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Catherine Ponder
Books Reviewed
The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity (1962/1984)
Catherine Ponder is widely considered one of Amer-
ica's foremost inspirational authors. She has written more
than a dozen books, which include such bestsellers as her
Millionaires of the Bible series. She is a minister of the non-
denominational Unity faith and has been described as ‘the
Norman Vincent Peale among lady ministers.’
She has served in Unity Churches since 1956, and
heads a global ministry in Palm Desert, California.
Ponder wrote her first prosperity book The Dynamic
Laws of Prosperity in the early 1960s while living in Bir-
mingham, Alabama. Her life expanded dramatically whilst
she was in the midst of finishing that book. She married
and moved to the southwest, where her husband taught at
the University of Texas.
Much later, after her husband's death, her life changed
again. In the early 1970s, another move took her to San An-
tonio, Texas. There she remarried and wrote a sequel to
that earlier book, entitled Open Your Mind to Prosperity.
She has given lectures on the universal principles of
prosperity in most of the major cities of America (and a lot
of small ones, too): from Town Hall and the Waldorf Astoria
Hotel in New York, to the Phoenix Country Club in Arizona,
to the Pioneer Theater Auditorium in Reno, Nevada.
From Honolulu to New Orleans she has given inter-
views on television and radio, as well as numerous inter-
views by the print media.
! The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity (1962)
! The Prosperity Secrets of the Ages (1964)
! The Dynamic Laws of Healing (1966)
! The Healing Secrets of the Ages (1967)
! Pray and Grow Rich (1968)
! Open Your Mind To Prosperity (1971)
! The Millionaires of Genesis (1976)
! The Millionaire Moses (1977)
! The Millionaire Joshua (1978)
! The Millionaire from Nazareth (1979)
! Open Your Mind To Receive (1983, 2008)
! Secret of Unlimited Prosperity (1983)
! The Prospering Power of Prayer (1983)
! Dare to Prosper! (1983)
! The Dynamic Laws of Prayer (1987)
The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity
Camarillo, CA: De Vorss Publications, 2006
First published in 1962 by Prentice Hall
Author Copyright 1984
The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity is one of the few books in which all the
prosperity laws are outlined and explained. Most books focus on a few
only, and many recent books only upon The Law of Attraction. This
makes the high value of this book together with the easy-to-read and
comprehensive style and diction of the author, who gives many exam-
ples out of her minister practice.
It is often experienced by authors that they write their
best books after the search of a book they imagine should
exist but cannot be found. So it was in he case of the pre-
sent book. Catherine Ponder went through a phase of need
and hardship, after having been widowed and left with a
small son to rear, and eager to learn more about the princi-
ples of prosperity. As she did not find that book that she
needed, she wrote it. And that was after all a very good
idea. Until today, in an era where prosperity books are pro-
liferating, I haven’t found another book that compiles all
the prosperity laws in one volume. Consider for example
that the recent quite well-known book, The Secret, is only
about the Law of Attraction—as if that was the last word to
say about prosperity, as if there were no other laws we
need to learn and apply in order to become truly prosper-
Many rags-to-riches online programs follow in the
same train, and one often gains the impression that their
‘prosperity laws’ are geared toward making them rich in
the first place …, while of course the contrary is true. If
your desire for service is only lip-service and in truth you
adhere to a quick-rich scheme, you will probably not make
it through; you may have some temporary gain, but all
prosperity authors absolutely agree that there is no long-
term prosperity for those folks who consider their own
personal gain only instead of putting themselves at the
forefront of service!
Let me first explain why this book bears the word ‘dy-
namic’ in the title. Catherine Ponder explains that he word
‘dynamic’ has the same root as the word dynamite: ‘that
which is dynamic is powerful, forceful, filled with energy,
and leads to change.’ /5
One may also want to ask what a ‘law’ is in the sense
used in this book? Some people out of the science world
tend to frown upon authors who use the word ‘law’ when
they speak about non-scientific and spiritual principles.
But law, as I learnt is a lawyer, is not just a parliamentary
enactment for there were laws—think for example of the
10 Commandments—that were not issued by a legislative.
Law in the general sense simply is a rule of action. It con-
veys the notion of order, of something also that produces
its effect over and over again, in a systematic fashion, in a
way that cannot be altered by deliberate action. Even such
a mechanistic scientist as Isaac Newton talked about ‘natu-
ral laws,’ which means mental or spiritual laws that do not
originate from the physical plane but that produce effects
on the physical plane. The author writes:
These higher mental and spiritual laws are so pow-
erful that they can be used to multiply, neutralize, or
even reverse natural laws! It is when these higher
mental and spiritual laws are used by the mind of
man, that they often produce results that seem mi-
raculous on the physical plane.’ /6
After this introduction and before I go into more detail,
let me first list the whole set of prosperity laws here, as this
is a good way for understanding the structure of the book.
In Part 1: Basic Prosperity Laws, the authors discusses the
following prosperity laws:
—The Basic Law of Prosperity
—The Vacuum Law of Prosperity
—The Creative Law of Prosperity
—The Imaging Law of Prosperity
—The Prosperity Law of Command
—The Prosperity Law of Increase
In this first part, the author also discusses prosperous
attitudes toward money and how work can be a mighty
channel for prosperity. In Part II: Other Prosperity Laws,
she discusses the following laws:
—The Prosperity Law of Love and Goodwill
—The Prosperity Law of Prayer
—The Prosperity Law of Self-Confidence
—The Prosperity Law of Charm
—The Prosperity Law of Persistence
Some other principles or attitudes are treated equally
in chapters, which is why I give this overview here for the
structure of the book is actually misleading as it puts up
both the laws of prosperity and else certain attitudes or
aptitudes, or inner powers, on the same level.
I will now walk you through the basics of this fascinat-
ing book and focus on a few remarks and quotes for each
The first thing you should know is that these prosper-
ity laws build upon one another, in the order they are pre-
sented in the book. The second thing is to know what the
term ‘prosperity’ actually means. The author explains that
prosperity connotes abundance, and that this abundance
must manifest on the three planes of life—the physical
plane, the mental plane, and the spiritual plane. Right at
the beginning of the book, Catherine Ponder mentions an
important obstacle to abundance: it is the belief—partly
resulting from a wrong interpretation of the Bible—that
abundant thinking was ‘materialistic’ thinking. She clari-
fies that abundance is not equal to ‘serving mammon’
when the focus of one’s prosperity thinking is deliberately
based upon the recognition of the divine origin of it. She
writes in chapter one:
The dictionary describes mammon as ‘riches re-
garded as an object of worship or a false god.’ Peo-
ple serve mammon who leave God out of their fi-
nancial affairs and try to go it alone. When you real-
ize that God wants you to be prosperous and that
God, as the Creator of this rich universe, is indeed
the Source of your prosperity, then you are not wor-
shipping mammon. You are not making prosperity a
false gold. /16
In this sense, she writes, the Bible is a ‘prosperity text-
book.’ In addition, it is important to behold that a faithful
attitude toward life is not one of sacrifice, persecution and
hard times. The problem is that religion, and this is true for
each and every religion after its founder passed away, has
become a secularized power institution, from the feudal soci-
ety of the Middle Ages until our corporate international
culture. It was a strategy, and is not a virtue that millions
were led to believe that it was ‘pious to be poor,’ a belief
which was of course useful in forestalling revolt in the
masses. Ponder writes that some of those feudal ideas have
persisted until today, but they do not reflect the order of
things as established by the law of life.
The other important truth is that there are scientific rea-
sons why we need to work our way through from inside
out, and not the other way around. Ponder writes:
Things cannot improve in an outer way until things
change in an inner way, because the inner processes
of the mind control all the outer experiences in our
lives. If you are in the midst of apparent failure, fi-
nancial difficulties, or restlessness and dissatisfac-
tion with your work, none of these conditions need
prevent you from entertaining ideas of abundance,
plans for riches, and mental images of the success
which you seek. /161
Why can our mind impact upon the world, events, be-
haviors and even physical processes inside and outside our
body? This is because all is connected in the universe. This
was recognized by invoking the age-old idea of the ether,
which is also mentioned and explained by Napoleon Hill,
and besides, Charles Haanel, in his book The Master Key
System (1916) and Charles Fillmore in his book Prosperity
(1936). Today science recognizes this truth under another
header, namely the notion of the quantum field, quantum
vacuum, akashic field, or zero-point field. But why not
keeping the old terminology that was after all valid for
humanity for hundreds of years? The author writes:
Surely there is great power within and around each
of us for our use. You can release this pent-up sub-
stance, energy and power within you for prosperous
living through releasing deliberate thoughts, feel-
ings and mental pictures of success, prosperity and
riches. As you do so, your rich thoughts, feelings
and mental pictures are radiated outward into the
rich, powerful ethers of this universe, where they
make contact with the rich, universal substance. This
rich, universal substance is filled with divine intelli-
gence and power that then moves among and works
through people, conditions and opportunities to at-
tract that which corresponds with the rich radiations
that you have sent forth, and the prosperous results
then appear. /39
The Basic Law of Prosperity
Catherine Ponder thinks of the basic law of prosperity
as a sort of vibration, a radiation emanating from our basic
thoughts and feelings, mental pictures and words: how-
ever we need to put our words in order for this to happen
positively, for it works both ways. Now, let us inquire why
the mind has those effects on the outside, mundane level.
The author writes that the mind is the ‘connecting link be-
tween the formed and unformed world.’ /35
The more you turn your mind in rich directions, the
less you seem to have to exert undue human effort
to produce results. Work you will but it will be work
as satisfying self-expression rather than work just to
survive. Your rich mind power and radiations seem
to have a way of going forth and producing right
opportunities, events and circumstances for prosper-
ity and success, so that you almost seem to walk into
them without conscious effort. /38
The Vacuum Law of Prosperity
This law is not mentioned as a separate prosperity law,
by prosperity authors like Napoleon Hill and Joseph Mur-
phy, but it is well implicated in the examples they quote in
their books. I found Ponder’s discourse of this law espe-
cially enlightening. The basic idea is that in order to get the
good you wish for, you need to release and let go of some-
thing to make room for it. Ponder remarks that ‘[n]ew sub-
stances do not flow easily into a cluttered situation.’ /42
It is highly interesting that the old Chinese science of
Feng Shui says precisely the same, which is why things—be
it a house, a business, or the furniture within them—have
to be arranged in ways so that the flow of ch’i, which basi-
cally equals the ether of Western traditional science, can
flow freely, thereby making for positive change and pros-
The author gives many examples from her own life
that show how she used the vacuum law of prosperity to
attract what she really wanted. For example, one day she
wanted to replace her entire wardrobe with new clothes
and used the following affirmation, declaring for each
piece of clothing mentally:
I fully and freely release you. I completely loose you
and let you go. So far as I am concerned you have
serviced your purpose in my wardrobe and I no
longer need you. You are now in your perfect place.
She then describes the amazing circumstances under
which new clothes, or the money to buy them, came to her
in almost miraculous ways. It is important that throughout
this process, you do not talk with anybody about your
need, for talking about lack reinforces it. Finally, applying
this law strengthens our confidence in that infinite love
shall provide replacements for all and everything we sin-
cerely let go and loose:
If you learn how to form a vacuum for new good
early in your conscious development of prosperous
thinking, then you do not panic at financial chal-
lenges, but know that you can and shall meet them
victoriously and be much richer in the long run for
having learned how to use the invisible laws of sup-
ply to meet visible needs. /54
The Creative Law of Prosperity
There are three basic steps to carry out for activating
the creative law of prosperity:
(1) Having a plan, writing out one’s desires concerning
that plan, and constantly expanding it; (2) Mentally im-
aging that plan as fulfilled; (3) Constantly affirming its
perfect fulfillment. /56
What Napoleon Hill terms as ‘your definite chief aim’,
Ponder calls ‘one big goal at a time.’ She explains that a big
goal always includes a number of small desires ‘the are
automatically fulfilled when the big one is achieved.’ /57
A very general goal to affirm would be, for example:
I desire the highest and best in life, and I now draw
the highest and best to me. /58
It is essential to fix this on paper, by writing a wish list.
This is the first of several lists the author recommends to
write as a matter of ‘deliberate thought and action.’ What
writing insures is that prosperity then becomes a planned
result, which manifests on a consistent basis. There are two
more lists that the author recommends. One is to be done
daily, ideally shortly before or after breakfast. It’s a simple
listing of accomplishments desired to be made during the
day, and then giving thanks for their divine fulfillment.
Another list is a problem solver. For any kind of prob-
lem, write down the problem, then what you consider to
be the best and highest solution—then you tear up the list
and release the issue from your mind.
Another method for creative unfoldment is to write a
letter to one’s guardian angel or higher self, and ask for a
solution to any problem. Some people, the author reports,
write such a statement fifteen times as in ancient times it
was believed that the number 15 is the problem-solver
number, the number that dissolves any kind of obstruction.
Also in situations when you cannot make your affirma-
tions because of the presence of others, it is recommended
to write them down a number of times, and then release
the issue from your mind. Releasing is very important, for
it’s the signal for your subconscious mind and higher self
to take over and work out the solution to your problem. It
is also important to daily revise and update these lists.
Here is an example of such an affirmation:
I give thanks for the immediate, complete, divine
fulfillment of these desires. This or something better
comes forth with perfect timing, according to God’s
rich good for me. /73
The Imaging Law of Prosperity
Catherine Ponder reminds us that it was the French
doctor Emile Coué who first discovered the force of imagi-
nation to be stronger than will power. She also mentions
hypnosis here, which shows that mental images produce
results in the body when and as far as we accept them to
be true.
Of course, Ponder continues, studying these laws of
prosperous thinking is not a form of hypnosis, but rather a
technique for creating sobriety in our minds, and become
aware of the negative conditioning many of us have re-
ceived, and which is unfortunately for many still what
they uphold as the only reality they know.
Mental imaging may be called an indirect method in
that it is an avoidance strategy; instead of battling with pov-
erty, failure and financial lack, we quietly, deliberately and
persistently image our good. Here belongs also the tech-
nique of fashioning a ‘wheel of fortune’ which is a circular
arrangement of images and text featuring the desires for
each area of life, and reading through it at least once a day.
It is important to use these techniques in an unselfish
manner. For example, when you desire the car your neigh-
bor is driving, and you image that car in order to attract it,
first bless your neighbor for having this car and mentally
give him freedom, then affirm that you wish to attract this
kind of car into your live, or ‘its divine replacement.’ When
we desire things that belong to others, we need to respect
their proprietorship or we attract the contrary of what we
The Prosperity Law of Command
After having made lists of your desires, and after hav-
ing imaged the outcome, it is then time to command
‘which can move the ethers into action.’ /96 This law is
based upon the perennial idea that the word has creative
power. The Genesis is based upon it, and it was taught in
ancient Egypt, India, Persia, China and Tibet that the spiri-
tual adept has to use and choose his words carefully, as
idle talk may produce unexpected negative results. The
author writes:
From counseling hundreds of people with financial
problems, I have found that 99 times out of 100 they
do not solve their problems until they not only
know, but fully use the law of command. When they
begin daily, consciously, and deliberately to assert
the good they want,t heir commands seem to call it
forth. /98
Before Dr. Ponder provides many examples of affirma-
tions as commands, she explains that we literally ‘make
our world’ with words, and that this law is one of the easi-
est to execute. Here is one example of such an affirmation:
I love the highest and best in all people. I now draw
to myself the highest and best people (customers,
clients, patients, etc.). /99
The Prosperity Law of Increase
This law is about a personal ethics, and attitude. How
do we come over to others? This law affirms that the way
we come over to others has a final impact upon our situa-
tion in life. It means to cultivate an attitude of rich increase
toward everything and everybody—sometimes also called
a ‘prosperity mindset.’ The author explains:
As you contact others by mail, telephone and in per-
son, let your thought about them be one of increased
good. Giving them the benefit of your rich thoughts
is a giant step in helping them to become that way.
They may not be consciously aware of your pros-
perous thinking about them, but they will subcon-
sciously receive and be richly blessed. Often they
will respond to you in some rich and happy way!
This also means that when speaking of someone, speak
only in terms of their success, ignoring that person’s per-
haps unfortunate past and seeing the person as radiant
and successful. This is also valid for yourself, in talking
with yourself in a way that you are assured of your suc-
cess, and avoiding to brood over your apparent failure.
Very important in this context is to be consistent with
how you talk about your life and by all means avoid to talk
‘hard times.’ Catherine Ponder quotes from Charles Fill-
more’s book Prosperity (1936) which I mentioned already
and I may be allowed to put that quote here for it’s really
important in this context:
The spiritual substance from which comes all visible
wealth is never depleted. It is right with you all the
time and responds to your faith in it and your de-
mands upon it. It is not affected by your ignorant
talk of hard times, though we are affected because
our thoughts and words govern our demonstration.
Pour your living words of faith into the omnipresent
ethers and you will be prospered though all the
banks in the world close their doors. Turn the great
energy of your thinking upon ‘plenty’ ideas and you
will have plenty regardless of what men about you
are saying or doing. /125
—Charles Fillmore, Prosperity (Unity Village, MO: Unity Books,
1936), 13
There is one situation in which you need to overcome
any possible disappointment you may experience because,
despite your prosperity-building work, apparently nothing
is happening as a result. In such a situation you need to not
consider the lack of good news as a failure. Ponder writes:
Since you have not received that thing, you can in-
stead stand firm in the faith that something much
better is on the way and will appear at the right
time. When you seem to fail, remind yourself that it
is because you have not asked big enough. Expand
your viewpoint and expectation, and a larger an-
swer than you originally anticipated will surely
come. Failure is nothing but success trying to be
born in a bigger way. Most seeming failures are just
installments toward victory! /127
This is very well said, I think, and it is true. I have had
plenty of situations in my life, where I realized that I had
not put my real wishes or my real desire into the focus of
my affirmations, but just ‘the next step.’ I had not wanted
to ‘ask to much,’ and therefore was too bottomline, and the
universe was unresponsive, and remained so, until that
which I actually really wanted was suddenly granted, and
realized. Then, with a really happy feeling, I had to look
back and acknowledge that I had not been bold enough to
really affirm my ultimate desire. In view of this truth, you
can actually sit back and practice patience, and keep firm
in your faith that the very best shall be given to you, not
just ‘the next step’ in the realization of your final goal.
While there is a wealth of good advice in the following
chapter, ‘Prosperous Attitudes Toward Money,’ I will focus
on Part II of the book so that this review doesn’t become
too extensive. I will thus focus only upon ‘Your Special
Powers for Prosperity’ (Chapter 15), ‘The Prosperity Law
of Self-Confidence’ (Chapter 16) and the last chapter of the
book, ‘The Prosperity Law of Persistence’ (Chapter 20).
Your Special Powers for Prosperity
This chapter is by and large about extrasensory percep-
tion, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and psy-
chokinesis—psychic powers that in the meantime are rec-
ognized by psychic research as special sensitivities that we
all have, but that with most people are not sufficiently de-
veloped to be consciously used and applied.
Of course, the knowledge about these inner powers is
age-old, but it has been rediscovered scientifically for our
time only very recently, mainly through the meticulous
and courageous research publications by Dean Radin,
Chief Scientist at the Institute for Noetic Sciences and Fac-
ulty Member at Sonoma University’s Faculty of Psychol-
—See my reviews of Dean Radin’s books, The Conscious Universe
(1997) and Entangled Minds (2006) in my review sampler ‘The New
Paradigm in Science and Systems Theory’ (2014)
To begin with, Catherine Ponder reports that the Bible
gives many instances of the use of psychic powers. There
seems indeed to be an incidence of telepathy involved in
the episode of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman who
said ‘I have no husband’ and Jesus replied:
—Thou sayest well, ‘I have no husband’, for thou hast
had five husbands and he whom thou now hast is not thy
husband. This hast thou said truly. (John 4:17-18)
In according with the research done on psychic pow-
ers, Ponder asserts in this chapter the need for developing
these extraordinary capabilities. They are dormant with all
of us but just as with our muscles, these ‘muscles of the
mind’ need to be trained systematically and over a period
of time so that they can be used effectively. The author
then gives several positive affirmations that can help to
awaken those powers; indeed the first step is the conscious
acceptance of these superconscious talents, for as they are
not mainstream knowledge, many of us are pulled away
from the need to develop them, and thus lulled into medi-
ocrity. Here is one of those affirmations:
—Divine telepathy is now revealing to me all truth
about my special powers for prosperity. /301
She reports she had wanted to renew the contact with a
childhood friend from whom she had not heard for several
years. So she prayed ‘Divine telepathy will have to make
this contact for me since I do not know where she is.’
About ten days later, she found a letter in the mail from
this person, answering all the questions about her life that
had been in the author’s mind, and also giving her her
new address. She further writes:
Often in the midst of a busy day, needs arise that
you do not have time to handle immediately. If you
think of others involved and bless them with the
thought that Divine telepathy is revealing to them
whatever they need to know, then they will begin to
telepathically receive your thoughts and respond
with appropriate actions. /302
Ponder believes that telepathy is a harmonizing power
in that it ‘keeps down needless conversations, telephone
calls, letters, or fatiguing activity’ and helps us to maintain
poise and accomplish essential tasks more easily.
The second of those psychic powers is clairvoyance. The
word simply means the ability to ‘seeing clearly.’ Ponder
Members of the clergy in all ages have been trained
to develop their clairvoyant abilities. People in an-
cient civilizations in China, Egypt, Mexico, even the
early American Indians, sought to develop their
awareness of events which were happening at a dis-
tance. /305
The Bible testifies for the existence of our innate clair-
voyant powers. Jesus saw Nathaniel before he came into
his presence, as Jesus meditated under a fig tree. (John
1:47) The author writes:
This is but proof that the open, receptive, believing
mind is capable of seeing things come forth from the
invisible into the visible realm, when it is for a good
purpose. /Id.
The key for developing clairvoyance is astonishingly
simple. Suffices to be convinced that a heightening of our
awareness of external facts and events is possible through
asserting our divine nature. However, it is important at
this point to be guarded from tapping into the accumu-
lated negative experience of humanity, by strictly using
these powers for good purposes only, and with a positive
intention! In any other case, using those powers can have
embarrassing consequences for the awareness of negative
events, past, present or in the future, only will clutter your
mind and will not be likely to contribute to your prosper-
The third psychic power the author focuses upon is
precognition which again is a word easy to decipher. It sim-
ply means ‘to know in advance.’ We sometimes have pre-
cognitive dreams, and I can testify personally for the truth
of this matter for I’ve had very clear precognitive dream
visions, for example regarding the fall of the Berlin wall,
about six months before it was actually demolished on No-
vember 9, 1989. Back in Spring of 2001 I had a precognitive
dream about the rise and the dangers of international ter-
rorism, and during the Iraq war I had a clear dream vision
about George W. Bush standing with his wife on board a
huge war ship, raising his arms as if asking for help, and
affirming: ‘I am unable to steer this ship.’
Again, the Bible reports many examples of precogni-
tion. One well-known example is when the Wise Men had
been warned in a dream not to return to Herod after they
had found the Christ child but were told to return home by
another route (Matthew 2:12). I myself have been warned
repeatedly in dreams when I had been in danger but did
not realize it. Often times, in those dreams I met a person
who looked like a religious figure and who gave me pre-
cise knowledge of the circumstances that were hidden to
my conscious mind, and how I could avoid the danger. In
each of these cases, I had obeyed to the advice, and after a
while, usually several months down the road, the religious
figure again appeared in a dream vision, telling me with a
joyous regard I had acted in the right way and that I was
now out of the dangerous situation.
Our fifth psychic power for prosperity is psychokinesis,
which means to influence matter ‘kinetically,’ namely by
affecting it in a way without physical contact, through the
use of psychic energy.
Ponder exhibits at this point the astonishing view that
while we make a distinction between living substance and
‘inanimate’ substance, we should treat all inanimate ob-
jects as actually filled with consciousness. She writes:
I know of a new electric typewriter that never
worked properly because the employer who pur-
chased it had not truly wanted his employee to have
that typewriter; he always found fault with it, after
resisting its original purchase. /317
Everything in your world is filled with intelligence,
even the so-called inanimate objects. Treat them in-
telligently if you wish to obtain intelligent, harmo-
nious results. /Id.
Once again, the author gives an example from the Bible
for this psychic power. It is the story of Jesus to wither the
fig tree by a simple verbal command. Another example is
that of a friend of the author who wanted a magnolia tree
to flower in time. He was told that magnolias do not bloom
for the first seven years after they have been planted. So
the man constantly visualized his tree and blessed it with
love and appreciation, every day. After only four years, the
magnolia tree burst into full bloom!
The Prosperity Law of Self-Confidence
Self-Confidence is more important than any other inner
power, the author writes. It is actually the foundation of
As I never had a strong self-confidence, I was always
astonished about fairy tales where this quality is a constant
feat with the hero, especially when he’s a male. For exam-
ple, the Grimm tale of the Virtuous Tailor exhibits a man
who was boasting with self-confidence in a way that is al-
most boastful—in asserting he had slaughtered ‘7 with one
blow,’ as if he had done so with men, which the giant be-
lieved, while in truth he had only killed 7 flies.
This is quite an extraordinary example for the fact that
self-confidence, even if it is based upon a lie, works for
success. The only thing of importance is that we believe
that it is so, that we believe in ourselves!
In recent years, it was discovered even in education
that it is crucial for helping children to master life to let
them build a strong base of self-confidence. This was then
also expressed in the slogan ‘I Can’ as for example branded
as a proactive educational concept by some schools.
This is no more a secret these days, yet few people ob-
serve, as Catherine Ponder does in this chapter, that chil-
dren by nature have a strong self-confidence and grow self-
conscious and timid only under the yoke of an intimidat-
ing educational paradigm that uses threat and fear to in-
doctrinate them:
The truth that we are born with confidence can be
viewed by the actions and reactions of most chil-
dren, before they become filled with fears, phobias,
and inhibitions of thought. Children have the de-
lightful habit of confidently saying and doing what-
ever they feel led to say and do. /324
This insight was corroborated by research conducted
by Anna Freud, the daughter of Sigmund Freud. During
the heavy London bombings by the Germans in World War
II, children in England had been evacuated in shelters and
Freud’s study was to find out how the children reacted to
the immanent threat of death and pain in such an unusual
situation. The results of the study, which was published in
1943 as ‘War and Children’ were quite astonishing. It was
namely found that by nature, children are not afraid of
anything and cope rather well in any kind of situation,
even when the danger of death is immanent as in an in-
stance of a bomb in the nursery garden that could have
exploded at any moment.
It was found that only those children who had fearful
parents who let them stand up the entire night in the bun-
ker for ‘being prepared’ were afraid and self-conscious,
while those who had fearless and self-confident parents
were themselves fearless and self-confident.
There is one argument often used in moralistic educa-
tion that is counterproductive in building self-confidence.
It is the belief that the self-assertive person was ‘an egoist.’
However, as Ponder points out, there is a difference
between self-confidence and egotism in that the egotistic
person believes she runs her life herself, while the self-
confident person has a spiritual vision and believes that
it’s God, the Creator, or the Universe who actually runs
our lives and that we can trust in this creator force for our
good, and as a basis of all our potential successes. Report-
ing the story of the first official commanding general of the
Hebrews, Joshua, Ponder remarks that interestingly, the
word ‘success’ is only mentioned twice in the Bible, and
both times it is to be found in the Book of Joshua. A useful
affirmation for building more self-confidence is:
Nothing succeeds like success. I now go from suc-
cess to greater success with God’s rich help. I give
thanks that my success is big, powerful and irresisti-
ble, and that it appears now. /326
The author reports to have known several cases where
inferiority complexes had been dissolved and self-confidence
restored, as the person ‘consistently filled his mind with
bold, daring, reassuring affirmations.’ /327
Positive affirmations geared toward increasing self-
confidence are especially useful before going to sleep, in
order to making a deep impression upon the subconscious
mind. Here is one such affirmation the author presents:
—I shall go to sleep but God in me remains awake,
bringing my present problems to a successful conclusion,
in divine order. /328
Another technique for raising self-confidence is to
write out 15 times (or more) a favorite affirmation on suc-
cess, confidence, and perfect results. This is really so, as I
found it myself during a psychotherapy: writing has a
healing effect on the psyche, which is why I developed the
concept of Life Authoring in the first place.
There is a difference between merely reciting an af-
firmation or writing it down repeatedly. Writing has a cor-
relation in the subconscious mind as impressing this pas-
sive mind in us is a form of ‘writing’ on the subconscious
interface, thereby deeply affecting it in a positive fashion.
The author explains:
By writing out words of confidence you help im-
plant the idea more firmly in your subconscious
mind, which then works harder and faster to pro-
duce happy results. Affirmations are your strongest
confidence-builders. /330
One such affirmation the author offers is, for example:
‘Infinite wisdom guides me, divine love prospers me, and I
am successful in everything I undertake.’ /331
She reports that a businessman discovered a self-
defeating pattern in his life; every time he bought a stock it
would go down for a while. He considered these times as
‘testing periods,’ which is of course a rather positive re-
gard upon something others would be helpless to confront.
Now he used those times for affirming the foregoing af-
firmation until he felt confident to hold on until the stock
price would rise, and would then realize a good profit.
In fact, this is an important point generally. Often in
life, when we are firmly going in one direction, we feel
there is an invisible pull in the opposite direction, as a disease
worsens right before healing sets in and the night is dark-
est right before dawn. Why is that so?
It may have to do with the cyclical nature of life, the
dualistic or dialectic principle, or however we may call it.
The author, however, believes the reason for this strange
mechanism is that going through such periods of ‘testing’
has the ultimate reason to even more strengthen our self-
confidence for what has been tested or time-tested is stand-
ing more firmly on its feet—which is why she insists that
the best success affirmation simply is ‘Nothing succeeds
like success!’
Another technique, already mentioned earlier in this
review, is imaging; it can namely be used effectively for
building a constant feeling of self-confidence. Still another
way is building what Napoleon Hill called a ‘Master Mind
Group:’ associating with self-confident people.
Finally, as a matter of cosmic resonance, calling forth
the good in others will bring long-term positive growth
also in the area of self-confidence. The author suggests to
speak confidently of others and to praise them frequently.
Speaking words of kindness uplifts others and helps them
to become more successful. She gives the example of a
photographer who was producing photographic series of
prominent models in the fashion world. He used to raise
their self-confidence by assuring them of his confidence in
their brilliant performance before he ever took the photos.
This example inspired the author to generalize this experi-
ence and recommend us to praise others before they are
successful, not just after they have proven to be able, but
before, thereby activating their inner expectancy to be suc-
Even without meeting the other person directly and
talking to him or her, the author affirms there is a method,
using once again divine telepathy, to do this by secretly
affirming that the other person shall be successful. She of-
fers an affirmation to this purpose:
—I have confidence in your god-given guidance and
abilities. I see you now with god’s rich help. Your success
is big, powerful and irresistible. It appears now. /336
The Prosperity Law of Persistence
Catherine Ponder says that Jesus was describing the
power of persistence with a parable when he declared: ‘No
man, having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is
fit for the kingdom of God.’ (Luke 9:62)
In fact, Jesus addressed a man who wanted to follow
him but said he wanted to ask his family for farewell first.
And Jesus rebuffed him, as he rebuffed another with the
words ‘let the dead bury their dead’ (Luke 9:60). I think
persistence has an element of the ‘eternal present’ in it.
What Jesus seems to have disliked in those men was their
attachment to family, emotional attachments and probably
also material attachments. Another of these attachments is
the past. Many people are attached to their past and there-
fore unable to move into free land, a new experience and a
new way of looking at the world.
Jesus wanted them to get rid of these attachments in-
stantly; as one would say to a person who has the money
to buy a car and sees exactly the wonderful car in a shop
that he wants, and even gets a discount on the price, and
then still tells the salesman he wants ‘to think about it.’
Persistence, in other words, is a quality looking straight
ahead, and facing challenges head-on, not looking back
and trying to escape. As the author explains, it’s a ‘can do’
attitude. She writes:
There is nothing half-way, lukewarm, or half-
hearted about persistence. It is bold, daring, fearless.
It does not hesitate, but goes after what it wants, and
keeps plugging until it gets results. /414
The one single Bible story in our religion class at high
school I remember well because it greatly impressed me
was the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel. Catherine
Ponder writes that this story exemplifies the power and
importance of persistence. Jacob vowed to the angel, ‘I will
not let thee go, except thou bless me.’ (Genesis 32:26). Not
only did the angel bless Jacob but he also renamed him to
‘Israel’ which means ‘Prince of God.’ Renaming a person
after a spiritual initiation is an age-old custom and means a
breakthrough of that person in their spiritual development.
This shows that persistence is not just needed in business,
but as well in matters of spiritual development. In this con-
text, it is important to see that failure is always temporary
and typically a prelude to success—provided that the per-
son considers failure not as the final end but persists!
Repeated failure is often the result of a wrong attitude
toward life and prosperity, which is most often an attitude
of hoarding and holding on, with selfish attachment, to
things and people. But Ponder makes it clear that we can
rebuild our financial world ‘from a single right attitude to
which we persistently hold.’ /419
I will end this rather extensive book review here not
without mentioning once again how important tithing is
for lasting success. A word is perhaps needed as to how to
tithe. Ponder writes repeatedly in this and her other books
that we should tithe primarily to the source of our spiritual
learning, which is for many people a church or other en-
lightening organization. The tithe has to be send upfront
every first of the month, in good faith that one’s financial
means won’t suffer from giving 1/10 of it away, but will in
the contrary prosper more. Some people, after having
reached a certain level of prosperity, double their tithe, tri-
ple it, or even send away half of their fortune. Let us re-
mind ourselves that Bill Gates did exactly that when he
setup up with his wife the Melinda Gates Foundation.
Catherine Ponder explains that in ancient times there
was a rule how to tithe: the first tithe was to be sent to the
priest of one’s church, the second tithe was destined for a
social purpose and the third tithe was for charity. She gives
several examples in this book and in other books of hers
that applying prosperity principles without tithing works
only temporarily. This is quite an uncanny truth!
Most prosperity programs, as expensive as they some-
times are, teach the principles of right thinking, making
lists, a wheel of fortune, applying the law of command,
and image the outcome.
But most of those programs do not teach the secret of
tithing. She writes that she has known a number of people
who after learning the prosperity laws were prospering
suddenly, and sometimes dramatically for a certain while
but then, astonishingly so, as they were not tithing the
riches they had accumulated vanished off by and by, and
they had to realize that their prosperity was not a lasting
one. Tithing is what makes the difference here. I have an-
other example of this truth, and it’s a big example. It’s the
Most people neither know how big their actual fortune
was at the height of their prosperity, and how their attitude
was toward the old Jewish habit of tithing.
The fortune of the Rothschild clan by far surpassed
that of Bill Gates, Rockefeller, Getty, Walton, Buffett or
Carnegie. It was comparable only to the immense fortune
of the Queen of England, but still higher, estimated to have
been 400 trillion dollars! In an almost unknown biographi-
cal book about the Rothschilds, by John Reeves and pub-
lished in 1887, the truth is unveiled: the Rothschilds have
tithed regularly and very generously, and what is even
more important, consistently, they gave away immense
amounts of their fortune, and always without hesitating,
even to people who would beg in the street, who wrote to
them, who came to their houses and castles; they had a
tremendous sense of compassion and never sent anybody
While some of them could be picky for a simple coach
fare, when meeting human hardship, they were showing
deep humanity, which is perhaps the most important de-
tail—while hidden to many—regarding their legendary
—John Reeves, The Rothschilds: The Financial Rulers of Nations,
Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co., 1887
Another example comes to mind: Pablo Picasso. Picasso
has not only founded exemplary orphanages, one of which
I visited in Saigon, Vietnam, back in 1986; he has also sent
regularly sometimes big amounts of money to people who
wrote to him in need and explained their hardships. And
the fortune Picasso had later in life is legendary for an art-
ist; we might rightfully assume that it was the ever biggest
fortune accumulated by a single artist!
And yet in his younger years, when his career really
took off in Paris, France, he was a poor man, hardly having
the means to heat his flat, sometimes selling a painting for
a bread or burning it in the chimney because he could not
afford to buy charcoal!
So please be reminded that giving really is the secret
motor of receiving for all in life is cyclic. Money is a form
of energy and as such it must circulate. I have seen that
over and over in my own life and there were phases when
I was holding on too tightly to my fortune, and during
these periods I was regularly money.
So, to close this view, I would consider in agreement
with the author that tithing is by far the most important
prosperity secret!