Norman Vincent Peale: The Power of Positive Thinking Book Summary






  • Although too many people are defeated by the everyday problems of life.
  • It is a pity that people should let themselves be defeated by the problems, cares, and difficulties of human existence, and it is also quite unnecessary.


Chapter 1: Believe in Yourself

  • Believe in yourself! Have faith your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. But with sound self-confidence you can succeed.
  • Self-confidence leads to self-realisation and successful achievement.
  • The fellow who got C’s in school will go on later to get the real A’s in life.
  • The greatest secret for eliminating the inferiority complex, which is another term for deep and profound self-doubt, is to fill your mind to overflowing with faith.
  • To get anywhere with faith learn to pray big prayers. God will rate you according to the size of your prayers. SO the bigger your problem, the bigger your prayer should be.
  • According to your faith be it unto you. (Matthew ix. 29.)
  • Drive your prayers deep into your doubts, fears, inferiorities.
  • The ability to possess and utilise faith and gain the release of powers it provides are skills and, like any skills, must be studied and practised to gain perfection.
  • Repetitive suggestion of confidence ideas.
  • If ye have faith nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Matthew xvii. 20.)
  • We build up the feeling of insecurity or security by how we think. If in our thoughts we constantly fix attention upon sinister expectations of dire events that might happen, the result will be constantly to feel insecure. And what is even more serious is the tendency to create, by the power of thought, the very condition we fear.
  • Lack of self-confidence apparently is one of the great problems besetting people today.
  • Deep within themselves they mistrust their ability to meet responsibilities or to grasp opportunities.
  • When Attitudes are more important than facts. (Dr. Karl Menninger)
  • It’s the confidence attitude that makes the difference.
  • No other idea is so powerful in developing, self-confidence as this simple belief when practised. To practise it simple affirm “God is with me; God is helping me; God is guiding me.
  • Affirm it, visualise it, believe it, and it will actualise itself.
  • Feelings of confidence depend upon the type of thoughts that habitually occupy your mind. Think defeat and you are bound to feel defeated. But practise thinking confident thoughts, make it a dominating habit, and you will develop such a strong sense of capacity that regardless of what difficulties arise you will be able to overcome them. Feelings of confidence actually induce increased strength.
  • Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid. (Basil King)
  • Your increasing faith reconditions yours attitudes.
  • Practise confidence and faith and your fears and insecurities will soon have no power over you.
  • Never take counsel of your fears.
  • Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding.
  • So always picture ‘success’ no matter how badly things seem to be going at the moment.
  • Difficulties must be studied and efficiently dealt with to be eliminated, but they must be seen for only what they are. They must not be inflated by fear thoughts,
  • If God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans viii. 31)


Chapter 2: A Peaceful Mind Generates Power

  • A primary method for gaining a mind full of peace is to practise emptying the mind.
  • You merely feed your mind with thoughts that cause it to be peaceful. To have a mind full of peace merely fill it full of peace. It’s as simple as that.
  • Watch your manner of speech then if you wish to develop a peaceful state of mind.
  • Another effective technique in developing a peaceful mind is the daily practise of silence. Everyone should insist upon not less than a quarter of an hour of absolute quiet every twenty-four hours. Go alone into the quietest place available to you and sit or lie down for fifteen minutes and practise the art of silence.
  • Beauty and of God that are to be found in the essence of silence.
  • Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves. (Thomas Caryle)


Chapter 3: How to Have Constant Energy

  • How we think we feel has a definite effect on how we actually feel physically.
  • By supplying attitudes of faith to the mind it can increase energy.
  • The body is designed to produce all needed energy over an amazingly long period of time. If the individual takes reasonable care of his body from the standpoint of proper diet, execise, sleep, no physical abuse, the body will produce and maintain astonishing energy and sustain itself in good health.
  • Physical condition is determined very largely by our emotional condition, and our emotional life is profoundly regulated by our thought life.
  • The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.


Chapter 4: Try Prayer Power

  • You can’t get a man physically healthy until you get him spiritually healthy.
  • The man who assumes success tends already to have success. People who assume failure tend to have failure. When either failure or success is picturised it strongly tends to actualise in terms equivalent to the mental image pictured.
  • Work hard and intelligently, thus doing your part to achieve success in the matter.


Chapter 5: How to Create Your Own Happiness

  • People are just about as happy as they made up their minds to be. You can be unhappy if you want to be. (Abraham Lincoln)
  • Children are more expert in happiness than adults.
  • Many of us manufacture our own unhappiness. Of course not all unhappiness is self-created, for social conditions are responsible for not a few of our woes. Yet it is a fact that to a large extent by our thoughts and attitudes we distil out of the ingredients of life ether happiness or unhappiness for ourselves.
  • Unhappiness is the most common state of mind.
  • People manufacture their own unhappiness.
  • It is a pity, too, for there are so many problems created by life itself that dilute our happiness that it is indeed most foolish to distil further unhappiness within your own mind. How foolish to manufacture personal unhappiness to add to all the other difficulties over which you have little or no control!
  • Suffice it to say that we manufacture our unhappiness by thinking unhappy thoughts, by the attitudes which we habitually take, such as the negative feeling that everything is going to turn out badly, or that other people are getting what they do not deserve and we are failing to get what we do deserve.
  • That a very large proportion of the unhappiness of the average individual is self-manufactured.
  • I make it a habit to be happy.
  • He that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. (Proverbs xv. 15.)
  • Out of the happiness habit comes a happy life. And because we can cultivate a habit, we therefore have the power to create our own happiness.
  • The happiness habit is developed by simply practising happy thinking. Make a mental list of happy thoughts and pass them through your mind several times every day.
  • Where love is, god is. (Tolstoy)
  • The way to happiness: keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Love simply, expect little, give much. Fill your life with love. Scatter sunshine. Forget self, think of others. Do as you would be done by. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.
  • Nowadays it is smart to be spiritually alive. It is old-fogyism to be ignorant of that happiness-producing transformation which people everywhere are enjoying at this time.
  • So as you change, your world changes also.
  • If happiness is determined by our thoughts it is necessary to drive off the thoughts which make for depression and discouragement.


Chapter 6: Stop Fuming and Fretting

  • Life is so daily.
  • You cannot carry on an argument in a whisper.


Chapter 7: Expect the Best and Get It

  • Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that insures the successful outcome of your venture. (William James)
  • If ye have faith nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Mathew xvi. 21.)
  • Expecting the best means that you put your whole heart (i.e., the central essence of your personality) into what you want to accomplish. People are defeated in life not because of lack of ability, but for lack of wholeheartedness. They do not whole-heartedly expect to succeed. Their heart isn’t in it, which is to say they themselves are not fully given. Results do not yield themselves to the person who refuses to give himself to the desired results.
  • A major key to success in this life, at attaining that which you deeply desire, is to be completely released and throw all there is yourself into your job or any project in which you are engaged. In other words, whatever you are doing, give it all you’ve got. Give every bit of yourself. Hold nothing back. Life cannot deny itself to the person who gives life his all. But most people, unfortunately, don’t do that. In fact, very few people do, and this is a tragic cause of failure, or, if not failure, it is the reason we only half attain.
  • Throw your heart over the bar and your body will follow.
  • Beware of what you want for you will get it. (Emerson)
  • Love cannot live under domination.
  • A man who is self-reliant, positive, optimistic, and undertakes his work with the assurance of success magnetises his condition. He draws to himself the creative powers of the universe.
  • It is a well-defined and authentic principle that what the mind profoundly expects it tends to receive. Perhaps this is true because what you really expect is what you actually want.
  • Faith power works wonders.
  • Doubt closes the power flow, faith opens it. The power of faith is so tremendous that there is nothing that Almighty God cannot do for us, with us, or through us if we let Him channel His power through our minds.
  • That if you expect the best, you are given some strange kind of power to create conditions that produce the desired results.
  • Nobody ever mastered any skill except through intensive, persistent, and intelligent practice.


Chapter 8: I Don’t Believe in Defeat

  • On a roadside hoarding I saw an advertisement of a certain brand of motor oil. The slogan read: ‘A clean engine always delivers power.’ So will a mind free of negatives produce positives, that is to say, a clean mind will deliver power. Therefore flush out your thoughts, give yourself a clean mental engine, remembering that a clean mind, even as a clean engine delivers power.
  • What we do with obstacles is directly determined by our mental attitude. Most of our obstacles, as a matter of fact, are mental in character.
  • The rough is only mental.
  • Your obstacles are present all right. They are not fanciful, but they are not actually so difficult as they seem. Your mental attitude is the most important factor.
  • The secret of achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in mind.


Chapter 9: How to Break the Worry Habit

  • Anxiety is a great modern plague. (Dr. Smiley Blanton)
  • Fear is the most disintegrating enemy of human personality.
  • Worry is the most subtle and destructive of all human disease.
  • Fear is the most powerful of all thoughts with one exception, and that one exception is faith. Faith can always overcome fear. Faith is the one power against which fear cannot stand. Day by day, as you fill your mind with faith, there will automatically master fear.
  • Master faith and you will automatically master fear.
  • Fill your mind with faith, and in due course the accumulation of faith will crowd out fear.
  • For if you fear something continuously you tend to create conditions in your mind propitious to the development of that which you fear. An atmosphere is encouraged in which it can take root and grow. You tend to draw it to yourself.
  • Shift your mind from fear to faith you will stop creating the object of your fear and will, instead, actualise the object of your faith. Surround your mind with healthy thoughts, thoughts of faith, and not fear, and you will produce faith results instead of fear results.
  • You become a worrier by practising worry. You can become free of worry by practising the opposite and stronger habit of faith.


Chapter 11: How to Use Faith in Healing

  • Joy itself possesses healing power.


Chapter 12: When Vitality Sags, Try this Health Formula

  • Doctors are right when they tell us that resentment, hate, grudge, ill will, jealously, vindictiveness, are attitudes which produce ill-health.
  • Many people suffer poor health not because of what they eat, but from what is eating them. Emotional ills turn in upon yourself, sapping your energy, reducing your efficiency, causing deterioration in your health. And, of course, they siphon off your happiness.


Chapter 13: Inflow of New Thoughts Can Remake You

  • The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. (William James)
  • You can think your way to failure and unhappiness, but you can also think your way to success and happiness.
  • The world in which you live is not primarily determined by outward conditions and circumstances, but by thoughts that habitually occupy your mind.
  • A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it. (Marcus Aurelius)
  • A man is what he thinks about all day long. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
  • There is a deep tendency in human nature to become precisely like that which you habitually imagine yourself to be.
  • Positive thoughts create around yourself an atmosphere propitious to the development of positive outcomes. On the contrary, think negative thoughts and you create around yourself an atmosphere propitious to the development of negative results.
  • To change your circumstances, first start thinking differently. Do not passively accept unsatisfactory circumstances, but form a picture in your mind of circumstances as they should be. Hold that picture, develop it firmly in all details, believe in it, pray about it, work at it, and you can actualise it according to that mental image emphasised in your positive thinking.
  • Law of prosperity and success. In three words: Believe and succeed.
  • Every achievement in this world was first projected as a creative idea. First the idea, then faith in it, then the means of implementing the idea. That is the way success proceeds.
  • If you think lack you create the conditions that produce a state of lack.
  • Begin to think prosperity, achievement, success. This will require practice, but it can be done quickly if you will demonstrate faith.
  • Do not hold mental pictures of difficulties and failures, but lift your mind above them and visualise powers and achievements. When you elevate your thoughts into the area of visualised attainments you look down on your problems rather than from below up at them and thus you get a much more encouraging view of them. Always come up over your problems. Never approach a problem from below.
  • And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive them. (Matthew xxi. 22.)
  • Nothing on earth is greater than the human mind in potential power. The average individual is capable of much greater achievement than he has ever realised.
  • The great secret of successful living is to reduce the amount of error in oneself and increase the amount of truth. An inflow of new, right, health-laden thoughts through the mind creatively affects the circumstances of life, for truth always produces right procedures and therefore right results.
  • You must feed your mind even as you feed your body, and to make your mind healthy you must feed it nourishing, wholesome thoughts. Therefore, today start to shift your mind from negative to positive thinking.


Chapter 14: Relax for Easy Power

  • Self-knowledge is the beginning of self-correction.







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