The book was a revised version of his earlier book entitled, "Aids to Scouting for N.C.O.s and Men" published in 1899. This earlier book was a military manual used by the Brisith Army to train Army Scouts. Upon his return to England, immediately following the Boer War, he learned that British schools have been using his books to teach boys lessons on observation and deduction. His decision to revise his military book into a book for boys came as a challenge when he was invited to the anniversary celebration of the Boys' Brigade by its founder Sir William Smith. He noted to William Smith that the Boys' Brigade ought to have ten times its membership (which as about 50,000 boys at that time) if it became more appealing to the boys. William Smith challenged him to re-write his military manual into a book for boys.
Today, Scouting for Boys has been translated into several languages where Scouting exists.