A review of Tom Butler-Bowdon's '50 Classics' Personal Development Book Series
Tom Butler-Bowdon has authored 5 personal development books (so far) under the 50 Classics bannerhead:
50 Self-Help Classics
50 Success Classics
50 Spiritual Classics
50 Psychology Classics
50 Prosperity Classics
In each book, he selects 50 classic books from the genre he is covering, and gives a synopsis of the main ideas covered in each classic
book. While his selection is personal, he does include the most popular books in that particular area of personal development and, for my
opinion, he chooses well.
Coming from an early political career in which he was employed to write briefing notes, Butler-Bowdon has developed an uncanny
ability to extract the most important information from the main body of data.
In this day and age, anything that we can do to simplify the gathering of knowledge is a must. Compressing ideas down into smaller,
more-easily digestible chunks is such an important service when faced with mountains of information to consume.
Tom Butler-Bowdon manages to "squeeze out the juice" from his selections, leaving the pith, pulp and filler for readers with more time on
I first got hold of a copy of 50 Self-Help Classics and was immediately impressed by Butler-Bowdon's ability to deeply understand,
extract and communicate the most important aspects of each book he covered. In it he covers self-help authors reaching across the ages from
Marcus Aurelius' Meditations through Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, Victor Frankl's Man's Search For Meaning to
more modern self-help classics like Shakti Gawain's Creative Visualization, Anthony Robbin's Awaken The Giant Within and
Louise Hayes' You Can Heal Your Life.
Even though I had read nearly all the books comprising these 50 Self-Help Classics, I found it really vauable to review them and recall the
main ideas via Tom's eloquent synopsis of each title. I particularly like the way each classic book occupied it's own chapter and the
way it was laid out with the first page featuring the book title, some quotes to set the tone and an "In a nutshell" box in which Butler-Bowdon
synthesizes the whole book down into one idea captured in a sentence. Below this is an "In a similar vein" reference to other similar themed
classic titles and their page numbers. He then proceeds to the main synopsis of the classic book that chapter is featuring. At the end, he makes
final comments, and then on it's own page gives a brief biography of the author of the classic.
I was so impressed by this first collection that I subsequently have collected all Tom Butler-Bowdon's 50 Classics books.
I think Tom Butler-Bowdon has written the equivalent of Cliffs Notes for anyone wanting to get a degree course in personal development and I
recommend them highly.
Additional Reasons to get Tom Butler Bowdon's books:
You can read 5 books to gather the ideas contained in 250 books. Just think of the effort, investigation and life-knowledge that went
into writing each of those original books. And then how each of Tom Butler-Bowdon's books took at least a year or two to research, write and
edit. You are getting lifetimes of experience and wisdom, and years of work, packed into a format you can devour in hours or a few days, but
can keep as a handy reference and inspiration forever.
You can quickly remind yourself of the main ideas of your favourite personal development books without having to wade through the whole
You can be introduced to books and authors you might not know about. Reading the synopsis of a book may set you off on a learning love
affair with a new author or idea system that could change your life forever.
You can easily dip in to these books wherever you want, and read a chapter in 2-5 minutes getting salient points and getting a "quick
fix" of inspiration, or a "quick hit" to redirect your thoughts into more positive directions.
He doesn't muddy the ideas with his own thoughts, experiences or interpretations, but does a brilliant job of staying true to the author
while compressing ideas into a more accessible format.
Make great presents for anyone with even a little interest in self-improvement, getting ahead in life, or creating a more fulfilling
happier life. I speak from experience having given some as Christmas presents. My mother-in-Law was thrilled with his latest book, 50
You can become an 'expert' in a subject area very quickly. Great for life coaches, web gurus, would-be-conversationalists and
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