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50 Self-Help Classics: 50 Inspirational Books to Transform Your Life from Timeless Sages to Contemporary Gurus

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Thousands of books have been written offering the 'secrets' to personal fulfillment and happiness: how to walk The Road Less Traveled, Win Friends and Influence People, or Awaken the Giant Within. But which are the all-time classics? Which ones really can change your life? Bringing you the essential ideas, insights and techniques from 50 legendary works from Lao-Tzu to Ben Thousands of books have been written offering the 'secrets' to personal fulfillment and happiness: how to walk The Road Less Traveled, Win Friends and Influence People, or Awaken the Giant Within. But which are the all-time classics? Which ones really can change your life? Bringing you the essential ideas, insights and techniques from 50 legendary works from Lao-Tzu to Benjamin Franklin to Paulo Coelho, 50 Self-Help Classics is a unique guide to the great works of life transformation.


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Thousands of books have been written offering the 'secrets' to personal fulfillment and happiness: how to walk The Road Less Traveled, Win Friends and Influence People, or Awaken the Giant Within. But which are the all-time classics? Which ones really can change your life? Bringing you the essential ideas, insights and techniques from 50 legendary works from Lao-Tzu to Ben Thousands of books have been written offering the 'secrets' to personal fulfillment and happiness: how to walk The Road Less Traveled, Win Friends and Influence People, or Awaken the Giant Within. But which are the all-time classics? Which ones really can change your life? Bringing you the essential ideas, insights and techniques from 50 legendary works from Lao-Tzu to Benjamin Franklin to Paulo Coelho, 50 Self-Help Classics is a unique guide to the great works of life transformation.

30 review for 50 Self-Help Classics: 50 Inspirational Books to Transform Your Life from Timeless Sages to Contemporary Gurus

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence Danks

    Tom Butler-Bowdoin has developed a great concept. He reads books from various inspirational areas then summarizes them. The summaries are terrific and provide an opportunity to gain a great deal of wisdom in a short period of time. In addition to this book, Tom has also written, "50 Success Classics" and a number of others in the "50" Series that I've read. I highly recommend them to you. They are the perfect short reads of 3-5 pages for selected circumstances, whether it's on a night table or wa Tom Butler-Bowdoin has developed a great concept. He reads books from various inspirational areas then summarizes them. The summaries are terrific and provide an opportunity to gain a great deal of wisdom in a short period of time. In addition to this book, Tom has also written, "50 Success Classics" and a number of others in the "50" Series that I've read. I highly recommend them to you. They are the perfect short reads of 3-5 pages for selected circumstances, whether it's on a night table or waiting in a doctor's office. Tom writes well and clearly too. I just don't know when he ever sleeps! My Amazon review for his book appears below: Very Worthwhile and A Real Time Saver, August 30, 2008 This review is from: 50 Self-Help Classics: 50 Inspirational Books to Transform Your Life (Paperback) This is a terrific book. It summarizes self-help classics providing pithy information in a highly readable form. It's also a great way to preview many books to ascertain which ones you might want to purchase to read in full. The author has also published a series of other subject specific classics: Prosperity Classics,Success Classics,Spiritual Classics and Psychology Classics, so if you enjoy the author's format and the excellent quality of his summaries, you'll find similar value in these other offerings. Not only has the author identified salient points in each of these "Classics" works, he also identifies major lessons to be learned from them. A true compendium of works for anyone's self help library. Also, makes a great gift item for those who have a manifested interest in one or more of the Classics collection. I've used these summaries many times in my Principles of Management courses.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    Like Oprah, I love self-help books and I'm not ashamed to admit it. This book is awesome. I've read several of these books, and now I know the ones I want to read, and the ones that I'm skipping. A few things I liked that I picked up was the idea of modeling yourself after successful people in your field you admire and stating your negative fears first, and then your positive motivations second in your affirmations. I found it interesting that Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand was listed in this title Like Oprah, I love self-help books and I'm not ashamed to admit it. This book is awesome. I've read several of these books, and now I know the ones I want to read, and the ones that I'm skipping. A few things I liked that I picked up was the idea of modeling yourself after successful people in your field you admire and stating your negative fears first, and then your positive motivations second in your affirmations. I found it interesting that Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand was listed in this title as a self-help book. Huh. Really? The author also listed it in 50 Spiritual Classics so I'm guessing he's an objectivist. I liked 50 Spiritual Classics a little better-and I think people would probably get more from reading those titles than these in general. I believe self-help books are a step to spirituality, and often-there really isn't any difference. Some self-help books are even much more useful, better written, and more intellectual than the loftier titled "spiritual classics" anyway. Some titles this book talked about that I'm excited to read are McGraw's Life Strategies, The Power of Positive Thinking and Peck's The Road Less Traveled. I've also read 50 Psychology Classics and recommend that as well.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chad Warner

    This book is a decent introduction to some of the most popular self-help books. It does a good job summarizing the main points of each book, explaining each book’s influence or claim to fame, and giving some biographical information about each book’s author. Since it’s really a reference book, I felt like I was being dipped into and out of the ideas, rather than immersed in them. For that, there’s no substitute for the books themselves. The author uses a looser definition of self-help than I had This book is a decent introduction to some of the most popular self-help books. It does a good job summarizing the main points of each book, explaining each book’s influence or claim to fame, and giving some biographical information about each book’s author. Since it’s really a reference book, I felt like I was being dipped into and out of the ideas, rather than immersed in them. For that, there’s no substitute for the books themselves. The author uses a looser definition of self-help than I had anticipated. I expected modern self-help books like How to Win Friends and Influence People and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In addition to these, the list also includes books like Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Thoreau’s Walden. There are also several ancient philosophical and religious works such as The Bhagavad-Gita and The Bible. I didn’t like the list's inclusion of New Age, paranormal “spiritual” works, advocating pseudo-scientific nonsense about using your mind to influence the physical world, bring good luck, and heal yourself and others. Only a few of the books from my self-help shelf appear on this list. The list of all 50 books is available on Butler-Bowden’s site. Common themes in self-help books • Take control of your life, and take action! Don’t just float through life. • Set high goals. • Success depends on hard work, not luck. • Be optimistic; think positively. • Maintain a mindset of abundance, not poverty. • Achieve “flow”, the mental state in which work comes naturally and brings joy and fulfillment. Additional notes • Effectiveness is more important than efficiency. (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) • Be prosperity-conscious, not poverty-conscious. Appreciate the abundance of what you have, rather than focusing on what you lack. (Real Magic) • Benjamin Franklin embodied the essence of self-evaluation and self-improvement. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is an excellent guide to self-improvement.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    "We don't attract what we want, but what we are. Only by changing your thoughts will you change your life." "A person is what he thinks about all day long." "Accept things and people how they are, not how we would like them to be." "Seek peace inside yourself, do the work that is yours, and wonder at the mysteries of the universe." "No matter what happens to you, you always have freedom of mind." "Appreciate the rich experience of life, despite circumstances, Low expectations make for pleasant surpri "We don't attract what we want, but what we are. Only by changing your thoughts will you change your life." "A person is what he thinks about all day long." "Accept things and people how they are, not how we would like them to be." "Seek peace inside yourself, do the work that is yours, and wonder at the mysteries of the universe." "No matter what happens to you, you always have freedom of mind." "Appreciate the rich experience of life, despite circumstances, Low expectations make for pleasant surprises." "All life transitions have a pattern, which if acknowledged will make tough times more comprehensible." "Don't interrupt others or finish their sentences." "Will this matter a year from now?" "Imagine yourself at your own funeral." "Family is the greatest investment." "Begin with the end in mind." "Whatever the pressure, be your own person." "The meaning of life is the meaning that you decide to give it." "He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how." "The presence of fear is an indicator that you are growing and accepting life's challenges." "By changing your environment, you can change your life." "Fill your emptiness by living soulfully." "Once you accept responsibility, you can make better choices." "It is time to seize the day and live the life you have imagined." "Make sure that you have time in your life just to think."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lawrence

    Awesome “cliff-notes” of 50 of the best self help books. I personally liked Phil McGraw... yeah Dr. Phil and Marcus Aurielus. Great audiobook for your commute. Tons of tweet worthy content. Check it out.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gonewiththeromance

    I strongly recommend this author and his books,this is my second book by him and I'm planning to read more and more.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ong Jason

    Author offers great insight into different books but unfortunately, a summary only offers the essence but not enough meat to help you internalize. Still a good book to have to get a quick recap.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kanske Svartfors

    Tom Butler-Bowdon succeeds again in doing what he set out to do. This is the fifth of his 50 Classics books that I have listened to, and once again the book is concise, to the point, but still giving enough information. I could easily recommend this to anyone even remotely interested in self-help. I was a little skeptical at first since self-help most of the time does vex me quite a bit, but I am happy that I got over my initial hesitation. The book delves into various different books that can b Tom Butler-Bowdon succeeds again in doing what he set out to do. This is the fifth of his 50 Classics books that I have listened to, and once again the book is concise, to the point, but still giving enough information. I could easily recommend this to anyone even remotely interested in self-help. I was a little skeptical at first since self-help most of the time does vex me quite a bit, but I am happy that I got over my initial hesitation. The book delves into various different books that can be put in the category of self-help, e.g. Bhagavad-Gita, Dhammapada, Bible, Marcus Aurelius, Benjamin Franklin mixed with more contemporary self-help along with popular psychology titles. 5/5

  9. 5 out of 5

    María

    So this is something that I never thought I would do, but here I am. Clearly this year has a theme and it's growth. Now, since there's a lot of resources about self-improvement out there this book was a great review of the most relevant ones. I'm not that interested in reading old school books, but I still wanted an overview of the literature, so this was perfect for me. Specially the audiobook version, because I know me and I know that I would have preferred to read fiction and procrastinated t So this is something that I never thought I would do, but here I am. Clearly this year has a theme and it's growth. Now, since there's a lot of resources about self-improvement out there this book was a great review of the most relevant ones. I'm not that interested in reading old school books, but I still wanted an overview of the literature, so this was perfect for me. Specially the audiobook version, because I know me and I know that I would have preferred to read fiction and procrastinated this forever. Which is exactly why I had to pick it up!

  10. 5 out of 5

    María Clara

    So this is something that I never thought I would do, but here I am. Clearly this year has a theme and it's growth. Now, since there's a lot of resources about self-improvement out there this book was a great review of the most relevant ones. I'm not that interested in reading old school books, but I still wanted an overview of the literature, so this was perfect for me. Specially the audiobook version, because I know me and I know that I would have preferred to read fiction and procrastinated t So this is something that I never thought I would do, but here I am. Clearly this year has a theme and it's growth. Now, since there's a lot of resources about self-improvement out there this book was a great review of the most relevant ones. I'm not that interested in reading old school books, but I still wanted an overview of the literature, so this was perfect for me. Specially the audiobook version, because I know me and I know that I would have preferred to read fiction and procrastinated this forever. Which is exactly why I had to pick it up!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Yvette Schierlman

    One book that shows many historically popular different points of view in religion, psychology and philosophy influencers without leaning you in any one direction. Great summary comparison of historical and modern classics. 1 per chapter, book by book, so it’s long but worth it to get to the end, huge time saver, easy to digest, gives author backgrounds/ life contributions and their cited influences. Lots of very different points of view in a short amount of time.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cecily Kyle

    I wanted to like this book and when I first started reading it I was quite interested but it is basically a book about other books you should check out. If I had paid more attention to the full title I would have realized this. As I continued to read I would get frustrated because they would mention something interesting and it was basically an overview instead of really getting into it... so what is the point... google can do the same thing... Meh Read!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Saffron

    As a non organised religious person I found some of the choices odd. There are some books in here that should have been in his 50 Philosophical book rather than the self help book. Saying that there are a variety of very different approaches to the self help genre scoping over many years, there is something in there to suit everyone.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Weber

    An amazing anthology of 50 of the best known self-help books. Each summary covers the main ideas in the book and highlights a few typical concepts, then ends with a brief bio of the author. Well done.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David John Foxcroft

    As with all Toms books - absolutely master summaries of some great books! Highly recommended!! Fantastic!! What a great book - I would recommend this book to anybody who wants to understand and discover self help books!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paul Petsa

    Great source of data Worthwhile read to understand the history and universe of the self-help genre over the annals of history. Some of the books are very old and so the language used is difficult to understand but the author does a good job of interpretation.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Oliver Ho

    Useful overview of this field. I like that he tries to be even-handed in his appraisals, calling out dated and sexist approaches and identifying what he sees as the core, relevant messages of each book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kat Robey

    Really appreciated the list chosen, the highlights of each, the historical context of the work, and the biographical information of each author. My reading list and awareness continues to grow.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Samuel Clifford

    Great book, listened to the audio format over and over again. It really gave a simple and easy to understand overview of the books listed.

  20. 4 out of 5

    HK Davis

    A great book for discovering new works. It offers a briefly discussion of 50 classics. I found several excellent reads from this one book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Fatema

    Great idea, boring writing style.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    Definitely a good book. There's a lot to it. I like books that encourage me to look at myself in new ways. The concept of modeling one's self after other people in your field is a good tip.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    Great summaries of books. Less than 50 could have been chosen and focused on instead. It reminded me of books I had read before and want to revisit.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Abey Thomas

    Amazing book, inspired to know and read more classic books

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dominic

    This taught me so much and helped me pick up a load of other books i would never had read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nilkanth

    This book I found quite inspirational and would recommend to anyone who loves self-help books.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    Terrific summary of all the great classics of self help books.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dipanshi

    2.5 stars

  29. 5 out of 5

    Wan Farisan

    Good book on self help

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ethan Armstrong

    This is a surprisingly thought-provoking read (or "listen", rather - since I got this one the audiobook). Self Help - the much maligned folk philosophy of today, has more to offer than I expected. If we can get past the marketing and publicity, it may be as valuable as the classic moral philosophy of old. And with it's up-to-date interpretations -- it's easier to understand too.

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