So what’s the secret? How do I become rich and powerful, what do I need to do?
We probably asked ourselves questions along these lines at some point of our lives (after all, who doesn’t want to be rich?) Some of the more eager of us may have even looked into this topic more thoroughly by searching the depths of the Internet and ravaging non-fiction library shelves.
According to Mr. Napoleon Hill, however, the answer to these questions is not so secret. His argument for the root of success and financial independence begins with the prerequisite of ones deep internal desire for something. Hill addresses this (and similar) question in his book, which was dubbed as the most important financial book ever written. Spoiler alert: Mr. Hill never actually (explicitly) shares the secret with the readers. He does, though, leave a number of clues throughout the book, and leaves a pencil for the sharper of readers to connect the dots of success on their own.
It’s hard to filter through the hundreds of self help books and fluff filled waste of time articles to get to the good stuff. Napoleon Hill’s book – Think and Grow Rich opts to deliver you the “key to financial wealth and power”. It’s a fairly widespread opinion that Hill has written a very deep book on the power of the subconscious. The book sold tens of millions of copies to this day, and the popularity does not seem to die down – the hot self-help book constantly finds its way back to the New York Times bestseller list.
Well ahead of his time, Hill published the first edition of Think and Grow Rich in 1937 after completing 2 decades of research. Hill’s research began when the steel tycoon – Andrew Carnegie – assigned him with organizing a Philosophy of Personal Achievement. Though gig for a mediocre journalist armed only with an introductory letter from Carnegie.
Despite the unlikely success of the project, Hill set out to interview over 500 ridiculously successful people, including Thomas Edison, Alexander Bell, George Eastman and many, many other iconic figures. After years of interviews and data analysis, Hill finally revealed the priceless wisdom of the most successful in the form of the 13 steps to success (all of which are listed and expanded upon in this book).
The fundamental concepts that are described and taught by Napoleon Hill are bound to change a life or two (maybe even a few million). Napoleon Hill was often described as “wise, humble and funny,” by both his friends and colleagues. Hill makes it a point to make the reader think and reflect on the text – he does not simply spoon feed his audience his opinion. Regardless of how you read it, the book will teach you how to become rich – and the riches Hill refers to throughout the book are more than money; the Philosophy of Personal Achievement can be applied to anything in life.
All of that aside, let’s focus a little more on the contents of this undoubtedly great read.
Think and Grow Rich contains a large number of great arguments and unique ideas, but the gist of it can be summarized in a few points.
- When you want something, and you want it bad enough it’s important to set a plan. Goal setting will help you accomplish your most desired wants. Let nothing stop you and you will be successful.
- Critical thinking is very important. Pick a mentor group of people you hold to high regard and if you’re ever confused or uncertain – imagine what they’d advise you to do.
- Finally, Hill was a huge believer that a positive mental attitude can solve all problems.
The three points above don’t really do the book its due justice. There is so much you can take away, but it’s a good first taste for those that have never touched this book (if you still fall into this category, I strongly recommend you give it a read.)
Let’s look at that first point in a little more detail, considering it’s arguably the most prominent concept of Hill’s work. Throughout his book, Hill emphasizes the importance of having a set goal, and actively thinking of ways of reaching it. It’s not enough to simply want something. You need to crave it, you need to breath it. Every conscious thought needs revolve around your goal – you need to obsess over it, and your daily choices have to revolve around it. When these conditions are met Hill argues that it becomes very difficult not to find a way to reach your goal – whatever that goal may be.
Only one question remains: Do you want it bad enough?
Although Hill doesn’t tell us the secret to becoming rich and powerful (per se), he still inspired a lot of minds to try and decipher his message. A guy named Brian Kim wrote a whole book ‘revealing’ Hill’s secret. Kim doesn’t beat around the bush nearly as much as Hill and states the hidden secret in the very first chapter – resolving all ambiguity once and for all.
Brian Kim wasn’t the only person to get inspired by Hill, and there have been many self-help books based on similar principles ever since. A great example of this is the 2006 best seller – The Secret. (The little self-help book sold over 20 million copies, how secret can this secret be?)
The Secret is based on the superstitious law of attraction and claims that positive thinking can yield life-changing results, such as increased wealth, health and happiness. This concept is very similar to Hill’s – who is a strong believer in the power of the mind. Mind you, Hill doesn’t simply suggest that you sit on your tush waiting for wealth and happiness to fall into your lap. It takes a lot more effort than that. “Wishing will not bring riches.” he writes. “But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, [and] planning […] will.” Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? So what are you waiting for?
Goal setting and planning as a road to success seems so obvious, and yet this elementary concept seems to intimidate people. Some will read and read and read, but never apply what they learn. Simply soaking up information and letting it go to waste might be even worse than remaining ignorant.
Have you read a book or listened to a powerful speech and get motivated enough to “change your life”? You work on defining your goals for a day or two, but do nothing after that. Eventually you read another book, and still nothing happens. This becomes your source of frustration and you believe that the key will be found in the next self-help book, or the next seminar you pay hundreds of dollars to attend. This leads to an inescapable cycle that traps people not strong or dedicated enough to follow through.
Hill and those following him make a point to explain that wanting something is not enough. You need to have that burning passion inside of you, and you need to be willing to give anything it takes to achieve your goals – only then will you be successful. Fear of the unknown is a naturally occurring phenomenon in us humans, but it’s also amongst the things that prevent us from tapping into our fullest potential and achieving our greatest dreams.
As mentioned somewhere above, Think and Grow Rich has influenced and inspired thousands of lives. Amongst these people are a number of “rich and famous” public figures like Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffett. These multi-millionaires are amongst the masses that were moved by Hill – Oprah even credits some of her hard earned success to this book. Warren Buffett took the time to read Think and Grow Rich on one of his business flights. Although, he doesn’t explicitly state that the book influenced his success in one way or another, it’s still quite clear that Buffett has a very similar outlook on life. Buffet himself grew rich from an early age, and he also brings his wisdom to the world.
Oprah and Warren Buffett are just two of the many successful people that have read Hill’s book. After all, Think and Grow Rich is very easy to read, and the whole book is only around a manageable 200 pages. Invest some time and pick up a copy, who knows – this quick and easy read might just change your life forever.