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New Thought, so called, is anything but new. It first flowered in America in the early 19th century, in fact, and its first champion was one Phineas Parkhurst Quimby - a mesmerist by profession who maintained a practice in Portland, Maine, and mentored none other than Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy. Though Quimby never published a book as such, his collected manuscripts have survived, and this passage from them distills his thinking:

The trouble is in the mind, for the body is only the house for the mind to dwell in .... Therefore, if your mind had been deceived by some invisible enemy into a belief, you have put into it the form of a disease, with or without your knowledge. By my theory or truth, I come in contact with your enemy, and restore you to health and happiness. This I do partly mentally, and partly by talking till I correct the wrong impression and establish the Truth, and the Truth is the cure.

If the New Thought Movement is anything, it's diverse, and therefore difficult to define with any precision. But if there's a common theme, it's a belief that the mind can be used as an instrument for both creating disease and healing it, producing failure and achieving success, and so on - in a word, the mind can be used to manifest. The Movement, especially at present, often has a spiritual foundation as well.

It's downright staggering how many New Thought inspired books have been written in the past hundred years or so, not to mention how many authors have written them, but as is so often the case, quality is uneven. And - as is also so often the case, collectors follow quality.

Top 10 lists are almost always asking for it - disagreement, that is. But we have to start somewhere, and the following ten "New Thought" authors, guaranteed, will deliver significant profits time and time again, sometimes whopping profits. By "significant profits," I mean $50, $100 and up, sometimes way up. Guidelines: First editions of any of their books, of course, are the ultimate if often elusive prizes, but in a surprising number of cases, early printings will do exceptionally well. Since many of these books were printed in huge numbers spanning decades, you will encounter them often, and this can become a bread-and-butter niche for you. Market research will be required to determine how deep into the print run process you can go and still make a few bucks, and sometimes the presence of a dust jacket or exceptional condition can overcome a later printing status.

The list is in alphabetical order and includes one notable book for each author:

1. William Walker Atkinson (aka Theron Q. Dumont): The Master Mind
2. Dale Carnegie: How to Win Friends and Influence People
3. Charles F. Haanel: The Master Key System
4. Mary Baker Eddy: Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
5. Napoleon Hill: Think and Grow Rich
6. Brown Landone: The Success Process
7. Norman Vincent Peale: The Power of Positive Thinking
8. Frank B. Robinson: Your God Power
9. Elizabeth Towne: Practical Methods for Self Development
10. Wallace D. Wattles: The Science of Getting Rich

Finally, I would recommend at least looking at any New Thought book you come across, especially if it's unfamiliar to you. Titles are usually good indicators of content: Suggestive words include "development," "mastery," "mental," "mind," "power," "rich," "science," "success," "theosophy," "thinking," "thought," "unity," etc. An obscure New Thought book is always worth examining for quality, and remember, one of the best things we can do for both ourselves and our buyers is present things of value they weren't previously aware of.

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Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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