“Good Old Books” download: “The Optimistic Life” and “Every Man a King”

The New Thought Movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries had a great impact on self-help and personal achievement writers and speakers throughout the 20th century. If you study New Age writers, you’ll find its influence there. Furthermore, if you pay attention, you’ll find plenty of early 21st century writers on success and achievement espousing New Thought ideas.

Start with nothing and pull yourself up by your bootstraps? New Thought. Positive attitude wins the day? New Thought. Change your life with affirmations? New Thought. Find your passion to find your best work? New Thought. Reiterations of “sound mind in a sound body?” New Thought. Why not? These are also much older ideas and ideals. New Thought added new spiritual twists on them. But that was the culture of the day.

So, if you read the original New Thought writers, you might think them a little preachy. You might think them a little na├»ve. Yet, you’ll find the roots of much of our current self-help and entrepreneurial success literature in them.

I’ve been reading some of New Thought writer Orison Swett Marden, in search of a good “old book download” for you. He was the founder of the publication “Success Magazine,” and seemed to be a logical choice.

While I find a lot of his writing too much like following the mind of someone with ADHD, I have found a couple of his books that I think most people can benefit from.

“The Optimistic Life, Or in the Cheering Up Business” is a bit on the Pollyanna-ish side, but is a good demonstration of early works in positive thinking and in the idea of “laughter as the best medicine.” Not to mention that it does have many ideas that have been validated by later science. Even if it does have comments that are a bit too “cute.” I think you’ll find it a lot more cheerful that watching the current news on TV.

“Every Man a King; or, Might in Mind-Mastery,” is one of Marden’s more straight-forward and practical behavior-oriented books. The advance of science since his time has shown that what he wrote is considerably more complicated than his simple descriptions. Nevertheless, a great deal of his thinking can still be found in current self-help, success and personal achievement literature.

As you read, remember that he was a self-made success who worked his way through Harvard(!) to earn an M.D. degree as well as a degree in law. He also studied public speaking and theology. You can see the influences of his studies in his various writings.

If you want more books by Marden, go search on Archive.org.

Everything you ever wanted to learn…and no tuition costs

I think I’ve mentioned iTunes University before. It bears mentioning again and again. Some of the top learning institutions in the U.S. make their best teachers’ lectures available to the public at no cost. They provide audio, video and even text supplements.

Some make them available on their own websites, but many make them available through the remarkable tools of iTunes University at Apple. The institutions include such luminaries as Yale, Harvard, Stanford and MIT. They also include some lesser known, but outstanding providers as The Pointer Institute.

Today I ran across one of The Pointer Institute’s offerings called “What Great Bosses Know.” Each of the podcasts in this collection are short, to-the-point tips that harbor solid and helpful advice. Like good blog posts, they deliver the maxim bang for the minimum time investment.

If you haven’t yet visited iTunesU, The Pointer Institute’s podcasts are a good introduction. Try them here: Poynter Institute at iTunesU

Or, for a list of the top rated, no cost podcasts in all genres, just click this button: