[Book Review] As a Man Thinketh by James Allen a Mystry Man
ABOUT JAMES ALLEN
James Allen is really a mystery man. His inspirational writings have influenced millions for good.
James Allen was born on 28 November 1864. He was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry and as a pioneer of the self-help movement.
Allen worked as a private secretary and stationer in several British manufacturing firms. In 1893 Allen shifted to London and later to South Wales, earn through journalism and reporting.
In 1898 Allen found an occupation in which he could showcase his spiritual and social interests as a writer for the magazine The Herald of the Golden Age. At that particular time, Allen enrolled in a creative period where he then published his first of many books, From Poverty to Power (1901).
In 1903 Allen published his third and the most famous & glorious book As a Man Thinketh.It is now considered a classic self-help book. Its underlying premise is that noble thoughts build a noble person, while lowly thoughts cause a miserable person. The small work by him became read around the world and brought Allen posthumous fame as one of the pioneering figures of modern encouraging thought. The book’s success allowed Allen to quit his secretarial work and pursue his writing and editing career. Allen produced more than one book per year until his death in 1912. There he wrote for nine years, producing 19 works
Allen’s books illustrate the benefits of the power of thought to increase personal capabilities. Although he never gained great fame or wealth, his works continue to influence people around the world, including the New Thought movement.
“Only the wise man, only he whose thoughts are controlled and purified, makes the winds and the storms of the soul obey him.”
What is this Book About?
The book is divided into seven chapters viz., thoughts and character, an effect of thought on circumstance, an effect of thought on health and body, thought and purpose, the thought factor in achievement, visions, and ideas, serenity and the final one is dedicated to quotes by Allen.
The theme of the book is its man’s thoughts that define his life and his future.
This book talks about the power of the mind. It clearly reveals how our thoughts affect who we are and the circumstances we live in. It depicts that a man is solely responsible for his own circumstances. This means that our life such as love life, wealth, achievements, our experiences, and opportunities are governed by the thoughts we harbor.
James Allen was one of the first to discover this simple fact:
The theme of all of Allen’s works is that each one of us has the power to form our own character and to create our own happiness. The conditions of our lives are closely related to our inner state. Allen encourages his readers to think positive thoughts, which will inevitably lead them to take positive actions.
We can control these circumstances by our thoughts and the character it brings forth. According to James Allen, if we plant bad seeds, we cannot expect to harvest anything but weeds. Nothing good comes forth from bad thoughts. We get back exactly what we send out in the world. So send out positivism, love, care, value and that will be exactly what you’ll receive back.
James Allen also talks about how disease and health are related to your thoughts. In fact, everything about WHO YOU ARE is made up of your thoughts.
Disease and health, like circumstances, are rooted in thought. Sickly thoughts will express themselves through a sickly body. Thoughts of fear have been known to kill a person as speedily as a bullet, and they are continually killing thousands of people just as surely though less rapidly. The people who live in fear of disease are the people who get it. Anxiety quickly demoralizes the whole body and lays it open to the entrance of disease; while impure thoughts, even if not physically indulged, will soon shatter the nervous system.
Our brain is the most powerful computer on the face of this planet. We must be careful of the thoughts that we conceive and process because as said, they can literally DESTROY us. Instead, we must use the power of our brain and our thoughts to EMPOWER us.
LESSON FROM THE BOOK
James Allen’s contribution was to take an assumption we all share – that because we are not robots we, therefore, control our thoughts – and reveal its fallacy. Because most of us believe that mind is separate from matter, we think that thoughts can be hidden and made powerless – this allows us to think one way and act another. But Allen believed that the unconscious mind generates as much action as the conscious mind, and while we may be able to sustain the illusion of control through the conscious mind alone, in actuality we are continually faced with a question, ‘Why cannot I make myself do this or achieve that?’ In noting that desire and will are sabotaged by the presence of thoughts that do not accord with the desire, Allen was led to the startling conclusion that, ‘We do not attract what we want, but what we are.’ Achievement happens because you as a person embody the external achievement; you don’t ‘get’ success but become it. There is no gap between mind and matter.
CRITICS of the Book:
- His miniature chapters and became entangled in his philosophical prose, I was shocked to find that, far from being a work of Christian inspiration, this book is really nothing more than a humanist manifesto. “You are the Master of Your Fate” is a more worthy title, here, and “Everyone is Jesus” could be its sub. His book is littered with quotes of Christ–though only someone familiar with Scripture would notice since Allen attributes nothing to the Lord–and each is twisted toward the deification of man.
- What one disagree in, is that we can think as positively and graciously as we can, and still bad things can happen to us. There are many things in this life we have no control over. Accidents happen all the time. Other people make mistakes that affect us.
James Allen is quoted as saying,
“Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction.” page 26.
“The circumstances which a man encounters with suffering are the result of his own mental inharmony. The circumstances which a man encounters with blessedness are the result of his own mental harmony. “ page 12.
Most of the people don’t agree with either statement. Suffering happens because we live on earth, and we live in blemished-frail-human-bodies.
Suffering happens sometimes because of other people’s wrong choices that affect us.
Suffering happens sometimes because we made a choice that we may have thought was the right choice, but later we find out it was a wrong choice.
CONCLUSION: Many of Allen’s works resonate today among the best-selling inspirational books of all time – and can be found in Amazon Books. As A Man Thinketh is his best-known work, a classic that can benefit anyone, regardless of age, race, faith, education or cultural background. His wife said, “He wrote what he proved by practice.” Most of us could dramatically improve our circumstances and lives by re-reading it (in an hour or two that it takes) at least once a year and REQUIRE our children and grandchildren to do the same, a rare and inspirational gem.
As a Man Thinketh, a literary essay published by James Allen in 1902. Allen explains how the thoughts of a man create the type of a man he is. Controversially for our time, he states that a poor man is poor because he thinks thoughts that make him poor. Conversely, a rich man is rich because he thinks thought that make him rich. He extends this to criminals and philanthropists—a criminal thinks sinful thoughts and a philanthropist thinks holy thoughts. Circumstances do not make a man; a man makes his circumstances.
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