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Book Review: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Updated on September 8, 2010
Napoleon Hill - The author of "Think and Grow Rich"
Napoleon Hill - The author of "Think and Grow Rich"

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:

  1. Desire
  2. Faith
  3. Autosuggestion
  4. Specialized Knowledge
  5. Imagination
  6. Organized Planning
  7. Decision
  8. Persistence
  9. The Master Mind
  10. The Mystery of Sexual Sublimation
  11. The Subconscious Mind
  12. The Brain
  13. 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.


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    lali chouksey 6 years ago

    this book is very inspiring.

    thank u mr.hill

  • profile image

    WILLIS BONDO 7 years ago

    I have managed to read this and its true the book is very inspirational and development oriented. It gives very important hints on prosperity.Since we live alife of desperity, one do not need to apply every concept he/she gets from this book but which is relevant depending on what one does.

  • profile image

    jules henry 7 years ago


  • profile image

    scheng1 8 years ago

    It's a great book. I've read it twice and make it a point to read it every year.

  • profile image

    Ken at Free 8 years ago

    I am studying this book. My biggest Goal is be successful like so many other people who read this book. But reading must be followed up by following the 13 steps which are in book. I am in a mastermind group which helps having positive people around you supporting each other.

    ken J meakin



  • Hovalis profile image

    Hovalis 8 years ago from Australia

    I must go and have a look for that one. Thanks WestOcean! :-)

  • WestOcean profile image

    WestOcean 8 years ago from Great Britain

    They say there is nothing new under the sun... I would also recommend Emmet Fox's Seven Day Mental Diet for another classic pre-war New Thought classic. The text is available online.

  • Hovalis profile image

    Hovalis 9 years ago from Australia

    That's the thing I found as well. There are parts I agree with and parts that almost make me want to cringe. I think it is good to remember the decade in which this book was written when reading it. Opinions change over time, and so do sensibilities. What was considered normal and acceptable then isn't now. It can throw you when you read this book.

  • marcofratelli profile image

    marcofratelli 9 years ago from Australia

    I'm reading this book at the moment and taking some good statements out of it as I go - reading a book with a highlighter is a good idea. I have also come across statements/views/opinions that I disagree with or find offensive. One of them is where Napoleon describes Jesus as "a dreamer".