Tom Butler-Bowdon is notable for the 50 Classics series of books, which provide commentaries on key writings in personal development, psychology, philosophy and economics.
“My mission is to expand your mind, leading you to discover ideas, books and people you may not have found otherwise.”
“Through my ’50 Classics’ books and Capstone Classics series, my aim is to ramp up your knowledge while saving you time and money. For example, my book 50 Philosophy Classics covers the great writings from Marcus Aurelius to Heidegger to contemporary philosophers like Peter Singer.”
How did you become interested in that area?
Got interested in summarization and condensation of knowledge through my previous career writing briefings for ministers in the Australian government. You had to boil down complex issues to just a page or so, and in a short space of time!
What’s the most important concept or idea that you teach people?
Although my books aim to expand general knowledge, my passion is personal success and the philosophy of success i.e. how humans are a species seeking constant elevation, enlightenment, power, and achievement. We are a striving species, and I love going beyond the usual motivational credos to explore what that really means.
What do you think is the most important piece of practical advice that we can derive from your work?
Think long. My issue with the motivational literature, which I explained in the book Never Too Late To Be Great, is that it’s all about ‘change your life in 30 days’. No, success happens over decades, but we are all living longer now, and if you expand your timeframe then virtually anything becomes possible.
Do you have a favourite quote that you use?
“In the last analysis, the essential thing is the life of individual. This alone makes history, here alone do the great transformations take place, and the whole future, the whole history of the world, ultimately springs as a gigantic summation from these hidden source in individuals.” – Carl Jung
What advice would you give someone who wanted to learn more about what you do?
Here I explain what led me to a writing career, how I work, and what I am trying to achieve: http://www.butler-bowdon.com/about-the-author.html
Suppose you were able to give a talk or workshop at the original location of Plato’s Academy, in Athens. How would you feel about that and what topics would you cover?
I’d like to speak on various theories of personal success through the ages, from Marcus Aurelius and Seneca, to Machiavelli and Balthazar Gracian, to contemporary philosophers like Peter Sloterdjik.