As a Man Thinketh

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"As a Man Thinketh" is a literary essay by James Allen, published in 1902.[1][2][3]

Basis of the book[edit]

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New Thought

The title is influenced by a verse in the Bible from the Book of Proverbs, chapter 23, verse 7: "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he". The full passage, taken from the King James Version, is as follows:

Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:
Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.

While the passage suggests that one should consider the true motivations of a person who is being uncharacteristically generous before accepting his generosity, the title and content of Allen's work refer to the reader himself.

Allen's essay is now in the public domain within the United States and most other countries. It was released October 1, 2003 as a Project Gutenberg e-text edition.[4]

About the book[edit]

This book, written in terms of the responsibility assumption, opens with the statement:

Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,
And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills: —
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Environment is but his looking-glass.

Chapter 1 starts with the quote from Dhammapada that explains the effect of karma.

Quotes From As a Man Thinketh[edit]

"The thoughtless, the ignorant, and indolent, seeing only the apparent effects of things and not the things themselves, talk of law, of fortune, and chance. Seeing a man grow rich, they say, "How lucky he is!" Observing another become intellectual they exclaim, "How highly favored he is!" And noting the saintly character and wide influence of another, they remark, "How chance aids him at every turn!" They don't see the trials and failures and the struggles which these men have voluntarily encountered in order to gain their experience; have no knowledge of the sacrifices they have made, of the undaunted efforts they have put forth, of the faith they have exercised, that they might overcome the apparently insurmountable, and realize the vision of their heart. They do not know the darkness and the heart aches; they only see the light and the Joy, and they call it "luck"; do not see the longing arduous journey, but only behold the pleasant goal, and call it "good fortune"; do not understand the process, but only perceive the result, and call it "chance".” "The circumstances which a man encounters with suffering are the result of his own mental inharmony".


The lyrics to the song "Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts" by Funkadelic are loosely based on this book.[citation needed]

In the film Rumble Fish the character 'Motorcycle Boy' is reading pages 36-7 in the kitchen.


  1. ^ "As a Man Thinketh Quotes". Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ "As A Man Thinketh". Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  3. ^ "James AllenAs a Man Thinketh". Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ "As a Man Thinketh by James Allen". Retrieved 5/9/2013.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

External links[edit]

See also[edit]