One Simple Idea

One Simple Idea

How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life

Book - 2014 | First Edition
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"From the millions-strong audiences of Oprah and The Secret to the mass-media ministries of evangelical figures like Joel Osteen and T. D. Jakes, to the motivational bestsellers and New Age seminars to the twelve-step programs and support groups of the recovery movement and to the rise of positive psychology and stress-reduction therapies, this idea--to think positively--is metaphysics morphed into mass belief. This is the biography of that belief. No one has yet written a serious and broad-ranging treatment and history of the positive-thinking movement. Until now. For all its influence across popular culture, religion, politics, and medicine, this psycho-spiritual movement remains a maligned and misunderstood force in modern life. Its roots are unseen and its long-range impact is unacknowledged. It is often considered a cotton-candy theology for New Agers and self-help junkies. In response, One Simple Idea corrects several historical misconceptions about the positive-thinking movement and introduces us to a number of colorful and dramatic personalities, including Napoleon Hill and Norman Vincent Peale, whose books and influence have touched the lives of tens of millions across the world." -- from publisher's website.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, [2014]
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9780307986504
0307986500
9780307986498
0307986497
Branch Call Number: 150.1988 HOROWITZ
Characteristics: 338 pages ; 25 cm

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r
rmyre
Sep 09, 2014

The first half of this book is outstanding with a thorough history of the positive thinking movement in this country during the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. He briefly goes back to ancient Greece and Egypt showing that knowledge about the power of our minds and the thoughts we think have been with us for a very long time. It?s a fascinating history of how positive thinking or New Thought evolved at least in the U.S.A. However in the middle of the book, where he moves into the latter half of the twentieth and now the twenty first centuries he seems to have fallen of the cliff or maybe got tired from all of the research he did for the first half of the book.

He moves on to the television evangelicals as the carriers of positive thinking during the latter part of the last century. Nothing could be further from the truth. He cites Pat Robertson and Oral Roberts among others as purveyors of positive thinking. While yes they did promote it, it was simply their marketing tool to raise money for what became their opulent life styles. And remember the important point according to these hucksters was that successful living was dependent on the donations of the long suffering viewers.

It?s at this point that he ignores all the women who contributed to the power of positive thinking and living during the second half of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty first century.

With some arrogance he proclaims that science is unable to prove the effectiveness of positive thinking on improving our quality of life and reaching personal goals.

He apparently has no knowledge of cognitive therapy and positive psychology and the work of neuroscientists such as Dr Martin E. P. Seligman ?Authentic Happiness? and Dr Daniel J. Siegel ? ?Mindsight ?among others. He does briefly mention Dr Siegel in terms of work he did with OCD but rather quickly seems to dismiss it.

He also seems to have no awareness of other scientists such as Candace Pert who authored ?Molecules of Emotion? or the work of Dr Bruce Lipton at the University of Wisconsin ? Madison and his books; the first of course being ?The Biology of Belief.?

He evidently has not read any of Shakti Gawain books such as ?Creative Visualization? and ?Living in the Light.?

He ignores Jean Houston and gives Marianne Williamson a very brief mention.

He appears to be completely ignorant of the benefits of the practice of meditation and mindfulness to improve our lives.

Some of the other teachers, researchers and leaders he does NOT write about are Eckhart Tolle and ?the Power of Now,? Deepak Chopra and his many books but especially ?The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success,? Shawn Achor ? ?The Happiness Advantage,? Dr Larry Dossey on his work proving that prayer influences us on a cellular level with the experiments he did on plants etc., Dr Robert A Emmons and his research on how the practice of of gratitude can change our lives, and Tim Ryan, the congressman who is promoting mindfulness with his book ?A Mindful Nation? and Jon Kabat-Zinn ?Wherever You go There You Are? and his extensive work on the mind, body and spirit benefits of meditation and mindfulness.

Then there is work of Goldie Hawn with school children from disadvantaged neighborhoods working with teachers to help the students learn basic mindfulness techniques to lead better and more productive lives as children and Oprah, who for years introduced us to many teachers and leaders who taught us about the amazing power of our thoughts and right living. And of course the Dalai Lama!

I recommend this book for the in depth history of positive thinking movement in this country. However when you reach the middle of the book, close it and return it to the library.

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