According to Wikipedia: "Samuel Smiles (23 December 1812 - 16 April 1904), was a Scottish author and reformer. ... Smiles is best known today as the writer of books extolling virtues of self help, and biographies lauding the achievements of "heroic" engineers. Smiles' self-help books have been cited as influential on the New Thought Movement in late 19th century America and England, and, in particular, on the career of the New Thought author Orison Swett Marden, who said that his early ambition had been to become "the Samuel Smiles of America". Most of Smiles' biographies were contained in the four volume work, 'Lives of the Engineers', but he also wrote many other biographies. He selected the topics of his biographies as a means of emphasising his thesis of self help. These works have come to exemplify Victorian values for the modern reader. He received some criticism in his own time from socialists because of his emphasis on individual achievement."