As a Man Thinketh Summary13 min read

As a Man thinketh book cover

One Sentence Summary

Mind is one singular tool of Carte Blanche to spruce up our thoughts and tailor a life of our dreams which can be achieved by using the Power of Thought to stimulate the mind accordingly.

Favorite Quote by Author

A strong man cannot help a weaker unless the weaker is willing to be helped, and even then the weak man must become strong of himself; he must, by his own efforts, develop the strength which he admires in another. None but himself can alter his condition

James Allen, As a Man Thinketh

Quick Summary

James Allen’s “As a Man Thinketh” is a philosophical treatise on the subject of man’s control over his own state, environment, and destiny through the power of his own thoughts. The title takes after a biblical verse from the Book of Proverbs 23:7 As a Man Thinketh in his heart, so is he. Allen describes the book as a tool to help you in helping yourself. In his view, a person’s thoughts are the seeds of his destiny, as they contain the truth and the potential for fulfillment. Therefore, if you want to create a future that provides the most delicious fruits ever and for a long time, you should focus on mending your roots, i.e., thinking about how to revitalize them, so that you can live a life of splendor.

How A Man Is What He Thinks

Allen, in his book As a man thinketh, pivots the Power of Thought to 7 key domains where your thoughts hit the nail. The bridge between you and your life runs through these 7 dimensions of life appraised or appalled by your thoughts.

Thoughts and Character

  • Your character is defined by the thoughts that occupy your mind.
  • Every condition and circumstance of your life is a direct or indirect extrapolation of your thought. May it be your greatest desire or your biggest fear.
  • The thoughts that rule your mind define the character you carry since you only project what your mind is fed with as a cause-and-effect mechanism.
  • Having said that, a noble character is not an outcome of chance, and neither is a beast-like one. It is the inevitable consequence of persistent action based on the correct mental framework.
  • Serving thoughts of humility and divinity to your mind constantly shapes you into a person of nobility, while foraging, barbarous and animalistic thoughts deliver you with a beast-like character.
  • Allen emphasizes the fact that you are always the master, no matter how weak or strong a state you are in. In feeble times, you are the ‘foolish master’ fostering brittle and mortifying thoughts, while in times of strength, you are the ‘wise master’ nurturing thoughts of fortitude and resilience.
  • According to the cause-and-effect theory, Allen conveys that one finds what he seeks and one finds when he seeks. For, “He that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened”
  • Smoldering steps like practicing cause and effect connecting, patience and tenacity, study, and making use of every experience, no matter how insignificant, are necessary to shape one’s character into that of gold.

Effect of Thoughts on Circumstances

How Bad Thoughts Can Impact Your Well Being
Negative Thinking and Its Effects on Health
  • Your life is a reflection of your thoughts since your subconscious attracts the qualities you most value. You get what you think!
  • Whether it’s something you secretly love or fear. You rise to the height of your highest ideals and you fall to the depths of unchasteness.
  • Allen compares a human mind to that of a garden, which, when intelligently cultivated, bears fruits and in case otherwise runs wild with weeds. But no matter what is sown in the garden, it always produces.
  • Likewise, you either replenish your life with pure and positive thoughts or mangle it with indignant and impure thoughts.
  • Anything and everything that births in your mind will someday, in some way, take the form of a circumstance.
  • Whether favorable or negative, your external circumstances will always be found to be in harmony with your internal surroundings. However, this does not mean that your current situation is indicative of who you really are. The answer to the question “who do you think you are?” might vary depending on the context. Instead, you and your surroundings are inseparably intertwined, making it impossible for either to bring about change on its own. Those who feel alive and appraised by their circumstances feel so because of the careful cultivation of positive thoughts while those feeling ‘smothered’ by the circumstances are bearing the brunt of their inhibitions.
How Positive Thoughts Can Make Things Batter
The Power of Thinking Positively to Transform Your Life
  • Every circumstance holds a spiritual lesson for you, which keeps repeating in different forms until you learn and once you do, it passes away, paving the way to another circumstance and a new lesson.
  • You do not get what you want, but what you justly earn, which is answered to your gratification only when his outer and inner spheres are in harmony.
  • Allen provides three illustrations of this ignorance: To begin, there is a very low-income individual who makes his situation even worse by dwelling on worries and gloomy forecasts. Second, a wealthy man who succumbs to a disease brought on by overeating and wants to be cured without giving up food; third, an employer who embarks on a path of trickery to usurp wealth by compromising with the wages of his employees but ultimately goes bankrupt as a result of his insatiable greed and criminal tendencies.
  • To summarize that you dawn upon yourself the circumstances of misery or glee.
  • You must walk your way of life knowing that good cannot produce nor can evil take place of the good. Your suffering finds its cause in the good or evil that you shelter. The great divine law is too just to render evil for good and vice versa.
  • Allen says, ‘Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction,’ which means the inner and outer environments are in disharmony.
  • Your mental harmony blesses you with blissful circumstances while strayed thoughts produce destitution and indulgence.
  • Only when using systematic investigation and self-analysis, you alter your thoughts towards things and people, will you find them altered towards you.
  • The thoughts you choose shape your circumstances- thoughts of strength casting away feeble ones and will open up a galore of opportunities for you.

Effect Of Thoughts On Health And Body

  • “The body is a delicate and plastic instrument, which responds readily to the thoughts by which it is impressed.”
  • Keep it simple–Having clean thoughts develops healthy habits. Clean habits contribute to good health.
  • If you observe someone frowning or smiling while blushing, it’s not a coincidence. Reason being: all the mental chatter going on within your head. The author claims to be acquainted with a 96-year-old woman who still looks like a child. A middle-aged guy with a wrinkly, poorly proportioned face appears on the other side.
  • He concludes the former is a result of pleasantness, while the latter arose out of discontent and passion.
  • He further commutes to say that one who leads a righteous life shall have a peaceful and sweet death like that of a philosopher he knew who lived a graceful life and was blessed with a peaceful death.
thought is the key

Thoughts and Purpose

  • “He who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failure. His every thought is allied with power, and all difficulties are bravely met and wisely overcome.”
  • An accomplishment is wise and complete when it’s coupled with a purpose. Wandering thoughts and straying minds are not alien to us. People without a central purpose guiding their life fall prey to inhibitions such as fear, anxiety, worry, unhappiness, and weakness.
  • You should birth a justifiable purpose in your mind and delve deeper into bringing it to life, pivoting all your endeavors around it.
  • Bid all false fancies, longings, and foul distractions to achieve the goal. When you do so, even if you fail at it, the strength of character attained will determine the level of your success, which then becomes the beginning of a new endeavor with enthusiasm and rigor.
  • Resilience and strength are slaves of your strongly-willed efforts and practice. Even a weak man can strengthen himself by training and practice, but an aimless man can never!
  • Doubts and fears are the biggest roadblocks to achievements. The moment you brush them away, you cleanse the path you tread toward your purpose.

The Thought Factor In Achievement

  • Your thoughts are the determinants of your achievements.
  • What others achieve is the result of the straightening of their thoughts and no one but you can alter your condition whatsoever.
  • The strength you admire in the other must be achieved on your own by the power of effort.
  • You can only reach the zenith of achievement when you dispel the thoughts of weakness and rise in your thoughts. As they say, you rise in life only as high as your thoughts!
What goes around, comes around
What goes around, comes around
  • Progress stands on the back of Sacrifice. The amount or the level of sacrifice is determined by the weight of your goal.
  • You cannot give yourself away completely for something, but no matter what, a fragment of you must be sacrificed for the higher award you aim for.
  • Achievements in the intellectual sphere result from the culmination of knowledge, while the spiritual ones are due to the adoption of holy aspirations.
  • Allen words it as “Achievement, of whatever kind, is the crown of effort, the diadem of thought.” You can achieve only as high as your thoughts aspire to you.
  • But victory demands vigilance, a failure of which will land you in failure not later.
  • Every achievement irrespective of the sphere it revolves around is a subject of the same law and methods, only differing in their purpose of achievement.

Visions and Ideals

  • “… you dream, so shall you become,”
  • Dreamers are the wheels on which the world runs. The world cannot be defying their existence and ideals.
  • Dreamers are sculptors, composers, painters, poets, prophets, and sages who together are the makers of the next heavenly world.
  • James Allen presents the examples of Columbus who discovered America cherishing the dream of another world, Copernicus, who nurtured the vision of a multiplicity of worlds, and Buddha who envisioned a spiritual world that was filled with flawless beauty and solid peace and then entered into it.
  • You achieve what you dream and you achieve when you dream lofty and right.
  • The law that Allen talks about that rules the world puts forth a sole condition for the gratification of your most basic desires or aspirations. That is “Ask and Receive”
Cherish Your Visions
Visions & Fulfilments
  • Our visions are a promise of what we shall one day become and our ‘ideal’ is the prophecy of what we shall one day at last unveil.
  • You live a dream twice. Once in your mind and once in reality. Before it becomes a reality, you have to make it real in your mind. And a vision is what drives you to your highest aspirations.
  • Realization of your vision makes you one with your ideal, the highest achievement of your life.
  • In the beautiful words of Stanton Kirkham, the author deliberates that the world will become a master for you if you, as a student, are ready. You will then transform into a person of ideals you behold, scrambling all the barriers to them.
  • What other others sum up as luck is actually a story of unimaginable lows, pain, patience, tenacity, sacrifice, and impenetrable darkness that you tore open, letting the light of happiness through. The measure of your success cannot be chance, but your efforts.


  • Peace of mind is an invaluable jewel that can only be attained through long and patient efforts in self-control.
  • When you realize how your thoughts have developed through time, you may relax your mind. This is because you’ll have a better chance of comprehending the perspectives of others around you, which can help you discover the causes behind the effects you see in paintings and the sources of happiness.
  • To be calm is to be tranquil, and it’s the measure of your influence, success, and power.
  • You will be loved if you are calmer than the one with a boggled mind. Your sweet temper and patience usher in goodwill and well-wishers into the shade of your tranquility.
  • Serenity is compared to the final stop on the bridge toward a fruitful life. The cherry on the cake, the breath of relief, and the fruition of every endeavor of your soul.
  • People tend to give in to their anxieties and mar their happiness and peace of mind with a lack of self-control.
  • To be human is to swim in the waters of turbulence and tumultuous passions. Yet, with a hand on your thoughts, well-controlled and purified, you can make the storm fare your sail and stand unwavering.
  • The real strength is self-control, the right thought is the real mastery and an unmatchable power is your calmness.
What is now proved was once only imagined

Final Word

To err is human. But so is evolution. The strength of your thoughts determines the height of your evolution. A rightly gardened mind bears the greatest fruitage that soothes the soul, and the power of thought is an unmatching tool to deliver yourself to a life of success and a beautiful outcome of your most cherished endeavors. Because in the end, A Man is just what he thinks!

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