Book review #4: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

I read Think and Grow Rich once before, perhaps 5 or 6 years ago, but I hadn’t taken much from it. Wherever I turned in the world of personal development people were always talking about the things they’ve gained from reading this book, so I thought I should give it another try. This time around it’s fair to say I feel somewhat transformed.

Napoleon Hill’s book is about cultivating the right mindset and developing the necessary skills for generating wealth, regardless of the size of your desired income. Having studied some of the greatest achievers in modern history, Napoleon collated these key principles for attracting wealth and success across 15 chapters.

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Hill says that the task of sharing these ideas with the world came from Andrew Carnegie who he interviewed in 1908. Carnegie shared with him the secret formula for success and gave him the assignment of studying and interviewing hundreds of accomplished men and women who could attest to this secret formula.

Napoleon Hill interviewed the likes of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford while writing Think and Grow Rich.

The first powerful concept is thoughts become things through the application of the correct principles. What is conceived in the spiritual world (in the form of thoughts) will be transmuted into a tangible result in the physical world. A burning desire is a catalyst for this process.

In chapter 2 entitled ‘Desire’, Napoleon Hill teaches that a clear, definite purpose backed by a burning desire will be realised each and every time, no matter the purpose.

Hill’s son, Blair, was born deaf and doctors repeatedly told Napoleon how his son didn’t have the necessary bodily instruments to receive sound. However, despite what the doctors said, he didn’t ever allow Blair to believe that he couldn’t hear. Instead, he transmitted to his son his own burning desire for him to develop his hearing and speech with constant positive reassurance and affirmations, firmly planting a strong belief in Blair’s subconscious mind from very early on.

In short, both parents didn’t treat their son as if he was handicapped. He was encouraged, nurtured and treated like any other child capable of hearing, although he was every bit the opposite. In spite of the unsuccessful operations, they didn’t give up on their desire.

One day the family was sent an electrical hearing device. They didn’t expect it to work because their son didn’t have the natural equipment that enables hearing, as the doctors had informed them many years prior, and they had already tested similar stuff over the years. However, to everyone’s surprise, Blair could hear perfectly well with this new hearing device. His parents’ desire had finally been realised.

Blair went on to work with the company that developed the device, travelling the whole country and teaching deaf-mutes to hear and speak with the same equipment that delivered him his own miracle.

This example is used to support the principle that a clear purpose is the first step in creating riches. More precisely, Napoleon Hill’s instructions for creating riches are:

  1. Fix in your mind the amount of money you want to have.
  2. Identify what you are willing to give in exchange for this money.
  3. Decide on the date you want to receive the money.
  4. Create a clear plan and commence immediately.
  5. Write out the above steps in a concise statement including your plan of action.
  6. Read this statement aloud before going to bed and in the morning AS IF IT HAS ALREADY HAPPENED.

In the subsequent chapters, Napoleon describes the other principles that are attached to the plan and which will, when diligently used in conjunction with the plan, bring about the complete realisation of any definite purpose.

Firstly, the plan has to be carried out with faith. Faith is the key ingredient here because it is the light that leads the way. It gives you the courage and energy to undertake whatever action or surmount any obstacle. It’s about having belief in yourself, your purpose and your plan. Moreover, it is a state a mind that can be cultivated through the principle of auto-suggestion.

Auto-suggestion, like positive affirmations, involves repeatedly impressing ideas on the subconscious mind while using all of the senses. You feed your mind with your ideal(s) and get emotionally involved; you get excited about your purpose, you act as if it’s already come to pass and focus all your concentration on your desire. Engaging the senses in this process is especially significant because “your subconscious mind recognises and acts upon ONLY thoughts which have been well-mixed with emotion and feeling.”

Napoleon empowers by teaching his readers that they have the ability to influence their own subconscious mind by working with the infinite intelligence that is found within us all.

Other principles Hill discusses in Think and Grow Rich are that of persistence and decision. However, the most notable for me were chapters 10 and 11: The Power of the Mastermind and The Mystery of Sex, respectively.

My understanding of the Mastermind is that it’s a group of individuals who come together with similar intentions and values for the sole purpose of empowering and uplifting one another. The group works together to provide solutions to each other’s problems. The joining together of collective brainpower equips all within the Mastermind Group with greater intelligence, experience, knowledge and spiritual strength. This is especially impactful if members come from different fields of work.

I created my own Mastermind Group a few months ago and it’s been highly enriching because I can receive ideas, solutions and encouragement from the other members which allows for more growth and learning. And in return, I get to share my knowledge and experience with people who are always willing to take action. I wrote a post about my experience here: My Mastermind Group

I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion on the Mystery of Sex for many reasons. Napoleon lists the top 10 stimuli and names “the desire of sex expression” as number 1. The list includes fear, auto-suggestion, music, love and narcotics.

The desire for sex expression raises one’s vibration. However, this is only useful for wealth generation when the desire is transmuted into creative expression. For example, sexual energy can be harnessed to elicit creativity in literature, architecture or even industry. Napoleon argues that this is the very reason why some of the most brilliant minds of the past few centuries were A) motivated by the influence of a woman and B) successful after the age of forty.

Men tend to deplete their sexual energy and forces through endless indulgence as they come into adulthood and the subsequent decades. Nevertheless, he who learns to control his sexual desires and channel this energy into something more lasting and productive can eventually acquire success and great fortune. Indeed, noteworthy achievement is typically attained when a man is between 50 and 60 years old because he focusses much less on sexual pursuits. On this matter, Napoleon’s research addresses men only so I cannot confirm or deny if he would affirm the same theory for women.

In conclusion, Think and Grow Rich is a detailed book that can help you to open up your thinking and embrace the idea of attracting and generating riches. The principles have been tried and tested by the brightest and most successful men and women of Napoleon’s time.

Still, underlying each principle is the need for action. It’s not enough to read the book, nod in agreement at key points and expect cash to appear from left, right and centre. Money will not flow to you unless you actively implement the steps outlined within this book. Those who choose to follow Napoleon’s advice and persevere in their endeavours will be met with true abundance.

Well, I guess all that’s left now is to make a start!

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