Author - John-Hunter


John Hunter was born some time ago in Northern Ireland, schooled in Belfast, and sent to Trinity College Dublin where he took a degree in History and Political Science. After a successful career of near Smilesian variety – in school-teaching, advertising, food manufacturing charity work and writing, he studied at Birkbeck College, University of London, taking an MA in Victorian Studies.

He continues to have an addiction to the less-examined aspects of Victorian history and agrees with Samuel Smiles that “like labour of the body, labour of the mind is useless unless the object for which it is undertaken presents some interest or gratification.” John is the author of The Spirit of Self-Help, which is the first biography of Samuel Smiles. It is his first book. The next is in research.

In his Blog, The Ghost in the Biography, he describes how the book Self-Help came to be published.

“John Murray (Samuel Smiles’ publisher) went for only the best, and when he took on Smiles’s Life of George Stephenson in 1856 he hoped he’d backed a winner. Once 4500 copies sold in the first three months, Murray felt vindicated. Then, in January 1859, Smiles wrote to Murray: “I expect to see you shortly about a small book to be published about June.” The ‘small book’ was Self-Help. Within weeks of Self-Help’s publication not just a book, but a whole new vision of life’s possibilities had grabbed Britain’s attention. The book sold first in tens, then in hundreds of thousands.”

Find out more about The Spirit of Self-Help, or order a copy by clicking on the cover image below.


“There are few books in history which have reflected the spirit of their age more faithfully and successfully than Self-Help.”
Asa Briggs

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