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James Allen (28 November 1864 - 24 January 1912) was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry and as a pioneer of the self-help movement. For much of the 1890s, Allen worked as a private secretary and stationer in several British manufacturing firms. In 1893 Allen moved to London and later to South Wales, earning his living by journalism and reporting. In 1898 Allen found an occupation in which he could showcase his spiritual and social interests as a writer for the magazine The Herald of the Golden Age. At this time, Allen entered a creative period where he then published his first of many books, From Poverty to Power (1901). In 1902 Allen began to publish his own spiritual magazine, The Light of Reason, later retitled The Epoch.
In 1903, Allen published his third and most famous book As a Man Thinketh. Loosely based on the Biblical passage of Proverbs 23:7, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he," The book's minor audience allowed Allen to quit his secretarial work and pursue his writing and editing career. In 1903, the Allen family retired to the town of Ilfracombe where Allen would spend the rest of his life. Continuing to publish The Epoch, Allen produced more than one book per year until his death in 1912.