Tom Butler Bowdon
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A graduate of the London School of Economics and the University of Sydney, Tom was working as a political advisor in Australia when, at 25, he read his first personal development book, Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Captivated by that and by titles by the likes of Anthony Robbins and M Scott Peck, he came to the view that this was an underrated field of writing. At 30, he left his first career to write the bestselling 50 Self-Help Classics, the first guide to the personal development literature and winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award (2004).

This book was followed by 50 Success Classics (2004); 50 Spiritual Classics (2005); 50 Psychology Classics (2007); and 50 Prosperity Classics (2008), all published in the US and UK by Nicholas Brealey. With its commentaries on over 250 books in the self-development field, the series has been published in 21 languages and is sold in over 30 countries. Tom has been described by USA Today as “a true scholar of this type of literature”.

The BBC’s Imagine (2007) programme drew on his knowledge for its programme on the personal development industry, and his work is serialized in Psychologies (Hachette) and in the Citywire group’s financial publications. Tom is an experienced media guest, having made numerous radio appearances in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia. He has given talks to a variety of groups and organisations, and also leads discussion groups where he lives in Oxford, UK looking into the major writings and ideas in personal development.

Tom has also provided critical introductions to self-development and prosperity classics including Think and Grow Rich, The Science of Getting Rich, Sun Tzu’s Art of War, Machiavelli's The Prince and Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations through the Capstone Classics series published by John Wiley & Sons (Europe). He is contracted to write a motivational work for Virgin Books entitled Never Too Late To Be Great, due for publication in January 2012.

Tom’s website,, with its wealth of free self-development content, has had over a million visits since its launch in 2001.

Entries by Tom Butler Bowdon

Sartre on Love, Sexual Desire and Relationships

(2) Comments | Posted 27 March 2013 | (07:20)

It may seem an obvious question, by why are human beings obsessed with relationships?

Jean-Paul Sartre's masterpiece Being and Nothingness (1943) made him one of the great modern philosophers of freedom. Though long and very difficult to read, his purpose was to drill down to find the heart of our...

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Life Isn't Short: What it Means For Your Success

(1) Comments | Posted 19 March 2012 | (14:00)

Just over a century ago, a boy born in America could have expected to live, on average, to 46. A girl born in the same year, 1900, might have reached the grand old age of 48. Yet by 1950, a dramatic rise in life expectancy, due mainly to better nutrition...

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The Power of Thinking Long

(0) Comments | Posted 1 March 2012 | (23:00)

For a decade and a half, my job has been to identify and write about the classic books in the self-improvement and self-growth field. It's been a great experience that has enriched me in many ways, but about half-way through the project I started to get a sense of something...

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Before They Were Famous

(0) Comments | Posted 23 July 2011 | (00:00)

Stephen Fry, the English author and wit, was once having coffee with some young, emerging comedians in Chicago. He said to them:

"From the vantage point of my 'elderly' position of a 50 year old... if I could offer any advice it is that it is that it is...

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Does Motivation Really Work?

(3) Comments | Posted 4 July 2011 | (14:32)

The personal growth industry is built on the idea that we can get fired up by a walk-on-coals weekend seminar or a new book and then radically change our life. Most of us have been 'motivated' in this way, and I'm not saying it's bad. But what tends to happen?...

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