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by Samuel Smiles
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'The spirit of self-help is the root of all genuine growth in the individual; and, exhibited in the lives of many, it constitutes the true source of national vigour and strength.' A bestseller immediately after its publication in 1859, Self-Help propelled its author to fame and rapidly became one of Victorian Britain's most important statements on the allied virtues of hard work, thrift, and perseverance. Interpreted by some as a paean to personal avarice, Smiles's most celebrated book is in fact a practical and engaging tribute to the working- and lower-middle classes, in whom he identified the capacity for self-improvement and for whom he tirelessly advocated the right of social advancement. Part practical guide, part proverbial testament, part secular hagiography, this literary hybrid turns biography into an inspirational medium that awakens readers to their own potential and instils the desire to succeed. Smiles's book is the precursor of today's motivational and self-help literature, although its vision is significantly more cosmopolitan than that of most books in a still-expanding genre. This edition includes a fully indexed glossary to the more than 750 names discussed by Smiles.
The greatest results in life are usually attained by simple means, and the exercise of ordinary qualities. The common life of every day, with its cares, necessities, and duties, affords ample opportunity for acquiring experience of the best kind; and its most beaten paths provide the true worker with abundant scope for effort and room for self-improvement. The road of human welfare lies along the old highway of steadfast well-doing.
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