As a Man Thinketh – James Allen

As a Man Thinketh: The Classic Manual on Shaping Your Mindas-a-man-thinketh, by James Allen
distilled by Brian Johnson’s Philosopher’s Notes

Format note. I am reading the Notes on the Book, and listening to the audio Notes on the book. Then, I’m pasting the big quotes and commenting on how I apply it to me. I don’t get into fiction books often, because I don’t find them useful. Whereas, these are awesomely useful!

Dream Seeds

“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”

What are your dreams?

My dream is… hmmm. Tough one. While I think out loud, my dream is run my own company, to help others, to run, bike and swim with friends, to make a difference in the world, to make money and live comfortably, to travel and see the world, to learn other cultures, to raise amazing kids, to grow old with my beautiful wife.

Cherish Your Ideals

“Cherish your visions. Cherish your ideals. Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.”

What’s your ideals?

My ideals, my vision. I get really excited about people doing stuff together to make things better in the world. I love tech and soul together. I love productivity stuff and efficiency stuff. Working better, Utilizing time as a a precious resource. I love beauty, natural beauty, designed beauty. I love artful places, lovely structures. I love skilled dancers dancing. I love watching painters paint. I love kids playing. I love violists violin-ing, more than playing, more than swaying.

Mining for Gold

“Only by much searching and mining are gold and diamonds obtained, and man can find every truth connected with his being if he will dig deep into the mine of his soul.”

There are a series of questions. There was a challenge to answer the questions. My answers are spliced in with the questions.

• “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

I’d start my own business. I’d build something. I’d race IronMan.

• “What are your greatest strengths?”

Understanding people. Predicting how drivers will drive. Listening to people. Organizing stuff, events, papers, data. Presenting, analyzing data. Summarizing stuff so someone can make a decision about it. Pushing people to decision points. Gently encouraging people. Hugging those I love.

• “What are 5 things you’re most proud of?”

Getting married

Having 2 kids

Finishing Half Marathon

Finishing Ironman 70.3

Having lifelong friends

• “What are 5 things you will be most proud of?”

Kids growing up, going to college, having a family

Starting a business

Helping someone fulfill their dream

• “What’s your dharma/purpose/reason for being on the planet?”

Helping someone else

Loving someone else

• “If you had only 6 months to live, what would you do?”

I would travel the world. I’d pull the kids out of school and buy ticket and a travel guide. I’d see all the great and hidden treasures of the world. I’d hike the Himalayas. I’d swim in the Great Barrier Reef. I’d ride a camel at the pyramids. I’d stroll through Paris with my lovely wife. I’d climb the Great Wall with my kids. I’d step on all 7 continents. I’d write a book and take pictures of everything. I’d learn how to say ‘hi’ and ‘I love you’ in every language of the places I visit.


“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be. Your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.”

“Your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.”

Looking at my answers above, I seek adventure and experiences around the world. I dream about meeting distant people and places. I want to know good news about people.

Exercise Your Mind

“As the physically weak man can make himself strong by careful and patient training, so the man of weak thoughts can make them strong by exercising himself in right thinking.”

It’s discipline to think deep thoughts. Cheap and easy makes cheap and easy people. I don’t want to be cheap or easy. All my triathlon friends enjoy the hard and difficult and expensive challenges, both in their sport life, business life, and personal life.


“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

Very True. Just getting up in the morning for a run is much more than half the battle.


“The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do.”

Belief in other people is hugely motivating. I was and am completely floored when my friends express their belief in me that I can finish a race, complete a challenge, get a new job, and the like. Knowing other people believe in me is somehow much much more powerful than just me having belief in me. If they think it’s so, then it must be so.


“The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors; that which it loves, and also that which it fears. It reaches the height of its cherished aspirations. It falls to the level of its unchastened desires – and circumstances are the means by which the soul receives its own.”

True. True. True. Keep sending out the right signals and the right ones will come back. I love it.

James Allen

James Allen

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