Florence Scovel Shinn (September 24, 1871, Camden, New Jersey – October 17, 1940) was an American artist and book illustrator who became a New Thought spiritual teacher and metaphysical writer in her middle years. In New Thought circles and more recently the personal development movement, she is best known for her metaphysical philosophy and belief in the power of words and their ability to shape our realities. In her first book, ‘The Game of Life and How to Play It’ (1925) she begins to expand on the power of words, affirmations and our ability to transform ourselves through their vibration.


Shinn expressed her philosophy in The Game of Life as: The invisible forces are ever working for man who is always ‘pulling the strings’ himself, though he does not know it. Owing to the vibratory power of words, whatever man voices, he begins to attract.


She is also famous for her work ‘Your Word is Your Wand’, which was published in 1928 and The Secret Door to Success in 1940.  The Game of Life and How to Play it includes quotes from the Bible and anecdotal explanations of the author’s understanding of God and man. Her philosophy centres on the power of positive thought and usually includes instructions for verbal or physical affirmation.


A typical Scovel Shinn piece of advice would be: “It is safe to say that all sickness and unhappiness come from the violation of the law of love. A new commandment I give unto you, love one another.”  Shinn is considered part of the New Thought movement, as her writings follow in the tradition of Phineas Quimby, Emma Curtis Hopkins and both Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, co-founders of the Unity Church.  Motivational author Louise Hay also acknowledges her as an early influence in her work.