Born in 1864 in England, James Allen took his first job at fifteen to support his family. Allen worked as a factory knitter and later a private secretary before writing his first book, From Poverty to Power, in 1901. In 1903 he completed his best-known work: As a Man Thinketh. Allen wrote nineteen books, including his spiritual journal, The Light of Reason, before he died at age forty-seven in 1912. While not widely known during his lifetime, Allen later came to be seen as a pioneer of contemporary inspirational literature.