Born in Bowersville, Ohio, USA, on May 31 1898, Norman Vincent Peale grew up helping support his family by delivering newspapers, working in a grocery store, and selling pots and pans door to door, but later was to become one of the most influential clergymen in the United States during the 20th-century.
He was educated at Ohio Wesleyan University and Boston University. He was a reporter on the Findlay, Ohio, Morning Republicprior to entering the ministry and went on to author some 40 books. Ordained in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1922, Peale served as pastor at a succession of churches that included Berkeley, Rhode Island (1922–24), Brooklyn, New York (1924–27), and Syracuse, New York (1927–32) before changing his affiliation to the Dutch Reformed Church so that he could become pastor of the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City (1932–84). There he gained fame for his sermons on a positive approach to modern living, which were regularly broadcast, first on radio and later on television. The church had six hundred members when he arrived to pastor in 1932; it had over five thousand by the time he retired in 1984. In 1969 and 1970 he was president of the Reformed Church in America.
In 1945, Peale and his wife started Guideposts magazine. Peale also published several best-selling books, including The Art of Living (1937), Confident Living (1948), The Power of Positive Thinking (1952), and This Incredible Century (1991). His most popular book, The Power of Positive Thinking, has sold more than 20 million copies in 41 languages.