Tom Butler-Bowdon

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Tom Butler-Bowdon in 2017 Tom Butler-Bowdon High Def.jpg
Tom Butler-Bowdon in 2017

Tom Butler-Bowdon ( /ˈbdən/ ; born 1967) is a non-fiction author based in Oxford, England.


Early life

Butler-Bowdon was born in Adelaide. He graduated from the University of Sydney (BA Hons, Government and History) and the London School of Economics (MSc Politics of the World Economy). [1]


Butler-Bowdon is most notable for the 50 Classics series of books, which provide commentaries on key writings in personal development, psychology, philosophy and economics.

The series is published in English by Nicholas Brealey Publishing, [2] and has been translated into 23 languages.

Referring to his earlier work on the personal development literature, Butler-Bowdon was described by USA Today as "a true scholar of this type of literature". [3] His 50 Self-Help Classics won the 2004 Benjamin Franklin Award (US) for the Psychology/Self-Help category. [4]

Butler-Bowdon's "50 Economics Classics: The Greatest Books Distilled" was awarded a silver medal in the 2018 Axiom Business Book Awards, in the Business Reference category. [5]

In a 2016 interview, Butler-Bowdon described the thinking behind his 50 Classics books:

"I feel my job is to mine the often transformative information in books and bring it to a bigger audience. Most people only have the time to read a few books a year, but just a single important insight could put them on the path to something great. What drives me is the idea that at some point in the future, the average person will possess much more knowledge than what is acceptable now. The possession of knowledge on its own doesn't automatically translate into success, but what it does do is provide more references against which to check new information. For instance, it is easy to get swayed by some new idea or movement on social media or television, but if you have some grounding in history or economics, you will be able to say, "This idea has come around before, and it didn't work". What has been shown to work is x, y or z." [6]

Bruce Rosenstein described Butler-Bowdon as "a curator extraordinaire, and unerringly determines the appropriate books to cover, which is far from an easy task.". [7]

Butler-Bowdon is also Series Editor for the Capstone Classics series published by Wiley & Sons (Europe). Within this series he has provided critical introductions to Think and Grow Rich , The Science of Getting Rich , Sun Tzu's Art of War , Machiavelli's The Prince , Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations , Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching , Plato's The Republic , Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet , and Florence Scovel Shinn's The Game of Life.

He is the author of a motivational work, Think Long: Why It's Never Too Late To Be Great, Virgin, published April 2012.


50 Classics series

Capstone Classics series


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  1. " About".
  2. Nicholas Brealey homepage
  3. Bruce Rosenstein, "Books set up guideposts for those seeking path to success", USAToday 7/25/2004
  4. "IBPA, the Independent Book Publishers Association". Archived from the original on 26 August 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. Benjamin Franklin Awards page
  5. "2018 Medalists".
  6. "Authority: Insights From Authors blog". 8 December 2016.
  7. "Finding Value in Getting to the Point: A Tom Butler-Bowdon Reader for Troubled Times – Bruce Rosenstein".