The Power of Positive Thinking Summary

The Power of Positive Thinking Summary

Although we live in a time exposed to fast changes, the majority of the population is still aversive to inner transformation and mindset development.

So if you are a passionate person that is intrigued by mysterious theories and if you believe that this existence is more than just fight for survival then our summary of “The Power of Positive Thinking” will undoubtedly create some spark within you.

Who Should Read “The Power of Positive Thinking”? and Why?

There is some magic about Self-help books, sometimes people don’t believe in them, or they feel like the authors are exaggerating things, however in most cases, people find them life changing, wonderful and mystical masterpieces that are worth exploring.

It is laughable really that these books can sometimes cause mass protests or intolerance among friends because we are all aware of the theory that the world is one big tradition because every individual is holding to its comfort zone.

It is evident that “The Power of Positive Thinking” is targeted for the entire world.

The goal is to incite change in perceiving things and help an individual to become more productive and happy.

About Norman Vincent Peale

Norman Vincent Peale

Norman Vincent Peale was an American-born minister, philosopher, and an author who lived in the 20th century.

He was born on  May 31, 1898, in Bowersville Ohio where he spent his childhood. After a long and fruitful life, Peale passed away on December 24, 1993, in Pawling, New York.

Without any doubt, he will be remembered as one of the world’s most influential personalities of the twentieth century.

Norman Vincent Peale published almost 50 inspirational books, and among them is his bestseller “The Power of Positive Thinking” that inspired millions and continues to do so.

“The Power of Positive Thinking Summary”

You have probably heard of (and even read) about some books on the power of your mindset, the positive thinking and a brighter outlook on life.

But there is no place better to go than to one of the first preachers of such a philosophy – Norman Vincent Peale, and his book with a pretty self-explanatory title “The Power of positive thinking.

Here’s the best part:

In fact, in the new era “The Power of Positive Thinking” is among the very first modern self-help books that the population was introduced to.

The renowned priest known by the name of Norman Vincent Peale clarifies how an individual can overcome any struggle that occurs either inwardly or externally, through the influential merger that consolidates the “science of faith” with psychological tips and modernized medicine.

This book teaches you how to ignore negative sensations, not just thoughts. These phenomena can cause fear, anxiety and even depression.

The bottom line is this: you should replace that mindset with a new one- “The Power of Positive Thinking.”

“The Power of Positive Thinking” was published back in 1952 and quickly it changed thousands of lives.

The new mindset that Peale’s book symbolized brought them hope and inner bliss.

These individuals gradually started to accept and love their external and internal reality just the way it is without putting any unnecessary effort resisting it.

Peale also in his self-help masterpiece quotes and supports the New Testament philosophy and guidance to peace, bliss, love, inner joy and success.

Therefore, it is not mandatory that only a Christian can read it, but according to Peale’s words a Christian would find it catchier.

It represents a cultural symbol; enriched with ancient religion principles and practices, as such it is highly recommended by modern gurus, scientists, psychologists and other experts.

You have to understand that this journey can be a bumpy ride it all depends on your surroundings.

Back to what we already stated, if you are familiar with the self-help genre you’ve probably realized till now that many of today’s self-inquiry best-selling books have their foundation based on Peale’s perspective.

Endless inferiority complex and self-doubt issues are affecting many people in modern times, perhaps even more than in medieval centuries.

These sensations and inner phenomena are developed since childhood, but Peale advises that everyone can conquer them by facing them openly with a bit of courage and religious faith.

Key Lessons from “The Power of Positive Thinking”:

1.      How to find that Inner-peace that every human being craves for
2.      The difference between negative and positive thinking
3.      Actualize your goals by praying

How to find that Inner-peace that every human being craves for

Is it even possible for a person to experience a state of total awareness and peace? If so, an individual must look deeply at the root of the problem, not only the “consequences” that came out of it.

This simple advice is enough for an individual to evolve from a state of personhood to a stateless state of total awareness and wisdom, that easily disregards and discredits all fearful, regretful and meaningless thoughts and sensations.

Peale tries to inspire people, by providing them the opportunity to once again revive that childhood innocence and state of total godliness from within.

He advises people to utilize their most precious and pleasant memories, move from noisy places and find a quiet and peaceful one.

The next step is to remain thoughtless for at least 15 minutes each day; of course, Peale doesn’t expect that thoughts would not occur, but you have to ignore them and change them with more optimistic ones, that is the whole key to a blissful inner state.

“The difference between negative and positive thinking.”

Your background shapes your thoughts and your thoughts affect your inner feelings.

This simple logic leads you to a realization that negative thoughts are responsible for anxiety and failures, while positives ones are representatives of godly nature and energy that contribute to overall success and happiness.

“Actualize your goals by praying.”

Every person is familiar with that old-school saying- “Hard work pays off, ” and almost anything is possible if a significant amount of effort and energy are pointed towards an ultimate goal.

Peale gives this saying one a little bit different connotation; he adds praying and honest behavior as an integral part of a peaceful state and outward prosperity that we’ve mentioned above.  

According to “The Power of Positive Thinking,” every person that is subjected to praying must go through three key phases:

  1. “Prayerize” – Develop a daily habit.
  2. “Picturize” – Visualize the thing you want to become or to have.
  3. “Actualize” – Realize these goals.

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“The Power of Positive Thinking” Quotes

The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week, and you will be surprised. Click To Tweet The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. Click To Tweet Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop the picture. Click To Tweet Stand up to an obstacle. Just stand up to it, that's all, and don't give way under it, and it will finally break. You will break it. Something has to break, and it won't be you, it will be the obstacle. Click To Tweet Let nothing trouble you let nothing worry you everything passes away expect God God alone is sufficient. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

This book is offering tips that you can use in your everyday life to successfully change your mindset – and therefore your experiences.

However, it is explicitly Christian, so if you don’t practice this religion, it may not be your cup of tea.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The Positive Dog Summary

The Positive Dog SummaryA Story About the Power of Positivity

Whether we like to admit it or not, tension is becoming omnipresent in all layers of average human life.

The Positive Dog” displays the unbiased facts and proven theories that confirm this claim.

About Jon Gordon

Jon GordonDespite being an author of several books, Jon Gordon is also a public motivational speaker and a consultant.

“The Positive Dog Summary”

Most people are fed up with life. Such mentality is opposing the thinking positively notion and reduces your chances of attaining peace. Having the lucky charm relies on your viewpoints and cultural, educational and environmental background.

Various psychology experts agree that self-esteem plays a considerable role in developing a positive attitude. Constructive thinking patterns are an indication of a happy life; existence filled with joy and passion. Whatever floats in your head will latch onto your real life.

An act of negativity adds to stressfulness, unhappiness, depression, and anxiety. Negative people always feel threatened and tend to blame other people for their status or situation. In truth, our shallow thoughts pose a threat to our well-being.

If your business or company is filled with negative associates, managers, and employees; undoubtedly your firm will suffer.

Numerous studies mark these allegations and justify the claim that only a positive attitude can match a happy life.

  • 90% of all health issues are merely a consequence of a stressful life. Worries and tensions only produce a new generation of depressive people, whose emotional state keeps getting worse. In one recently conducted study, scientists revealed that happier nuns lived a few years longer than the others.
  • In all analyzes, positive sales experts overshadowed their fellow depressive colleagues by a mile. It’s not something extraordinary because building a strong team spirit takes real leadership skills.
  • “Leaders not bosses” is the answer, encouragement is key to both efficiency and productivity. Nobody likes to work under pressure, without proper guidance.
  • Experts have even designed a perfect marriage scheme – 5:1 ratio positive to negative interactions if you intend to make things work.
    Failed marriages often have 1:1 ratio, which explains the increased divorce rates.
  • Optimistic individuals are not backing down when things get tough. They stand up and fight against anything that inflicts stress and unhappiness.
  • Those who advocate for openness and freedom, are more likely to find solutions and apply ethical practices.
  • In sports, athletes who unlike others publicly express their emotions are proving to be better performers than the negative ones.
  • As we said, positive persons are more efficient and productive. Being motivated an in high-spirits gives you the edge and increases your chances of getting promoted or publicly praised by the superiors.
  • Joyful and optimistic people have more friends and indulge in forming strong personal and professional bonds with others.

Key Lessons from “The Positive Dog

1.      Develop a “Positive Plan”
2.      Before saying something negative “Stop”
3.      Show compassion and offer friendship

Develop a “Positive Plan”

This 11-day strategy is not merely something that you should take for granted.

The road to total optimism is paved with proper planning and pure intentions.

Before saying something negative “Stop”

Sometimes we need to pause in order to reassess the situation. Bad words are just like arrows; once they are fired, there is no turning back.

Take it slow and gently.

Show compassion and offer friendship

The two-dog story describes how we must lower our guard down and be open to compromise.

Everyone appreciates sincerity and desire to make things right. Leave your ego aside for a moment and focus on solving the issue.

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“The Positive Dog” Quotes

The world needs you to speak into the hearts of others and say, I believe in you. If you have the desire then you also have the power to make it happen. Keep working hard. You’re improving and getting better. Keep it up. Great things are… Click To Tweet We all have two dogs inside of us. One dog is positive, happy, optimistic and hopeful. The other dog is negative, mad, sad, pessimistic and fearful. Click To Tweet Abundance flows into your life when gratitude flows out of your heart. Click To Tweet Gratitude is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. Click To Tweet When you are positive, you not only make yourself better, you make everyone around you better. Click To Tweet    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Change Your Thinking Change Your Life Summary

Change Your Thinking Change Your Life Summary

How to Unlock Your Full Potential for Success and Achievement

It’s your favorite motivational speaker yet again. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare for the summary of another of Brian Tracy’s bestsellers, “Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life”!

And here we go!

About Brian Tracy

Brian TracyBrian Tracy is a Canadian-born self-development author. He has written over 70 books, and most of them have been bestsellers translated into many languages. The most popular among them are probably, “Eat That Frog,” “The 21 Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires Summary,” and “Be a Sales Superstar” – which we’ve featured among our top sales books of all time!

“Change Your Thinking Change Your Life Summary”

It’s almost a rule: when Brian Tracy talks, everybody listens. And when we say everybody – we do mean everybody. Namely, the guy (who, by the way, speaks four languages) has visited more than 80 countries and has given talks to more than 1,000 companies.

And, roughly speaking, about a quarter million people listen to his seminars and talks on a yearly basis!

Now, most of them are related to sales and business strategies. “Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life” is much less specialist, and much more encompassing.

It’s a guidebook for changing your life.

And it’s based on the idea that your brain is not your mind. And that the latter is part of a large network and can actually affect the physical world.

Yes – we’re talking about the power of positive thinking!

We’ve written about it quite a few times, so we’re pretty sure you know the drill! The Pareto 80/20 principle and the fact that how you react to what is happening to you is much more important than what is actually happening.

And if that’s true, then you’ll be doing yourself quite a favor if you start rejecting the negative emotions which clutter inside your head.

Get some headspace!

Forget the past and forgive the people who have done some harm to you! This will free you and your thoughts, and you will be able to focus on the things that are actually happening to you.


Which means – that you will be able to start shaping your future.

And that starts with a wish list. Don’t think about it too much. Just put on paper what you’d like to be and do if there were no financial difficulties. You’ll think about the framework later.

Once you’re done with the wish list, try to do an exercise or two to discover two things: “the center of your excellence” and the talents upon which it is founded. (We have already presented you with, in our opinion, the best exercises of this kind here!)

Once you do that, try dedicating at least 30 minutes a day to further improve these talents. Read a magazine or a book, subscribe to a website or twelve, do a step-by-step tutorial. That’s how you’ll start growing.

And that’s how you’ll finally hit a wall!

It’s not bad! It happens to everybody. Consider it a chance to become even better and start thinking a bit differently. You may need to combine your art knowledge with your business expertise. Or, you may simply need to find the right people.

You see – it’s always good to have the right contacts.

But, to excel in the art of networking, you’ll need to develop a networking persona. So, do that. By starting to work on your own personality. That inner voice speaking devilishly all day long won’t do. It needs to be friendly and way, way calmer.

Now, you’re all but ready to start fighting your battles.

One last advice, though:

No excuses.

Key Lessons from “Change Your Thinking Change Your Life”

1.      Start Thinking Positively and Change Your Life
2.      Think Big and Don’t Back Down
3.      Small Steps Will Take You a Long Way

Start Thinking Positively and Change Your Life

You can’t think negatively of yourself and expect others to think positively of you. The best part of this revelation: it’s you who can control the impression you make. So, start doing it! Just like a basketball coach, bench your negative thoughts, and find your best brainstorming lineup. Because, just like there are bad self-fulfilling prophecies, there are also good ones.

Think Big and Don’t Back Down

Success doesn’t come easy. But, it also doesn’t come at all if you don’t want it to come. And you can’t know if you wanted it until you have a clear vision of what it is. So, set your goals straight from the start and may they be as big as possible. Identify your ideal targets first, and think about the financial framework later. The money will come to you – if you go towards them.

Small Steps Will Take You a Long Way

And the walk towards success is a long one. However, Lao-Tze was on to something when he said that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The idea: if you think big, it doesn’t mean that it’s not good to start small. In fact, taking small steps at the start is the best way to go. It will get you going. And, sooner or later, you’ll be ready to run!

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“Change Your Thinking Change Your Life” Quotes

Be true to yourself. Click To Tweet You become what you think about most of the time. Click To Tweet Your failures have prepared you for success. Click To Tweet You have to pay the price before you enjoy the reward. Click To Tweet The very best way to predict the future is to create it. Click To Tweet    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Black Box Thinking Summary | FREE PDF |

Black Box Thinking SummaryThe Surprising Truth About Success (And Why Some People Never Learn from Mistakes)

Finding the perfect job straight out of college is anything but easy.

We summarize the key elements, that will lift your spirits even if the odds are against you.

Who Should Read “Black Box Thinking”? And Why?

Black Box Thinking is an indispensable asset in today’s fluctuating environment. If you cannot adapt, you’ll probably be crushed by others.

With this in mind, we target those frightened individuals, and try to boost their creativity and give them support in times of crisis.

About Matthew Syed

Matthew SyedMatthew Syed is a respected British journalist, a writer, and broadcaster, who managed to win three Men’s Singles Championships at Table Tennis.

He has been a valuable member of New York Times since 1999.

“Black Box Thinking Summary”

Don’t let us start on failures and their destructive force. Usually, these temporary defeats carry a strong message, which is often overwhelming.

Failing your mid-term or trying in vain to gain someone’s attention is devastating. However, not everything is so miserable, if you find the core of the problem.

Even though we all fear being stranded on a sinking ship, there’s something you can do, regardless of how hopeless the situation may seem at first glance.

All starts from early childhood – remember when you were a kid. Did you willingly admit every mistake that you made, or you tried to hide them? We don’t need to remind you that, kids have a hard time understanding the adult world.

In general, denying their involvement in any kind of “bad” activity is out of reflex.

So, thinking that they are doing it on purpose – is not the case. Even with overwhelming evidence, kids’ mindset is designed to contradict your “verdict.” Before you start being too judgemental, ask yourself – Are we – adults any different?

Not even a little bit! In general, people hate being guilty of something, and we’ll do pretty much everything to pass the blame onto someone else.

As much as we hate making mistakes, nothing can outmatch the notion of rejecting liability for the issue that just occurred.

Whether we are aware of this or not, it’s our way of life – for the most people. Finding the strength to acknowledge your involvement in some misunderstanding is something special. In truth, such attitude will always put you on the top, and help you grow both personally and professionally.

Failure is linked to shame, and we often take life too personally. Instead, you should perceive such unpleasant occurrences as a clear indicator that a change is vital.

Miscalculations are only natural, and you should not make it so hard on yourself. If you sense that things are not going as you intended, stop for a second and adjust your strategy.

When an opportunity presents itself, you must be equipped with eagerness and expertise to fix the error.

If you are whining and refusing to take full responsibility for your work, you won’t be able to eliminate the potential threats coming from that mistake.

Keep your work well-organized and understand that being grown-up consists of mental strength, and the courage to be at the center of happenings when things go wrong.

Every company would love to have an executive who doesn’t shy away from challenges and delegating – even when the world is turned upside down.

Imagine being a part of a community that is continuously advocating for openness, and condemns an irrational behavior. It’s a privilege having such a “player” in your squad, so don’t become a drama queen and start enforcing your new rules within the organization or at home.

The thinking patterns can lift you up or keep you down. Underachievers have low self-esteem, and they are avoiding challenges.

They hate being in charge of a critical operation puts themselves in a position to beg for a piece of that delicious cake. Successful people take their slice by themselves; they don’t expect any approvals or public recognition.

The world, guided by advanced technology is frightening. So, many people embrace defensive stance and struggle to adapt. But, consider this example: For centuries people have used leaches to treat various diseases.

They thought that sucking the blood is a proven method for getting rid of all the sickness. Unfortunately, it only caused further problems. Despite these effects, medieval doctors continued the treatment, which resulted in more deaths.

For instance, you think you got what it takes to implement change in your organization right?

However, your skills to deal with the power of uncertainty are proving to be insufficient. The superiors are looking for the culprit of this unsuccessful operation. Would you step-up and explain yourself?

This is a million dollar answer, that’s for sure.

Key Lessons from “Black Box Thinking

1.      Stubbornness can be deadly
2.      Temporary setbacks mustn’t crush you
3.      Life provides you with lessons

Stubbornness can be deadly

The doctors witnessed death, and yet they didn’t acknowledge the ineffectiveness of their treatment and continued with the “slaughter.”

As you can see, not much has changed since then. The game is different, but the rules remained untouched.

Temporary setbacks mustn’t crush you

Failure is perhaps the most annoying thing that can happen to anyone. However, lots of people found inspiration in such unpleasant conditions and came out as winners at the end.

The ability to seek new solution separated them from the rest you and grand them victory.

Life provides you with lessons

Throughout history, intelligent people have spread wisdom by declaring that there’s no such thing as mistakes only lessons.

What made us arrogant and hard to handle? – Establish a positive mindset, and understand that you cannot avoid slip-ups.

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“Black Box Thinking” Quotes

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself. Click To Tweet Creativity is, in many respects, a response. Click To Tweet It is partly because we are so willing to blame others for their mistakes that we are so keen to conceal our own. We Click To Tweet The only way to be sure is to go out and test your ideas and programmes, and to realize that you will often be wrong. But that is not a bad thing. It leads to progress. Click To Tweet Bacon identified in relation to the natural sciences: the mismatch between the complexity of the world and our capacity to understand it. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

The first thought that goes through your mind when reading a book as entertaining and informative as this one is – I have to try this.

We hope you’ll receive the same excitement as we did.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude Summary

Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude Summary

MicroSummaryHave you ever wondered why you could not achieve your goals? Do you believe that success depends on your influence and the people you know? This book will change your mind about it! It will show you how to succeed by changing small attitudes and changing your way of thinking! Your success, happiness, health, and wealth only depend on you! Transform your reality with the help of this book! Come with us!

Tired of being an underdog?

No this is not a commercial, it’s a life-altering story that can shift your life in a matter of days.

Who Should Read “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude”? And Why?

If you are eager to conduct some positive changes and transform from whiner to winner “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude” is the book for you.

Beyond all these notions lies a “small” person, who’s afraid to dive into the unknown.

Simple as that, trust life and enjoy the ride.

About Napoleon Hill & W. Clement Stone

Napoleon HillNapoleon Hill is one of the first in line, self-help authors who wrote dozens of books including The Law of Success, Think and Grow Rich”, How to Raise your Own Salary, The Master-Key to Riches, etc. He was born on October 26th, 1883 and passed away at the age of 87.

William Clement Stone

William Clement Stone (May 4th, 1902 – September 3th, 2004) is one of America’s greatest self-help writers of the 20th century.

He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and soon after his father’s death, he began developing as a self-sufficient and creative individual.

“Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude Summary”

Let’s cut to the basics:

It’s more than obvious that your mindset shapes not only your professional life but has an immense impact on other aspects as well.

If you develop a positive mental attitude, you’ll immediately start to feel that inner pull, which will get all your goals within reach.

Does it sound appealing?

Apparently, even if it doesn’t, that’s the only route to success!

Did you ever see a successful complainer? – We highly doubt that. Your unhappiness and sense of dissatisfaction affect the entire life flow.

It’s best if we take it up from the top. Is it so hard to adjust your thinking so that sometime soon you’ll witness life-altering changes?!

Start creating and building that inner relationship, that can save you from going unnoticed, and criticized.  

For instance, it’s ignorant to perceive success as “some kind-of-freakish-luck” and not as the end of result of numerous good decisions.

If you are rigid, and not adaptable to change, confrontation with yourself will drag you down even further.

So, first things first. You don’t have to be the next Einstein, but it’s advisable that you approach life with a dose of optimism, and enthusiasm.

Generally speaking, historians are well-aware of the efficiency emerging from these techniques.


The greatest asset in one’s endeavor is its mind, or in other words attitude.

In fact, the greatest minds have already brought to light, various inventions, at the expense of such behavior. Don’t run away from being in a tough situation, put your skills and mind to the test.

By all means, our attitude is the key to solving mysteries; it’s our behavior that reflects our inner state.

Make sure that you’re equipped for the “winter,” and don’t run away from challenges. Where is your strength to react when you are being cornered?

Oppose these attacks, with your new “Attitude.”  Don’t throw yourself at the mercy of other, and stand firm! Fix the problems with your creativity and self-esteem, if you don’t know one else will.

In the book, you’ll often encounter the terms “PMA” and “NMA” numerous times. Fortunately, it’s not the time for guessing games, so we’ll enlighten you right away – Positive Mental Attitude; Negative Mental Attitude.

With this in mind, it’s hard to neglect the fact that NMAs are trailing behind all the time. And those people whose ideas were put into action fall into the PMA category.

The productivity awaits, but how can anyone rely on your expertise if you lack creativity and optimism.

In spite of all the nonsense you believe in, it’s all acceptable if you carry the seal of a positive mental attitude.

If you are tired of living in the shadow of other more enthusiastic persons, it’s time to do something about it.

Does it come naturally to you, or not doesn’t matter. In reality, all other elements, and factors are secondary especially if an individual lacks the positive mental attitude (PMA).

People with PMA are “lucky” because they make their own luck, they are success seekers! Something like magnets.

For them, life is something that needs to be exploited, and there are no mistakes only lessons.

Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude
Be that person, be that individual who is not afraid to take a risk, who looks at opportunities as a chance for improvement.

Key Lessons from “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude”

1.      Don’t be afraid of changes
2.      Be an indispensable member
3.      Beyond the concept of mental nearsightedness

Don’t be afraid of changes

Climb the corporate ladder, and get your fair share of the profits.

Get rid of these negative thoughts and sensations by challenging them, let them be and challenge their trustworthiness. Sooner or later, you’ll realize that you imposed those ideas on yourself.  

Be an indispensable member

Although the people with NMA will fall short to meet deadlines, the real issue is way bigger.

Their contribution is questioned due to their lack of passion, and consequently, they earn less and live less fully.

Don’t be someone’s second choice, go for the “Golden Arrow” and raise your expectations.

Beyond the concept of mental nearsightedness

Nearsightedness simply means that you lack the courage, attitude, or expertise to interpret things differently. It means you are drowning in your shallow views.

Thriving on challenges is not helpful if you are blind to the big picture. Literally, it indicates that you must confront the factors, which contribute to the rise of this phenomenon.

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude Quotes”

You become what you think about. Click To Tweet There is very little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative. Click To Tweet Everyone faces defeat. It may be a stepping-stone or a stumbling block, depending on the mental attitude with which it is faced. Click To Tweet Whatever your mind can conceive and can believe, it can achieve. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Although there is plenty of self-help book these days, “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude” displays something unique, something that can catch your attention. In our opinion, you shouldn’t hesitate; give this classic a quick read.

New / Extended Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude PDF Summary

Develop Your Positive Mental Attitude

For many people, success is a great mystery without a concrete explanation. Do not you have to do anything to succeed? Does it depend on any favorable conditions or luck? Do we need to meet the right people at the right time?

The answer to all these questions is very simple: no! In fact, success comes from a positive mental attitude (PMA). The level of your success is directly related to your PMA – or your rival, the negative mental attitude (NMA).

You can not blame anyone for your lack of success. Do not blame your circumstances too! Keep in mind that you need to work hard to achieve your goals.

People with PMA attract success. They approach life positively, and do not trouble themselves with failures or errors; in reality, they see difficulties as opportunities. For someone with a PMA, every failure is a step that takes you closer to a solution.

Because these people are not afraid to fail, they are not afraid to try, even if success is unlikely. They long to try and are hungry for self-improvement. People who have a positive mental attitude achieve greatness because they are thirsty to reach new goals and grow.

The good news is, it’s never too late to improve your mental attitude. Anyone who starts working at age 25 will work about 100,000 hours before retiring around age 67. And that means you have plenty of time to start cultivating your PMA.

An Example Of Success

Let’s think about the case of Tom Dempsey, who was born without a part of his right foot and his right arm. Tom’s dream was to become a football player, and so his parents encouraged him and made a wooden prosthesis for Tom’s foot.

He was so interested in American football that he trained every day for hours using his wooden prosthesis and an appropriate shoe. He got so good at kicking; he was hired by the New Orleans Saints team.

In a crucial game, with thousands of spectators following, in the last two seconds of game Tom Dempsey gave a 57-meter kick to the goal, which broke several records – with his wooden foot!

At the time, it was the longest goal kick in a professional football game. And that Tom kick gave the New Orleans Saints victory over the Detroit Lions.

And what does this story have to do with you?

The truth is that Tom Dempsey applied some principles in his life that helped him to develop a PMA, regardless of his physical incapacity. He was able to overcome his disadvantages about others and became a successful player, even when no one believed it was possible.

Principles For Cultivating Your PMA

The principles that Tom Dempsey and other successful people who develop a PMA can be applied by anyone regardless of age, gender or level of knowledge. They will help you cultivate and make good use of your PMA. These principles are:

  • People who develop an ardent desire to achieve great goals, achieve greatness.
  • Success is achieved and maintained by those who seek to maintain PMA.
  • To become an expert in any human activity, you need to practice, practice and practice.
  • Hard work and effort can be fun when you set specific goals.
  • In all adversity, there is a benefit for those who are motivated by the PMA.
  • The greatest power of man is in prayer.

Learning To Develop The PMA

You may wonder, is it possible to learn how to use the PMA? Or is this an innate characteristic that some people possess and others not?

Yes, you can learn! Just as any other skill is developed, the PMA can also be learned and improved.

You can develop your PMA by committing to adopt and apply in your daily life the following 17 principles of success:

  • A positive mental attitude;
  • A sense of purpose;
  • Working more than necessary;
  • Precise thinking;
  • Self-discipline;
  • An active mind;
  • An applied faith;
  • A pleasant personality;
  • Initiative person;
  • Enthusiasm;
  • Controlled attention;
  • Group work;
  • Learn from defeats;
  • Creative vision;
  • Controlling time and money;
  • Maintaining mental and physical health;
  • Using the universal laws (cosmic forces).

These principles have been drawn from years of observations of people who have achieved success in the most different areas. That way, you’ll be able to keep your mind positive.

See Your Problems As Opportunities

Success requires you to confront and solve problems. Think about the great minds of history and about the big business tycoons: Behind every great invention or innovation, there was a problem that someone tried to solve.

And it is precisely our mental attitude that dictates how we are going to deal with problems.

When you encounter a challenge, do you resist failure or try to find the positive side of the problem to fix it? Obviously, successful people adopt an LDC and a more productive approach.

Those with an NMA will give up their goals and concede defeat in the first difficulty – when the prototype fails, for example, or when a potential investor changes his mind.

People who care about developing a PMA can see setbacks as challenges to be faced. So, instead of giving up, they try with even more disposition.

This reaction is known as ‘inspiring dissatisfaction,’ and the people who own it, use it to overcome even the most desperate situations.

Even a prison sentence can be a positive opportunity. That’s what a man named Charlie Ward taught us.

During his time in prison, Ward was able to shift his NMA to a PMA. This change made him respected by the other prisoners and guards, and he climbed the chain hierarchy.

During his time there, he met Herbert Bigelow, who was serving time for tax fraud. Bigelow was so impressed with Ward that he promised him a decent job after he left.

When Ward was released, he accepted that job. And after Bigelow died, Ward became the CEO of the company and died a millionaire.

Live The Present And Plan Your Future

Many people have myopia, farsightedness or some other vision problem. But did you know that some people may suffer from mental farsightedness?

Mental hyperopia is a condition that makes you unable to see the possibilities in your future.

You may not be able to understand the importance of planning and having future goals. Or it may be that you waste all your energy struggling with problems that are in front of you, not being able to see the whole picture.

Being able to plan for the future is one of our greatest evolutionary advantages. Think of Dick Pope, a man who did not have mental hypermetropia.

Pope saw an opportunity to build a tourist attraction on a land around the town of Winter Haven, Florida, where other people saw nothing but an abandoned swamp.

Then he bought an old swamp and made it become the now-famous Cypress Gardens. He also offered photographic equipment and free advice on photography, giving tourists the advantage of returning home with great photos, spreading the fame of Cypress Gardens.

But it’s not just mental hyperopia that can ruin your success: people with mental myopia also have problems.

They want to get to the top and dream about the future, but they forget to work on the important things to get there.

Consequently, they fail to achieve their goals and do not take advantage of the opportunities that are right in front of them every day.

And these daily opportunities are often the most lucrative. Consider the paperclip or Post-it. Both are simple products that have solved a small but widespread problem. People who recognize these daily problems can generate millions. People with mental myopia never take advantage of these opportunities.

Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude PDFBe Determined And Motivated

A PMA will give you a solid foundation for success, but it needs to be accompanied by determination and motivation. Instead of blaming all of your difficulties in the world, you should try to change situations.

When you feel determined to make a difference, your motivation will grow, which will help you achieve great things in your life.

One person who embodied motivation and determination was Farmer Milo Jones.

Thanks to a serious illness, Jones became paralyzed. Although his body was no longer useful to him, his head still worked, and he began to think about how he could accomplish certain tasks more efficiently.

With motivation, determination, and PMA, he managed to convert his small corn farm into an empire called Jone’s Little Pork Sausages, which made him a millionaire.

But know that along with your determination, you also need to have goals. It is best to write down your goals and set timelines for them.

For example, take note of what you want to achieve by the end of the year. The harder your goals, the more you will need to fight for them, and the more you will achieve.

If you have a particularly challenging goal, you can break it into smaller goals that you can obtain in a near time, to reach the ultimate goal.

For example, if your primary purpose is to ‘know the whole world,’ you can break that goal first by ‘Going Latin America in 2 months’, ‘Seeing North America’ and ‘Visiting Europe’ for example. In this way, you break your goal into small goals, which can be accomplished piece by piece.

Internalize Your Positive Mental Attitude

Our attitudes are the result of our conscious decisions, right? Well, not exactly. Our subconscious exerts a powerful influence on us, affecting our dreams, desires, and needs and directing our behavior.

But we can use this mental power to our advantage by using autosuggestion. With self-suggestion, we can connect our desires and goals to our subconscious. And it will influence our thoughts and our lives.

Whether it is about health, finances or relationships, self-help can help us achieve whatever goal we have. So how can you do this?

You can start by reading a sentence out loud twice a day, for example about how much money you want to earn that year.

Your subconscious mind will remember this and will influence your conscious to look for things that will help you get there, such as new job opportunities.

The same method applies to adjusting your mental attitude. If you tell yourself that you are feeling happy every day, that feeling will gain strength, and after a while, your mental attitude will improve and you will even feel more satisfied.

A man named Bill McCall was a master of self-suggestion. McCall lived in Sydney, and he was 21 years old. His business went from bad to worse, and he failed to run for office in the Federal Congress.

But instead of admitting defeat, he decided to use the power of self-suggestion: he wrote that by 1960 he wanted to be a millionaire.

After a few years repeating that goal to himself, McCall not only became the youngest man in history to enter Parliament, but he also became the corporate director of 22 families – he also became a millionaire.

Once you can internalize your positive mental attitude in this way and use self-management effectively, you will be far more equipped to overcome any obstacle with determination and optimism.

Change Your Habits

We have already seen how we can have more control over our mind, but what about our behavior? Good attitudes are what make us real people – and improving the way we act is a matter of right training.

We know that our feelings influence our attitudes. But the opposite is also true: our attitudes affect our emotions.

So by modifying our behavior, we can control and change our emotions. Consider Benjamin Franklin. Franklin worked hard to improve his behavior.

He sought to change his behavior for a certain period – practicing abstinence, or sobriety or moderation until he had mastered that particular virtue.

After he felt competent in one virtue, he sought to dominate the next.

We should all learn a little from Franklin’s book. For example, if you want to live a moderate life, practice moderation for a few weeks. Do not overdo food, and do not get drunk if you’ve already felt good about having a glass of wine.

By changing your behavior in this way, you also change. And the more we work on those virtues, the more they become part of us.

You can even train your preferences. Let’s say you want to stop eating chocolates because you know it’s not healthy. You could start by stopping eating two bars every time you sit on the couch to watch television after work.

This simple change will make you feel even healthier and will help you pay more attention to your body’s needs. Eventually, you will prefer not to eat more chocolates.

You can also train yourself to stop procrastinating. You can do this if you start working immediately rather than spending hours doing unnecessary activities.

Just a few weeks are doing this, and this behavior will become part of your personality. This way you will prevent bad habits from sabotaging your life.

Never Give Up!

Sometimes our plans do not come true because we lost one lost one piece of the puzzle  – that piece that would make your project a great success. People with PMA know that they must always be looking for this piece.

Everyone who can see their ultimate goal on the horizon needs to stop and wonder what that last piece is. If you let a negative attitude get in the way, failure will be accurate.

But if you failed, think about it and try to be frank – what else could have been done? And what could have taken his project further?

The Wright brothers were excellent at it. They succeeded where others failed because they possessed strong positive mental attitudes. Instead of feeling like losers when the plane project failed, they saw the missing piece: movable flaps on the wings of the plane!

These flaps allowed the pilot to change the position of the wings and make the plane stable. This piece would be lost forever if the brothers had a negative mental attitude, and their dreams would never see the light of day.

When you are looking for the missing piece, an unconventional approach may be attractive. When we are trying to brainstorm new ideas, many of us are left waiting with a pen and paper in hand.

So when we get distracted, our focus is lost and potentially good ideas. So why do we not try an unconventional alternative and seek to focus our minds?

For example, Dr. Gates an American inventor had the habit of locking himself in a small, dark, soundproof room so he could focus on a solution to some problem.

He just switched on the bedroom light when he had an idea, and then he thought of a possible solution.

Influence And Motivate Others

When we are talking about motivation, we have two roles – we are motivated by others, and we give motivation to others. But first, you need to be able to motivate yourself.

Motivation is what governs our choices; without it, you will not be able to progress towards success. Therefore, it is paramount for your journey.

To generate your motivation, list all the things you want to achieve and when you want to achieve them. After that, try to change your habits.

There are many ways to get motivated, but the secret is not to stop trying. Do not sit back after reading this. And in the meantime, why do not you try to motivate someone else too?

As an example, let’s look at parent-child relationships. As infants, children motivate their parents to care for them and parents encourage their children by caring for and supporting them, which builds trust.

Thomas Edison, for example, always relied on his mother’s confidence in him, even when he was a lousy and insubordinate student! She defended her son, even when he failed.

To motivate someone with confidence, be it a child or an adult, you need to give that person an active faith. That means you need to tell that person that you believe in her, and that she has your trust and support.

Maintaining a passive confidence is not motivating because the person will not be able to detect it.

So if you want an employee to know that you are giving him or her an important job, talk to them. Tell him that the fate of the project is in his hands because you trust him.

Final Notes:

Are you dissatisfied with your life? Can not reach your goals or get where you want? Think back to how your mental attitude has gotten you in the way.

And remember, we are masters of our attitude, and our attitudes shape our future. Learn how to develop your PMA and achieve the success you want!    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Six Thinking Hats Summary

Six Thinking Hats SummaryAlways deal with one concept at a time don’t rush things, even if you are a prominent member of the group!

A notion forgotten by many members who overestimate their influence and tend to go on their own.

Who Should Read “Six Thinking Hats”? And Why?

The book is especially intended for that part of the population which “dives deeply into dangerous waters” of entrepreneurship.

Lawyers, managers, and investors will surely enjoy the easygoing writing style of Edward and his viewpoints.

About Edward de Bono

Edward de BonoEdward de Bono is a Maltese-born entrepreneur, writer, consultant and an individual who holds college degrees in medicine and psychology.

He was born on 19 May 1933, in Malta. St. Edward’s College in Malta granted him a medical degree, and he obtained an MA in psychology from Rhodes Scholar.

After receiving many honors, he got to a stage to teach in prestigious universities like Oxford, Harvard, and Cambridge.

Edward wrote more than forty books; among them, you can find masterpieces like I am Right, You are Wrong; The Happiness Purpose and Teach Your Child How to Think.

“Six Thinking Hats Summary”

People are familiar with two types of challenges when they strive to resolve some problem or to overcome an unpleasant situation. You probably know the first obstacle already – The Ego. Don’t consider ego as something wrong; you should understand how your personality affects your decision-making ability.

It is composed of an ambition to succeed, to oppose someone or something, and to underline the mistakes made by other people out of confusion and misunderstanding.

The ego is a mix of emotions and phenomena which regularly judge other people based on their opinion, appearance, education creativity, intelligence, etc.

Sometimes for a person, it is better to disregard emotions like logic, hope, and creativity to cope with the difficulties of today. The “Six Thinking Hats” will help you to carry out meaningful analyses that will aid you in the managerial processes by focusing only on the most important issue of all.

The hats are reckoned as visualization tools that associate to each of our brain functions.

Transform your mindset completely – For instance, if a group of people at a meeting consistently criticizes and make negative comments about other members, you should advise them to remove those “black thinking hats.

These hats emphasized caution and risk analysis as their essential attributes; the “yellow ones,” signify hope, bliss, and optimism.

In general, it all depends on what you seek; it doesn’t matter whether you have superior or inferior egoic state of mind, what does matter is how you cope with life.

On account of prosperity, you should choose your hat and understand the benefits and disadvantages that any hat carries. Enter into the thinking process entirely, your appeal for a positive viewpoint will not threaten other person’s egos.

Simplify your life not just your thinking – It is so much better to focus on one thing at a time, the juggling thoughts are not helpful. Control your emotions and intuition for the benefit of peace and inner harmony.

According to Edward de Bono, people from all races, nationalities, cultures, and outlooks are invited to use his “Thinking Hats method. “It grants each person access to all sorts of information quickly and conveniently. De Bono’s visualization tools are not only helpful to deemphasize vanity but also, they point out a direction to one sporadic nonjudgmental decision-making approach.

Each chapter, each paragraph in the book contains a comprehensive explanation of the attributes that every different hat color has. Plenty personal examples and stories are used to assist readers on how to use these hats when communication occurs.

You have probably heard that rationality confronts the creative hemisphere of human’s mind. Creativity is something profound which destroys the idea of a concept.

Thinking is also a changeable concept; occurs even in sleep mode. Edward de Bono educate individuals of the variable nature of things and their development.

All of the six hats represent a unique self-developed mindset. Mindsets are a dangerous phenomenon; they can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The shape of your world defines them and indicate the amount of collective opinion that dwells in you.

Contradictory attitude is not the solution, oppose the robotic methods, and fight for your business to reach a state of freedom and financial balance. The societal restraints are influential elements in the business community.

Therefore, the real struggle begins when you feel apt to the destroy these constraints once and for all.

You have the freedom to employ them in any order, but it is an imperative to start and end with the blue one.

Key Lessons from “Six Thinking Hats”

1.      White Hat; Red Hat
2.      Black Hat; Yellow hat
3.      Green Hat; Blue Hat

White hat

A non-color illustrates an impartial state of mind. White hat way of thinking is realistic; it assimilates examples and information.

Red hat

This method is opposite of the white one. Red is the color of creation, love, and perception. The “red hat” signifies the importance of feelings and how are they influencing our decisions.

Black hat

Represents cautious mentality; this is the hat which is often overused. In the meantime, black hat has a task to recognize any potential difficulties and tries to avoid them.

Yellow hat

100% symbolic of sunshine and brilliance; it also represents optimism. The yellow and black hat are balanced somehow.

Green hat

Manifests “productivity and growth.” If you feel creative, the “green hat” is the perfect fit for you.

Blue Hat

Blue indicates real authority. For instance, in a meeting, the “blue hat” emphasizes the group’s facilitator.

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“Six Thinking Hats” Quotes

We may have a perfectly adequate way of doing something, but that does not mean there cannot be a better way. So we set out to find an alternative way. This is the basis of any improvement that does not fault correction or problem-solving. Click To Tweet The need to be right all the time is the biggest bar to new ideas. It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong than to be always right by having no ideas at all. Click To Tweet In Socrates' dialogues, there was no constructive outcome. He saw his role as simply pointing out what was wrong. Click To Tweet Simplicity before understanding is simplistic; simplicity after understanding is simple. Click To Tweet There may be more danger in prejudices which are apparently founded in logic than in those which are acknowledged as emotions. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

In our humble opinion, Six Thinking Hats differ from other personal development books because it offers concrete evidence and tips that are both applicable and practical.

In such regards, we feel like this book speaks to any person, who’s aware of the self-imposed concepts that shape his presence and future.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Paradoxical Thinking Summary

Paradoxical Thinking SummaryHow to Profit from Your Contradictions

An irrational consistency is the embodiment of uneducated minds.

If you are keen to make sense of paradoxical methods, you should give this book a try.

Who Should Read “Paradoxical Thinking”? And Why?

Are you a brave person, or you advocate for averageness? 

The answer shapes you not only as an individual but as part of the whole.

The book is intended for the entire population because we must not allow being controlled by the media and the collective opinion. Be courageous let the world see your beauty and uniqueness.

About Jerry L. Fletcher & Kelle Olwyler

Jerry L. FletcherJerry L. Fletcher is a specialist in helping profitable corporations handle certain issues that occur in the human resource department. Organizational change must be an imperative for every company according to Jerry.

Among his clients, you’ll find one of the world’s largest corporations as Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Digital Equipment Corporation, IBM and Procter & Gamble.

As a writer, he has written several books such as Patterns of High Performance, Paradoxical Thinking, and Human Growth Games.

Kelle OlwylerKelle Olwyler is a consultant and an expert in team consultancy who strictly focuses on processes related to innovative thinking and executive coaching. Kelle has managed and trained many consultants in Europe, North and Latin America.

“Paradoxical Thinking Summary”

Successful people (regardless of profession) seem to be comfortable and flexible during arguments; their different perspective makes them even more extraordinary. As a matter fact, the more a person adopts a paradoxical approach in life, the more it will benefit in every situation.

The greatest asset of paradoxical mentality at your disposal is that it allows you to compete with highly professional individuals and to spread your values among the people with no significant effort.

A paradox must not be interpreted as a clear contradiction to the truth; it is more like a different angle of it. The theory also refers to expressing thoughts or emotions and showing an apparent contradicting approach with lots of inconsistencies.

A dictionary has the habit of identifying the paradoxical thinking as a one-way street. These restraints bear the same mark of contradictory, so the limitations only refer to certain mutually exclusive combinations, which quite often seem to be impossible to attain.

It is not easy to explore them fully, but it is helpful so that you can experience the truth from both sides without any attachments.

It would be a great advantage, if you understand how and when to apply your paradoxical skills, in pursuance of a better life guided by a true identity. The use of these qualities will only enable you to resolve complicated and intricate problems and help you upgrade your communication skills.

The goal of any conversation is to make your Interlocutor feel amazed by your communication abilities.

How to perform at your very best?

Paradoxical way answer this question, with approach capable of dealing with challenges that emerge in any given situation. The flexible manner can serve your purposes; adaptable nature is the key to the evolving world.

Take the paradoxes to be your strongest, contradictory and at the same time inconsistent quality that comes into view spontaneously.

The authors Jerry L. Fletcher and Kelle Olwyler analyze when should we use such “ideology” and thus exploit the potential of paradoxical thinking.

In general, incompatible ways of approaching life-situation, doesn’t mean that you’ve taken the wrong path. There are many discussions left open struggling to find the answers to certain paradoxical mysteries.

One of them is – How to make paradoxes work for you, not against you? Or in other words – Is the contradictory thinking your ally or our enemy?

You mustn’t be carried away by useless thoughts, remain sober and recognize the good and bad outcomes that come out of these paradoxes.

Later on, you’ll be able to choose and apply those paradoxes working for your sake. Jerry and Kelle invite readers to contemplate deeply and to resolve the present problem. The book is beneficial referring to its valuable nature to help you overcome personal or professional obstacles.

Nevertheless, while the standard is relatively truthful, components may seem a little complex and difficult to apply without guidance. New decision-making approach and an admirable way to regard goal setting without that monotonous voice of reasonableness in your head.

Too much reasonableness destroys creativity. The bottom line is –  today’s world suffers from an overwhelming population of robotic minds.

Every individual felt the societal constraints on its skin, the struggle against the paradox has been going on for centuries but fortunately – the society failed to destroy it.

Key Lessons from “Paradoxical Thinking”

1.      Learn how to perform well
2.      Find the best contradictory qualities within you
3.      Find your biggest problem

Learn how to perform well

When people understand how to express their paradoxical qualities, spontaneously they will be apt to accomplish their assignments efficiently and energetically.

Make up a list of your strengths and your weakness to become aware of your capabilities. Ten characteristics at each side are recommended.

Find the best contradictory qualities within you

Different mindsets have developed different reactions to what’s right and wrong. All these traits give birth to your contradictory qualities.

Later on, you should find the best way to express your paradoxical thinking, which represents your character.

Find your biggest problem

If you experience difficulties along the path, you should immediately set up a goal to resolve your complexed paradox.

At first, pick the most important concern of all, and design a method that will help you to overcome it (with a paradoxical approach of course).

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“Paradoxical Thinking” Quotes

The challenge is understanding and using your capabilities in positive, mature, and constructive ways rather than suppressing the qualities you don’t like or expressing them in negative ways. Click To Tweet Understanding how to use your own paradoxical qualities as a tool can enable you to cut through complex, confusing problems and find more effective routes for getting things accomplished. Click To Tweet Pick the one combination in which both words or phrases are true and capture a core personal conflict or tension with which you seem to be constantly struggling. Click To Tweet Very successful people seem almost universally to be contradictory and apparently more comfortable with their contradictions than the rest of us. Click To Tweet Each person has a particular combination of contradictory and paradoxical qualities that seem to work together to produce a person’s best work. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Contradiction not only that it opposes the robotic way of life, but also it shows that the paradox is not contrary to the truth.

The authors of the book “Paradoxical Thinking” want to create a completely transformed mindset that will encourage people to express their contradictory views freely.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The Magic of Thinking Big PDF Summary

The True Secret of Success To – Sell More, Manage Better, Lead Fearlessly, Earn More, Enjoy a Happier, & More Fulfilling Life

Have you ever wondered why some people grow big while others just stop growing? If yes, then “ The Magic of Thinking Big ” book is for you.

The author David J. Schwartz, is known as a motivational writer and a leadership development coach who published his first bestseller “The Magic of Thinking Big” in 1959. He simply and clearly explained in this book step by step the recipe for success and it all comes down to our way of thinking.

Continue Reading…

Thinking Fast and Slow Summary – Daniel Kahneman

MicroSummaryAccording to the book, understanding how these two ways of thinking work can help us make right personal and professional decisions. The author reveals where we should or should not rely on our intuition and how we can benefit from slow or fast thoughts. He shows us how our choices are made and how we can make decisions more consciously.

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Why should you read Thinking Fast and Slow? Because you are a psychologist. Or because you are not. Because you are so intrigued by the irrational of the rational human being’s minds. Or, because you just think that you already know everything about it.

Find below the book summary and a selection of most relevant nuggets (visual quotes from books).

Continue Reading…

The Varieties of Religious Experience PDF Summary

The Varieties of Religious Experience PDF SummaryA Study in Human Nature

Science and religion haven’t been exactly on speaking terms for most of history.

America’s great philosopher and first psychology teacher William James attempted to mend that.

And he did it best in one of the earliest books exploring the psychological nature of religion:

The Varieties of Religious Experience.

Who Should Read “The Varieties of Religious Experience”? And Why?

Regardless of whether you’re a religious person or not, one thing that should be more than clear to you is the fact that religious experiences exist.

It helps nobody if we shelf all of them under the same category – say, meetings with the divine or acts of manipulations.

That’s why James’ Verities of Religious Experiences is such an essential work in the history of science. The American philosopher is almost utterly disinterested in the legitimacy of religious experiences.

What he is interested in, however, is much more important: whether religious experiences can tell us more about the human condition here, on earth.

That’s why we warmly recommend this book to both believers and non-believers: it takes into account both positions, and it analyzes religious experiences in an objective, descriptive manner.

About William James

William JamesWilliam James was one of the most influential American philosophers and psychologists, justly considered “The Originator of Pragmatism” (with Charles Saunders Pierce) and “The Father of American Psychology.”

Born into a wealthy intellectual family – his brother was the novelist Henry James – William James trained as a physician and even taught anatomy at Harvard; however, he was never interested in practicing medicine, and he quickly reoriented toward the field of psychology and then philosophy.

James’ writings have influenced a number of prominent 20th-century intellectuals, from Husserl and Du Bois to Russell and Wittgenstein.

His books, Essays in Radical Empiricism, The Principles of Psychology, and the Varieties of Religious Experience, are considered not only groundbreaking texts in each of their respective fields but also indelible parts of the Western Canon.

“The Varieties of Religious Experience PDF Summary”

The Varieties of Religious Experience consists of William James’ Gifford Lectures on natural theology, which he delivered at the University of Edinburgh during the first three years of the 20th century.

There were originally twenty of them, but the book has a few chapters less than that number since it groups those which explored similar topics.

Lecture I. Religion and Neurology

“Religion and Neurology” describes the methodology of James’ study.

Just so that no one should make a mistake, he states straight from the outset:

I am neither a theologian, nor a scholar learned in the history of religions, nor an anthropologist. Psychology is the only branch of learning in which I am particularly versed. To the psychologist the religious propensities of man must be at least as interesting as any other of the facts pertaining to his mental constitution. It would seem, therefore, as a psychologist, the natural thing for me would be to invite you to a descriptive survey of those religious propensities.

And then he proceeds to explain that it seems much more interesting to him to explore the world of the “religious geniuses,” i.e., those people who have experienced religious visions dissimilar to those passed on through orthodox traditions.

In other words, the Einsteins of religious experiences.

Lecture II. Circumscription of the Topic

“Circumscription” is a rather archaic word which means “restriction” or “limit.”

And that’s what James tries to set in the second lecture.

Mostly, he says, he is interested in personal religious experiences, since corporate ones are usually – if not always – the product of personal ideas and conversions.

Put simply, Christianity exists because of Jesus, Islam because of Muhammed; so, the only religious experiences worth analyzing are those of Jesus and Muhammed.

And even more interesting than Jesus and Muhammed may be the creators of sects within these religions – say, George Fox who founded the Quaker religion.

What drove them to do it?

Lecture III. The Reality of the Unseen

“Vague impressions of something indefinable have no place in the rationalistic system,” writes William James in this chapter.

“Nevertheless,” he immediately adds giving an apology for his interest in religious experiences, “if we look on man’s whole mental life as it exists, on the life of men that lies in them apart from their learning and science, and that they inwardly and privately follow, we have to confess that the part of it of which rationalism can give an account is relatively superficial.”

It is the part that has the prestige undoubtedly, for it has the loquacity, it can challenge you for proofs, and chop logic, and put you down with words… Your whole subconscious life, your impulses, your faiths, your needs, your divinations, have prepared the premises, of which your consciousness now feels the weight of the result; and something in you absolutely knows that that result must be truer than any logic-chopping rationalistic talk, however clever, that may contradict it.

Lectures IV and V. The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness

The fourth and fifth James’ Gifford lecture are grouped under the same title: “The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness.”

Interestingly enough, in retrospect, what James is talking about in this chapter – terming it America’s principal contribution to religion – is actually what we should nowadays call it positive thinking.

Finding its origins in Emerson, Whitman and Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science, James calls this “the religion of healthy-mindedness,” or “the religion of the mind-cure.”

In the case of these people, James thinks, the religious experience is the product of happiness and an optimistic outlook; they don’t believe in evil and bad things since both of them can be neutralized through a positive attitude.

These are the once-born, the people who can live a life of sustained happiness; they don’t need a religion different than optimism.

Lectures VI and VII. The Sick Soul

However, there’s also another group, a group of people whose souls are sick from birth, since, unlike the once-born, they believe that the world is fundamentally evil.

These are the morbid-minded people.

Unfortunately, in the eyes of James, “morbid-mindedness ranges over the wider scale of experience,” since many people suffer on a daily basis and the healthy-minded are all but incapable for prolonged suffering.

So that these morbid-minded people can experience happiness, they need to be born a second time; this is why James calls their religious experiences, the religious experiences of the twice-born.

To these people, finding religion means finally finding a cure for unhappiness.

Lecture VIII. The Divided Self, and the Process of Its Unification

So, in a way, religion is a way for the morbid-minded individual to restore the condition of his healthy-mindedness.

This can be done through some sort of a “conversion experience” – see below – which can happen either abruptly (as in the case of St Paul) or through a gradual process of discovery (as in the case of Leo Tolstoy and John Bunyan).

“But neither Bunyan nor Tolstoy,” notes James beautifully, “could become what we have called healthy-minded. They had drunk too deeply of the cup of bitterness ever to forget its taste, and their redemption is into a universe two stories deep.”

In both of them, “the sadness was preserved as a minor ingredient in the heart of the faith by which it was overcome.”

However, what interests James “is that as a matter of fact they could and did find something welling up in the inner reaches of their consciousness, by which such extreme sadness could be overcome.”

Lecture IX and X. Conversion

In lectures nine and ten, James spends some time discussing the nature and the effects of religious conversion.

For some reason, he says, religion gives people the power and the impetus to change their habits and even their character.

In some cases, religious conversions result in a profound change affecting the core being of an individual.

“There are persons in whom,” writes James, “quite independently of any exhaustion in the Subject’s capacity for feeling, or even in the absence of any acute previous feeling, the higher condition, having reached the due degree of energy, bursts through all barriers and sweeps in like a sudden flood.”

He notes that “these are the most striking and memorable cases, the cases of instantaneous conversion to which the conception of divine grace has been most peculiarly attached.”

Lectures XI to XV. Saintliness and the Value of Saintliness

Then James moves on to the topic of saintliness which he explores in the next five chapters.

He uses the first two to define saintly people as those whose “spiritual emotions are the habitual center of the personal energy.”

According to James, saintliness includes four traits which lead to four practical consequences.

The four traits of saintliness are these:

#1. “A feeling of being in a wider life than that of this world’s selfish little interests; and a conviction … of the existence of an Ideal Power.”
#2. “A sense of the friendly continuity of the ideal power with our own life, and a willing self-surrender to its control.”
#3. “An immense elation and freedom, as the outlines of the confining selfhood melt down.”
#4. “A shifting of the emotional center towards loving and harmonious affections, towards ‘yes, yes’ and away from ‘no,’ where the claims of the non-ego are concerned.”

And the practical consequences of these four traits are the following:

#1. Asceticism: experiencing pleasure in self-sacrifice;
#2. Strength of soul: since fear and anxieties make room for “blissful equanimity,” a saintly person can endure everything and become a martyr. “Come heaven, come hell, it makes no difference now!”
#3. Purity: being sensitive to your own purity means trying willingly to stay away from the impurities of the world, which is often its material nature;
#4. Charity: tenderness for fellow-creatures; “the saint loves his enemies, and treats loathsome beggars as his brothers.”

Lectures XVI And XVII. Mysticism

In the next two lectures – and, in a way, the final two proper lectures of this series – William James explores the concept of mysticism. And he extrapolates “four marks which, when an experience has them, may justify us in calling it mystical”:

#1. Ineffability: no mystical experience can be adequately put into words; it defies expression;
#2. Noetic quality: all mystical experiences are “states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect;” even though inarticulate, they give the mind power of a kind which the person who goes through a mystical experience considers it revelatory;
#3. Transiency: most mystical experiences are transient and can’t be sustained for long;
#4. Passivity: the mystic often feels “as if he were grasped and held by a superior power;” he is being overcome by something else.

The first two of these four qualities of the mystical experiences are general: all mystical experiences have them; however, the second two are subsidiary features found often, but not always, in cases such as these.

Lecture XVIII. Philosophy

In this lecture, William James tries to explain why it is so difficult to talk about religious experiences in philosophical language.

Of course, the answer is simple: the former is illogical, and the latter follows the laws of logic by definition.

However, there’s a catch!

“I do believe,” writes James, “that feeling is the deeper source of religion, and that philosophic and theological formulas are secondary products, like translations of a text into another tongue.”

This whole lecture is an explanation of that sentence.

Lecture XIX. Other Characteristics

In the penultimate lecture, James skims through some “other characteristics” of the religious experiences.

The three topics covered here are institutional religion, prayers, and the relationship between religion and the subconscious.

James doesn’t hold organized religion in high regard since it doesn’t give enough room for personal religious experiences – which is what it was born out of.

Prayers are then analyzed both historically and pragmatically, as is the relationship between religion and the subconscious, leaving room for the interpretation of at least some religious experiences as products of psychopathological conditions.

Lecture XX. Conclusions

In his final lecture, William James continues this discussion of the subconscious, presenting it as a channel through which “the further limits of our being plunge… into an altogether other dimension of existence from the sensible and merely ‘understandable’ world.”

It is because of this that further studies in the realm of the subconscious are necessary.

They, in the eyes of James, should be able to reveal to us a sounder basis for scientific exploration of the religious experience.

For now, it is our duty to not dismiss it as something inherently unscientific because it has helped many people become both happier and smarter.

Key Lessons from “The Varieties of Religious Experience”

1.      Healthy-Mindedness and Morbid-Mindedness
2.      Saintliness: Traits and Effects
3.      The Four Marks of a Mystical Experience

Healthy-Mindedness and Morbid-Mindedness

Some people are born healthy-minded, and others are born morbid-minded; the former are capable of sustaining happiness, the latter think that they are doomed to suffer through life.

Positive thinking is, more or less, the only religion the first group of people needs; however, the second can only become healthy-minded trough some sort of religious conversion.

That’s why William James calls the former “the once-born” and the latter “the twice-born.”

Saintliness: Traits and Effects

There are four traits which describe a saintly person and which lead to four different practical effects.

The traits in question are: a feeling that the world is more than what we can see; a sense that there is an Ideal Power which exists in you as well; an immense elation and freedom; and a shifting from a no-state to a yes-state of being.

These four traits lead to four practical consequences: asceticism, strength of soul, purity, and charity.

The Four Marks of a Mystical Experience

Just like saintliness, mysticism can also be defined within the limits of four qualities.

These are: ineffability, noetic quality, transiency, and passivity.

The first two are general and describe all mystical experiences; the latter two can often be found in them, but are sometimes absent and are subsidiary.

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“The Varieties of Religious Experience Quotes”

Good-humor is a philosophic state of mind; it seems to say to Nature that we take her no more seriously than she takes us. I maintain that one should always talk of philosophy with a smile. Click To Tweet Knowledge about life is one thing; effective occupation of a place in life, with its dynamic currents passing through your being, is another. Click To Tweet I am no lover of disorder and doubt as such. Rather I fear to lose truth by the pretension to possess it already wholly. Click To Tweet There are two lives, the natural and the spiritual, and we must lose the one before we can participate in the other. Click To Tweet The lunatic's visions of horror are all drawn from the material of daily fact. Our civilization is founded on the shambles, and every individual existence goes out in a lonely spasm of helpless agony. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

The Varieties of Religious Experience may be a bit outdated, and some of its ideas may seem somewhat dangerous; after all, Mussolini said that it was this book which taught him that “an action should be judged by its result rather than by its doctrinal basis.”

Even so, it is a book which – as James’ fellow pragmatist Pierce said – penetrates deep into the hearts of people; and it will undoubtedly be debated for many years to come. Just as it has been for over a century now.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF: