As a Man Thinketh
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As a Man Thinketh is a self-help 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." 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."
Basis of the book
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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.
About the book
This book 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.
In popular culture
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.
The Human Will, that force unseen The offspring of a deathless Soul Can hew a way to any goal The walls of granite intervene.
except that 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.”
Singer-songwriter Richard Marx says that he considers this book his Bible and always keeps it with him.
- "10 Best Self-Help-Books of All Time" at the Christian Science Monitor
- As a Man Thinketh announcement in the July 1903 edition of The Light of Reason. 
- "As a Man Thinketh" page at The James Allen Library
- "As a Man Thinketh by James Allen". gutenberg.org. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
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