The Most Valuable Personal Development Book

as a man thinketh

What is the most valuable personal development book? That is what a friend and I were talking about before I dropped her off at a Doctor’s appointment.

Now as I sit and wait for her I thought I would share with you what we talked about.

My friend does not have a very large collection of books just a select few. Myself, I used to have dozens perhaps hundreds of books in my home library before my family and I decided to move across the world to help out a friend in need. When we decided to move I looked at all my books and I made sure I only kept what I really valued the rest I donated to libraries. One of the most important books for me and perhaps, the most valuable personal development book ever written is As A Man Thinketh by James Allen.

I told my friend about “As a Man Thinketh’ and she had never heard of the book and I thought maybe you have not heard about it too. So while I wait I will share some notes since I have my own copy of the book with me.

What is As a Man Thinketh about?

As the title indicates As A Man Thinketh is a book all about how to use your mind effectively and it was first published in 1902 almost thirty years before the pioneering self help book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill was published. What is remarkable about Allen’s book is that it is a short book (my copy is only 46 pages in length) yet it delivers a life changing message as it explains clearly the importance of controling how we use our minds.

What does Allen say in As a Man Thinketh?

There are many golden nuggets of information in this book. Allen was one of the first writers who reminded me “the human mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild. But whether cultivated or neglected, it must and will bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall, accumulate, and will produce their own kind“.

Allen urges us (just like Napoleon Hill and Earl Nightingale did years later) to “tend to the garden of our mind, weeding out all wrong, useless, and impure thoughts and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts“. Allen’s book came over 100 years before the film The Secret.

I am just riveted by some of Allen’s phrases like “we do not attract that which we want but that which we are“. As I type this I have to type it again to underline its importance ‘we do not attract that which we want but that which we are’. To me, Allen is reminding us all to look at the circumstances of our lives, the unwanted stress, the health issues, the friendship issues, the financial issues and he is urging us to look at how we think. He is reminding us that if life is not how we want it to be we need to change how we think.

Personally, once I understood what Allen was suggesting I knew that it is essential for me to feed my mind positive thoughts daily if I want to be healthy, happy and live a fulfilling life. From that day forward I have been feeding my mind positive thoughts, using visualizations and acting on my intentions to make a difference in my life.

Today I recommend you act prosperously and invest in a paper copy of As a Man Thinketh. Why paper? So you can take out a pen and mark all the important phrases like the ones I noted above. One friend of mine who knows the book well said it should cost people about 15 thousand dollars so they would give the book the respect it deserves. Instead it only costs typically about eight dollars.

Okay, here comes my friend from the Doctor’s office. I have to sign off but remember check out As A Man Thinketh.

Your friend on the journey,


UPDATE: By the way, my current copy is a new reprint copy of As a Man Thinketh and includes a bonus book by Allen called ‘from Poverty to Power’. So you may wish to choose this edition of  As A Man Thinketh.

Further reading

The rest of my short list of personal development books I recommend is here

If you feel you have benefited from what I have shared here you can taste more samples of my work for free in, you guessed it, the FREE resource section.