Napoleon Hill, author of this 1930s classic, will remind you of an older, wiser, slightly wacky uncle who advises you about careers, life and love. This book is a wonderful collection of tips – many based on the ideas of Hill’s mentor Andrew Carnegie – that range from the practical (how to prepare a résumé) to surprisingly New Age-like mystical talk about the infinite powers of the universe. Of course, like an old uncle, Hill can get long-winded and repetitive at times, but since he packs so much wisdom into his slender book, you will want to re-read it over and over, repetitions and all. His classic compendium will interest anyone who is dangling from the career ladder and wondering how to prosper.
- Your thoughts are a secret wealth generator.
- Desire, hopes and strategies increase wealth.
- Develop faith in your ability to succeed by telling yourself that you will triumph.
- You don’t need higher education to earn higher degrees of knowledge and wealth.
- Create vivid mental portraits of your success. Imagination is the “workshop of the mind.”
- To maximize your abilities, work with a great team. Make it your “master mind.”
- Don’t let short-term failure seduce you. Success often lurks in the shadows.
- Remain committed to your goals and your mission statement
- Nothing beats a mix of passion and discipline.
- You can mold and tap into your mind’s deepest chambers.
Think and Grow Rich Book Summary
Your thoughts are a secret wealth generator.
When author Napoleon Hill “was but a boy,” his mentor, Andrew Carnegie, the legendary corporate leader, shared his secret wealth-generating formula with him and challenged him to create a book that would explain this secret approach.
During Hill’s 20-year journey to fulfill that challenge, he studied the habits and philosophies of hundreds of corporate stars. This honor roll includes Theodore Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller, F. W. Woolworth and many other household names who built large fortunes based on Carnegie’s wisdom. It begins with this simple idea: Your thoughts are real objects! With passion and purpose, your thoughts can evolve into wealth.
“One comes, finally, to believe whatever one repeats to one’s self, whether the statement be true or false…Every man is what he is because of the dominating thoughts which he permits to occupy his mind.”
Edwin C. Barnes demonstrates this principle. Barnes – an impoverished “nobody” – passionately wanted to launch a partnership with Thomas Edison, the great inventor. Barnes did not know Edison and could barely afford transportation to Edison’s office. At their initial encounter, Edison said Barnes looked like an “ordinary tramp.” But behind that rundown appearance, Edison detected a spark of promise and determination that prompted him to offer Barnes a low-paying job. Barnes seized this unexpected opportunity. Naysayers had rejected the “Edison Dictating Machine,” but Barnes had faith in it. He used it as a vehicle to launch his successful partnership with Edison. Barnes created material success from abstract thoughts, based on faith, determination and persistence.
Desire, hopes and strategies increase wealth.
If your goal is to become rich, don’t just wish for your dreams to come true. Desire is “the starting point of all achievement,” but to bring it to fruition, commit yourself to executing a plan to attain your objective. To create wealth from desire, follow this six-step plan:
- Take a mental snapshot of the amount of money you seek. Name a number.
- Name your price. What are you willing to do for the money?
- Create a deadline. Fix a date by which you will achieve your goals.
- Start a task sheet with a definite strategy. Start now.
- Write a brief mission statement.
- Make a declaration: Twice a day, read your mission statement aloud.
Dreams are not just thin air. Edison had far-fetched dreams of inventing an electrical lamp. He created thousands of failed prototypes before succeeding. While others stayed on the ground, the Wright brothers envisioned a flying machine.
“I believe in the power of desire backed by faith, because I have seen this power lift men from lowly beginnings to places of power and wealth.”
Other dreamers have overcome major obstacles. Beethoven composed music despite his deafness; Milton, the writer, was blind. Author Helen Keller was blind and deaf. But lit by the fire of desire, they worked on their goals and achieved epic greatness.
Develop faith in your ability to succeed by telling yourself that you will triumph.
Faith is the “visualization of and belief in the attainment of desire.” With the right tools, you can fill the fertile field of your mind with success or failure. Recite your mission statement daily to prepare your mind for success. This process, called “autosuggestion,” sows the seeds of mental success. It works because your mind will believe almost anything (true or not) that you tell yourself repeatedly. Dangerous thoughts also can take root in the mind-field. Doubt, fear and negative emotions can blight your success and uproot the fruits of your labor.
“Faith is the starting point of all accumulation of riches.”
Autosuggestion is a dose of self-talk delivered to your subconscious mind via your five senses, the roadways from your conscious mind to your unconsciousness. Be warned that this conduit does not work if you operate on automatic pilot. Feel the message. Jumping from printed words to passionate feelings is not easy. Make the leap by focusing on a fixed item. Close your eyes. Create a mental snapshot of the money you want to earn. View it daily.
To visualize your goals, use the six steps above in tandem with this three-stage program:
- Retreat to a quiet location with freedom from distractions – Find a peaceful environment for daily renewal, review and recitation of your goals. Create mindful pictures of monetary success, possessions and achievement. Visualize your date with success. Be specific: On July 4, 2011, I will celebrate my financial independence.
- Take a daily double dose of faith – Apply this program every morning and evening. Don’t stop until you achieve your financial goal.
- Look at your mission statement twice daily – Seeing is believing. Read your mission statement first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
You don’t need higher education to earn higher degrees of knowledge and wealth.
Knowledge is just numbers, facts and insights. But through organization and planning, facts can assume great power. Harness that power to create wealth. So-called “formal knowledge” is not the last word in education. Many wealthy people spent little time in traditional classrooms, but had rich experiences. Edison went to school for only three months. Yet, through specialization, organization and networking, he gained the power of a well-educated mind.
“It takes more than a college degree to make one a person of education.”
Specialization is organized knowledge applied to a specific purpose. Gain this practical know-how from apprenticeships, night schools and other targeted training programs.
Create vivid mental portraits of your success. Imagination is the “workshop of the mind.”
Imagination operates on two playing fields. “Synthetic imagination” arranges existing ideas, concepts and strategies into novel formats. “Creative imagination” bridges the definitive mind of man and the borderless universe of “infinite intelligence,” the land of gut feelings and hunches. The top performers in business, music, art and literature operate in the domain of creative imagination, fueled by desire and faith. Your imagination is a muscle. Work it, develop it and create a written plan to convert airy dreams into concrete wealth. Constantly review your plan. Repetition works.
“Dreams are not born of indifference, laziness or lack of ambition.”
For a perfect demonstration of the fiscal power of the imagination, heed the legend of the “Enchanted Kettle.” Many decades ago, a country doctor drove his horse-drawn carriage to a small town. While in town, he debated the merits of his plain kettle with a young sales clerk. After a 60-minute discussion, the visionary young man gave the doctor his entire nest egg, $500, to buy the kettle and a secret formula the doctor wrote on a piece of paper. With that formula, a plan and imagination, sales clerk Asa Candler created Coca-Cola.
To maximize your abilities, work with a great team. Make it your “master mind.”
To develop your success, you need the right team. Do not skip this stage. Take these steps:
- Surround yourself with “master mind” allies. Cultivate a support team. Employ your talents and resources to help them and invite them to assist you.
- Fine-tune your plan with regular support group meetings.
- Establish harmony with each member of the group.
The mind has many layers. When a group works together, the energy of their combined individual thoughts, ideas and plans becomes a powerful driving force. Consider the humble battery. A single electric battery has power, but the electricity of several batteries easily overshadows its force. Multiply your brainpower by tapping into the infinite wisdom of the group mind, a master mind far greater than the mental powers of each individual.
Don’t let short-term failure seduce you. Success often lurks in the shadows.
Don’t accept failure. If your initial plan fails, adopt a new strategy and persist. Identify attractive opportunities. Study the field, the company and the individuals involved. Inventory your talents and skills. Write a detailed strategy for achieving the right job. Target the appropriate channels and people. Make your résumé concise, thoughtful, relevant and neat. Know your marketplace value.
“Success requires no explanation. Failure permits no alibis.”
Nurture success by avoiding the symptoms of failed leadership, which include: failure to structure details; inability to perform humble tasks; insecurity; absence of imagination; lack of discipline and trust; over-reliance on force and authority; selfishness; and insistence on titles and honor.
Remain committed to your goals and your mission.
Procrastination, a top cause of failure, is your enemy. Successful leaders make quick, meaningful decisions. Being decisive gives you “mastery over procrastination.” Consider the advice and insights of your support group. Avoid anyone who undercuts your drive. Dodge the trap of public opinion by revealing your plans only to your small circle of advisers. When you indiscriminately broadcast your strategies, ideas and goals, you lessen your chances of success. Keep quiet; keep the faith.
Sadly, many people surrender their dreams at the first hint of difficulty or failure. Don’t be a magnet for poverty. Avoid a “poor consciousness” in which negative feelings become self-fulfilling. End the cycle of poverty by creating and believing in a “wealth consciousness.” Everyone falls into doubt, disbelief and depression, but you can liberate yourself via perseverance, “the sustained effort necessary to induce faith.” Keep moving even if you must go slower. No one climbs great mountains without sliding off a few trails.
Nothing beats a mix of passion and discipline.
Sexual desire, when properly applied, is a powerful stimulant for success, wealth and creativity. You need passion to succeed in art, science or commerce. This passion enhances your sensitivity to the “infinite wisdom of the universe,” and the tiny whispers of insight from your gut. History is filled with people who were pushed to greatness by lust or love. Napoleon Bonaparte’s great campaigns were largely due to the inspiration of Josephine, his first wife. Sexual energy fueled William Shakespeare and Thomas Jefferson. But most men do not succeed before age 40 because it takes at least four decades to understand and harness the creative force of sexual energy. Through discipline, planning and willpower, sexual energy transcends the body, and generates success and creativity.
You can mold and tap into your mind’s deepest chambers.
Your subconscious is a “connecting link” that operates outside of your controlled thoughts. Use autosuggestion and planning to employ your subconscious mind. Repeat affirmations. Stay in the moment. Shun negative thoughts. Cultivate faith, desire, sex, love, energy, hope and romance. Avoid jealousy, fear, greed, revenge, anger and hatred. Remember the power of prayer.
Your brain is a unique “broadcasting and receiving station for thought,” like a radio station that transmits and receives signals. Learn to listen to the “intangible forces” in your life. These forces – gravity, electricity, thunder and other elements – surround you. Use faith to stimulate your mind and reach your goals. Believe in the power of thought and belief.
“Life is a checkerboard and the player opposite you is time. If you hesitate before moving, or neglect to move promptly, your men will be wiped off the board by time. You are playing against a partner who will not tolerate indecision.”
The sixth sense, “the door to the temple of wisdom,” is the direct connection between your subconscious mind and the infinite light of the universe. This link represents the home of your creative imagination, intuition and premonitions. Use this force to bring you wealth, success and creativity. Constantly repeat and review your goals; let the universe deliver insight to your subconscious mind.
Don’t be hampered by the “six basic fears”: fear of being poor, fear of reproach, fear of becoming sick, fear of being unloved, fear of getting old and fear of dying. Avoid fretting, dwelling on destructive thoughts and don’t let negativity sway you. The power of your thoughts gives you mastery and can give you money, as well.
About the Author
Napoleon Hill was born in 1883. A former newspaper reporter, he studied law and worked for Andrew Carnegie, whose ideas are reflected in Think and Grow Rich. Hill advised numerous prominent people, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi and Thomas Edison.