The Grandfather Of Self Help

Historian Kate Williams investigates the success and lasting legacy of Samuel Smiles' 1859 book Self Help.

It outsold both Darwin's On the Origin of Species and Mill's On Liberty, also published that year, and gave birth to the idea that we can all achieve greatness through the application of sheer hard work.

Kate finds out if it contains a message for our own times, examines its enduring popularity and meets some of those who have been influenced by its ideas, including former politician Michael Portillo, who also reveals the book's influence on Margaret Thatcher.

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2009070220090702 (BBC7)
20140104 (BBC7)

Historian Kate Williams investigates the success and lasting legacy of Samuel Smiles' 1859 book Self Help.

It outsold both Darwin's On the Origin of Species and Mill's On Liberty, also published that year, and gave birth to the idea that we can all achieve greatness through the application of sheer hard work.

Kate finds out if it contains a message for our own times, examines its enduring popularity and meets some of those who have been influenced by its ideas, including former politician Michael Portillo, who also reveals the book's influence on Margaret Thatcher.

Historian Kate Williams investigates the success and lasting legacy of Samuel Smiles' 1859 book Self Help.

Kate finds out if it contains a message for our own times, examines its enduring popularity and meets some of those who have been influenced by its ideas, including former politician Michael Portillo, who also reveals the book's influence on Margaret Thatcher.