The Hidden History of New Thought »

By Harvey Bishop |

Creating a world that works for everyone has been part of this philosophy from the beginning.

The movie “The Secret,” which brought New Thought to millions, was inspired by the writings of an early 20th-century socialist. President Ronald Reagan won election by evoking ideas made popular by New Thought.

These are just two of the intriguing revelations found in “One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life” by Mitch Horowitz.

The pioneers of New Thought were the spiritual radicals of their time, but few realize they were often political activists as well. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the philosophy was populated by socialists who saw prosperity thinking as a path to economic justice, African-Americans in search of equality and women demanding the right to vote. That’s why creating a world that works for everyone has always been a part of these teachings, says historian and author Mitch Horowitz.

» Read the full feature from our September 2015 issue