I decided to pick up Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill for a second time after having read it five years ago and boy, was I glad I did. I had forgotten how inspiring it was. It’s easy to see why Think and Grow Rich is considered the grandfather to all other books on success.
I also discovered something very interesting in my second reading. From the very first sentence of the book, it’s obvious that the producers of “The Secret” were inspired by the ideas and forces set into motion by Think and Grow Rich.
The author, Napoleon Hill, worked closely with a man named W. Clement Stone. The two eventually wrote a book together called Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude.
W. Clement Stone became the mentor to Jack Canfield, who wrote the international best-seller Chicken Soup for the Soul. Canfield was a major contributer to “The Secret,” in which he mentions Stone several times and credits his mentor for passing along the secret to him.
I counted 21 appearances of the word “secret” in the Napoleon Hill’s foreword (which is only five pages long), in which he talks about how the secret has been passed from person to person throughout the ages.
I can’t stress enough how powerful this book is. It should be required reading for anyone who aspires to any amount of success. I should assume that most readers of this blog have already read it, and to those who have I would recommend reading it over and over again until it becomes part of your way of thinking.
Napoleon Hill claims to have learned the secret from none other than Andrew Carnegie. When he internalized the secret, he made it his life’s mission to develop and share it with others. In over twenty years of research, he analyzed and interviewed the worlds richest men in search of a common philosophy.
The fact that Hill devoted his life to this information, and had access to some of the most successful people in history, gives this book more credibility to me than any other I own. I give far more weight to this powerful collection of real-world knowledge than any other author (including myself) who speaks from less experience.
It’s doubtful that anyone will ever be able to replicate the level of access to the world’s most powerful minds represented in this book. The bottom line is: it’s well worth the cover price.
The basic theme of the book is one of self-determinism. Hill suggests that the concentrated energy of your thoughts and emotions, when applied to a specific desire for wealth, deeply internalized and without safety net, will manifest itself into it’s real-world equivalent.
Hardcore left-brainers and scientists will immediately write off this suggestion as hocus-pocus, but considering the source, my ears are open. I’m less concerned with how it works than I am with the fact that the richest men in history say it works.
I don’t care if it’s something as strange as a mystical universal energy, or if it’s as practical as improving one’s probability for success through focus and discipline; if it’s good enough for Carnegie, it’s good enough for me.
One concept that stood out to me on my second reading is Hill’s emphasis on focused desire. He suggests to write down a specific amount of money that you want by a specific time and what you will give in exchange for it. To me, this is a contrast from what I had been taught in the past: the practice of setting many goals in many different aspects of life at many different time intervals.
I like the idea of focusing all of your energy and mental power into one goal.
Hill suggests that in order to set the gears of the secret in motion, you have to first convince your subconscious to faithfully believe in your goal without an ounce of doubt. The best way to do this, according to Hill, is to repeat your goal statement over and over to yourself at least twice a day until your subconscious accepts it as reality.
What if what Napoleon Hill and the authors of “The Secret” are right, and the secret to success is as simple as repeating a few words over and over to yourself until you believe it to be true? Isn’t it worth a try?
Just think of the massive number of people who don’t even have the discipline to repeat a few words to themselves for fifteen minutes a day, even if it means missing out on success. Think of how many people will start out with great enthusiasm by following Hill’s suggestion, but will get bored of the practice after a week or two.
Are you really going to let go of your life’s dream because you got bored?
My favorite part of the book is the chapter on persistence. I’ve always taught that persistence is a better indicator of success than talent, and this book only added to that principle.
Failure is a necessary stop on the road to success. Those that can’t handle failure will quit. Quitters will never win because they defeat themselves. If you follow the principles of this book, you will never quit until you reach your goal.
Hill also emphasizes that you cannot achieve success in a vacuum. You can only achieve your dreams by joining forces with other people.
He suggests that the power within each of us is multiplied when combined with others who share a common goal. This idea was the precursor to the concept of synergy, where the sum of the whole is greater than the parts.
Read the Book
If you haven’t read the book, read it. If you’ve read it, read it again.
If you are a fan of “The Secret,” read Think and Grow Rich to learn the history. While “The Secret” does a great job of introducing us to the law of attraction, Think and Grow Rich provides far more detailed instructions on how to apply it.