Tom Butler-Bowdon


Australian-born English Non-Fiction Author of the 50 Self-Help Classics Series

Author Quotes

Circumstances do not make a person, they reveal him.

Did I live; did I love; did I matter?

Freud tried to show that dreams are not simply meaningless hallucinations, but a window into the unconscious that can reveal suppressed wishes.

It is the feeling of inferiority, inadequacy and insecurity that determines the goal of an individual’s existence. One motive is common to all forms of vanity. The vain individual has created a goal that cannot be attained in this life. He wants to be more important and successful than anyone else in the world, and this goal is the direct result of his feeling of inadequacy.

Life may sometimes feel short at a philosophical level, and there is always the chance we may die young. But for most people in well-off countries today, life is not, as the 17th-century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes famously put it, 'solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short'.

More than ninety-nine percent of male and female genetic coding is exactly the same. Out of the 30,000 genes in the human genome, the variation between the sexes is small. But those few differences influence every single cell in our bodies—from the nerves that register pleasure and pain to the neurons that transmit perception, thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Most of us cherish freedom, but when we actually get the opportunity to make our own way it can be terrifying.

Perhaps it's obvious, but it's also so easy to forget: never get too discouraged by the apparent gap between what you believe you are capable of, and what it seems you are right now.

The more choices we have, the greater the need for focus.

The wealth creator has a moral obligation to enrich the lives of others in whatever way they can.

We learn how to close the gap between what we are and what we could become. But what if we are yet to identify what we could become? Frankl noted that the modern person has almost too much freedom to deal with. We no longer live through instinct, but tradition is no guide either. This is the existential vacuum, in which the frustrated will to meaning is compensated for in the urge for money, sex, entertainment, even violence. We are not open to the various sources of meaning, which according to Frankl are: 1 Creating a work or doing a deed. 2 Experiencing something or encountering someone (love). 3. The attitude we take to unavoidable suffering.

You can rest assured that if you devote your time and attention to the highest advantage of others, the Universe will support you, always and in the nick of time.

A rule of life is that we never seem to progress until we have first fully lived out the possibilities in the situation we are in now.

Anyone can get a job, but do you have a purpose?

Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will and selfishness—all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil. But for my part I have long perceived the nature of good and its nobility, the nature of evil and its meanness, and also the nature of the culprit himself, who is my brother (not in the physical sense, but as a fellow-creature similarly endowed with reason and a share of the divine); therefore none of those things can injure me, for nobody can implicate me in what is degrading.

Always challenge conventional wisdom.

Personal growth is often the result not of doing something new, but of seeing the same things in a new light. We all have mental maps of our world that we mistake for the actual territory. By clinging on to old maps we fail to see the true lie of the land and get lost.

Always seek out interesting people.

Refining your ability to think should be your investment priority; it always provides the best returns.

Clarity about goals saves a huge amount of energy that can be productively in other areas.

Risk taking only makes sense when you have a core set of values that do not change.

Create a noble aim for your life, then make use of every moment to achieve it…. “tiny brushstrokes”, those moments of productivity that seem like nothing at the time but build up to something big.

Success is not primarily a matter of circumstances or native talent or even intelligence – it is a choice.

Don’t wait until conditions are perfect before starting something. They never will be. Act now.

Technology by itself is never a primary cause of either greatness or decline.

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Australian-born English Non-Fiction Author of the 50 Self-Help Classics Series