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Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
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Think and Grow Rich (1937)

by Napoleon Hill

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Timeless advice...even where he went wrong, he was still pretty much right on

Think & Grow Rich was Napoleon Hill's attempt to put his entire "philosophy of success" into a single volume, and he succeeded spectacularly, as is attested by the work's enduring popularity to this day.

Some of his ideas are now outdated, for instance his belief in psychic phenomena, which he picked up from many of his business leader friends like Henry Ford for whose generation this was not an uncommon view. But given that Harry Houdini had largely debunked such ideas (much to Arthur Conan Doyle's chagrin) by then, perhaps Hill should have known better.

At any rate, most of Hill's ideas have stood the test of time, and indeed have formed the basis for most self-help and success coaches since. For instance, Hill begins with the idea that you need a "definite chief aim" in life, akin to what Ayn Rand would later call a central purpose, and this thread is recognizable on down through Tim Ferriss's "dreamlining" exercises in The 4-Hour Work Week. Hill's own definite chief aim, for example, was to define and promote his "philosophy of success," and all his productive activities, his career, and his life were organized around this purpose, which did ultimately lead him to success.

Building on this foundation, Hill sets down a sequence of principles and steps necessary to turn your definite chief aim into reality, from developing a positive mental attitude to acquiring specialized knowledge. Even some of his more scientifically dubious ideas can be interpreted in a way that makes a lot of sense. For instance, he thinks that a lot of creative thinking involves tapping into some sort of "collective subconscious", but most of the examples he gives are explained perfectly well by the fact that the person has already stocked their own subconscious with lots of specialized knowledge. And the phenomena he discusses in what he calls a "mastermind group" need not involve literal mind-reading, but may be instances of "group flow" (see Steven Kotler's The Rise of Superman).

My personal favorite part of the book, though, is when Hill works up the courage to admit to an unusual practice of his, which he had actually mentioned in previous works (such as The Law of Success) but had attributed to "a friend". For many years, every night in bed Hill would hold an imaginary round-table council in his mind, a sort of mastermind group of advisers composed of his personal heroes, including historical figures ranging from Thomas Paine and Abraham Lincoln to Charles Darwin. I found this idea absolutely charming, and have been working to implement it myself as I believe it could have even greater benefits than those Hill claimed for it. But then, that's as it relates to my own definite chief aim, so I won't claim that this would work or be particularly helpful or effective for everyone.

If you want to get Think & Grow Rich on audio, this "21st-Century Edition" (narrated by Michael McConnohie) is quite good, and far, far better than the other recent (though unrevised) audio edition narrated by Anthony Rogers, which I recommend avoiding like the plague. Rogers's British accent combined with his odd intonations and frequent mispronunciations makes it like listening to Think & Grow Rich as narrated by Nigel Tufnel, which isn't nearly as entertaining as it might sound! ( )
  AshRyan | Dec 19, 2014 |
Definitely useful. ( )
  waelrammo | Sep 14, 2014 |
This Audio book had a unique way of swithching disks that I liked. The beginning and end of each disk would have a lot of music so you'd realize that it was time to switch without being interrupted in thought by "End of Disk 1"

The rest of this was not appreciated. Granted taking my word for it might not be the best when it comes to self help books from someone who didn't actually follow the suggestions.

Regardless, this book badly needs to be updated for the 20th century. Did you know part of the reason I might be poor is because I don't have enough sex energy? Did you know that it doesn't matter if women are poor? They might kill themselves, but were not sure. Oh and every man loves a woman. None of this would go over by any 21st century publisher. ( )
  fulner | Aug 13, 2014 |
I love this book I own the 1987 edition and have read it several times over my life time. I have also read it with my 16 year old duaghter. The lesson in the book I have found to be timeless and priceless.
1 vote wMedina | May 12, 2014 |
A great Book, a classic that everyone should read and capitalise on. ( )
  stephen.tan | Jan 9, 2014 |
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A Word From The Author. In every chapter of this book, mention has been made of the money-making secret which has made fortunes for hundreds of exceedingly wealthy men whom I have carefully analyzed over a long period of years.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449214923, Mass Market Paperback)

Here are money-making secets that can change your life. Inspired by Andrew Carnegie's magic formula for success, this book will teach you the secrets that will bring you a fortune. It will show you not only what to do but how to do it. Once you learn and apply the simple, basic techniques revealed here, you will have mastered the secret of true and lasting success. And you may have whatever you want in life.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:06:31 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

An updated edition of the best-selling guide features anecdotes about such modern figures as Bill Gates, Dave Thomas, and Sir John Templeton, explaining how their examples can enable modern readers to pursue wealth and overcome personal stumbling blocks.… (more)

» see all 17 descriptions

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