On my journey to self-betterment, there are myriad concepts that continually surface as beneficial to personal growth: meditation, tracking habits/expenses, taking actionable steps toward a goal, creating a strong support system, etc. Some guiding texts are frequently referenced as well.
One of those is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Mr. Hill’s book has consistently appeared on great thinkers’ and entrepreneurs’ recommended reading lists and has sold millions of copies since being published in 1937.
I think at first, it’s the title that really grabs everyone. I mean, who wouldn’t want to just have a thought, as they do hundreds or thousands of times per day, and have money materialize into their lives? That’s really what happens for successful people, right? But of course, life isn’t that easy, and rich is subjective. This is another book about mindset, about having a visceral desire for what you want to achieve and adjusting your thoughts and actions to achieve that.
I found plenty of interesting nuggets of wisdom in this book, such as, “When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”; and, “Opinions are the cheapest commodities on earth. Everyone has a flock of opinions ready to be wished upon anyone who will accept them. If you are influenced by “opinions” when you reach DECISIONS, you will not succeed in any undertaking.” It’s quite a quotable book and fits well with the “manifestation” movement that seems to be taking over the personal development and self-help space.
While I think there may be something to manifestation and the law of attraction he alludes to– adjusting your mentality toward a particular goal, a certain desire, believing it fully, and essentially aligning yourself in such a way that The Universe turns that energy of belief into a reality– there are parts of it that really come off as a little… “woo-woo.” For me, attracting things into your life is less about “raising your vibration” and the telepathic connection Hill outlines and more about retraining the conscious and subconscious mind to find connections and opportunities, as well as planting seeds with others that help to make those connections. Perhaps the energies and wavelengths referenced will one day prove to exist in the way that Napoleon Hill and many others before and since have described, but right now, the massive computing power of the human brain and the many unknown functions of it make a lot more sense.
A couple of the concepts, however, really stuck out to me as applicable and effective. First, the idea of the Mastermind is often referenced in entrepreneurial circles. A Mastermind is two or more people coming together to create something that is greater than the sum of the parts. This could be a support group, or a goal-oriented group, or simply a meeting of the minds. Second, and perhaps the most poignant and ubiquitous idea, is that everything comes down to YOU. Without your desire and your actions toward reaching it, nothing will happen. The Universe only works as hard as you do at achieving your goals. If nothing else, these two as described in detail by the author make reading the book worthwhile.
Overall, I think this is a book that anyone who’s looking to improve themselves would do well to read. Whether or not Mr. Hill actually was a protege of Andrew Carnegie or met and/or influenced all of the movers and shakers he casually name-drops throughout the book, it does inspire and provides good thinking points and even some exercises to change your perspective. And while it primarily talks about the application to money, monetary wealth can easily be replaced with any other goal. If you’re looking to grow yourself, it can’t hurt to add Think and Grow Rich to your list.