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Posted August 20, 2003
Posted December 14, 2004
¿A self-help book can be your best friend and champion, expressing a faith in your essential greatness and beauty that is sometimes hard to get from another person. Because of its emphasis on following your star and believing that your thoughts remake your world, a better name for self-help writing might be the `literature of possibility.¿¿ So wrote Tom Butler-Bowdon in the introduction to this book. Only one book has ever made me feel jealous, and 50 Self-Help Classics is it. I¿m the author of the book Self-Help Stuff That Works, published in 1999. I've never read a book that I thought was as good as mine. Until now. Tom did things in his book I wish I had thought to do. And I admire his powerful clarity. In Tom's book, each classic gets its own chapter and each chapter is refreshingly short. You will find no slow parts in this book. Each chapter contains a summary of the main thrust of each classic, a short list of recommended books similar to the classic, and a brief biography of the author. This is my field, so I have read most of the classics, and it was great having the core of those books distilled and condensed so well. Tom obviously didn¿t choose these fifty books by sales volume. This is a careful selection by an expert in the field. Another quote from the book: ¿If there is a thread running through the works, it is their refusal to accept `common unhappiness¿ or `quiet desperation¿ as the lot of humankind.¿ Tom includes many of my all-time favorite books: The Art of Happiness, Self-Reliance, Learned Optimism, Man¿s Search For Meaning, Flow, Feeling Good, How to Win Friends, and on and on. But Tom also introduced me to books I never would have read. I was surprised and happy to discover some great books I didn't know about. In the Introduction, Tom writes: ¿A conventional view of self-help is that it deals with problems, but most of the self-help classics are about possibilities. They can help reveal your unique course in life, form a bridge between fear and happiness, or simply inspire you to be a better person.¿ One of the classics is the Bhagavad Gita. I've never really thought of it as a self-help book, and yet I have used it as one. After reading Tom¿s explanation of the main idea of the Bhagavad Gita, I understood it better than I ever did before. Tom doesn't try to follow the advice to 'write at a fourth grade level' and yet he writes with an easy-to-read style. On the other hand, the writing is not simplistic, but vigorous, intelligent, and penetrating. Do you want to find your mission in life, to change your thoughts, to accomplish more, to feel better, to change the way you see things, to explore yourself, or to make a difference with your life? 50 Self-Help Classics is the book for you.
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