James Allen: As a Man Thinketh Book Summary






  • They themselves are makers of themselves.
  • Inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstances.


Thought and Character

  • His character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.
  • Every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought.
  • Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits.
  • In purity of thought, joy follows him.
  • Man is made or unmade by himself.
  • By the right choice and true application of thought.
  • Man is their maker and master of their life.
  • That man is the master of thought, the moulder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment and destiny.
  • The lord of his own thoughts, man holds the key to every situation and contains within himself that transforming and regenerative agency by which he may make himself what he wills.
  • He is the maker of his character, the moulder of his life, and the builder of his destiny, he may unerringly prove, if he will watched, control, and alter his thoughts.
  • That knowledge of himself which is understanding, wisdom, power.
  • The law absolute that ‘he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’


Effect of Thought on Circumstances

  • So may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts.
  • He is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.
  • Thought and character are one.
  • The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state.
  • Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions.
  • The alteration in his circumstances has been in exact ratio with his altered mental condition.
  • Every thought-seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance. Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit.
  • The outer world of circumstances shapes itself to the inner world of thought.
  • As the reaper of his own harvest, man learns both by suffering and bliss.
  • Circumstances does not make the man; it reveals him to himself.
  • Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are. Their whims, fancies, and ambitions are thwarted at every step, but their inmost thoughts and desires are fed with their own food, be it foul or clean.
  • Thought and action are the jailers of Fate-they imprison, being base; they are also the angels of Freedom-they liberate, being noble.
  • His wished and prayers are only gratified and answered when they harmonize with his thoughts and actions.
  • Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.
  • That man is the causer (thought nearly always unconsciously) of his circumstances.
  • Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results: bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results.
  • Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction. It is an indication that the individual is out of harmony with himself, with the law of his being.
  • A man is not rightly conditioned until he is a happy, healthy, and prosperous being; and happiness, health, and prosperity are the result of a harmonious adjustment of the inner with the outer, of the man with his surroundings.
  • He will find that as he alters his thoughts towards things and other people, things and other people will alter toward him.
  • Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life.
  • Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit solidifies into circumstance.
  • A particular train of thought persisted in, be it good or bad, cannot fail to produce its results on the character and circumstance, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances.


Effect of Thought on Health and the Body

  • The body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operations of the mind, whether they be deliberately chosen or automatically expressed.
  • Disease and health, like circumstances, are rooted in thought.
  • Thoughts of fear have been known to kill a man as speedily as a bullet, and they are continually killing thousands of people just as surely though less rapidly.
  • Anxiety quickly demoralises the whole body, and lays it open to the entrance of disease; while Intuit thoughts, even is not physically in indulged, sooner shatter the nervous system.
  • The body is a delicate and plastic instrument, which responds readily to the thoughts by which it is impressed, and habits of thought will produce their own effects, good or bad, upon it.
  • Thought is the foundation of action, life, the manifestation.
  • Change of diet will not help the man who will not change thoughts. When a man makes his thoughts pure, he no longer desires impure food.
  • Clean thoughts make clean habits.
  • To live continually in thoughts of ill will, cynicism, suspicion, and envy, is to be confined in a self-made prison hole. But to think well of all, to be cheerful with all, to patiently find the good in all-such unselfish thoughts other very portals of heaven; and to dwell day by day in the thoughts of peace towards every creature will bring abounding peace to their possessor.


Thought and Purpose

  • Until thought is linked with purpose there is no intelligent accomplishment.
  • They who have no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles, and self pitying, all of which are indicators of weakness.
  • A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it. He should make this purpose the centralising point of his thoughts.
  • Even if he fails again and again to accomplish this purpose (as he necessarily must until weaknesses overcome), the strength of character gain will be the measure of his true success.
  • Enter the ranks of those strong ones who only recognise failure as one of the Pathways to attainment.
  • The will to do springs from knowledge that we can do. Doubt and fear of the great enemies of knowledge, and he encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts himself at every step.
  • He who have conquered doubt he has conquered failure.
  • Thought allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force.


The Thought-Factor in Achievement

  • All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is a direct result of his own thoughts.
  • Individual responsibility must be absolute.
  • A man’s weakness and strength, purity and impurity, are his own, and not another man’s, they are brought about by himself, and not by another; and they can’t be altered by himself, never by another. His condition is also his own, and not another man’s. His suffering and his happiness are evolved from within. As he thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.
  • A strong man cannot help a weaker unless that weaker is willing to be helped.
  • A man can only rise, conquer, and achieved by lifting up his thoughts. He can only remain weak, an abject, and miserably by refusing to lift up his thoughts.
  • He is limited only by the thoughts which he chooses.
  • He who is constantly in the conception of noble and lofty thoughts, who dwells upon all that is pure and selfless, will, as surely as the sun reaches its zenith and the moon it’s full, become wise noble and character, and rise into a position of influence and blessedness.
  • Achievement, of whatever kind, the crown of effort, the diadem of thought. By the aid of self-control, resolution, purity, righteousness, and well directed thought a man ascends.
  • Victories attained by right thought can only be maintained only by watchfulness.


Visions and Ideals

  • The dreamers are the saviours of the world. As the visible world is sustained by the invisible.
  • Buddha beheld the vision of a spiritual world of stainless beauty and perfect peace, and he entered into it.
  • Desire is to obtain; to aspire is to achieve.
  • Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be.
  • The greatest achievement was the first and for a time a dream.
  • Dreams are the seedlings of reality.
  • Your circumstances maybe uncongenial, but they shall not remain so if you only perceive an ideal and strive to reach it.
  • You will receive that which you earn; no more, no less.
  • In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of each effort is the measure of the result.
  • The vision that you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you when you enthrone in your heart- this year will build your life by, this you will become.



  • Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.
  • As he develops a right understanding, and sees more and more clearly the internal relations of things by the action and cause-and-effect, he ceases to fuss and fume and worry and grieve, and remain poised, steadfast, serene.
  • The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater in his success, his influence, his power for good.
  • Great majority of people do not ruin their lives and mar their happiness by lack of self-control.
  • Self-control is strength; right thought his mastery; calmness as power: say unto your heart, peace be still.







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