8 Questions with Mitch Horowitz

by Brandon Steiner April 28, 2016 0 Comments

Was talking with my friend Mitch Horowitz recently about purpose and positive thinking. Mitch is a writer, speaker, and publisher that has dedicated his life to man's search for meaning. In his book, One Simple Idea: How the Lessons of Positive Thinking Can Transform Your Life, Mitch tracks the history of the positive thinking movement and the results are truly eye-opening

If you're a person that is serious about understanding the psychology behind different motivational techniques, I highly suggest you pickup a copy of Mitch's book, which is now available for pre-order in a new paperback version.

I also spoke with Mitch about the book. Hope you enjoy our conversation below.


Brandon Steiner: Who did you write this book for and why did you write this book? (One Simple Idea)

Mitch Horowitz: I wrote it for serious people who wonder whether motivational philosophies work, and where such ideas even come from. Positive-mind philosophy has impacted every aspect of our lives, and – despite the current media controversy – positive thinking does actually work, medically, psychology, and spiritually. The “power of positive thinking” is not just the stuff of inspirational calendars and refrigerator magnets. It’s a vital, ethical, and defensible philosophy.

BS: I couldn’t help but notice the incredible list of endorsements you have received for your book. From Businessweek to Ken Burns to astronaut Edgar Mitchell to MLB pitcher Barry Zito and more- why do you think your book has reached such a diverse audience?

MH: Whenever I begin a book, I’m trying to defend something – some idea or person who has perhaps been treated unfairly. My aim is to seek out serious people who will join me in reconsidering a concept that current opinion, usually in the fields of academia and journalism, treats dismissively. I’ve been fortunate to build bridges to readers and thinkers who are willing to take a second look at reasonable, but rundown, topics like positive thinking.

BS: When did you discover the power of positive thinking?

MH: As a young adolescent I dealt with divorce and financial disaster in our home by seeking out practical philosophies. My reading spanned from Ralph Waldo Emerson to the Talmud. I was struck to find that many ethical philosophies involve some form of what we popularly call positive thinking.

BS: What are the first two noticeable impacts that positive thinking can have on one’s life in the short-term?

MH: First, you become a better person to be around: you are more respected at work, and you give your family a bit of a break. Second – and I challenge everyone reading these words to test me on this – you begin to encounter helpful coincidences. You run into people who may be willing to support a project, or meet you halfway on something. That can be an alluring and even mysterious process. It begs questions about the properties of the mind.

BS: Do you consider Norman Vincent Peale “the Godfather” of positive thinking?

MH: Peale’s genius was to take a philosophy that had already existed in various mystical forms, under names such as New Thought and Science of Mind, and translate it into language that was acceptable to the church-going public. Peale’s 1952 book The Power of Positive Thinking remains the landmark in the field. I see him less as the forefather than as the great popularizer.

BS: Has your view on the subject changed in the two years since you wrote your book?

MH: If you can believe it, I’ve become more radical in my perspective that the mind possesses causative properties. That’s a difficult statement to swallow in our rationalist age, but in all fields of study – psychology, medicine, neuroscience, and quantum mechanics – our conceptions and questions about the properties of the mind have constantly broadened and deepened, and never receded. I think our generation is on the precipice of a new conception of the mind. In some ways we’re like Victorians whose worldview is about to be turned upside down by the theory of evolution.

BS: What is the state of the positive thinking “industry” today?

MH: I find it too predictable and humdrum. I’m bored by all the social-media posting and “free prize inside!” promotion. The field has grown too small, too proscribed in its aims. For me positive-thinking is, frankly, a way for everyday people to get back in touch with a sense of primal power and possibility, which we suspect that we have access to, but we’ve lost the trail of. Now, I also want to help people sell things and get rich; I believe in those aims. But, more so, I want to storm heaven. And I believe the mind is the key to that.

BS: What’s next for you?

MH: My next step is a work of practical metaphysics, which I hope will reignite the intellectual dynamism that philosopher William James brought to positive-mind philosophy before his death in 1910. It will also be an exquisitely simple book, filled with exercises and techniques. I want to bring people a philosophy of results.

BS: Thank you, Mitch.

Brandon Steiner
Brandon Steiner


Brandon Steiner is the founder and chairman of Steiner Sports Marketing and Memorabilia, the largest company of its kind in America. Considered a sports marketing guru, Brandon is a permanent fixture in the media as a regular on ESPN NY Radio 98.7 FM and as host of "The Hook-Up with Brandon Steiner" on YES Network. He has appeared frequently on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, ESPN, and in newspapers including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The author of The Business Playbook: Leadership Lessons from the World of Sports and You Gotta Have Balls: How a Kid from Brooklyn Started From Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire, Brandon lives in Scarsdale, New York, with his wife, Mara and children Crosby and Nicole.

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