Self-Help – Samuel Smiles (1877)


Self-Help – Samuel Smiles (1877)


Title: Self-Help

Author: Samuel Smiles

Publisher: John Murray, 1877

Condition: Full leather, raised bands to spine, marbled edges and endpapers. Prize binding, with a prize plate to endpaper. Slight wear to cover, slight foxing to pages. Overall a beautiful book. 415pp., app 7″ by 4.5″.

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About the book (from wikipedia):

Self-Help; with Illustrations of Character and Conduct was a book published in 1859 by Samuel Smiles. It is arguably the world’s first “self help” book. The second edition of 1866 added Perseverance to the subtitle. It has been called “the bible of mid-Victorian liberalism”. Samuel Smiles (23 December 1812 – 16 April 1904), was a Scottish author and government reformer.

It sold 20,000 copies within one year of its publication. By the time of Smiles’ death in 1904 it had sold over a quarter of a million.Self-Help “elevated [Smiles] to celebrity status: almost overnight, he became a leading pundit and much-consulted guru”.

When an English visitor to the Khedive’s palace in Egypt asked where the mottoes on the palace’s walls originated, he was given the reply: “They are principally from Smeelis, you ought to know Smeelis! They are from his Self-Help!”

The socialist Robert Tressell, in his 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 Industries Co., Ltd., Sakichi Toyoda was significantly influenced by his reading of Self-Help. A copy Self-Help is under a glass display at the museum that exists on Sakichi Toyoda’s birth site.

Introduction to the First Edition
Descriptive Contents
I. Self-Help—National and Individual
II. Leaders of Industry—Inventors and Producers
III. Three Great Potters—Palissy, Böttgher, Wedgwood
IV. Application and Perseverance
V. Helps and Opportunities—Scientific Pursuits
VI. Workers in Art
VII. Industry and the Peerage
VIII. Energy and Courage
IX. Men of Business
X. Money—Its Use and Abuse
XI. Self-Culture—Facilities and Difficulties
XII. Example—Models
XIII. Character—the True Gentleman