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James Allen

James Allen James Allen[1†]

James Allen (28 November 1864 – 24 January 1912) was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry and as a pioneer of the self-help movement[1†]. His best known work, As a Man Thinketh, has been mass-produced since its publication in 1902[1†]. It has been a source of inspiration to motivational and self-help authors[1†].

Early Years and Education

James Allen was born on 28th November, 1864, at 21, Brunswick Street, Leicester[2†]. His mother, Martha Allen, formerly Whalton, or Whotton, aged 37 years, registered the birth of her eldest son[2†]. The occupation of the father, William Allen, is given as 'Stocking Framework Knitter’[2†]. Later there were two younger brothers, George and Thomas[2†]. William is known to have been particularly fond of 'young Jim’[2†].

James was a delicate boy of natural refinement who became so keen on books, his father would say, “My boy, I’ll make a scholar of you.”[2†]. Allen senior was said to be a high type of man, intellectually; a great reader who approved of the thirst for knowledge he observed in his quiet, studious son[2†]. At school, this rather sensitive boy was subjected to the misunderstanding harshness of some of his schoolteachers, but in adult life there were one or two for whom he retained, 'tender memories’[2†].

At age fifteen, with the family now facing economic disaster, Allen was forced to leave school and find work[2†][1†]. For much of the 1890s, Allen worked as a private secretary and stationer in several British manufacturing firms[2†][1†]. In 1893 Allen moved to London and later to South Wales, earning his living by journalism and reporting[2†][1†].

Career Development and Achievements

James Allen’s career was marked by a deep interest in the power of thought and its impact on character and circumstances[3†]. His most significant work, As a Man Thinketh, published in 1902, is a testament to this interest[3†]. The book explores the philosophy that our thoughts shape our character, our character shapes our actions, and our actions shape our circumstances[3†]. This work has been a source of inspiration for many motivational and self-help authors[3†].

Allen’s career began in the 1890s, where he worked as a private secretary and stationer in several British manufacturing firms[3†][4†]. In 1893, he moved to London and later to South Wales, where he earned his living by journalism and reporting[3†][4†]. During this time, Allen met Lily Louisa Oram, whom he married in 1895[3†][4†].

In 1898, Allen found an occupation that allowed him to express his spiritual and social interests[3†][4†]. He became a writer for the magazine, The Herald of the Golden Age[3†][4†]. This marked the beginning of his writing career, and in 1901, he published his first book, From Poverty to Power[3†][4†].

In 1902, Allen began to publish his own spiritual magazine, The Light of Reason, later retitled The Epoch[3†][4†]. His third and most famous book, As a Man Thinketh, was published in 1903[3†][4†]. The success of this book allowed Allen to quit his secretarial work and pursue his writing and editing career full time[3†][4†].

Allen continued to write and publish The Epoch until his death in 1912[3†][4†]. During this time, he produced more than one book per year[3†][4†]. His wife continued publishing the magazine under the name The Epoch after his death[3†][4†].

First Publication of His Main Works

James Allen’s literary career began in earnest when he published his first book, From Poverty to Power, in 1901[5†]. This marked the start of a prolific period in Allen’s life, during which he produced more than one book per year until his death in 1912[5†]. Here are some of his main works:

Each of these works contributed to Allen’s posthumous fame as one of the pioneering figures of modern inspirational thought[5†]. His writings continue to be widely read and have been a source of inspiration to many.

Analysis and Evaluation

James Allen’s work, particularly his most famous book As a Man Thinketh, has had a profound impact on the field of self-help literature[6†]. His writings, characterized by a deep understanding of human nature and a focus on the power of thought, have been a source of inspiration for many motivational authors[6†].

Allen’s philosophy, as expressed in As a Man Thinketh, is based on the idea that our thoughts shape our reality[6†]. This concept, while simple, has profound implications. It suggests that by changing our thoughts, we can change our lives[6†]. This idea has been embraced by many in the self-help field and continues to be a popular theme in many motivational books and speeches[6†].

Despite the simplicity of his philosophy, Allen’s writings are noted for their depth and insight[6†]. His ability to express complex ideas in a clear and understandable way has made his works accessible to a wide audience[6†].

Allen’s influence extends beyond the self-help genre. His ideas about the power of thought have found resonance in various fields, including psychology and business[6†]. His writings have been used in various contexts, from helping individuals overcome personal challenges to inspiring leaders to create positive organizational cultures[6†].

In conclusion, James Allen’s work has left a lasting legacy in the field of self-help literature. His ideas continue to inspire and motivate individuals around the world[6†].

Personal Life

James Allen was born into a working-class family in Leicester, England[1†]. His mother, Martha Allen, could neither read nor write[1†][2†]. His father, William Allen, was a factory knitter[1†][2†]. Allen had two younger brothers, George and Thomas[1†][2†]. His father was particularly fond of him and encouraged his love for books[1†][2†].

In South Wales, Allen met Lily Louisa Oram, whom he married in 1895[1†][2†]. Together, they had a daughter named Nohra[1†][7†][8†]. The family led a simple life of contemplation in a small cottage in Ilfracombe, Devon, England[1†][7†][8†]. Allen was known to enjoy long country walks with his brothers or a few chosen friends[1†][2†]. They often walked twenty or thirty miles with a hunk of bread and cheese in their pockets[1†][2†]. Such walks informed his love of nature, which increased with the passing years on his dawn walks to Cairn for his daily meditation[1†][2†].

Allen was a delicate boy of natural refinement who became so keen on books, his father would say, “My boy, I’ll make a scholar of you.”[1†][2†]. This thirst for knowledge was observed and nurtured by his father[1†][2†]. However, his father was concerned that such intense mental activity might damage his son’s delicate health[1†][2†].

Despite his studious nature, Allen was not unlike other boys; he could play leap frog, marbles, and boisterous games with the best of them[1†][2†]. In manhood, he enjoyed playing Badminton, croquet, or bowls on summer evenings at Bryngoleu, Ilfracombe[1†][2†].

Conclusion and Legacy

James Allen’s legacy is primarily tied to his pioneering work in the self-help movement[9†]. His most famous book, As a Man Thinketh, has been a source of inspiration for millions of people over the past century[9†]. The wisdom contained within his book continues to inspire and guide people on how to achieve their best life[9†].

Allen’s work has had a profound impact on the field of personal development. His philosophy that “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” has become a fundamental principle in many motivational and self-help teachings[9†]. His writings emphasize the power of thought and its role in shaping one’s life[9†].

In addition to his written works, Allen’s life itself is a testament to his teachings. Despite facing numerous challenges, including the loss of his father at a young age and the need to leave school to support his family, Allen was able to rise above these circumstances through his belief in the power of thought and the strength of character[9†].

Even after his death in 1912, Allen’s influence continues to be felt. His books are still widely read and his teachings continue to inspire people around the world[9†]. His work has also influenced numerous other authors in the field of personal development[9†].

In conclusion, James Allen’s legacy is one of enduring influence in the field of self-help and personal development. His teachings about the power of thought and the ability to shape one’s own destiny have left a lasting impact that continues to inspire people to this day[9†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - James Allen (author) [website] - link
  2. The James Allen Institute - About James Allen [website] - link
  3. Shortform Books - As A Man Thinketh Book Summary by James Allen [website] - link
  4. Britannica - James A. Van Allen: American physicist [website] - link
  5. Goodreads - Author: Books by James Allen (Author of As a Man Thinketh) [website] - link
  6. ResearchGate - None [website] - link
  7. Goodreads - Author: James Allen (Author of As a Man Thinketh) [website] - link
  8. Goodreads - Book: The Path of Prosperity [website] - link
  9. The STRIVE - 50+ Best James Allen Quotes [website] - link
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