us.”(Romans 8:31)
6. Get help from a councilor that understands you and the way you do things. By learning the origin of your inferiority and self doubt you will have a better understanding of your fear. Most of our fears come from our childhoods. Knowing yourself leads to a cure.
7. At least ten times a day practice the following, repeat it aloud if possible. “I can do all the things through Christ which strengthened me.” (Philippians 4:13) The author believes this statement is the most powerful phrase on earth.
8. Create a true estimate of your own abilities and then raise it ten percent. You must believe in your own powers and challenge yourself to strive in life.
9. Put yourself in God’s hands. Believe in the power God gives you and you will feel more empowered and confident.
10. Remind yourself that God is with you and nothing can defeat you or bring you down.

Chapter 2: A Peaceful Mind Generates Power

The secret to your success is in your mental attitude. You have to learn to live in a different thought basis, this change may take some effort, but it is much easier than continuing to live your life in fear. The author stated that his physician said, “Many of my patients have nothing wrong with them except their thoughts. So I have a favorite prescription that I write for some, but it is not a prescription that you can fill at a drugstore. The prescription I write is a verse from the bible.” Not all problems can be solved with drugs. Sometimes you just have to find inner piece. The author has observed how much it means to people to have someone who they can truly and confidentially tell everything troubling their minds. The author spoke with a seaman and he said that he cope with his worries by metaphorically dropping them off the ship ever night. He said that it helps him clear his mind. It is not always a good idea to empty your mind completely but sometimes it is necessary to gather your thoughts. To prevent your mind from complete emptiness you can immediately start filling your mind up with healthy thoughts. These new healthy thoughts will overpower your unhealthy thoughts and will help you overcome the unhealthy thoughts.

Chapter 3: How to Have Constant Energy

Some experts say that they often use prayer as a part of their therapy. Any disability, tension, and kindred troubles may result of a lack of inner harmony. The experts say how remarkable a simple prayer can help improve the body and soul. People are doing more praying than ever these days because they find that it adds to their personal efficiency. A famous psychologist stated, “Prayer is the greatest power available to the individual in solving his personal problems. Its power astonishes me.” Is a psychologist thinks the power of prayer is remarkable it must be something great. You feel empowered from your prayers. The power of prayer seems to be able to even normalize the aging process. The less stressed you are the slower you age and the calmer you are as a person.

Chapter 5: How to Create your Own Happiness

You decide whether or not you are going to be happy or not. The author had an interview with a famous person (did not say who) and he stated that when he gets up in the morning he had two choices to be happy or to be unhappy. If you chose peace and happiness then that is what you will get. Some people get up in the morning and are as happy as can be but they chose to be unhappy. There is a simple way to fix unhappy emotions. If you go around telling yourself that nothing is good enough and everything is unsatisfactory then that thought will reflect your emotions. But if you go around telling yourself that things are going to be better today and that everything is going to be alright then your emotions will reflect that. You chose every single day how you are going to feel. Children are experts in happiness than adults. Unhappy emotions are not something we are born with. As we grow and prosper we begin to learn unhappy emotions. The author says that in order to be happy we must have a child like heart and mind. In other words never get old or dull. Do not be that person who is super sophisticated.

Chapter 6: Stop Fuming and Fretting

Many people make their life more difficult for themselves by moving their inner power through fuming and fretting. The word fume means to boil up, or to blow off. The word fret means to make away by gnawing. People need to stop exercising these fuming and fretting actions. People need to be more peaceful if we are going to have power to live effectively. To assure your energy is going to the right areas you can reduce your pace. In today’s society everything is past pace and more people cannot keep up with it. It is good to move at your own pace and not worry about everyone else’s. Many people are destroying their bodies by trying to keep up with this pace. Even more devastating they are tearing their minds and souls to maintain a competitor in this world. It is possible to distribute your time and mind effectively without tearing your body and soul apart. Over stimulating your mind can produce toxins in the body and can create mental illnesses. You may experience fatigue and a sense of frustration. This may cause you to fume and fret over everything in your life.

Chapter 7: Expect the Best and Get It

Everyone has to experience failure at one point in their life. At times it can be very difficult to understand failure. But if you believe in yourself and your abilities then you should achieve anything you want to. If you expect the worst you will get the worst but if you believe in expecting the best you will get the best. Some people accomplish the best by reciting a verse out of the Bible but this may not work for everyone. Stick with whatever works for you, everyone is different. You have to train your mind to think positively and believe in God or yourself.

Chapter 8: I Don’t Believe in Defeat

If you are thinking thoughts of defeat the author encourages you to get rid of these thoughts. If you think defeat then you will get defeat. Adopt the phrase “I do not believe in defeat.” The author calls a person who regardless of whatever suggestions were advanced his mind instantly went to all possible obstacles in connection an “obstacle man. The author hopes that you are not like the obstacle man. Taking on too many challenges can be devastating to the body and mind.

Chapter 9: How to Break the Worry Habit

You do not need to worry about everything in your life. What is worry? Worry is simply an unhealthy mental habit. People are not born with worry thoughts you acquire them as you mature and grow. Because you acquire this habit with age you can cast worry thoughts out of your mind. The best time to cast out these thoughts is now. We should take worry thoughts very seriously. Dr. Smiley Blanton stated, “Anxiety is the great modern plaque.” If you worry too much it can take a toll on your body. Worrying thoughts is the most destructive to all human diseases. One physician tells the author that thousands of people are ill because of bottled up anxiety. The word worry originated from the Anglo-Saxons meaning “to choke.” If someone would to put their hands around your neck and pressed hard cutting off your air way, this would be a dramatic demonstration of how your body feels when you worry. Married people usually live longer than single people mostly because married people have fewer worries than single people. When you are single you have to do everything alone but married people share everything like bills and other worries. One thing you can do to break your worrying thoughts is to believe in yourself. You can practice emptying your mind every day. This is most effectively done before going to bed at night. This way you can get an ample amount of sleep for the next day.

Chapter 11: How to Use Faith in Healing

Religion has a factor in your ability to heal. If your faith is properly understood and applied to your healing it can help you overcome diseases and better establish your health. Some doctors say that patients go through what seems to be a simple procedure but end up died. But in some cases where the patient practices religion they end up recovering. Some doctors are convinced that when patients believe in the assistance of god they recover faster especially in patients recovery treatments. People believe that faith will heal them but it also depends on your physical ailment. Your body has to be able to sustain what you are trying to accomplish.

Chapter 12: When Vitality Sags Try This Health Formula

Some statistics say that between 50 to 75 percent of present day people are ill because of the influence of improper mental states on the emotional and physical make up. Your health and mental state is very valuable to you. Your mental and emotional treatment can influence your job and you as a person. This treatment is mostly used by sales managers. They use these treatments to level themselves out after a long day at work.

Chapter 13: Inflow of New Thoughts Can Remake You

The greatest discovery the author has had was that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. What you think will be is what you shall get. People need to flush out all their old thoughts and fill their minds with fresh, new creative thoughts of faith love and goodness. By doing this process you can actually remake your life. The author knows a business executive and he is the type to never admit defeat. He always has to win. He simply attacks each difficulty with an optimistic attitude and a sure confidence that it will work our right. The author was always interested by this individual. He wondered why everything always works out in his favor. Well, the business executive took the author to his office and to his surprise he saw an old battered copy of the bible. He says that he uses it every day. He even said that it is the most up to date thing in the office. Even high up executives read the bible and use it in their everyday career.

Chapter 14: Relax for Easy Power

Some statistics show that in the United States more than six million sleeping tablets are required to put the American people asleep. This statistic was made years ago by a drug manufacturer. Some people say that this number is understated. But in reality this number has been raising 1,000 percent every year. According to a vice president of another drug manufacturer states that approximately seven billion half grain tablets are consumed every year. This works out to be about nineteen million tablets per night. Your sleep is a naturally occurring restorative process for your body. The American culture has lost the art of sleeping. American people are the most nervous and high strung people on the planet. They are so high strung that it is almost impossible to put them to sleep. One of the author’s friends stated that last year in the United States alone there were a total of seven and a half billion headaches. Eleven million pounds of aspirin are consumed yearly. In a random clinic 500 patients were examined. Out of the 500 patients 386 or 77 percent were found to be ill because of psychosomatic difficulties. Meaning physical illnesses caused largely by unhealthy mental states.

Chapter 15: How to Get People to Like You  

You may have heard someone say, “I do not care whether people like me or not.” When you hear this statement just put it down as a fact that they are not telling the truth. Every human being on the planet wants to be liked and fit in with others. One of the deepest drives of human nature is the desire to be appreciated or liked by others. A survey was taken by high school students and one of the questions on the survey was “What do you most desire?” The majority of the students answered that they wanted to be popular. This same urge is in every adult as well. But despite your efforts popularity will not make everyone like you. By human nature some people will just not like you. The urge to be liked has a direct relation to your ego satisfaction. Your ego satisfaction is critical for your success in life. The feeling of not being wanted is the most devastating to all human reactions. If you ever feel as if no one wants you then you should do something about it. If not it could be devastating to your well being.

Chapter 16: Prescription for Heartache

Some people have an inability to rise above their sorrows. These people suffer with “an ache in his/her personality” as a result of grief or heartache. These individuals should go through a spiritual consultation and treatment. There is a prescription for a heartache it simply is participating physical activities.  By doing physical activities our bodies are able to reduce strain on the area of the mind where we reflect, philosophize, and suffer mental pain. Muscular activities utilize another part of your brain and therefore shifts the strain and gives you relief. The author states that the best medicine for a man is to take an axe and chop wood until you are physically tired. While physical activities is not guaranteed to cure your heartache it does tend to help people cope with it. The first step to resolve your heartache is to learn how to move on with your everyday life. Get back into your life’s activities. Take up a hobby whether it be swimming, riding, hiking or anything that makes you feel free and untouchable by anything around you. Lose yourself in a project. Reading this book is not enough. You must go out and practice these techniques given in this book. Keep doing it until you get your desired results and do not stop until then.

The Video Lounge

This video is an interview of Dr. Peale and his wife. They are talking about his book The Power of Positive Thinking. He explains some examples and how his book has influenced people’s lives or has changed their lives for the better.

Personal Insights

Why I think:

  • With business conditions today, what the author wrote is true – because:

People from all professions can learn from Mr. Peale’s teachings. Every business person especially can use these techniques to calm themselves down in stressful situations and to help them think clearer. His teachings can help people cope with the stressful environments of the business world.

  • If I were the author of the book, I would have done these three things differently:

1. I would have based these concepts more on realistic life situations instead of preaching to the readers. I would not have used god as a determining factor in the book. Only because some people might be turned off by the preaching’s because some people do not believe in god or it might be a sensitive subject to them and I think everyone needs to read these teachings.

2. I do not like the fact that the book is so repetitive. He says the same points over and over again. To make the book more interesting I would either take out some chapters or make some new points.

3. I like the fact that he shares people’s stories but I would use less of them.  When reading the book you lose the purpose of the book when you get to the stories. Some of the stories, in my opinion, do not have anything to do with the principle of the chapter or the point the author is trying to make.

  • Reading this book made me think differently about the topic in these ways:

1. I never knew that you state of mind can influence you performance this much. I am always worrying about everything around me and it seems like everything is always happening to me. It has only been a month since I read “The Power of Positive Thinking” and already I can tell a difference. I am much calmer and more collective than before. I think this is a book that every person should read.

2. You have a choice to either be happy or unhappy in any situation. I always choose to be happy but I never knew that making that choice was so easy. I guess I do not have a problem with this topic but many people do. As we grow up and progress we learn how to be unhappy. I never knew that we are not born with unhappy feelings. But now that I am thinking about it I have never seen an unhappy baby. Sure they may have their fussy moments but for the most part they are laughing and smiling.

3. Your mind is a very powerful instrument. If your mind tells your body that you are tired, regardless if you are not tired, you will be tired. So in order to keep your body constantly awake you have to tell your brain that you are not tired. Or if you are tired take a short nap and rest your mind completely. When I sleep I do not think I rest my mind completely. I am always thinking of something I have to do the next day. I could sleep all day and still be tried when I get up.

  • I’ll apply what I’ve learned in this book in my career by:

1. Not worrying about things as much. In any profession if you worry about any aspect of the job too much your head will become too cloudy to make educated decisions. You may even buckle under the pressure and you may not be as valuable to the company.

2. If I do not believe in myself then how can anyone else believe in my abilities? My self confidence is one aspect that can make me stand out and be more appealing to a potential employer. If you believe you can do it than other people will too. They can sense it.

3. If you expect the best then you will get the best. In anything I do I expect the best. If you expect the best you will get the best but if you expect the worst you will get the worst. Always think positive and never negative.

  • Here is a sampling of what others have said about the book and its author:

There are many different opinions on “The Power of Positive Thinking” and the author. Some of them are good and some are bad. One reader said that he did not like the book. He stated that the book was written about stupid people doing stupid things. He thinks that the majority of people do not do things like what Peale says. The author is repeatedly hammering information into the reader’s heads. He did not like the fact that most of the paragraphs are in sermon form. He also says that this is too good to be true. One day you have to get up and face reality. Stuff like this just does not happen in the real world.
On the other hand some people liked the book and the principals it offers. This reader states that the book helped her achieve self respect for herself. It helped her grow because she believed in her talents and abilities. The book also helped her think positively about life and any curveballs it may throw at you. She has even passed down what she has learned on to her grandson who has just graduated high school. The book has also taught her how to free herself from any worry, stress, and resentment in her life.
It helper her achieve a positive turn in her life and she recommends the book to anyone she meets.


Coolnfundu, (2003 Aug. 03). The Power of Dumb People. Retrieved from http://www.mouthshut.com/product-reviews/Power-Of-Positive-Thinking-The-Norman-Vincent-Peale-925000695.

Peale, Norman Vincent, (2003). The Power of Positive Thinking. Fireside.

Roshenpaul, (2003 March 11). Motivation for a Better Life. Retrieved from  


Contact Info

To contact the author of this article, “A Summary and Review of The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale for Thinking Executives – and Those Who Want to be One,” please email heather_cosentino@yahoo.com.  


David C. Wyld (dwyld.kwu@gmail.com) is the Robert Maurin Professor of Management at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. He is a management consultant, researcher/writer, and executive educator. His blog, Wyld About Business, can be viewed at http://wyld-business.blogspot.com/. He also serves as the Director of the Reverse Auction Research Center (http://reverseauctionresearch.com/), a hub of research and news in the expanding world of competitive bidding. Dr. Wyld also maintains compilations of works he has helped his students to turn into editorially-reviewed publications at the following sites:



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  1. Posted April 5, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Every great achievement was a dream before it become a reality.^
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  2. Kate
    Posted May 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    This sounds another interesting “self help” type of book and I liked item number 4 in particular. When you get up in the morning you choose to be happy or unhappy that day, and although making that choice doesn’t mean that bad things won’t happen to you that day, it does mean that you’ll be better equipped to handle those negative influences better if you woke up in the morning saying to yourself “this is a good day”. I think that this connects to the idea in number 8, which tells us that we can rejuvenate ourselves just by changing our attitudes and ideas. Our mind has a lot of power over our bodies: it’s been proven that people who stay stressed out for longer periods of time have more health problems and are sick more often than those who try to stay happy and relaxed.

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