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Book Title: As a Man Thinketh|
The author of the book: James Allen
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 756 KB
Edition: Mind Art Publishing
Date of issue: November 15th 2004
ISBN 13: 9780929896007
Read full description of the books As a Man Thinketh:"This is peace,
To conquer the love of self and lust of life,
To tear deep-rooted passion from the heart
To still the inward strife." (p. 154)
What a wonderful, wonderful book. Of the late religious leader Neal Maxwell it was said, "every sentence was a sermon." Allen is similar. The thought-to-word ratio is so dense that it is difficult to catch some of it on a quick read (which was hard because my goal was 20 pages a day). There are some gems in Allen's phrasing: "the silence of the soul," "the simple laws of life," "spiritual alchemist," etc. Let me share three thoughts of Allens before diving a little deeper into the book itself, three samplings:
"You are powerful, not powerless. You are as powerful to obey as you are to disobey; as strong to be pure as to be impure; as ready for wisdom as for ignorance. You can learn what you will, can remain as ignorant as you choose. If you love knowledge, you will obtain it; if you love wisdom, you will secure it; if you love purity, you will realize it. All things await your acceptance, and you choose by the thoughts you entertain." (5)
"The only difference between the life of the beast and that of the undisciplined man is that the man has a wider variety of desires and experiences a greater intensity of suffering. It may be said of such a man that he is dead, being truly dead to self-control, chastity, fortitude, and all the nobler qualities which constitute life. In the consciousness of such a man, the crucified Christ lies entombed, awaiting that resurrection which shall revivify the mortal suffering and wake him up to a knowledge of his existence." (11)
"A man must first of all be willing to lose himself (his self-seeking self) before he can find himself (his divine self)." (114)
I came into contact with James Allen when in high school. I read the classic pamphlet, "As A Man Thinketh," which itself is only one small part of this book. Allen wrote nineteen books in between 1902 and 1912 (nineteen!), and they are all variations of the theme that is captured beautifully in the short four lines that began this review: still yourself, conquer yourself, dwell on "fixed principles" (what Allen constantly calls "Truth" with a capital "T"), and you will find true peace. Allen is religious, but as the editor notes, Allen was accepted into various circles. He was Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, and then some all rolled into one; as he says, "[t]here is but one religion, the religion of Truth." He talks frequently about "simple laws" which are as true in nature as in the realm of the mind and soul: the idea that we have to work for qualities as we have to work to arrive at the top of the mountain. (He derives from the natural world especially, saying there is no natural or physical law not mirrored in the mind.)
Classic inspirational literature. I was surprised by how good it was. James Allen worked most of his life in the industrial world of his time, working as an assistant to British manufactures. That he retired and, in a short span of time wrote 19 books and being received into both eastern and western worlds of wisdom from his writings--that's amazing to me. The sections on meditation alone are worth their weight in gold, and his practical advice on living a life of holiness provided thoughtful countering to my interest in philosophy. We have to BE good, and DO good things, and this all starts in the mind. To paraphrase Milton's classic anti-hero, we can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven. And Allen argues both to make a heaven of hellish circumstances and to WORK to chance the circumstances around us.
It's a terrific worldview Allen has, and this is a book I anticipate coming back to time and time again. For the density of wisdom and the beauty of the writing, I'm giving this book a five-star review.
Read information about the authorThe James Allen Free Library
Allen was 15 when his father, a businessman, was robbed and murdered. He left school to work full-time in several British manufacturing firms to help support the family. He later married Lily L. Allen and became an executive secretary for a large company. At age 38, inspired by the writings of Leo Tolstoy, he retired from employment. Allen — along with his wife and their daughter, Nohra — moved to a small cottage in Ilfracombe, Devon, England to pursue a simple life of contemplation. There he wrote for nine years, producing 19 works. He also edited and published a magazine, "The Light of Reason".
Allen's books illustrate the use of the power of thought to increase personal capabilities. Although he never achieved great fame or wealth, his works continue to influence people around the world, including the New Thought movement.
Allen's most famous book, As a Man Thinketh, was published in 1902. It is now considered a classic self-help book. Its underlying premise is that noble thoughts make a noble person, while lowly thoughts make a miserable person.
Following his death in 1912, his wife continued publishing the magazine under the name, "The Epoch".
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