Tom Butler Bowdon
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Tom is a graduate of the London School of Economics (MSc Politics of the World Economy) and the University of Sydney (BA Hons Government & History). He left his first career in the civil service to write the bestselling 50 Self-Help Classics, the first guide to the personal development literature and winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award (2004).

50 Success Classics (2004); 50 Spiritual Classics (2005); 50 Psychology Classics (2007); 50 Prosperity Classics (2008), 50 Philosophy Classics (2013) and 50 Politics Classics (2015) are all published by Nicholas Brealey. With its commentaries on over 350 books, the series has been published in 25 languages and is sold in over 30 countries. Tom has been described by USA Today as “a true scholar of this type of literature”.

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).

Tom’s website is

Entries by Tom Butler Bowdon

Four Great Politics Books You've Probably Never Heard Of

(0) Comments | Posted 10 July 2015 | (12:12)

Perhaps you've enjoyed George Orwell's Animal Farm or Nelson Mandela's Long Walk To Freedom. Maybe you've even tackled Plato's The Republic or Thoreau's Civil Disobedience. Here are some other hugely important, but lesser known, political classics.

1. Lord Acton Essays On Freedom & Power (1948)

It was Acton who penned...

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Britain and the EU: What Would Machiavelli Do?

(0) Comments | Posted 2 July 2015 | (09:16)

Machiavelli is famous for his manual of power, The Prince, but it now seems likely he wrote it in an attempt to curry favour with the de Medici family who had usurped Florence's republican government. He wanted back his old job as a top bureaucrat in the city-state, but when...

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The Real Reasons For Churchill's Success

(4) Comments | Posted 25 June 2015 | (10:55)

In 1938 and 1939, Winston Churchill was neck deep in the research and writing of his mammoth History of the English Speaking Peoples. He was under pressure from the publisher to deliver a manuscript, the advance from which would keep paying the bills for Chartwell, his beloved home in the...

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Sartre on Love, Sexual Desire and Relationships

(2) Comments | Posted 27 March 2013 | (08:20)

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 | (15:00)

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 2 March 2012 | (00:00)

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 | (01:00)

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 | (15:32)

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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