I decided to see what people other than Carnegie have to say about self help and positive attitude. This book showed up after some browsing of Amazon, because ot its great reviews.
Joseph Murphy undertakes the task to explain what our subconscious mind is, and how we can use it to help us solve various problems in our lives - problems with health, finances, spouses, friends, etc. A pretty ambitious goal...
Generally, I try to stay away from religion preaching books. This time, I failed. The cover and the editorial mention almost nothing about religion. "Now you too, can learn these powerful techniques for changing your life simply by changing your beliefs".. Hmm, OK...
The reviews say that the book presents scientifically proved methods of taking over your subconscious mind and using it to help yourself. Scientific sounds reassuring, I thought...
Well, there's very little science in this book. It's a religious preaching, per se. "Wonders happen when you pray effectively" is one of the first subtitles in the book, and that got me suspicious quickly. Later in the book, some notable quotes leave no doubts:
"God is life, and that is your life now [...] because your life is God's life" "God is a loving father that watches over them" "[...] find happiness by dwelling on the eternal truths of God"
The book's main treatise, as I see it, is the following: "you may not believe in God himself, but you probably believe in "nature", "universe", "inner soul" and things like that. All these are equivalent, and I'll just call it God".
The first few chapters deal with improving health by praying (turning to the subconscious mind). I agree with the author on many aspects of this. Conviction of health and generally positive thoughts will, no doubt, improve one's mood, which does good to health, as was proven scientifically (it is probably more correct to say that depression and nervous tension harms the health, so a lack of them just "doesn't harm it"). But when Murphy turned to preach that by praying for others we can help them (and told a story of a woman who prayed for her mom who were in the UK, and the mom's health improved as a result...) I raised an eyebrow. "Scientific approach"... eh right.
All in all, this book *is* somewhat inspiring, but it's far from what I expected of it. Carnegie for me was much much better, and much more scientific, although he never claimed to be. I did get some more insight into the benefit of religion. Really, I'm serious. I've long been pondering about religion, and how people see it as a psychological self-help. I reached the conclusion that religion is a great way to overcome trouble, after all believing that someone is watching over is surely more reassuring than believing that there's nothing there. In this book, I've read in detail about this, and now I feel I know more and see the religious world more fully. But frankly, I'm not ready for this. My rational mind won't accept it, yet.
So, if you're religious, this book can be good for you. If you're not, you have nothing to look for in it, just buy Carnegie - it's far better. If you're an atheist trying to convert and gain some belief, this is exactly the book for you.