Samuel Smiles was one of Murray's most prolific, popular and profitable 19th-century authors.
As well as hundreds of articles — some for Murray's 'Quarterly Review' and 'Murray's Magazine' — he wrote over 20 books.
The most famous of these was 'Self-Help' (1859).
Success through self-improvement
'Self-Help' sought to encourage working class and lower-middle-class men to climb the ladder of social and economic success through self-improvement. It promoted the virtues of hard work, thrift, sobriety and perseverance.
It did so through biographical sketches, anecdotes and quotes from a wide range of men who for Smiles displayed the necessary qualities of character to inspire working men.
Smiles' biographies and other books
The success of 'Self-Help' encouraged similar works: 'Character' (1871), 'Thrift' (1875), 'Duty' (1880) and 'Life and Labour' (1887).
John Murray III also published Smiles' biographies on industrial and railway figures, naturalist Thomas Edward and John Murray I.
Highlights in the John Murray Archive