I finished “As A Man Thinketh” by James Allen recently. This is not a major accomplishment, as the book, in its entirety, is 45 pages (48 if you add the introduction included in my copy). A colleague recommended the book to me after he and I had a discussion centering on manifesting one’s thoughts. The book is about exactly what the title suggests: thinking determines reality. This is an age-old idea that was rejuvenated by the book “The Secret”. But, in fact, James Allen first had his work published in 1903
The idea that the way you think will manifest your reality has been around even longer than that. William James made similar assertions in the late 1800s. “Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” He also said it more simply: “If you can change your mind, you can change your life.” And Buddha purported the same idea millennia before that: “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.”
Allen tells the tale similarly to the way others have told it. As his title comes from Proverbs, and as he is well studied in Christian as well as other religions, he sometimes comes acrossas too focused on religious morals. His theme is have ugly, evil thoughts, and you will bring evil into your life. One must learn to train their mind on the positive, on virtue, on a goal that brings you and others benefit. This will create happiness and success.
Despite the books sometimes overly moral attitude, how could I not recommend a book that is 45 pages or so, and can be quite inspirational in regard to changing your life for the better? The idea that one can take charge of their thinking and change it is a positive message. I have been reading another book by Krishnamurti that also focuses on training the mind (albeit at times diametrically opposed to this book). One downside to the Allen book is its suggestion that one brings about one’s own disease and suffering. This might be difficult for some to swallow, and reeks of blaming the victim. At the same time, it offers power to make positive changes right away in one’s life.