Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill: Lessons From The Greatest Book Ever Written

Napoleon Hill was an American author who wrote several self-improvement books.  His work and philosophy has inspired success all over the world, his books being instruments of empowerment in the ordinary man’s hand. His work was written during the Great Depression, but his rules and ideas hold true to this day. Not only that, but they seem to be a way out for those going through personal Great Depressions.

Think and Grow Rich” is the title of his most brilliant work. In this book, Hill presents his conclusions drawn from years of studying successful and rich people.  The author sets down 13 principles, all of them implementing his unique ‘philosophy of achievement’.

LESSON 1: The Difference between Wish and Desire

The author spends a great deal of the book talking about desire. It’s a recurring theme that one needs to understand in order to grasp the book’s purpose. It’s no coincidence, that he has chosen this principle to be the first on the list.

Desire vs. Wish

Desire is much different than wish, Hill says. In fact, wishing proves to be useless, since it rarely inspires commitment. Only truly wanting something will make a person work hard towards achieving it. But what do we want?

If the object of wanting is money, then there must be a specified amount of money we want. Without a concrete vision in our mind, without knowing exactly what we want, how can we ever achieve it? Our desires have to be quantified and qualified in order to become realistic.


Hill’s second principle in Think and Grow Rich brings Faith as a necessary tool that helps Desire. In the face of failure, believing that you are capable and deserving is what will drive you to try again and again.

The third principle of Auto-Suggestion combines the previous two into one habit that every aspiring person should have. This is the habit of visualization.

Repeating the goal out loud, every morning and evening, while imagining it in your head, will help you stay focused on what your goal actually is. Auto-Suggestion requires practice on the reader’s part. To increase its efficiency even more, one should always visualize not just success, but the outcome of this success.

LESSON 2: Being Prepared

Preparation is something that takes up years of hard work. In today’s golden age of information, it’s easy to aimlessly wonder amongst the knowledge surrounding us. Despite this, when you already have something that you desire, it’s easy to start ‘preparing’.

Specialized Knowledge Builds Your Brand

The next principle in Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, called Specialized Knowledge teaches the reader the importance of having a field, a vocation, a niche.  Knowledge is crucial, but it doesn’t always have to come in its traditional form. Education and experience can only do so much, but successful people always advance themselves in their chosen field.

Imagination Gives You Wings

Implementing the knowledge requires Imagination, which is the following principle. Hill divides imagination into two types: creative and synthetic. Synthetic imagination is the form that utilizes old ideas and findings to conceive new ones, while creative imagination is independent of those. Imagination, regardless of its form, is crucial to the principle of Auto-Suggestion.

Planning Grounds You into Reality

Hill makes a point in saying that without a solid plan, any amount of imagination is worthless. For this reason, he listed Organized Planning as one of his principles. It is more than apparent what the author conveys through this principle. However, he does offer some new, refreshing views on leadership.

Become a Leader

The author makes a fine distinction between what it means to be a leader or a follower. He says that being successful doesn’t necessarily require you to become a leader, but the benefits of being a follower are scarce. This is why most people who have accumulated a good amount of material goods first started out as followers and then grew into leaders.

LESSON 3: A Successful Person’s Traits

Hill’s inspiration for writing this book was a man named Andrew Carnegie – a business mogul and philanthropist. It is said that this book was loosely based on Carnegie’s suggestions to Hill. It is no surprise that Hill dedicated four principles to the behavior and character of a successful person.

Your Decisions Make You

His principle, Decision, affirms Hill’s opinions on leadership. He emphasizes that a good leader knows how to make a decision in a reasonable timeframe and stand their ground to this decision. This, however, doesn’t mean rushing to make a decision just to appear as a leader and arguing its legitimacy even though it’s false.

Once you realize the power of choice and how it creates your life, you will embark on the path of success. This is one of the most important lessons from Think and Grow Rich.

Never Give Up

Persistence, which is the subsequent principle, gives a different perspective to the reader. Its purpose is to show that failure is inevitable and the likelihood of achieving one’s goal on the first try is quite slim. When the first try is unfruitful, one should try again and try harder. What’s more, every try should utilize a different solution to the problem, since the previous ones had obviously failed.

Create A Master Mind Group

Hill’s concept of the Master Mind is next on his list of principles. Here, he describes it as “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.” In this sense, one should always surround themselves with the type of people that are only going to further one’s ambitions, rather than discourage them.

Express Sexuality through Work and Achievement

Arguably the most questionable principle of this whole book is called Transmutation. This principle likens the sexual drive to a general drive for financial success.  Hill’s viewpoint on this is that people can suppress their sexual agendas are often the ones who can channel their sexual energy into useful tasks.

LESSON 4: Success is a Way of Thinking

The last three principles are perhaps the most meaningful, since they focus on the mindset of the reader. Hill believes that controlling the subconscious is the key to reaching prosperity, which he also laid out in some previous principles such as Auto-Suggestion.

Emotions and the Subconscious

According to the author, the most crucial parts like Desire, Faith and Persistence are most accessible and most easily controlled through the Subconscious. Emotions affect the subconscious greatly, so one should be careful when giving into them.

Hill divides emotions into desirable and undesirable. Desirable emotions will serve to strengthen one’s Desire and those are desire, faith, love, sex, enthusiasm, romance, and hope. As opposed to those, undesirable emotions will harm the subconscious and one should avoid these at all costs:  fear, jealousy, hatred, revenge, greed, superstition, and anger. This is a great lesson learned from Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

Surround Yourself with Winners

In the next principle called Brain, Hill states that “every human brain is capable of picking up vibrations of thought which are being released by other brains”. In this sense, one should always surround oneself with like-minded, ambitious people, as well as unite brainpower into a single task for increased productivity.

Trust Your Sixth Sense

The final principle is named Sixth Sense. This is the crown of Hill’s masterpiece and perhaps the hardest point to prove in a practical way. Hill says one can choose to either accept or not accept it. By ‘it’, the author is referring to something we know as ‘instinct’ or ‘gut feeling’. This feeling sharpens with age and one needs time to start relying on it.

Final Thoughts

Think and Grow Rich was written about 80 years ago, but its teachings are still applicable. Not only that, but they seem to change the way readers think about success. To describe it as a self-improvement book would be an understatement because the author has conveyed a deeper knowledge that today’s generations lack.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is a guiding light that shows how wishes turn into desires, and desires turn into reality.

2 Responses

  1. Hempextract

    I am feeling proud because i read this book and i learned a lot from this book how to get success this book motivate me to do something hard according to desires and dreams.

  2. John S

    Andrew Carnegie – not Adam Carnegie. Good read tho on Think And Grow Rich.


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