Review: James Allen – As a man thinketh

What type of book is it?

Philosophical type of self improvement book that teaches the reader the power of thinking.

Who should read it?

I would recommend this book to beginners in self improvement, or people who normally don’t read the genre. The concepts of the book are very easy to grasp and it’s a delight to read.

What’s bad about it?

Some of the reasoning seem a bit outdated. Like where the parts where Allen suggests that thinking “impure thoughts” about the opposite sex could lead to a host of negative side effects of your character.

What’s good about it?

It’s short, contains a lot of great wisdom and easy to grasp concepts, and the thing I like the most is that it’s packed with a lot of powerful quotes! Here are my top three favorites:

Men are anxious to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefor remain bound. The man who does not shrink from self-crucifixion can never fail to accomplish the object upon which his heart is set.

All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts. In a justly ordered universe, where loss of equipoise would mean total destruction, individual responsibility must be absolute. A man’s weakness and strength, purity and impurity, are his own, and not another man’s; they are brought about by himself, and not by another; and they can only be altered by himself, never by another. His condition is also his own, and not another man’s. His suffering and happiness are evolved from within. As he think, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.”

How many people we know who sour their lives, who ruin all that is sweet and beautiful by explosive tempers, who destroy their poise of character and make bad blood! It’s a question whether the great majority of people do not ruin their lives and mar their happiness by lack of self-control. How few people we meet in life who are well balanced, who have that exquisite poise which is characteristic of the finished character!

Final verdict

A great read! It opens the readers mind to many ideas and instills the command to take ownership of your thoughts and exercise self control. The last four pages are pure gold, and definitely my favorite part of the book. Those last pages are well worth the price of the entire book, and I love how Allen finishes:

In the bark of your soul reclines the commanding Master; he does not sleep, wake Him. Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, “Peace, be still!”

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