is best known for his accomplishments
in the field of positive thinking. He
wrote the best-selling book The Power
of Positive Thinking and openly lectured
about the ability to change the quality
of life just by changing thoughts.
on May 31, 1898 to a Methodist family
in Bowersville, Ohio, Norman Vincent Peale
spent his childhood delivering newspapers,
working in a local grocery store, and
selling pots and pans to help support
his family. When he finished grade school,
Peale attended Ohio Wesleyan University
and Boston University. In 1922 Peale became
ordained as a minister with the Methodist
Church and served as pastor in churches
in Rhode Island, Brooklyn, and Syracuse
until 1932 when he changed his religious
affiliation to the Reformed Church in
America. As a result, Peale became pastor
of the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan.
1935 Norman Vincent Peale began working
on a radio program called "The Art
of Living". It lasted for 54 years.
1937 Peale, along with the Freudian psychiatrist
Dr. Smiley Blanton, began a religious-psychiatric
outpatient clinic affiliated with the
church. Many of the practices were based
on Peale's own philosophies and practices
of positive thinking. Over the years the
clinic grew and attracted an additional
20 doctors and trained ministers to help
teach and treat patients. In 1951 the
clinic became known as the American Foundation
for Religion and Psychiatry and later
merged with the Academy of Religion and
Mental Health to become the Institutes
of Religion and Health.
1945 Norman Vincent Peale launched his
publishing career with development of
the magazine Guideposts, a non-denominational,
inspirational publication. Seven years
later in 1952, Peale published his best-selling
work The Power of Positive Thinking based
on his teachings at the clinic and his
core beliefs that positive thinking can
change lives. It remained on the bestseller
list for 182 consecutive weeks and has
since sold 7 million copies. He also wrote
The Art of Living, A Guide to Confident
Living, The Tough-Minded Optimist, and
Inspiring Messages for Daily Living. He
also established Guideposts Publications,
the Positive Thinking Foundation, and
the Peale Center.
March 26, 1984, President Ronald Reagan
awarded Norman Vincent Peale with the
Presidential Medal of Freedom for his
contributions to the field of theology.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the
highest honor awarded to civilians in
the United States.
Vincent Peale's teachings were based on
a set of "techniques" in which
individuals repeated positive affirmations
in order to bypass negative programming.
He believed that, by reaching past the
conscious mind, people could begin to
reprogram their brains and begin living
more positive, successful lives. Many
of his affirmations are similar to prayers
used for thousands of years by religions
from all over the globe.
teachings came under scrutiny starting
with the election of JFK
when the minister warned Americans against
voting for a catholic president. As a
result of the backlash, Peale shied away
from later political dealings. Critics,
however, continued to analyze Peale's
teachings and scholars, theologians and
health experts began labeling him as a
Vincent Peale suffered a stroke and died
on December 24, 1993 at the age of 95.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth Stafford
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