Book Review: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
The Book that Spawned an Industry
"All impulses of thought have a tendency to clothe themselves in their physical equivalent"
Sometimes it's good to go back to the source. If you've seen "The Secret" and read all the blurbs then you may know that much of the information has directly or indirectly taken from "Think and Grow Rich". Before you throw down big bucks on yet another course it is definitely worth going back and reading the original text.
I should mention that the version of the book I am reviewing is the 1937 original text. I picked up a copy in the late 1980s in a second hand bookstore, and read part of it before putting it back in the bookshelf, because something disturbed me. I couldn't remember what that was until I re-read the book this week, but I'll go more into that later. I know that there have been several revisions to the book in the meantime, so this review will not take those into account.
Napoleon Hill is a man of firm and definite beliefs. He spent 20 years studying successful men and how they thought before writing this book. The year was 1936, and America was just coming out of the Great Depression. This book was just in time for the turn around in fortunes, and published only 2 years before war was declared in Europe. The effects of the Great Depression can be felt just by reading this book, some of the desperation of the time seeps in. Hill tells us how it was a mindset rather than economic reality that led to the fall of fortunes of so many individuals.
He wrote this book to reveal what rich men do that others do not to succeed. It's about thought, and how that leads to action, which in turn leads to wealth. He breaks down the formula to success into 13 principles:
- Specialized Knowledge
- Organized Planning
- The Master Mind
- The Mystery of Sexual Sublimation
- The Subconscious Mind
- The Brain
- The Sixth Sense
His passion and belief in his life's work bound off every page. It's hard not to get swept up in Hill's enthusiasm for his principles. He shows you how to make them work for you, and how you need to change your thinking if you are ever going to succeed.
"Think and Grow Rich" is also a product of its time. When I picked this book out of a box the other day I couldn't remember what it was that had caused me to not finish reading it the first time. Some of Hill's views disturbed me. There is one section where the racism in the book is overt. In fact, I recall now, this is the reason I didn't finish the book the first time. I got to this part, and was so apalled that I couldn't read any further. This time I cringed and kept on reading, because I wanted to see what else Hill had to say.
When he starts talking about the place of women, I had was finding it hard to push on as well. It wasn't until I recalled that this book was written before women had even got the vote in the United States that I managed to mentally step back and continue on. It's possible that some of these sections have been edited in later editions, but without reading the revised versions I can't be sure.
This book is one of the first motivational self-help books. If you are working with the Law of Attraction then it's worth getting a copy and reading it for yourself. You will need to adjust what he has to say for the world we live in today. You'll be surprised just how much of the courses and books you see on this subject come directly from this book.
This book is well worth adding to your collection, either as a historical curiosity, or to use as a base for your studies into the Law of Attraction. Napoleon Hill certainly knew his stuff, and wasn't afraid to speak his mind, and because of that it is an interesting read. If you do get it take your time reading and have a notebook handy or a highlighter. There's more depth here than you see in the first round of reading.