Features > Preaching the positive

17 November 2016 | by Melanie McDonagh

Preaching the positive


Out on the stump Donald Trump spoke several times about his hero Norman Vincent Peale, the New York pastor who influenced his early life, officiated at his first marriage, and was a lodestar for his Republican predecessors, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan

There are all too many people for whom the triumph of Donald Trump is, quite simply, unaccountable. Plainly, they have never read Norman Vincent Peale’s book, The Power of Positive Thinking. Trump and his father, Fred Trump, were close to Peale, a minister in the Reformed Church at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York; the young Donald was very much influenced by his preaching and he and his first wife, Ivana, were married by him.

Having read, for the first time, TPOPT, my only surprise is that it has taken Trump this long. Anyone who can live out Peale’s philosophy that everything is possible for those who tap into the Higher Power must find wordly success a natural conclusion from wanting it badly enough. The first injunction of his book is: Believe In Yourself. Well, we can see where that gets you.

It must be, in fact, a matter of real regret to Peale’s followers – and the book has sold in excess of five million copies – that he did not survive to witness the presidency of his admirer; he died at the age of 95 in 1993.


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