Hello, Philosopher Alain de Botton tweeted recently: "Some 130 million books have been published in history; a big reader will get through 6,000 in

Tom butler-bowdon

Trinity College Library, Dublin


Philosopher Alain de Botton tweeted recently:

"Some 130 million books have been published in history; a big reader will get through 6,000 in a lifetime. Choose carefully."

Could not have put it better myself. My "50 Classics" books are designed to give you maximum knowledge without weeks or months of study and reading. I've done the hard work for you, so you are free to take away the information and inspiration you need.

As mentioned in my last newsletter, this year is an exciting one for the 50 Classics series. As well as a fresh look with new covers, there will be new releases and new updated editions, including later in the year, new versions of 50 Self-Help Classics and 50 Success Classics. Here is the first batch of new look covers, hope you like them!


It makes the world go round

The new book coming out in May is 50 Economics Classics: Your Shortcut to the Most Important Ideas in Capitalism, Finance, and the Global Economy.

I know this subject is not everyone's cup of tea, but I was keen to cover it not just because it is fascinating, but because a book on the greatest writings in economics falls within my mission of "more people knowing more".
Economics drives the modern world and shapes our lives, but most of us lack knowledge of the key thinkers, past and present. From Adam Smith’s great Wealth of Nations to Thomas Piketty’s contemporary blockbuster Capital in the Twenty-First Century, I will help you discover the great reads, seminal ideas and famous texts in political economy, and why they are important.


Once upon a time, a person’s fate was largely settled by the social circumstances of their birth, but today each of us is very much an economic being who must produce things of market value if we are to survive and thrive. “All your life”, Paul Samuelson said, “from cradle to grave and beyond—you will run up against the brutal truths of economics”. So it makes sense to know a bit more about the subject, doesn't it?

There is a debate raging on the value and relevance of economics, particularly given the apparent inability of the discipline to make accurate forecasts. (Here is just one recent article on that theme, there are many more). I look at this debate in the Introduction, but also point out where the discipline has got it right. I loved writing this book and hope you will enjoy it too!

50 Economics Classics is not out until early May, but you can preorder here, either in paperback or Kindle.

Preorder 50 Economics Classics on Amazon.com
Preorder on Amazon UK
Preorder Barnes & Noble
Preorder Waterstones

Freud Museum

Psychology Book Launch

Also coming out in May is the NEW EDITION of 50 Psychology Classics.

It's ten years since the original version was published, and as the science of psychology moves on we are updating it and adding 9 new chapters covering more recent classics by the likes of Carol Dweck, Daniel Kahneman, Susan Cain and Temple Grandin, along with older works by Albert Bandura and Gordon Allport.

To celebrate the new edition there will be a book launch at the wonderful Freud Museum in London.

The Freud house is where Sigmund and family sought sanctuary after they escaped Austria following the Nazi annexation in 1938. It contains Freud's famous study with his thousands of objects, books, and the legendary couch on which he performed his psychoanalysis on patients. After he died, Anna Freud continued living in the house until 1982.


With a theme of 'The power of the mind', I've invited three special guests (Jules Evans, author of Philosophies for Life, Joe Barnes, author of Escape the System, and a commercial pilot, Julian Price) whom I will interview about the role of the mind in their work, or more specifically the link between psychology and success. I will also talk about some of the new chapters in 50 Psychology, and what I've learned from them.

So it's something more than a book launch, and will run for 2-3 hours. The event will be on the evening of Saturday, 13th May 2017.

How to attend

This event is a thank you to loyal readers and friends, so will be free of charge. However, you will need to register.

Just reply to this email saying you'd like to come, and I'll add you to the guest list and provide more details in due course.

Or, click on the round envelope icon at the bottom of this newsletter, and my other email address will pop up to reply.

As you know I don't often do this kind of thing, so if you live in the UK I hope you can make it!

P.S. you can preorder the new edition of 50 Psychology Classics on Amazon UK here. It should be up on Amazon.com soon.


The Borrowers

Every year I get a statement from the UK's Public Lending Right agency, whose job it is to compensate authors for having their books available for loan in libraries. They tell me how many times my books have been borrowed in the previous 12 months.

From July 2015 to June 2016 my books were borrowed 5326 times, including 853 loans of 50 Philosophy Classics, 594 loans of 50 Politics Classics, and 444 of 50 Psychology Classics. What's surprising is that my motivational book Never Too Late To Be Great, which was never a bestseller, did the best, with 1241 loans. Does that mean people who borrow books are a different group than those who buy them?

I guess so. As a lover of libraries, I don't mind at all that people have borrowed my writings rather than bought them - indeed, they might not have known about me at all were the books not in the library.

For all this borrowing, the PLR agency put £320 ($US400) into my bank account. More importantly, it's nice to think that people I will never meet might be getting some wisdom or inspiration from things I've written years ago.

As a writer you never know where your books will end up, or be seen. A German friend sent me a link yesterday to a television news story on the impact of Brexit on Germans working in the UK. There was an interview with a London career coach... who was filmed reading Never Too Late To Be Great on her kitchen table.

Thomas Friedman

Enjoyed a talk in Oxford recently by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.

Friedman covered a lot of ground, but I got the following from his new book, Thank You For Being Late – An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in an Age of Accelerations:

1. Globalization and technology continue to remake the world as we know it, and won’t be stopped by politics.
2. Precisely because change is constant and major, communities and families become even more important as a stabilising force.
3. Our lives may be increasingly lived online, but we need to frequently turn off, step back and wonder at it all. “All the things that really matter”, Friedman says, “you can’t download.”

He kindly signed my copy of The World Is Flat, hence the awkward selfie.


Blenheim Trees

Final word

They say you revert to the interests you had in your youth.

Lately I've been taking more photos when out on walks, and loving it.

After leaving school I studied photography and fine art, only to drop out after three years and go to go to university to do a degree in politics and history. I never regretted it, and love what I do - but it feels good to be composing images again, not to mention clearing the mind with fresh air and long walks.

Saw this fascinating article on taking walks in nature, and how it is so good for us on many levels, from creativity to calmness. With beauty before our eyes, apparently hiking stops the rumination and obsessive thoughts that tend to crowd in in urban environments. But the greatest positive effect of walking in nature comes when we don't engage with any technology, so make sure you turn your phone off, or better still leave it at home.

Enjoy art, and enjoy nature!

Kind regards,


p.s. there are more photos on Instagram if you are are user, find me here.

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