A graduate of the London School of Economics and the University of Sydney, I was working as a political adviser in Australia when, at 25, I read my first personal development book, Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Captivated by that and by titles by the likes of Anthony Robbins and M Scott Peck, I came to the view that this was an underrated field of writing. At 30, I left my first career to write the bestselling 50 Self-Help Classics, the first guide to the personal development literature and winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award (2004).
This book was followed by 50 Success Classics (2004); 50 Spiritual Classics (2005); 50 Psychology Classics (2007); 50 Prosperity Classics (2008); and 50 Psychology Classics (2013) all published in the US and UK by Nicholas Brealey. With its commentaries on over 300 books in the self-development field, the series has been published in 24 languages and is sold in over 30 countries. USA Today described me as "a true scholar of this type of literature".
All six 50 Classics books are now available in one digital box set, The Literature of Possibility (2013).
I am also the editor of a new series of classic self-development and prosperity writings published by Capstone (John Wiley & Sons) providing full-length critical Introductions to titles such as Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, Sun Tzu's The Art of War, Machiavelli's The Prince and Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations.
The BBC's Imagine (2007) drew on my knowledge for its programme on the personal development industry, and my work is serialized in Psychologies (Hachette) and in the Citywire group's financial publications. I am an experienced media guest, having made numerous radio appearances in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia. I have given talks to a variety of groups and organisations, and also lead discussion groups where I live in Oxford, UK, looking into the major writings and ideas in personal development.
My website, Butler-Bowdon.com, with its wealth of free self-development content, has had over a million visits since its launch in 2001.