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4.42 of 5 stars 4.42  ·  rating details  ·  40 ratings  ·  8 reviews
SAMUEL SMILES is best known today as a prolific author of books that extol the virtues of self-help, character and duty, and of biographies lauding the achievements of famous civil and mechanical engineers among whom are Brindley, Smeaton, Rennie, Boulton, Watt, Telford and the Stephensons, but, oddly, not Isambard Kingdom Brunel.His books-particularly that on self help-we ...more
374 pages
Published 1871 by A.L. Burt Company, Publishers, New York (first published 1859)
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Only read one-third in so far, and a few comments:

I love that this book actually speaks to both men and women, of what virtues are "traditionally" expected of both. (i.e. women's character are private and in the home, rather than public, but they occasionally do become publicly known for character).

Samuel Smiles provide several examples of great people in history, many of them are in the British parliamentary. Given the age this book was written in, of course, all the examples of great men and w
If you want an epiphany every two sentences, this is the book for you.
Anthony Lord
Feb 26, 2013 Anthony Lord rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who enjoy reading older books. People who are looking to improve themselves.
Samuel Smiles

I decided to read this book after finding a stack of old books in my garage belonging to my late Grandmother Renee. I never met her, but from the stories I've heard of her it is fair to say she was a fairly bad ass woman. So of course the books she read must also be bad ass. Sifting through the boxes of books, I happened to come across Character. Character, by Samuel Smiles, was published in 1910 and is a self help book focusing on developing character within ones self. Interesting
Smiles is a word-master....and just for that reason, Character is an excellent read.
Here's a taste:

"Want of respect for the feelings of others usually originates in selfishness, and originates in selfishness, and issues in hardness and repulsivness of manner. It may not proceed from malignity so much as from want of sympathy and want of delicacy-a want of that perception of, and attention to, those little and apparently trifling things by which pleasure is given or pain occasioned to others."

Abdullah Almuslem
This is a great book that deals with lots of aspects in life. Samuel Smiles puts all his knowledge and wisdom in this book in which you feel you are reading "books" not one book. His arguments about the rise and fall of societies are impressive. He shows a deep understanding about the human being which gives his book a soul that will not die. This was truly one of the best books I have ever read and I would recommend it to anybody who wants to rise to higher place in his society.
Although this was written in the 19th Century, the underlying principles still apply today. If you like the classic's and are passionate about self development you can't go far wrong with any book by Samuel Smiles. "Character" will help you not only become a better person, but recognize the traits of success within others too.
Feb 25, 2008 Jill rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
This has the potential to be a life changing book, it depends on what you bring to it. I loved it, it has wonderful, practical and powerful truths in it that motivate the reader to be a better person. I'm going to read this book again with my husband.
Pradeep Kumar
Fantastic book, read it a decade ago, reading it again
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Scottish author and reformer.
More about Samuel Smiles...
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“Whilst writing all this, I have had in my mind a woman, whose strong and serious mind would not have failed to support me in these contentions. I lost her thirty years ago [I was a child then]--nevertheless, ever living in my memory, she follows me from age to age.

She suffered with me in my poverty, and was not allowed to share my better fortune. When young, I made her sad, and now I cannot console her. I know not even where her bones are: I was too poor then to buy earth to bury her!

And yet I owe her much. I feel deeply that I am the son of woman. Every instant, in my ideas and words [not to mention my features and gestures], I find again my mother in myself. It is my mother's blood which gives me the sympathy I feel for bygone ages, and the tender remembrance of all those who are now no more.

What return then could I, who am myself advancing towards old age, make her for the many things I owe her? One, for which she would have thanked me--this protest in favour of women and mothers.”
“Although genius always commands admiration, character most secures respect. The former is more the product of brain-power, the latter of heart-power; and in the long run it is the heart that rules in life. Men of genius stand to society in the relation of its intellect, as men of character of its conscience; and while the former are admired, the latter are followed.” 1 likes
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