As a Man Thinketh

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As a Man Thinketh is a self-help [1] book by James Allen, published in 1903. It was described by Allen as "... [dealing] with the power of thought, and particularly with the use and application of thought to happy and beautiful issues. I have tried to make the book simple, so that all can easily grasp and follow its teaching, and put into practice the methods which it advises. It shows how, in his own thought-world, each man holds the key to every condition, good or bad, that enters into his life, and that, by working patiently and intelligently upon his thoughts, he may remake his life, and transform his circumstances. The price of the book is only one shilling, and it can be carried in the pocket." [2] It was also described by Allen as "A book that will help you to help yourself", "A pocket companion for thoughtful people", and "A book on the power and right application of thought." [3]

Basis of the book[edit]

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New Thought

The title is influenced by a verse in the Bible from the Book of Proverbs, chapter 23, verse 7: "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he". The full passage, taken from the King James Version, is as follows:

Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:
Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.

While the passage suggests that one should consider the true motivations of a person who is being uncharacteristically generous before accepting his generosity, the title and content of Allen's work refer to the reader himself.

Allen's essay is now in the public domain within the United States and most other countries. It was released October 1, 2003 as a Project Gutenberg e-text edition.[4]

About the book[edit]

This book, written in terms of the responsibility assumption, opens with the statement:

Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,
And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills: —
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Environment is but his looking-glass.

Chapter 1 starts with the quote from Dhammapada that explains the effect of karma.

In popular culture[edit]

The lyrics to the song "Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts" by Funkadelic are loosely based on this book.[citation needed]

In the film Rumble Fish the character 'Motorcycle Boy' is reading pages 36–7 in the kitchen.

Rapper Gucci Mane cites this book as his inspiration for achieving sobriety and losing weight.

In Marilyn Manson’s song “Slave Only Dreams to Be King” from the album The Pale Emperor (2015), the lyrics reference Allen’s quote:

The Human Will, that force unseen
The offspring of a deathless Soul
Can hew a way to any goal
The walls of granite intervene.

in the beginning of the song, except Manson's lyrics change Allen's "The Human Will" to "The Human Wheel."

In Manson's album Heaven Upside Down (2017), his song by the same name states “I don’t attract what I want, I attract what I am,” a reference to Allen’s “Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.”

References[edit]

  1. ^ "10 Best Self-Help-Books of All Time" at the Christian Science Monitor [1]
  2. ^ As a Man Thinketh announcement in the July 1903 edition of The Light of Reason. [2]
  3. ^ "As a Man Thinketh" page at The James Allen Library [3]
  4. ^ "As a Man Thinketh by James Allen". gutenberg.org. Retrieved 9 May 2013.

External links[edit]