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What is so special about 1859?

Samuel Smiles’ “Self Help” is a key driver behind Working Free.  workingfree.co.uk/echoes-samuel-smiles-1812-1904/

The contention is that it is THE best book ever about how individuals can be successful in business, primarily as a Self-Drive Worker. workingfree.co.uk/self-drive-worker/

Everyone knows about Charles Darwin and his “On the Origin of Species”. But may not be aware that he had probably read Samuel Smiles’ best seller and fame-creating “Self Help” before publishing.

As for John Stuart Mill (1806 – 1873),  Wikipedia describes him as an English philosopher, political economist, politician and civil servant. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of classical liberalism, he contributed widely to social theory, political theory, and political economy.

Little known or read now, those who were at Ali Miraj’s recent, crowded, always intellectually-noisy Contrarian PrIze Lecture may well have missed the fleeting reference  to JS Mills’ publication On Liberty?

 Mill contends that individual freedoms must be protected from political, economic, and social tyranny. He believed that the complete autonomy of an individual, so long as their thoughts or actions do not harm others, must be protected.

Of particular relevance in “On Liberty” is Chapter 3. Of Individuality, as one of the Elements of Wellbeing. (Did Mill ever think that this  word “Wellbeing” might be remodelled in the 2020s into  a source of income for HR specialists?)

“Such being the reasons which make it imperative that human beings should be free to form opinions, and to express their opinions without reserve; and such the baneful consequences to the intellectual, and through that to the moral nature of man, unless this liberty is either conceded, or asserted in spite of prohibition; let us next examine whether the same reasons do not require that men should be free to act upon their opinions—to carry these out in their lives, without hindrance, either physical or moral, from their fellow-men, so long as it is at their own risk and peril. This last proviso is of course indispensable.”

NOTE from Working Free – 2.11.23

We have been aware of these three leading thinkers for a long time – particularly Samuel Smiles and had he actually got a fan club, Working Free would be a leading member of it. There are many references to him on www.WorkingFree.co.uk .

During our research we came across a piece published by and in their journal “The Economist.” on broadly, the same topic dated 22.4.2004.  Our focus is the topic’s key relevence for the work we do in our business www.WorkingFree.co.uk .  We imagine that “The Economist” take the view that their piece  would be of relevance and interest to their readers.  Not surprised – it’s an important and very large topic – and their piece is nicely written –


For anyone wanting to read more about Samuel Smiles, you can buy  a copy of an excellent biography “The Spirit of Self-Help – a life of Samuel Smiles” by John Hunter.


Working Free Ltd – 2.11.23

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