Book Review – As A Man Thinketh

As A Man Thinketh, by James Allen was originally published in 1902.  Though it’s well over 100 years old at this point, the principles of the book still hold.  The overarching theme of the book is – What we fill our minds with, becomes what our lives are filled with.  This review will be a short one, because it’s a short book. More of a collection of seven essays, all related the the same topic.  My copy is only 40 pages.

An interesting analogy used in the book is to relate your mind to a garden that you are in charge of tending.  Would you put seeds from weed plants in with your fruits or vegetables? If you’ve ever actually tended a garden and fought weeds for a season, you’ll pretty emphatically answer that question with a “hard no”.  Just like the garden, we have to work to keep weeds (negative thoughts) out of our minds, and fill our available space with the good stuff.

“There can be no progress, no achievement, without sacrifice.”

If you want to get better at any one thing, you’re going to have to give up something else.  We’ve all got the same 24 hours in a day, and you get to decide how you spend yours. Will your time, thought, and efforts, be working towards something better?

Without thinking highly, you cannot achieve highly.

One of the suggestions in the book is that, if we only set your thoughts towards a low trajectory, that’s all we’ll ever achieve.  No person who went on to do great things set out to be the okayest person at that thing.

The author uses the chapters of the book to discuss things like dreaming and visualization to make your thoughts a part of your reality.  I agree with him that if we don’t tell ourselves how we want the story to play out, then it should only make sense that we don’t make it to the place in our life where we think we should be.

Lastly, I always appreciate an author touching on self reliance.  It’s hard for me to give anyone’s opinion regarding improving ourselves much respect without self reliance being part of the theme.  An excerpt from the book –

“A strong man cannot help a weaker unless that weaker is willing to be helped, and even then the weak man must become strong of himself; he must, by his own efforts, develop the strength with he admires in another.  None but himself can alter his condition.”

I think this a good book for anyone looking for ways to improve their outlook and how they direct their attention who isn’t likely to sit down with a 600 page snoozer on the depths of the psychology behind self improvement.  If the interested party is even unlikely to read the book, the audio version is less than an hour. If they can’t bring themselves to give up an hours time toward improving themselves, see the quoted excerpt above.

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