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From at least the 1930s on to the 1970s, the upbeat protestant minister, Reverend Norman Vincent Peale, ministered to the well-heeled and upwardly mobile of the United States from his pulpit at the Riverside church on Fifth Avenue in New York City. At least as positive-thinking as the similarly cheery Dale Carnegie (How To Win Friends and Influence People), his lift-yourself-by-your-bootstraps message of good cheer was perceived as unorthodox by many within the churches he grew up in. After many decades of preaching his message, summed up in his best-selling book The Power of Positive Thinking, he was enshrined as a sort of secular saint. His influence reached to Presidents and corporate heads, and his name became synonymous with a kind of extraverted wholesomeness which has long since vanished. This biopic traces his career in the most respectful possible manner.

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