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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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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  709 ratings  ·  59 reviews
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
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Paperback, 228 pages
Published January 30th 2003 by Nicholas Brealey
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Lawrence Danks
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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Jillian
Aug 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers of self-help or spiritual books.
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
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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
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Marie
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: individuality
"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
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Gonewiththeromance
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I strongly recommend this author and his books,this is my second book by him and I'm planning to read more and more.
Jason Ong Wicky
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Kanske Ervast Svartfors
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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María Clara
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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María
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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Yvette Schierlman
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
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.
Lisa Weber
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
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!
Paul Petsa
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kat Robey
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Monica
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
HK Davis
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great book for discovering new works. It offers a briefly discussion of 50 classics. I found several excellent reads from this one book.
Abey Thomas
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book, inspired to know and read more classic books
Dominic
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This taught me so much and helped me pick up a load of other books i would never had read.
Maureen
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
Samuel Clifford
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Fatema
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Great idea, boring writing style.
Nilkanth
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book I found quite inspirational and would recommend to anyone who loves self-help books.
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.
Joe Barnes
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is excellent. Well written, great book choices and astute commentary make it a very enjoyable and inspiring read.
First off, it's important to say this is a collection and review of 50 of the best self-help books ever written. I've read some reviews where people are disappointed by this. I don't understand why. The content of the book is very clear so you know EXACTLY what you're getting.
Having said this, though, and this is massive credit to author Butler-Bowdon, he writes it in such
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Clare Flynn
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this while on a yoga holiday in India - I don't normally do self-help books and I don't do yoga any more (must rethink that). I did enjoy this book though - it gives a brief taster of 50 classics - self-help is probably the wrong title as some are classic philosophers (Marcus Aurelius, Benjamin Franklin, Boethius,Viktor Frankl, Thoreau) - whereas self-help makes me think of the chicken soup man. There are also the current fashionable gurus - Tony Robbins Deepak Chopra etc.
What I found was
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Lucka
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I thought that after reading this, I wouldn't have to read those 50 books, which was not the case. The author presents only the main ideas and doesn't really explain them very well. If you want to read some self-help books but don't know which ones to choose, then this book is for you. Overall I found there was A LOT of general advice along the lines of "Believe in yourself, listen to your heart and do what you really want" and not much actually helpful stuff.
Susan knapp
Feb 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
A review of the best self help books. I enjoyed hearing the good points of books from the Bible to 7 Effective Habits of Successful People to Dale Carnegie, to the Dalai Lami, to many many others that I had heard about.
Erik
Jan 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this one because it's not a typical self help book. It doesn't actually give you any self help pointers, as much as it just gives you a list of other books that will. So I guess in a way, that is teaching you how to help yourself find self help... I already feel better.
Melanie
Jun 03, 2010 rated it liked it
there are no tips in here-just a list with enough info to help you decide what book to pick up next. i like that it includes things that are not quite "self help" like the bible. it's more of a self development list then self help.
Noushin Afrashteh
Jan 05, 2010 rated it liked it
As a summary, it does a good job but I was expecting it to be more 'helpful'. It delivers the message without the force.
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