Character is one of the greatest motive powers in the world. In its noblest embodiments, it exemplifies human nature in its highest forms, for it exhibits man at his best — Men of genuine... More > excellence, in every station of life-men of industry, of integrity, of high principle, of sterling honesty of purpose-command the spontaneous homage of mankind. It is natural to believe in such men, to have confidence in them, and to imitate them. All that is good in the world is upheld by them, and without their presence in it the world would not be worth living in.
SAMUEL SMILES is best known today as a prolific author of books that extol the virtues of self-help, character and duty, and of biographies lauding the achievements of famous civil and mechanical engineers among whom are Brindley, Smeaton, Rennie, Boulton, Watt, Telford and the Stephensons, but, oddly, not Isambard Kingdom Brunel.< Less
This book is the origins of Samuel Smiles' most famous book. Self-Help elevated him to celebrity status almost overnight, he became a leading pundit and much-consulted guru. Robert Tressell, in his... More > novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, said Self-Help was a book "suitable for perusal by persons suffering from almost complete obliteration of the mental faculties". The founder of Toyota, Toyoda was influenced and a copy Self-Help is at the museum that exists on Toyoda's birth site. Robert Blatchford, a socialist activist, said it was "one of the most delightful and invigorating books it has been my happy fortune to meet with" and argued it should be taught in schools. Jonathan Rose has argued that labour leaders who commented on Self-Help praised it and it was not until after the Great War that criticisms of Smiles in worker's memoirs appeared.The Labour Party MPs William Johnson and Thomas Summerbell admired Smiles' work and the Communist miners leader, A. J. Cook, "started out with Self-Help".< Less
Thrift is the basis of Self-Help, and the foundation of much that is excellent in Character.
The principles of Thrift are essential for the times we are living in.
The object of this book is to... More > induce men to employ their means for worthy purposes, and not to waste them upon selfish indulgences. Many enemies have to be encountered in accomplishing this object. There are idleness, thoughtlessness, vanity, vice, intemperance. The last is the worst enemy of all. Numerous cases are cited in the course of the following book, which show that one of the best methods of abating the Curse of Drink, is to induce old and young to practise the virtue of Thrift.< Less