Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill examines the psychological power of thought and the brain in the process of furthering your career for both monetary and personal satisfaction. Originally published in 1937, this is one of the all-time self-help classics and a must read for investors and entrepreneurial types.
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Who is this book for?
Despite the book’s title, this book is not about how to increase your income and become rich. The author’s philosophy can help just about anyone succeed in their professional life, achieve their aspirations, and attract success in their life, but it’s definitely a must-read for investors and entrepreneurs.
About the author
Napoleon Hill was an American author in the area of the new thought movement, who was one of the earliest producers of the modern genre of personal-success literature and is widely considered to be one of the great writers on success. Hill's works examined the power of personal beliefs, and the role they play in personal success. He became an advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933 to 1936.
In this summary
Think And Grow Rich (1937) is one of the best-selling books of all time. It examines the psychological power of thought and the brain in the process of furthering your career for both monetary and personal satisfaction. Enjoy the summary of this all-time self-help classic!
Towards Success Consciousness
Think And Grow Rich is a state of mind. It exploits the power of thought to manifest strong desires and a definite purpose into reality. Turning your all-consuming obsession (definite purpose) into a reality is not an easy task. However, if the desire is strong and you’re willing to raise the stakes, you will win. The author projects the following formula:
Desire + Ideas + Plans + Massive Action = Success
Start with your goal. What do you really want? A better job? To succeed in your current career? To work for a business leader who inspires you?
To achieve that goal, shifting your thinking from failure consciousness to success consciousness is the key. For this to happen, the question ‘how do I get a job?’ needs to change into ‘what can I give to a job?’, and ‘how do I get more dollars per hour?’ into ‘how do I give more energy, desire, focus?’
To get from where you are to where you want to be, the author highlights:
“Never quit. Never give up. Focus. Seek help. Make new connections. Take different approaches. Seek additional resources to help you improve your job search skills. Persist and find people who can help you to achieve your goals.”
The Turning Point Of Achievement
What do you desire above everything else? A powerful desire towards achieving a goal uses a combination of two types of motivation:
- Pull motivations (the outcome of the goal is so favourable, that it pulls you towards the goal)
- Push motivations (you are pushed to action because of the negative consequences of not taking action)
The author provides the mindset for 5 key areas of Desire:
Going from ‘what do I get?’ to ‘how will I grow?’ requires shifting from ego-driven concerns (title, salary, benefits etc.) to growth opportunities within the company and position.
To lead, first, you need to follow and learn from an existing leader. How would it affect your career if you became an apprentice to someone at the top of your field that you admire?
This is a series of steps that the author suggests for money-based desires.
- Be definite as to the amount of money or type of job.
- Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire.
- Establish a definite date when you intend to attain the money you desire.
- Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once.
- Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit, state what you intend to give in return, and describe the plan through which you plan to accumulate it.
- Read your written statement aloud, twice daily.
Look for lessons within failure and examine them without the emotional attachment of why something has failed. Use failure as a growth opportunity towards greater accomplishments.
Others People’s Desires
By helping the owner of a company or a manager achieve their goals (as an employee or freelancer), you also advance your own goals, because you progressively start excelling at the area of interest (provided this area is aligned with your own goals).
Visualisation & Belief In Attainment Of Desire
“Your own success or failure is based largely on your self-belief, and a mind-set of positive expectancy is the foundation of which your success can be achieved.”
Faith is the starting point of success and the glue that holds it all together. As a state of mind, faith can be induced or created through affirmations or repeated instructions to the subconscious mind. By encouraging positive emotions and eliminating negative emotions (such as doubt, denial, and fear), faith can be a useful tool in various ways:
- It is an antidote for failure.
- By believing in yourself, others will believe in you, too.
- Employers seek successful, confident people who can make a positive impact.
To summon faith in the form of self-confidence, the author suggests that you sign your name to a statement, which you should be repeating daily towards subconsciously influencing your thoughts and actions. This statement should include affirmations that acknowledge certain things about yourself:
- That you have the ability to achieve your purpose.
- That you promise to take action.
- That you understand that your thoughts will gradually transform into a physical reality.
- That you promise to dedicate time to ensuring that these thoughts become real.
- That you understand the importance of self-confidence and promise to spend 10 minutes a day working on this.
- That you will never stop trying to achieve your goals.
- That you are willing to serve others, and in turn will get others to serve you.
Find examples of people who are where you want to be (career-, money-, influence-wise, you name it), use their examples as a way to keep your faith strong, and remind yourself that your desire is possible to attain.
The Medium For Influencing The Subconscious
The principle of auto-suggestion communicates our desires directly to the subconscious mind in a spirit of unshakable faith.
Through routine repetition of our conscious thoughts and desires (as mentioned in the ritual of the “Faith” section above) to ourselves, we can regain absolute control over the material which reaches our subconscious mind, exercising control over our decisions, feelings, and actions.
4. SPECIALISED KNOWLEDGE
Personal Experience Or Observations
For our desires to translate into monetary, career, or another kind of success (which we’ve picked in the “Desire” step), we are first required to have specialised knowledge of the service, product, or profession of which we intend to offer in return for fortune.
Notably, this specialised knowledge doesn’t have to be in your possession already. Knowing how to purchase or rent knowledge is a popular way of fulfilling this step. Courses, seminars, books (or summaries!), industry conferences, they all improve your odds of acquiring the much-needed specialised knowledge for yourself.
Working with knowledgeable people (“renting knowledge”) is the other – equally powerful – side of the spectrum. Lifelong learning is obviously necessary for an ambitious person to keep up with all the latest developments in their field.
The Workshop Of The Mind
Ideas are products of and given a shape or form through imagination.
“Humans can create anything they can imagine.”
The author mentions two types of imagination. Synthetic imagination:
this faculty includes arranging old concepts, ideas or plans into new combinations. And creative imagination: this faculty is where ideas come from (“infinite intelligence”) and “hunches” and “inspirations are received.
To make the best use of your imagination towards achieving your big goal, come up with a list of ideas that will both inspire you and allow you to best utilise your talents.
6. ORGANISED PLANNING
The Crystallisation Of Desire Into Action
Simply hoping to succeed at your goal is not the answer. Every achievement starts with a strong desire, workshopped to reality through imagination, followed by an organised plan.
No plan is perfect. When you execute your plan, you will likely experience a temporary defeat. The best way to approach defeat is to simply accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound. Rebuild your plans and keep pursuing your goal, armed with the knowledge of your previous failures.
Don’t give up before you reach your goal, because quitters do not get to see their long-term plans come to fruition.
The Mastery Of Procrastination
“Tell the world what you intend to do, but first show it freedom or death on a decision.”
People who fail to succeed, without exception, reach decisions, if at all, very slowly, and change their minds quickly and often. Successful people reach decisions promptly and definitely, changing their mind slowly. They know what they want and, generally, get it. Definiteness of decision always requires courage. Procrastination, the opposite of decision, is a common enemy which practically every person must conquer.
The Sustained Effort Necessary To Induce Faith
Lack of persistence is one of the major causes of failure. It can be conquered but this depends entirely upon the intensity of one’s desire – weak desires bring weak results. The basis of persistence is the power of will, and it’s also influenced by other factors, such as:
- Definiteness of purpose
- Definiteness of plans
- Accurate knowledge
Which of the aforementioned factors are you lacking, which might be hindering your persistence? On the contrary, lack of persistence begets the following symptoms:
- Lack of interest
- Weakness of desire
- Willingness to quit
- Lack of organised plans
- Wishing instead of willing
- Searching for shortcuts
- Fear of criticism
So, how does one develop persistence?
The author suggests the following 4 steps:
- Develop a definite purpose, backed by a burning desire for its fulfillment.
- Build a definite plan, expressed in continuous action.
- Keep out all negative and discouraging influences.
- Stay accountable to people who will encourage you to follow through your plan and purpose.
9. POWER OF THE MASTERMIND
The Driving Force
A mastermind is having a team of people in place, whose job it is to help you succeed and carry out your plans. Who could be in your team and how could you form one in the next 30 days? Nobody can acquire great power and succeed without the power of a mastermind. According to the author:
“No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind”.
The goal of a mastermind is to convert knowledge into power, by organising it into definite plans, and then translating plans into action.
10. TRANSMUTATION OF SEX
Converting Sex Into A Highly Creative Outlet
Sex has three constructive potentialities:
- Perpetuation of mankind
- Maintenance of health
- Transformation of mediocrity into genius through transmuting
The desire for sex is the most powerful of human desires. Its motivating force brings keenness of imagination, courage, will-power, persistence and creative ability unknown to people at other times.
Sexual drive (the thoughts of physical expression) can be transmuted into highly creative and productive outlets, used as a powerful force for success, or, of course, the accumulation of riches. It requires the exercise of will-power, but the reward is worth the effort.
11. SUBCONSCIOUS MIND
The Connecting Link
The subconscious mind is the connecting link between the finite mind of a human and infinite intelligence.
The subconscious mind can be used as a medium for transmuting your desires into their physical or monetary equivalent. However, if you fail to plant your own desires into it, as a result of your neglect, it will feed upon any thoughts that reach it.
To gain control over your subconscious mind, form the habit of applying and using to your advantage the following 7 major positive emotions: Desire, Faith, Love, Sex, Enthusiasm, Romance, Hope.
The mere presence of a single negative emotion in your conscious mind might be sufficient to destroy all chances of constructive aid from your subconscious mind. The 7 major negative emotions to avoid are; Fear, Jealousy, Hatred, Revenge, Greed, Superstition, Anger.
Eventually, the positive emotions will dominate your mind completely, so that the negative ones cannot enter.
12. THE BRAIN
A Broadcasting And Receiving Station For Thought
Every human brain is both a broadcasting and receiving station for the vibration of thought.
The subconscious mind is the “sending station” of the brain, through which vibrations of thought are broadcast.
The creative imagination is the “receiving set,” through which the vibrations of thought are picked up from the ether.
When stimulated (“stepped up”) to a high rate of vibration, the mind becomes more receptive to the vibration of thought. This “stepping up” takes place through positive or negative emotions.
Vibrations of an exceedingly high rate are the only vibrations picked up and carried, by the ether, from one brain to another.
13. THE SIXTH SENSE
The Door To The Temple Of Wisdom
The understanding of the sixth sense comes only by meditation, through mind development from within.
Once you’ve mastered the sixth sense, you will be able to receive warnings about impending dangers in time to avoid them and get notified of opportunities in time to embrace them.
However, the sixth sense will never function if indecision, doubt, and fear remain in your mind. They are closely related: indecision crystallises into doubt, and the two blend to become the end result, fear.
The 6 basic fears are; Poverty, Criticism, Ill Health, Loss of love, Old age, Death. However, there’s also a 7th ‘enemy’: susceptibility to negative influences.
To shield yourself from this enemy, like all people who accumulate great riches, you have to:
- Put your willpower into constant use, until you build immunity against negative influences in your own mind,
- Deliberately seek the company of people who influence you to think and act from a positive standpoint, and
- Use your willpower to gain control over your thoughts and influence your subconscious mind.
Fear is just a state of mind. It is subject to control and direction. Use this knowledge to your advantage.
“Man’s thought impulses begin immediately to translate themselves into their physical equivalent, whether those thoughts are voluntary or involuntary.”
- The book exploits the power of thought to manifest strong desires and a definite purpose into reality.
- Faith is the glue that holds it all together.
- Every achievement starts with a strong desire, workshopped to reality through imagination, followed by an organised plan.
- Successful people reach decisions promptly and definitely, changing their mind slowly.
- Lack of persistence is one of the major causes of failure.
- To acquire great power & succeed, you need the help of a mastermind.
- Sexual drive, transmuted into creative and productive outlets, can be a powerful force for success.
- Fear is just a state of mind. It is subject to control and direction.
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If you are interested in the money side of things, Rich Dad Poor Dad is a really interesting perspective on lessons learned from a Rich Man and a Poor Man. This book by Robert T Kiyosaki includes helpful tips on how to translate these lessons into real life and become rich yourself!
Guidelines is my eBook that summarises the main lessons from 33 of the best-selling self-help books in one place. It is the ultimate book summary; Available as an 80-page ebook and 115-minute audiobook. Guidelines lists 31 rules (or guidelines) that you should follow to improve your productivity, become a better leader, do better in business, improve your health, succeed in life and become a happier person.
- Think about your burning desire you seek to accomplish.
- Create a definite plan to carry out and set a deadline for it.
- Form a mastermind of people to hold you accountable.
- Download the complete book on Amazon.
This summary is not intended as a replacement for the original book and all quotes are credited to the above-mentioned author and publisher.