Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill


If you had a net worth of $1,000,000,000 and lived to be 100, you would have made $19 for every minute that you had been alive.  Now, if you’re Bill Gates, who will be turning 60 this year, the $79.2 billion that he has amassed would give him a lifelong minutely wage of over $2,510 or  about $42 for every second of his life.

When you look at the 1,826 billionaires in the world today, their money has come from a variety of places: real estate, investments, medical devices, fashion, e-commerce, etc.  (My favorite listing on the Forbes list: Emmanuel Besnier–Source of Wealth: Cheese).  Maybe you really want to knock it out of the park like these wealthy wonders.  Perhaps being a multimillionaire could suit you just fine.  You might just want to create a good or service that enthralls you personally and captures the attention of many customers and the money comes as a symptom.  Regardless, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is a classic must-read.

**Caveat: While the title is overt about the pursuit of wealth, there is so much more to this book, and the publisher’s preface beautifully captures a sidebar to his main theme of financial success:        

Riches cannot always be measured in money! . . . there are some who will feel that the greatest of all riches can be evaluated only in terms of lasting friendships, harmonious family relationships, sympathy and understanding between business associates, and introspective harmony which brings one peace of mind measurable only in spiritual values!

What’s the big idea?! / The Big Picture

Think and Grow Rich distills the strategies and mindsets of many of the wealthy from the 19th and early 20th centuries.  In aggregate, it serves as a unique paradigm that glorifies the power of the mind; if you think something long enough it will become action and, in turn, reality.

The Thirteen Steps Toward Riches

The main body of the book are steps toward riches.  Make no mistake…these are not “13 life hacks to get rich quick” or “how to save money in 13 easy ways”.  These are 13 steps that follow the law of the harvest–you reap what you sow.  There are countless actionable items that can educate and shape your worldview to better capture opportunities and enhance your character and drive (if you let it). Below are the 13 steps, but I’m only going to dive into 1 of them.

  1. Desire
  2. Faith
  3. Autosuggestion
  4. Specialized Knowledge
  5. Imagination
  6. Organized Planning
  7. Decision
  8. Persistence
  9. Power of the Master Mind
  10. The Mystery of Sex Transmutation
  11. The Subconscious Mind
  12. The Brain
  13. The Sixth Sense

Autosuggestion is a well-known technique that much has been written about, yet many I know fail to employ it to its fullest.  “Autosuggestion is a term which applies to all suggestions and all self-administered stimuli which reach one’s mind through the five senses” (42).  Examples include self-talk (I think I can, I think I can), and visualization–imagining yourself accomplishing something.  Pro athletes, executives, and most high-achievers utilize some form of autosuggestion.

Sound like a bunch of crap?  Are you finding yourself saying, “How is talking to myself going to do anything?”  It’s so much more than that and–like many worthwhile endeavors–you reap what you sow.  Pro-tip from Napoleon: “Unless you mix emotion, or feeling with your words.  If you repeat a million times the famous Emil Coué formula, ‘Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better,’ without mixing emotion and faith with your words, you will experience no desirable results.  Your subconscious mind recognizes and acts upon only thoughts which have been well-mixed with emotion or feeling.”

I was made a believer of autosuggestion when I was studying for the GMAT some time ago.  At least 2-3 times a day for 6 months leading up to the test I repeated my mantra: “I will not give up.  I will not give in.  I will get a 740 on the GMAT, and I will help all those who follow.”  Does it sound ridiculous? Perhaps, but this desire I had to dominate this test  was transformed from words to belief, from belief to obsession, and my fixation drove my actions until I surpassed my goal.

If you have a goal that seems elusive or extraordinary, you definitely aren’t going to get there on the back of skepticism and negativity.  You won’t make it much past the first sign of struggle if you let the shadow of pessimism creep in.  Autosuggestion creates consistency of effort and is vital on the days that feel like failure, leaving in its wake a renewed drive to achieve.

Last Words . . .

Of all the books I have read, this is the most marked up.  Napoleon’s personal style aside, there are many passages and sections that are worth marking and reading on some frquency.  Specifically, towards the end of the book are a list of questions that I read every month.  Among them are a several that are helping me change for the better:

  • Do you form your own opinions or permit yourself to be influenced by other people?
  • Can you name 3 of your most damaging weaknesses? What are you doing to correct them? 
  • Do you find fault with people at the slight provocation?

And one that just makes me laugh:

  • Would you call yourself a “spineless weakling” if you permitted others to do your thinking for you?

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