I first heard about this book on a list of “10 books that will change your life”. It turns out this book is a regular on this kind of list. It is one of the very first books ever written in the fields of self-help and accumulation of wealth, which has helped it rise to fame. With over a 100 million copies sold worldwide and being so repetitively mentioned by wealth gurus, I decided to buy it out of curiosity.
After spending quite some time studying it - and even though I do think it is overhyped - I can see why it can be life changing for many people. It has indeed made me learn quite a few things.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is structured in 13 chapters (also called “steps to riches”) that talk about things like the power of thought, desire, faith, autosuggestion, knowledge, planning, organization, and persistence, all of which must be understood in order to obtain what is desired. He developed his moneymaking secrets after interviewing 500 of the most affluent men and women of his time.
Hill says that in applying his principles one will reach a tremendous amount of wealth. Even though throughout the book he talks about money as the end goal, these principles can be applied to reach any kind goal: professional, monetary, spiritual, etc.
THINGS I HAVE LEARNED
1) In chapter 7 Napoleon Hill says the following: “capitalistic society guarantees every person the opportunity to provide service and to collect riches in proportion to the value of the service”. Out of this magnificent quote I got two things.
First, “every person has the opportunity”, for him there are no barriers at all between you and your goals, things like your race, your gender, sexual orientation or social class are not valid excuses nor determinants of your success. If you think that any of these things are the reason why you don’t succeed it is because you have a losing mindset and not a winning mindset, Napoleon says.
“If you want something you will find a way, if not you will find an excuse”. Unknown.
The second thing that caught my eye out of that quote was “collect riches in proportion to the value of the service” and that is because the market doesn't lie. We all get money in return for the value we provide. Surgeons make more money than accountants because in our society saving a life is more valuable than doing some taxes. The moral of this is that if you want to make more money you will have to find a way to provide more value (something that rarely happens when you are working for somebody else).
2) Every successful person I can think of knew what he or she wanted. There are plenty examples of very wealthy (and fulfilled) people that had a goal in mind and stuck to it until they succeeded. Having a clear idea of what you want will help you persevere until you achieve it. If you really, really want something you will do whatever it takes to make it happen.
These successful people, apart from having a clear goal in mind, were very specific. If you want to become a millionaire (but you really, really want it), you should write the exact plan you are going to follow to achieve that said goal in a place where you are going to see it every day. Once that precise plan is written you have to say it out loud every day until it becomes a part of you, that’s when you will start taking conscious and subconscious actions toward that goal.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right” Henry Ford.
3) The first step to any sort of achievement must be conquering your own mind. You must master your fears, doubts, negativity and procrastination if you intend to accumulate any sort of riches or success.
4) Surround yourself with a group of people (“Master Mind” or team of experts) that share your vision and will push you toward your goal. This Master Mind group needs to be in harmony with you and must have a different skill set that compliments yours.
It is important to keep in mind that nobody will work for very long without personal benefit, so it is important to create a win-win relationship with every member of the group.
5) Master your thoughts; if you feed your subconscious mind negative thoughts and poor thoughts, negativity and poverty will become a part of your reality. Whatever you want to achieve in life you must learn how to think toward that goal.
You can feed your subconscious mind positively with meditation. Write down your goals, meditate and visualize yourself succeeding. If you have a goal and you believe you are going to achieve it, repeat it every day and one day you will succeed. Faith will grow in you as you make your goal a reality in your mind. That way you will work consciously and subconsciously toward that goal.
6) If you want to affect your subconscious you need to mix your thoughts with emotions. You can’t say, “I am going to become a surgeon” and hope that you will. You need to actually focus and mix emotions as you say it, then you will convince yourself that you will make it.
7) Be specific when applying for a job. It is very important to climb the corporate ladder from the beginning. Instead of applying for any job, make sure you apply for a specific role being as precise as possible. You should say what position you are going to take, what solutions you will bring to certain problems, and why it is beneficial for the company to hire you and not somebody else. By doing so you will save a few years of your professional career trying to get a promotion and will start up high from the very beginning.
One of the keys of this is that you will place yourself ahead of the competition where you will see opportunities and, more importantly, where opportunities can find you! Imagine that a CEO from another company wants to hire someone from yours. Will they look for someone in the lower level of the company or for someone that has already had a position of responsibility?
8) Most successful people have the habit of reaching decisions promptly and of changing those decisions slowly. That way once they have made a decision they will not be influenced by people outside their Master Mind group. The majority of people who fail to accumulate money are generally easily influenced by the opinions of others.
“Criticism is one form of service of which everyone has too much. Everyone has a stock of it that is handed out, gratis, whether called for or not” Napoleon Hill
9) We will all face failure but only those willing to stand up and fight again will be able to achieve success. After studying so many successful people, Napoleon Hill concluded that the recipe for success was a combination of “definiteness of purpose, persistenceand a tremendous amount of effort”.
10) Understand what kind of people are surrounding you. Some people’s happiness is based upon comparing themselves to others, so if you do well, they will feel bad. These people will always have comments to make and will send you negative thoughts You need to learn who these toxic people are and what they intend when they give you feedback. If you want to be successful you need to filter the thoughts of these toxic negative people and only process the comments of the people that truly want to see you succeed.
THINGS I LIKED
Practicality. Think and Grow Rich is structured as a guide. It is made to give you several easy-to-follow steps so you can achieve any goal you set for yourself in life.
Anticipation. Being published 80 years ago it pivots around the power of the mind. It relies strongly on the concept of autosuggestion and the subconscious, things that were quite new at the time and would be proven and extended by psychology years after this book was published.
Pioneerism. It is one of the first books ever written in the fields of self-help and get-rich genres. Think and Grow Rich is considered the predecessor of his mentor Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad.
Motivational. Almost every chapter has a couple of success stories or tales that show what his principles are capable of. I personally found these stories one of the best things of the book.
Well aimed. This book advocates certain attitudes or mindsets that I personally think go in the right direction. He shifts the focus from the typical get-rich-quick to a work-for-it kind of mindset.
“There is no such a thing as something for nothing” Napoleon Hill.
THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE
Outdated. The book was published in 1937 and then revised almost 20 years ago. Some of the examples and stories (even the updated ones) are getting old and are not very relatable.
Missed shots. His book is based very lightly on proven facts and science, for that reason I got the feeling that he was making things up at times. I do think that some of his ideas are very valuable but others are just way off target. One clear example of this is the whole chapter titled “The Mystery of Sex Transmutation” which I find completely unnecessary and absurd at times.
Asks for trust before giving evidence. At the very beginning of the book Hill warns the readers saying if you don’t believe of what I am going to say, what I am going to say won’t work for you. I don’t like that someone that is trying to show you some easy-steps-to-success guide asks you for faith. If you take pride on the ‘research’ that you say you have done, you wouldn’t need to ask for that faith, you would earn the reader’s trust through the pages.
Style and length. I personally found his writing style somewhat clunky. Being such an old book I knew when I bought it that the style could be an issue. Now adding that style to some endless chapters and the over-explanation of some concepts you end up having what feels like an endless book. I quite enjoyed the first few chapters but the end of the book got very annoying at times.
I do not know if following the principles shown in this book can make anyone rich, but I do think that Think and Grow Rich has a lot of value for any reader that opens it with an open mind. Having said that and even though I won’t add this one to my list of favorites I would recommend this book to anyone with aspirations. After all, learning something new won’t hurt, right?
You might me interested in:
Click here to get the book.
Click here to read a very interesting article about Napoleon Hill (recommended after reading the book).
Click here to read my review of Mindset, by Carol S. Dweck.
Click here to read my review of Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki.
Thanks for passing by and remember, keep growing :)