Think and Grow Rich! by Napoleon Hill is probably the best selling self help and personal success book ever, and the one that had the greatest impact to the theory of the Law of attraction as we know it today. It hits best seller lists even today, and the teaching has multiplied since – it can be found in different formats (books, e-books, audio, video, blogs) prepared by different authors who have taken Hill’s philosophy and expanded on it.
Think and grow Rich! is the condensed form of Hill’s eight volume Law of Success (1928). It’s the result of more than twenty years of interviewing America’s most successful people of that time, analyzing their success stories and reflecting upon them, to create what Hill called his “philosophy of success”. This philosophy is presented in 16 steps, or “laws”, in the “Law of Success”, and condensed into 13 in “Think and Grow Rich!”.
In addition to all the text, the book offers many questionnaires and practical exercises. It shows you the guidelines in how you can achieve your highest potential, how to set goals and reach them. The link between making money and spiritual values may be difficult to the non-Americans to understand, but wealth creation is a product of mind just like anything else, and personal success would in most cases lead to a monetary reward anyway – so don’t dismiss this great book as just another “get rich quick” scheme, it’s much more than that.
Among the stories of paths to success and various tips and strategies, each chapter mentions “the secret” – the secret to success, but the author never tells the reader what it is. But it’s clear that his “secret” is nothing else than the Law of attraction, and how we can use its force to create wealth. Throughout his book, Hill suggests that when you have a specific desire for wealth, and apply the concentrated energy of your thoughts and emotions to it, the desire will manifest itself into its real-world equivalent.
Each chapter is dedicated to one of the steps to success. In the Preface, Hill talks about how he came to learn the secret to success: how he met Andrew Carnegie, American steel magnate, who believed that anyone could build wealth. Carnegie challenged the author to spend the next 20 years interviewing rich and successful people to compile their strategies, and to develop the philosophy and a sort of manual that an average person could use to become wealthy as well.
- Desire – this is the most important principle. The desire, as Hill describes, isn’t just wishful thinking – it’s burning and definite, it’s something that you truly want and that you’ll work towards winning it. He says that, in order to have a clear desire, you should spend some time in defining a clear and concise statement of it. If the object of your desire is money, you must specify the exact amount that you want, set a date by which the money will be attained, what service will be given in return; then create a plan, and write down your statement that you’ll repeat twice a day – so each detail is covered, and the desire will be imprinted in your mind.
- Faith is the second step toward riches. The Faith that he talks about isn’t of the religious sort, but rather a type of self-confidence that borders on religiosity, it’s faith in your goal. Hill admits that it’s difficult to have faith when the circumstances go against it, so he suggests that affirmations and auto-suggestion are the keys that will help you keep it.
- Auto-suggestion is the idea that is familiar to most audiences today, either through positive affirmations, or through visualization. The goal of the auto-suggestion is to program the subconscious mind for success – for example, repeating the statement of your desire twice a day is the action that tells your subconscious mind what the desired outcome is, and builds faith in it at the same time.
- Specialized knowledge – it’s the concept that today we would refer to as “having a niche”. No man grows rich by having general knowledge, even formal education doesn’t prepare us to organize and intelligently direct our thoughts. You should decide what kind of Specialized knowledge you need to achieve your goal, and then see how and where you can find it. You can also acquire this kind of knowledge by having near you the men and women who posses it, and who can advise you when you need it.
- Imagination – is crucial in creating plans for success: imagination is what gives the desired achievement its physical form. Hill describes two types of imagination, creative and synthetic, where synthetic imagination consists in rearranging old ideas and plans, and doesn’t create anything new, while creative imagination connects with Infinite Intelligence, and is able to materialize in form of inspiration, or hunch.
- Organized planning – this is where desire transforms into action. He provides four steps to developing a plan:
- Form a Master Mind group by connecting with people who are needed to assist in carrying out your plan.
- Determine what to offer the people in the Master Mind group.
- Make arrangements to meet with Master Mind members at least twice a week or more.
- Maintain harmony with members of the Master Mind group.
- Decision – making decisions and avoiding procrastination is Hill’s seventh step to riches. Success requires you to make decisions, and although some of them will have to be made quickly and may involve risks (like Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation), but it’s something that you’ll have to do.
- Persistence – you have to develop persistence, it’s a necessary practice to developing faith and achieving one’s goals. You won’t grow rich by letting every momentary failure stand in your way, or break you. Hill shares several examples of persistence, among others the story of Fannie Hurst who received thirty-six rejection slips from the Saturday Evening Post, before she was finally published.
- Power of the Master Mind – the Master Mind, as Hill describes, is “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose”. He says that there are two components of a Master mind: spiritual and economic. The economic aspect is when one surrounds himself with others who will give him support or advice, but spiritual aspect is more abstract: it’s based on a para-psychological phenomenon of spiritual forces – “no two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.”
- Sex transmutation – involves converting sexual energy into creative energy. Sexual desire is, according to Hill, the most powerful of human desires, but that it can be destructive and can lead men to risk even their lives. Redirecting this force makes it a creative force that “is capable of lifting men into that higher sphere of thought which enables them to master the source of worry and petty annoyance which beset their pathway on the lower plan”.
- The Subconscious mind – the goal of auto-suggestion is controlling the subconscious. Although you can’t completely control it, you can plant a plan or thought into it by the power of your will. It’s important to re-program your subconscious, because it works 24/7, and you have to make sure that the dominant influence to your mind is positive.
- The brain – Hill’s view of the brain is closely related to his idea of Infinite Intelligence, the collective world mind. He compares the human brain to a radio, which is both “a sending station” and “a receiving set” by which we pick up the vibrations of other minds. We can also make our own signals stronger by attaching a positive emotion to them.
- The Sixth sense – is the thirteenth step towards success. It involves the ability to access the Infinite intelligence without effort, which will come when you master all other principles. Hill says that the Sixth sense can’t be practiced nor explained, it can only be experienced.
This is the best self help book any entrepreneur could ever read. Perhaps the only one they need to. Truly transformative. I have it on audio too and listen to it at the gym often.
There are thousands of self-help books out in the market and hundreds of self proclaimed “gurus” who have made a living by copying the wisdom in Hill’s books. As I went through some of those books I realized that there was not much in them that Hill had not already written about.
An excellent read! My mother tried to get me to read this when I was a teen. I knew more about it than she did, of course, and waited 30 years to read it. Change the references to money to anything you desire to achieve in your life.
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