Monday, January 08, 2018

Book review: As A Man Thinketh, The Very Best of Common Man

As a Man Thinketh is a short essay, written by James Allen, and published in 1903 as a small book. The subject of the book is the power and right application of thought.

Its title is influenced by the biblical verse: "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he". I picked this book up for reading on a whim - I was looking for some motivational quotes for a side project, when I came across a suggestion for reading this book on one of the blogs. Googling for the title brought forth stellar reviews on Amazon, and I ordered it from Amazon. The good guys at Amazon delivered it the next evening (perks of a Prime account), and I kept it in stash over the week to be read on weekend.

The book is a quick read, with 7 chapters in total. Working on a few personal projects these days, I found the overall language and content of the book inspirational - like how doubts and fears kill our chances of success, and how dreaming is important to achieve success in life. James Allen has some mesmerising observations, and I've listed 4 that I think are really profound:
  1. Thoughts of doubts and fear never accomplish anything, and never can.
  2. Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves, they therefore remain bound.
  3. Circumstance does not make the man, it reveals him to himself.
  4. Men do not attract what they want, but what they are.
Standing at 80 pages, this book is small enough to be read on a lazy Sunday evening, and yet set the right tone for the week(s) to come. Recommended for everyone.

The Very Best of The Common Man is a compilation of drawings by legendary cartoonist R. K. Laxman. The Common Man is a caricature that depicts various social and political situations from the point of view of the layman.

I got this book due to its sentimental value - while growing up, the You Said It column in Times of India was a great source of humour on the uncertainties in political and economic environment of the day.

The book has some of the better drawings by Laxman, where he has taken potshots at the political habits of politicians, and explores the pains that a common man faces in his day to day life when interacting with the government.

The book is a good collectible item for anyone who loves cartoons drawn by Laxman, but other than that, don't expect any more from it. 

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