Norman Vincent Peale
Ohio native Norman Vincent Peale broke new ground in Christian ministry when he discovered mass media as a means to spread his gospel beyond the pulpit to the homes of millions. Born in the Greene County village of Bowersville, Peale became one of America’s most famous Protestant leaders of the 20th century. His 1952 best-seller, The Power of Positive Thinking, is considered the ancestor for a generation of inspirational self-help books.
For a man so driven to influence people, it’s surprising to learn that Peale fought a lifetime of extreme shyness. Peale’s positive thinking philosophy, some say, was a way of life he developed just to help himself overcome what he confessed was “the worst inferiority complex of all.”
For more than 50 years, Peale was pastor of a church in New York City. His optimistic, dynamic sermons were regularly broadcast, first on radio and later on television. He developed and refined the message that one’s life could be dramatically improved by adopting the principles of positive thinking and faith in God. Indeed, Peale pioneered the merger of theology and psychology, which became known as Christian Psychology.