Book Summary: Think And Grow Rich

Napoleon Hill biography, quotes, publications and books | ToolsHero



In this article I'll be reviewing one of the greatest self-help books of all time so make sure to take notes!

Book Summary: Think And Grow Rich

"Think and Grow Rich" is a self-help book written by Napoleon Hill and published in 1937. 

The book teaches the reader how to think positively and overcome obstacles in order to achieve success in life. Hill argues that your mindset is the key to success, and that by changing one's thoughts and beliefs, one can change their reality. 

The book presents 13 principles of achieving success and accumulating wealth, such as developing a positive attitude, setting goals, and developing self-discipline. 

Through the use of real-life examples, Hill illustrates the principles he teaches and encourages readers to apply them to their own lives. The book is considered a classic in the self-help genre and has sold millions of copies worldwide.

Why did he write the book?

Napoleon Hill wrote "Think and Grow Rich" because he believed that success could be taught and learned. 

He spent over 20 years researching and studying the lives of successful people, including Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison, in order to understand the principles and habits that made them successful. 

He believed that by distilling these principles into a book, he could help others achieve the same level of success. 

In his introduction to the book, Hill states that his purpose in writing it was "to enable you to find out what you want, in order to get the conditions by which to achieve it." 

He believed that the book could be used as a guide to help individuals discover their own unique paths to success.

Brian Tracy - Way to wealth

The 13 principles of Success

Book Summary: Think And Grow Rich - the 13 principles of success


In the following section, I'll do my best to summarise the 13 principles of success from Hill's book and provide some examples of each of them in use to help you to see how to implement them into your life.

Without further ado, let's get into Hill's 13 principles of success....

1. Desire 

In "Think and Grow Rich," Napoleon Hill emphasizes the power of desire as the first principle of achieving success. He argues that a burning desire is the starting point of all achievement and that it must be strong and persistent. 

This principle is further reinforced through real-life examples of successful individuals who had a strong desire for something and were able to achieve it through persistence and determination.
One example Hill uses in the book is that of Andrew Carnegie, the steel magnate who went from being a poor immigrant to one of the wealthiest men in the world. 

Hill attributes Carnegie's success to his burning desire to be successful and his unwavering persistence in the face of obstacles. 

Carnegie had a strong desire to be wealthy and used that desire as a driving force to work hard and make smart business decisions, eventually building one of the largest steel companies in the world.
Another example Hill cites is that of Thomas Edison, the inventor who held over 1,000 patents for his inventions. 

Hill argues that Edison's success was due to his burning desire to succeed and his persistent efforts to improve his inventions. Edison had a strong desire to improve the lives of people through his inventions and used that desire to fuel his work, even when faced with numerous failed attempts.

Knowing your why can keep you going when the going gets tough.

2. Faith: 

The second principle  in the process of achieving success is faith, and that it must be unwavering.

According to Hill, faith is the ability to believe in oneself and one's ability to achieve a desire, regardless of the obstacles that may arise. He states that "Faith is the head chemist of the mind" and that it must be unwavering in order to achieve success.
In the book, Hill uses the example of Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company. Hill attributes Ford's success to his unwavering faith in his ability to build an affordable car for the masses. 

Ford had a strong belief that he could build a car that was affordable for the average person, and he used that faith to guide his actions, even when faced with numerous obstacles and setbacks.
Hill also cites an example of a young man who had a desire to start his own business but had limited resources and experience. Hill explains how this young man used his faith in himself and his ability to achieve his desire to overcome the obstacles and eventually became successful businessman.

3. Auto-suggestion

The 3rd principle is the power of auto-suggestion as a tool for programming the mind to believe in one's ability to achieve a desire. 

He says that by repeatedly suggesting to the subconscious mind that you can achieve what it is you desire, the mind will eventually come to believe it, and act accordingly

But what are the tools that can be used to program the mind through auto-suggestion?
One tool that can be used is positive affirmations. These are short, positive statements that are repeated to oneself on a regular basis. 

For example, if someone wants to improve their self-confidence, they might repeat the affirmation, "I am confident in my abilities" multiple times a day. By repeating this affirmation, the mind begins to internalize it and starts to believe that it is true.
Another tool that can be used is visualization

This is the process of creating a mental image of oneself achieving a desire. For example, if someone wants to lose weight, they might visualize themselves as being thinner and healthier. 

By visualizing oneself as already having achieved the goal, the mind begins to believe that it is possible and starts to take the necessary steps to make it a reality.
A third tool that can be used is goal setting. By setting specific and measurable goals, one can program the mind to focus on achieving them. 

For example, if someone wants to increase their income, they might set a goal to make an extra $1000 a month within the next year. 

By setting a clear and specific goal, the mind becomes focused on achieving it, and it is more likely to take action towards it and notice opportunities that arise.

4. Specialized knowledge

Book Summary: Think And Grow Rich - specialised knowledge, 13 principles of success

For the 4th principle,  Hill emphasizes the importance of specialized knowledge in achieving success. He argues that in order to be successful in any field, one must acquire specialized knowledge in that field. 

He states that "Specialized knowledge is the key to economic security, and is the only means by which one may be sure of maintaining the economic level which has been reached." But how can one acquire specialized knowledge?
One way to acquire specialized knowledge is through formal education. By attending college or university, one can gain a deep understanding of a specific field and learn the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in that field. 

For example, if someone wants to become a doctor, they would need to attend medical school to acquire the specialized knowledge required to practice medicine.
Another way to acquire specialized knowledge is through on-the-job training. Many jobs require specific skills and knowledge that can only be acquired through on-the-job training. 

For example, if someone wants to become a carpenter, they would need to learn the skills and techniques required to build houses and other structures through on-the-job training.
A third way to acquire specialized knowledge is through self-study. This involves reading books, attending workshops and seminars, or taking online courses to learn about a specific field. 

This method allows one to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule, as well as the flexibility to focus on key areas of interest to you.
As the late Jim Rohn said, "Formal education will make you a living, self education will make you a fortune".

5. Imagination: 

Imagination is the fifth principle of achieving success. Hill argues that imagination is a powerful tool that can be used to visualize one's desire as already being achieved. 

He states that "Imagination is the workshop of the mind, where one may experiment with his thoughts, and give them practical form." 

One way to use imagination is through visualization. This is the process of creating a mental image of oneself achieving a desire - daring to imagine what you can achieve without any constraints is a really good way to get your creative mind fired up!

Another way to use imagination is through creative problem-solving. This is the process of using imagination to come up with new and innovative solutions to problems. 

For example, if someone wants to create a new product, they might use their imagination to come up with unique features or designs that will set it apart from others in the market.

A third way to use imagination is through brainstorming. This is the process of generating a large number of ideas through free association and creative thinking

For example, if someone wants to write a book, they might use brainstorming to generate a list of possible ideas and plot twists.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world" - Albert Einstein.

6. Organized planning

Hill has Organized planning as the sixth principle of achieving success. 

He argues that in order to achieve a desire, one must create a plan and take action on it. He states that "A plan, in and of itself, is of no particular value, unless it is put into action." 

But how can you create an effective plan to achieve a desire?
One way to create an effective plan is by setting specific and measurable goals. This involves breaking down a larger desire into smaller, more manageable goals. 

For example, if someone wants to start their own business, they might set a goal to conduct market research, develop a business plan, and secure funding within the next six months. By setting specific and measurable goals, one can focus on taking the necessary steps to achieve their desire.
Another way to create an effective plan is by identifying and overcoming potential obstacles. This involves anticipating challenges that may arise and developing strategies to overcome them - that way, when they do arise you will be much less likely to throw in the towel since you have already planned for it.

For example, if someone wants to start their own business, they might identify potential obstacles such as lack of funding or lack of experience and develop strategies to overcome them, such as seeking investors or mentorship early on.
A third way to create an effective plan is by creating a schedule and sticking to it. This involves setting deadlines and taking action on a regular basis. 

For example, the person setting up their own business might set a schedule to conduct market research every Monday, develop a business plan every Wednesday, and seek funding every Friday. 

By creating a schedule and sticking to it, one can stay on track and make consistent progress towards achieving their desire.

Book Summary: Think And Grow Rich - organised planning, 13 principles of success

7. Decision

Next on the list, he emphasizes the importance of decision making as the seventh principle of achieving success. 

He argues that in order to achieve a desire, one must make a definite decision and take action on it. He states that "Indecision is the seedling of fear" and that fear of failure can prevent one from taking the necessary steps to achieve their desire. 
One way to make a definite decision is by setting a deadline. This involves setting a specific date by which you will take action towards achieving a particular goal

For example, someone starting their own business might set a deadline to have a business plan in place within the next six months. By setting a deadline, they can focus on taking the necessary steps to achieve their goal before the deadline arrives.
To take this further, another trick to make a definite decision is by taking action immediately. The longer you wait the less likely you are to do something - the law of diminishing intent

For example, in the case of the person that wanted to start their own business, they might take action by conducting market research, seeking funding, or registering their business immediately. By taking action immediately, it helps to overcome procrastination and start making progress towards achieving your goal.
A third technique for making a decision is by eliminating options. This involves identifying the most important steps towards achieving the desire and eliminating options that will not contribute to achieving it. 

Sometimes it is easier to decide what not to do than to decide what you need to do. Remember, if it isn't moving you towards your goal, it's moving you away from it!

Returning to the example of someone looking to start their own business, they might eliminate options such as conducting market research in other countries or seeking funding from non-related investors. 

By eliminating options, you can focus on the most important steps and make a definite decision on what to do next.

8. Persistence

Persistence is the eighth principle of achieving success, according to Hill. He argues that in order to achieve a desire, one must persist in the face of obstacles and setbacks. 

He states that "Persistence is the quality that guarantees that all obstacles will be overcome, and that all setbacks will be only temporary." 

Below are some techniques to help you be more persistent.
One way to develop persistence is by setting a clear and specific goal. By having a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and keeping a one-track mind, you can focus on taking the necessary steps towards that goal. 

For example, if someone wants to start their own business, they might set a goal to have a business plan in place within the next six months. 

Or, they might stay committed by avoiding distractions such as social media or other non-related activities, and instead, focusing on the steps needed to achieve their desired outcome.

By setting a clear goal, one can persist in the face of obstacles and setbacks, knowing that their ultimate goal is in sight.
Another way to develop persistence is by developing a positive attitude. By maintaining a positive attitude, one can overcome obstacles and setbacks with a more resilient mindset. 

In the business example, if the person faces a setback such as lack of funding, they might maintain a positive attitude by seeking out alternative sources of funding or seeking mentorship to overcome this setback rather than throwing in the towel and quitting.

9. Power of the mastermind

Hill, and other contributors to the book, assign a huge part of their success to the power of the mastermind. He argues that by forming a mastermind group, an individual can tap into the collective knowledge, skills, and resources of its members to achieve a common goal. 

He states that "The Master Mind principle represents the coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose." 

How do I go about forming a mastermind, you might ask? Well...
You could form a mastermind group is by finding like-minded individuals who share a common goal. 

This can be done by networking with people in your industry, joining a professional association, or participating in online communities. Once a group is formed, its members can share knowledge, skills, and resources to help each other achieve their individual goals, as well as the group's common goal.
As a collective, you should set clear goals and create a plan of action for the group so you all know what you want to achieve from it.
You would then schedule regular meetings, whether in person or online, to discuss progress, share ideas, and provide support and accountability. 

By holding regular meetings, the group can stay connected, stay on track, and achieve their goals.

Book Summary: Think And Grow Rich - power of the mastermind, 13 principles of success, think and grow rich, summary

10. The subconscious mind

Hill lists the power of the sub-conscious mind as the tenth principle of achieving success. He argues that the subconscious mind is a powerful tool that can be used to achieve a desire by programming it with thoughts and ideas that align with that desire. 

He states that "The subconscious mind is the connecting link between the finite mind of man and Infinite Intelligence" and that by tapping into the subconscious mind, one can access a vast source of knowledge and creativity. 
To tap into the power of the subconscious mind, you can use relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to relax the mind and allow it to access the subconscious. You can then focus on the desire and allow the subconscious mind to work on achieving it.

11. The mystery of sex transmutation

Hill introduces the concept of "sex transmutation" as the eleventh principle of achieving success, and he argues that the power of sex can be harnessed and channeled into other areas of life to achieve success. 

He states that "Sex transmutation is simple and easily explained. It means the switching of the mind from thoughts of physical expression, to thoughts of some other nature." In other words, sex transmutation is the process of redirecting one's sexual energy and desire towards achieving a specific goal or desire.
One way to use sex transmutation is by setting clear goals and redirecting your thoughts and emotions towards achieving them. 

Sounds a little crazy this one, and it's difficult to describe - but you know how when you have a crush on someone, you can come up with all sorts of creative ways to be around them?

It's about using that same creativity but redirecting it towards your goal to come up with creative solutions to achieve it - or that's what I take from it anyway!

12. The brain

Next, Hill talks about the concept of "the brain as a broadcasting and receiving station" as the twelfth principle of achieving success. 

He argues that the brain is not only capable of receiving information, but also capable of broadcasting it to the 'universe' (hmmm... Yeah, not one for all the 'universe' stuff to be honest, but let's stick with him...). 

He states that "Every human brain is both a broadcasting and receiving station for the vibration of thought." In other words, the brain is capable of both receiving and sending out thoughts, and can be used to manifest one's desires.
Hill suggests that by using the power of the brain as a broadcasting station, you can manifest your desires by focusing your thoughts on what you want... I shared my thoughts about that in my post about the law of attraction.

He argues that by consistently thinking about a specific desire, the brain will send out a vibration that attracts similar vibrations from the universe, ultimately manifesting the desire.
This involves setting specific and measurable goals and consistently thinking about them until they are achieved. 

For example, if someone wants to increase their income, they might set a goal of making an extra $1000 a month and consistently focus their thoughts on ways to achieve that goal.

13. The sixth sense

The 14th principle is that of the 6th sense...

He states that the sixth sense is a higher level of consciousness that can be accessed to achieve a desired outcome. He states that "The sixth sense is that portion of the subconscious mind which has been referred to as the Creative Imagination." 

He suggests that this higher level of consciousness is the connection between the finite mind of man and Infinite Intelligence, which allows one to tap into a vast source of knowledge and creativity and achieve success.
Hill suggests that the sixth sense can be accessed through the use of intuition, and that by listening to your intuition, you can make decisions and take actions that align with your true desires. I guess this is just taking actions that align with your values, right?

You access this sixth sense is through meditation and other forms of mindfulness practices, which allows for quieting the mind and listening to inner guidance. 

Another way is by keeping an open mind and being receptive to new ideas and opportunities that come along the way, as the sixth sense can provide guidance through unusual or unexpected means.

Brian tracy - personal success made simple

How to outwit the six ghosts of fear

Book Summary: Think And Grow Rich - outwitting the ghosts of fear, 13 principles of success, think and grow rich

Next, Napoleon Hill introduces the concept of "the six ghosts of fear". He argues that fear is one of the biggest obstacles to achieving success and that by identifying and overcoming these six specific fears, one can achieve their desires. The six ghosts of fear are: fear of poverty, fear of criticism, fear of ill health, fear of loss of love of someone, fear of old age, and fear of death.
  • The first ghost of fear is the fear of poverty. This fear can manifest in the form of financial insecurity and can prevent one from taking risks and pursuing opportunities. To overcome this fear, one should focus on developing a positive attitude towards money and setting clear financial goals.
  • The second ghost of fear is the fear of criticism. This fear can manifest in the form of self-doubt and can prevent one from expressing themselves and putting their ideas out there. To overcome this fear, one should focus on developing self-confidence and learning to accept constructive criticism.
  • The third ghost of fear is the fear of ill health. This fear can manifest in the form of worry and anxiety about one's health and can prevent one from living a full and satisfying life. To overcome this fear, one should focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and seeking medical attention when needed.
  • The fourth ghost of fear is the fear of loss of love of someone. This fear can manifest in the form of insecurity in relationships and can prevent one from forming deep and meaningful connections. To overcome this fear, one should focus on developing strong communication skills and being open and honest with loved ones.
  • The fifth ghost of fear is the fear of old age. This fear can manifest in the form of worry about the future and can prevent one from living in the present moment. To overcome this fear, one should focus on living in the present moment and making the most of every day.
  • The sixth ghost of fear is the fear of death. This fear can manifest in the form of worry about the unknown and can prevent one from living a full and satisfying life. To overcome this fear, one should focus on living a meaningful life and making a positive impact on the world.
He goes on to say that you must overcome these fears and remove all negativity and doubt from your mind in order for the other principles to function properly.

Conclusion

Think and Grow Rich was written a long time ago, as such it can be quite difficult to read given the language used, but this principles still stand today.

I tend to wince a little at talk of  'the universe' or  'higher powers', but maybe they used this language because they didn't understand the power of the subconscious mind and how it works?

In any case, I have read the book several times, and I think the principles are solid - if you read any biography of a successful person you will be able to spot many of these traits.

Also, the fact that the book was influenced by so many great personalities is not to be sniffed at!

***Editors note - this post was first published on 18/7/2020, and updated on 20/1/2023.

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