A graduate of the London School of Economics and the University of Sydney, Tom Butler-Bowdon 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.
He then published Never Too Late to Be Great: The Power of Thinking Long and is now editing and writing the introductions to volumes in a new series, Capstone Classics, published by Capstone Publishing Ltd. (A Wiley Imprint). Titles now available include Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Lao-Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, Plato’s The Republic, Wallace Wattles’ The Science of Getting Rich, Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, and Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich.
Here is an excerpt from my second interview of him. To read the complete interview, please click here.
To read my first interview of him, please click here.
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Morris: Before discussing your recently published book, Never Too Late to Be Great, a few general questions. First, who has had the greatest influence on your personal growth? How so?
Butler-Bowdon: Apart from my parents, all the great writings in the personal development and spiritual traditions, too many to mention.
Morris: The great impact on your professional development? How so?
Butler-Bowdon: Apart from bosses and colleagues, the writings of Peter Drucker in management and Al Ries in marketing.
Morris: Years ago, was there a turning point (if not an epiphany) that set you on the career course you continue to follow? Please explain.
Butler-Bowdon: Discovering the self-development literature when I was 26.
Morris: To what extent has your formal education been invaluable to what you have accomplished in life thus far?
Butler-Bowdon: Beyond the content of what I learned at university in terms of politics, government and history, just to think more critically and carefully, and being aware of just how much has been written and studied in any given area that you can draw upon.
Morris: Of all the books that you have read, from which have you learned what has proven to be most valuable to you after you read it?
Butler-Bowdon: Miracles to Conversations With God, to the original spiritual texts. Now I practice meditation, so Buddhism provides me with much insight and inspiration.
Morris: Of the five 50 Classics volumes, which was the most difficult to write? Why?
Butler-Bowdon: At the time 50 Spiritual Classics seemed challenging because there seemed to be so much ground to cover, but the discipline required to do it taught me that I could tackle something even more outside my comfort zone, such as 50 Philosophy Classics, which I’m writing now.
Morris: By which criteria did you select the titles? To what extent (if any) were the criteria different from one volume to the next and/or when the selections were made? Please explain.
Butler-Bowdon: Combination of the obvious famous titles in each field, with some interesting newer ones. They had to either be bestsellers or influential, or say something new. Same process for each book.
Morris: Which of the books was the most difficult to classify? Why?
Butler-Bowdon: Perhaps 50 Prosperity Classics, because “prosperity” is not an established field like Psychology or Self-Help.
Morris: What prompted the publication of the new series of classic self-development and prosperity writings that you edited and for which you wrote the Introductions?
Butler-Bowdon: An invitation to do it from the publisher (Wiley Europe). I was happy to do it because it fits in with my larger goal of a more serious or scholarly approach to personal development.
Morris: Were there are head-snapping revelations which reading these “classics”? Please explain.
Butler-Bowdon: As the Tao Te Ching suggests, there is a force or reality behind the apparent, physical universe (call it Tao, God, Mind, implicate order), and it is this which generates everything we see. By attuning ourselves to this force or reality, not what is “apparent.”
Morris: Which of the authors of these series (i.e. Napoleon Hill, Niccolo Machiavelli, Adam Smith, Sun Tzu, and Wallace Wattles) offers the best example of someone who possesses “the power to think long”? Please explain.
Butler-Bowdon: Actually none of them is particularly interested in time; the ‘thinking long’ idea is my creation!
Morris: Frankly, I was previously unaware of Wattles when I began to read the book and thus was especially grateful for your Introduction. For others in that same situation now, why is he significant?
Butler-Bowdon: He offers the metaphysical basis for prosperity that is the basis of The Secret, but wrote about it 100 years before Rhonda Byrne.
Morris: Which additions to the series are now under consideration?
Butler-Bowdon: Have just released new Capstone editions of Plato’s Republic and Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching.
Morris: Here’s a two-part question. Of all the authors whose works you have read, which would you most like to interview? What would you hope to learn from that person that you do not currently know?
Butler-Bowdon: I have a special liking for the works of Catherine Ponder, the prosperity and abundance writer who helped to pioneer the field. I would be thrilled to meet her and have a long chat with her! As for an interview, I’d like to ask her many of the same questions you are asking me.
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To read the complete interview, please click here.
To read my first interview of him, please click here.
Tom cordially invites you to check out the resources at these websites:
Homepage: Please click here.
Amazon Page: Please click here.
Huffington Post: Please click here.
Tom Butler-Bowdon’s website: www.Butler-Bowdon.com
Tom’s book Never Too Late To Be Great: http://amzn.to/zwxce4
In an interview conducted by Brian Bolduc, featured in the Wall Street Journal (June 18, 2011), the award-winning historian, David McCullough, says textbooks have become “so politically correct as to be comic.” Meanwhile, the likes of Thomas Edison get little attention.
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“We’re raising young people who are, by and large, historically illiterate,” David McCullough tells me on a recent afternoon in a quiet meeting room at the Boston Public Library. Having lectured at more than 100 colleges and universities over the past 25 years, he says, “I know how much these young people—even at the most esteemed institutions of higher learning—don’t know.” Slowly, he shakes his head in dismay. “It’s shocking.”
He’s right. This week, the Department of Education released the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress, which found that only 12% of high-school seniors have a firm grasp of our nation’s history. And consider: Just 2% of those students understand the significance of Brown v. Board of Education.
Mr. McCullough began worrying about the history gap some 20 years ago, when a college sophomore approached him after an appearance at “a very good university in the Midwest.” She thanked him for coming and admitted, “Until I heard your talk this morning, I never realized the original 13 colonies were all on the East Coast.” Remembering the incident, Mr. McCullough’s snow-white eyebrows curl in pain. “I thought, ‘What have we been doing so wrong that this obviously bright young woman could get this far and not know that?’”
To read the complete article, please click here.
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My guess is that many (most?) school and college graduates have few employable skills in terms of (a) what they know and (b) what they can do.
David McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. His other widely praised books are 1776, Brave Companions, The Great Bridge, and The Johnstown Flood. He has been honored with the National Book Foundation Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award, the National Humanities Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked…and his behavior, not his words, is his response.” – Victor Frankl
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Viktor E. Frankl (1905-1994) was Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School and Distinguished Professor of Logotherapy at the U.S. International University. He is the founder of what has come to be called the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy (after Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis and Albert Adler’s individual psychology) — the school of logotherapy. Born in 1905, Dr. Frankl received the degrees of Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Vienna. During World War II he spent three years at Auschwitz, Dachau and other concentration camps.
Dr. Frankl first published in 1924 in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and has since published twenty-six books, which have been translated into nineteen languages, including Japanese and Chinese. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Duquesne and Southern Methodist Universities. Honorary Degrees have been conferred upon him by Loyola University in Chicago, Edgecliff College, Rockford College and Mount Mary College, as well as by universities in Brazil and Venezuela. He has been a guest lecturer at universities throughout the world and has made fifty-one lecture tours throughout the United States alone. He was President of the Austrian Medical Society of Psychotherapy.
Man’s Search for Meaning is probabky his most famous work, first published in 1993. My copy was published in 2006.
Reflecting on one “Values Deficiency” of the Ol’ Boys Network – (And Why We Need a “New Women’s Network”)
Do you know why they call it the “ol’ boys network?” Because it’s filled with men who never quite grew up, and they like their clubhouse to still be a very exclusive club.
So, if you’re not part of their group, play by their rules, see the world their way, you can’t break in to the ol’ boys club. Whether you are male or female.
And, in spite of the incredible increase in the numbers of women, holding the larger number of all levels of college degrees, and getting hired in law firms and orchestras and companies and everywhere else, it seems, it is still an ol’ boys world that can’t quite make the right kind of room for these “outsiders.”
There’s a scene in Moneyball where Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is trying to make a dent in the ol’ boys network. It is not an easy task. Watch (trouble viewing the video? – click here):
What motivated them (entrepreneurial women) after they had started was strikingly uniform: They were all driven to succeed for their workforce. (emphasis added). They may have started for themselves, but they kept going for others. This has profound implications for the businesses women run and the way they run them. The bond between looking after the business and looking after the people is not rhetoric, and nurturing isn’t weakness; it is what explains their success. When you feel such passionate affinity with, and responsibility for, your employees, then you put values, ethics, and culture squarely at the center of every decision you make. If that sounds a bit too much like social work, it is worth remembering that these companies are highly lucrative.
“Driven to succeed for their workforce…” In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg speaks of the power of “keystone habits,” organizational habits that shape the entire organizational culture. I think the evidence continues to build that we have put the pursuit of profits, and other such values, above the value of “nurturing the members of your workforce.” And I think we need some kind of major refocus, a “reset,” with a new set of keystone habits to put nurturing the members of our workforces front and center.
And when we do, values just might be rediscovered. Because if you value something other than people, I’m not sure it’s a very valuable value.
Values matter now, says Gary Hamel. Nurturing the members of your workforce is a value that comes out clearly in women-owned businesses. Maybe we all need to help such women break right on through and past all those “ol’ boys clubs.” I’m not sure we will be able to value the right values with the “ol’ boys” always in charge. Maybe we really do need more “new women’s networks” to counteract the narrow, values-deficient nature, of all those “ol’ boys clubs.”