Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is one of the grandfathers of the self help literature. It shows some wrinkles, but we can all learn loads from it.
- Bullet Summary
- Full Summary
- CHAP: 1 Desire
- CHAP 2: Faith
- CHAP 3: Auto-Suggestion
- CHAP 4: Specialized Knowledge
- CHAP 5: Imagination
- CHAP 6: Organized Planning
- CHAP 7: Decision
- CHAP 8: Persistence
- CHAP 9: The Master Mind
- CHAP 10: Sex Transmutation
- CHAP 11: The Subconscious Mind
- CHAP 12: The Brain
- CHAP 13: The Sixth Sense
- CHAP 14: How To Outwit Fear
- Real Life Applications
- Develop a deep Desire to achieve your goals and Faith that achieve you will
- Get in the habit of reaching decisions quickly and sticking to them
- Visualize yourself as already having reached those goals
Napoleon Hill starts with an introduction which is both cryptic and bombastic at the same time. He says the “secret” of each chapter will manifest to you IF YOU ARE READY FOR IT.
When it does manifest, you should have a toast because that will be the most important turning point of your life.
I personally find this method condescending and slightly irritating: I am looking for the info, not for big hyperbole -the CAPS are straight from the author-. And I want the info presented to me clearly, not through some hide and seek game.
Napoleon Hill gives us though at least one hint, and that is that all achievement and riches generate from an idea.
Because, he says, “thoughts are things”, and when they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a BURNING DESIRE they will translate into riches.
CHAP: 1 Desire
The first quality you should possess to THINK AND GROW rich is the DESIRE for riches.
Here are the 6 practical steps of desire:
- Fix in your mind the exact amount you desire
- Determine exactly what you will give in return
- Establish a definite date
- Create a definite plan and start with it whether your are or not
- Write down all the previous step
- Read your statement aloud before sleeping and right after waking up. See, feel and believe you’re already in possession of the money.
Napoleon Hill says that no one is ready for acquiring riches until he believes he can acquire it. The state of mind indeed must be BELIEF, not hope or wish.
And he adds that nothing is impossible to the person who backs DESIRE with enduring FAITH.
CHAP 2: Faith
When you mix FAITH with thought, the subconscious mind picks up the vibration, translates it into spiritual equivalent, and transmits to “Infinite Intelligence”, like in prayer.
Napoleon Hill says you can become faithful with affirmation or repeated instructions to the subconscious mind via auto-suggestion.
He says that any emotionalized thought -any thought charged up with emotion- which is mixed with faith will begin to immediately translate into physical equivalent. Our subconscious will ONLY recognize and act upon thoughts that have been well-mixed with emotions or feelings. Thus, you must mix DESIRE with BELIEF, or FAITH.
Why Thinking Positive Is Key
Our mind takes the nature of what is most present in it. That is why you should think positive and eradicate negative emotions. And a mind imbibed with positive emotions provides the right breeding ground for FAITH to blossom.
- Know you have the ability to achieve the object of your Definite Purpose, so DEMAND of yourself continuous action and promise right now to keep acting
- Realize that what you focus on will eventually come true, so focus thirty minutes a day on the person you intend to become
- Spend 10 minutes a day demanding to yourself the development of SELF CONFIDENCE
- Clearly write down a description of your DEFINITE CHIEF AIM in life
- Understand that no wealth can endure unless built upon trust and justice. So engage in no transaction that does not benefit all parties; induce others to serve you by serving others, eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness and cynicism by developing love for all humanity.
Repeat this formula aloud once a day with full FAITH that it will gradually influence your THOUGHTS and ACTIONS so that you will become a self reliant and successful person.
CHAP 3: Auto-Suggestion
Auto suggestion is what we’d call today visualization.
When visualizing the money you intend to accumulate, close your eyes and see yourself rendering the service, or delivering the merchandise you intend to give in return for this money.
You auto-suggest with the following process:
1. Go in a quiet place, close your eyes and repeat aloud the written statement of the amount of money you intend to accumulate, the time limit and the description of how you will do so.
Most importantly, SEE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY. I quote Napolen Hill on what he recommends you tell yourself:
“I believe that I will have this money in my possession. My faith is so strong that I can now see this money before my eyes. I can touch it with my hands. It is now awaiting transfer to me at the time, and in the proportion that I deliver the service I intend to render in return for it. I am awaiting a plan by which to accumulate this money, and I will follow that plan, when it is received.”
2. Repeat night and morning until you can vividly imagine the money you want to accumulate.
3. Place a copy of the written statement where you can see it night and morning and read it until it’s been memorized.
Napolen Hill says that skepticism is normal in human beings with all new ideas, but if you keep following the instructions, then belief and ABSOLUTE FAITH will soon take roots. At that point, you’ll be able to say you are the true master of your faith and the captain of your soul.
CHAP 4: Specialized Knowledge
You will need specialized knowledge -as opposed to the useless general knowledge- of the service, merchandise or profession you intend to pursue in return for riches.
CHAP 5: Imagination
Imagination is what you will use to created plans.
Napolen Hill says that imagination only works when the subconscious mind is vibrating at super rapid rate when, for example, stimulated with strong desire.
And imagination becomes more developed through USE.
The ideas you develop will then transmuted into cash through the power of definite purpose in conjunction with definite plans.
I absolutely love when Napolen Hill says:
God seems to throw Himself on the side of the man who knows exactly what he wants, if he is determined to get JUST THAT!
And I love when he says that an idea, as crazy as it may sound at the beginning, when coaxed, nursed and enticed to remain alive, will gradually become a giant.
That idea will eventually acquire power and it will then drive you.
CHAP 6: Organized Planning
Napoleon Hill recommends you get your plans checked and approved by the member of your Master Mind.
And if the first plan you adopt does not work, replace it. And keep replacing all plans until you find one which DOES WORK.
The Attributes of Leadership
- UNWAVERING COURAGE: nobody likes a leader who lacks self confidence and courage.
- SELF-CONTROL: He who cannot control himself cannot control others.
- A KEEN SENSE OF JUSTICE
- DEFINITENESS OF DECISION: wavering is not a leader-like quality.
- DEFINITENESS OF PLANS: without a plan you’re like a ship without a rudder.
- THE HABIT OF DOING MORE THAN PAID FOR: a leader will do more than he requires his followers to do
- A PLEASING PERSONALITY
- SYMPATHY AND UNDERSTANDING: a leader has sympathy for his followers and he understands them
- MASTERY OF DETAIL
- WILLINGNESS TO ASSUME FULL RESPONSIBILITY: a leader must take full responsibility for the mistakes and shortcoming of his followers. If he shifts responsibility, he won’t be a leader for long
- COOPERATION: Leadership calls for POWER, and power calls for COOPERATION.
CHAP 7: Decision
Napoleon Hill says that LACK OF DECISION -or procrastination- is one of the main causes of failure.
The habit of reaching decisions promptly and changing them slowly is one the main common traits among people who accumulated riches.
CHAP 8: Persistence
Persistence in the application of the thirteen factors highlighted in Think and Grow Rich and persistence in the face of misfortune is another major differentiator among those who accumulate riches and those who don’t.
As a matter of fact, persistence alone will give success even to people with little qualities
Here are a few ways to develop persistence:
- Definite purpose spurred by burning desire
- Definite plan continuously put into action
- Positive mindset insulated against all negative influences
- Alliance with one or more people pushing us to follow through
CHAP 9: The Master Mind
The “Master Mind” is the coordination of knowledge and effort, between two or more people for the attainment of a definite purpose.”
A Master Mind built in a spirit of harmony among its members will amplify the power of each mind to give birth to an entity which is more powerful than the sum of its components.
CHAP 10: Sex Transmutation
Sex is the most powerful creative energy. Napoleon Hill says that there is no great leader without the driving force of sex: sex energy is indeed the creative energy of all genii.
But sex energy must be transmuted from desire of actual sex into a different form of desire and action. Then, and only then, it can be the driving force of a genius.
Napoleon Hill says that the majority of men only succeed after the age of 40 or 50 because they tend to waste the sexual energy in the over indulgence of the sex, rather than harnessing it and putting it to different and higher uses.
Romance + Sex = Genius
Adding romance to sex puts us closer to Infinite Intelligence. When sex is couple with romance, then a genius is born.
My Note: this was eye opening for me. I will admit that the impetus of starting The Power Moves came after reading about sex transmutation.
CHAP 11: The Subconscious Mind
The subconscious mind receives and files any impressions from the senses or thoughts, regardless of their nature. That means that if you fail to plant DESIRES and the right thoughts in your subconscious, you will leave your destiny to chance.
To imprint the your subconcious with the thoughts of your choice, you must plant your thoughts through the imagination, and mix them with faith.
CHAP 12: The Brain
In chapter 12 of Think and Grow rich, honestly, I didn’t find anything worth of note as most of the notions are outdated.
CHAP 13: The Sixth Sense
Napoleon Hill here describes the imaginary meetings he had with the members of his council. The meetings he imagined started becoming more and more real, with the people in the room taking on different habits.
That was really interesting to read, but I leave the details for you to explore in the book.
The sixth sense, Think and Growth Rich explains, comes with mastery and continuous application of all the other principles outlined.
CHAP 14: How To Outwit Fear
The enemies you must steer clear of are indecision, doubt and fear.
The three, Napoleon says, are closely related. Indecision breeds doubt, and the two together give birth to fear.
Getting rid of fear is imperative or our mind will manifest physically exactly what our fears dictate.
Interestingly enough, Napoleon suggests to “drown our troubles” by being too busy to be annoyed by them. This is exactly what Brene Brown highlights as one of our main numbing strategy, a terrible coping strategy that we better jettison if we want to live life fully.
Napoleon Hill ends by reminding us we have absolute control of our thoughts. And by controlling our thoughts, we control our destiny.
Real Life Applications
Many of the lessons in Think and Grow Rich are timeless and will undoubtedly benefit you, such as:
- Keep your thoughts positive
- Develop a deep desire for achieving your goals
- Have faith you can reach your goal
Dogmatic & Religious-like
Napoleon Hill lays out dogmas without citing any research or opening any door to doubt. I feel there’s a huge spiral of silence around this book: everyone says it’s great so nobody has the guts to calls it out. But to me, it was jarring. I prefer authors such as Ray Dalio who attribute their success to “knowing they don’t know” and always cross-checking their conclusions.
Napolen Hill says for example that when someone DESIRES something so deeply that he can bet his entire future on a single shot, he is then sure to win.
I hope nobody is ever too sure to win the lottery
While many concepts are timeless, some other are not. And it shows.
Too Busy to Worry is Wrong
The strategy of being too busy to worry, same suggestion as in Stop Worrying and Start Living, is plainly wrong. I’d recommend you don’t follow it.
If your whole life’s meaning revolves around getting rich… I’d suggest you think twice about it.
Think and Grow Rich is a timeless book.
It’s one of the biggest sellers of self help literature together with How to Win Friends and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Some some words may sound unscientific today, and also unscientific are some tenets of the books -ie.: willing things into life-.
But most of its main tenets such as take action, focus on the positives, meditate, decide and persist are timeless and you are well advised to put them into practice.
Think and Grow Rich: The Law Of Attraction
There’s a big craze these days (2017) about the “law of attraction”. Conor McGregor has been quoted saying he manifests his thoughts into reality. Tony Robbins talks about a couple who willed into their life two different lottery wins by believing they would win and acting as if they had already won it.
Well, I would advice you do not follow that “law” trying to win lotteries or without putting in all the needed action. Do not sit around repeating sentences without action. The law is useful in focusing you on the positives and in giving you confidence in taking the necessary steps. But don’t expect the law of attraction to bring anything in your life without you putting in the work -which is not what Napoleon Hill advises BTW-.
Check out my full Book Summaries Section.