"This study of New Thought focuses principally on the history of the idea rather than on the accomplishments of any one individual, group, church, or organization. My attempt has been to broaden our understanding of its impact, underscoring its diaspora from a small handful of early nineteenth-century healers to a multitude of writers, entrepreneurs, ministries, groups, and organizations across the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. While most studies of New Thought have chosen to emphasize its churches and affiliated organizations, I have sought to balance that aspect of its history with the equally if not more influential secular side, namely, the myriad of self-healing, self-help, positive thinking, and prosperity advocates using the printed word and the electronic media rather than the pulpit to communicate their message. Accordingly, I have tried not to frame this broader perspective within some myopic lens or wire-drawn metaphysics, but underscore its youthful aspirations, its preoccupation with healthy-mindedness, its spirit of self-sufficiency, and its varying degrees of passivity to life's distasteful edges.

"Those differences in motivation that exist today within New Thought's global tent have not diminished its long-standing critique of the West's rationalist-empiricist tradition. By seeking a rapport between the individual and the unseen, this Swedenborgian-inspired worldview, enhanced with elements from Emerson and Eastern philosophy, has motivated the metaphysical yearnings of countless millions to interpret the physical and mental dimensions of humankind in ways that unlock the soul's capacity for limitless possibilities. As seen against the broader fabric of American thought and culture, this belief in the interconnectedness between the physical and spiritual has served as an engine for inspiring confidence in life's benevolent and progressive tendencies. From that perspective, it has much of which to be proud."