Think & Grow Rich (The Definitive Summary) by Napoleon Hill
The Key Facts & Ideas Explained
How You Can Improve Every Aspect of Your Life (With Just 14 Principles)
Voted in the top 10 business books of all time, its principles are timeless.
The year was 1937, and the Great Depression was ravaging the world. Things were particularly tough in the United States, where the unemployment rate was as high as 25% (up from an average of 5%, before that fateful day in 1929).
Out of that background, this classic business success book came along.
Think and Grow Rich is probably the most famous, long time #1 classic business success books of all time.
First published in 1937, this book contains lessons for anyone who wants to find their life purpose – and they are still incredibly current today.
Hill researched more than 40 of the 20th century’s greatest minds and thought leaders. In Think and Grow Rich, he shares the insights, imparting the knowledge gained from the likes of Theodore Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, and more.
Find out what made these men who they were, and join 15 million other readers who have learnt from them. Brian Tracy built his business off the back of it. Jorden Belfort put it down to him making $50 million a year.
How will it change your fortunes?
Only one way to find out: grab a copy.
The Starting Point of All Achievement
How bad do you really want it?
The first rinciple of Think and Grow Rich gives us the foundation of getting what we want in life.
It is the state of mind called “a burning desire to win”.
This is different than wishing.
Everybody wishes they had more money, were in better shape and had better relationships.
Successful people have a burning desire to do something – and this becomes evident from the results they achieve.
Hill’s six-step method for turning your burning desire to succeed into becoming rich is as follows:
- Be clear about the amount you want. Make it a number.
- Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for that amount.
- Establish the date you intend to have earned the amount you chose in step 1.
- Create your plan to make it happen, and put it into motion now, even if you feel you aren’t ready.
- Write out a clear, concise statement of steps 1 through 4.
- Read your statement aloud twice per day – when you wake up, and when you go to bed. As you read the statement, see, feel and believe that you already have the money.
Visualization of – and Belief In – The Attainment of Desire
This principle is about believing – in the very core of your being – that you will achieve the plan you have set in motion.
There must be no doubt lurking in your subconscious mind, or else you’ll find all sorts of reasons to procrastinate.
You can train your subconscious to support you by feeding it a steady diet of positive thoughts.
In particular, you should concentrate your thoughts on two things:
- Firstly, tell yourself you possess the ability to achieve your plan; and therefore demand of yourself persistent and continuous action toward its attainment.
- Secondly, your thoughts will eventually reproduce themselves in outward action, pushing you to be the person you intend to become.
Hill was ahead of his time. Since then, there have been plenty of studies showing that “acting as if” can put you into more positive states of mind, causing your behaviour to change in a way that is congruent with your goals.
The Medium for Influencing the Subconscious Mind
This one is an extension of the second principle. Hill suggests that by using affirmations and visualization, we’ll be more likely to accomplish our goals.
If you want more money, the theory goes, you should visualize yourself having more money.
But here’s the critical twist:
You should also visualize yourself performing the service that you’ll give in return for those riches.
This causes the two things to be permanently linked in your mind.
Specifically, you need to say – out loud – how much money you intend to obtain, and how you intend to obtain it.
You should do this twice a day – morning and night.
Why is this important?
Because your subconscious will learn that, if you want more money, you should do more of the things that will get you more money. As a result you will find yourself doing more – with less effort and less resistance.
Personal Experiences or Observations
According to Think and Grow Rich, the only way to get rich is to have some sort of specialized knowledge that the market will value and pay for.
General knowledge is of little use in your empire building.
There are two parts to this.
1. Identify what knowledge you need.
This will change over time depending on the current state of the market.
Many years ago somebody who could tell you how to use your fax machine (what’s a fax machine?) to generate leads for your business would be in high demand. Today, not so much.
2. Figure out how to acquire that knowledge.
This requires you to have dependable sources of knowledge, which you can acquire through:
- Your own experience and education;
- The experience and education of people in your network;
- Specialized training courses. (Hill said night school or home study schools – but if he were alive today, he’d most likely say online as well.)
The magic happens when the information is organized and utilized through purposeful plans.
Because the marketplace is continually changing, to bring this full circle to life your knowledge base must change too.
As Hill says in the book:
“Successful men, in all callings, never stop acquiring specialized knowledge related to their major purpose, business or profession.”
The Workshop of the Mind
Man can create anything he can imagine. That’s the crux of the fifth principle.
Hill suggests that there are two forms of imagination.
The first is synthetic imagination, which combines old ideas into new combinations.
The second is creative imagination, which is the act of creating something from nothing.
He argues that truly new ideas and thoughts are unearthed when the conscious mind is stimulated through the emotion of a strong desire – like achieving your biggest goals and dreams.
He also makes the argument that hard work alone is not enough to bring riches.
It requires a combination of ideas, definite purpose, and definite plans.
The best way to have a great idea, the saying goes, is to have a lot of ideas.
The Crystallization of Desire Into Action
While many of today’s “self-help” books tell you that you can manifest your reality with your mind alone, Hill was a little more practical.
If we are going to achieve our goals, we need a bulletproof plan to get there.
- Do you have a business plan?
- Is it bulletproof?
- Do you need help?
He suggests that we create a Master Mind group to help crystallize the plan (more on this in Principle 9).
Because the only way to make sure your plan is truly bulletproof is surrounding yourself with other people who can help you get to where you want to go.
That said, you also need to make sure you are continually updating your plan.
Temporary defeat, as Hill called it, will almost always stand between where you are today and where you want to go.
Understanding this, and continually updating your plan as you get feedback from reality, is the key to your ultimate success.
Dwight Eisenhower has an often repeated quote that helps make this point:
“Planning is everything; the plan is nothing.”
Get your bulletproof business plan TODAY…
The Mastery of Procrastination
Procrastination is the opposite of decision.
And we must fight it at every turn.
After studying the world’s most successful people and comparing them to unsuccessful people, Hill found that wealthy/successful people had a habit of reaching decisions quickly and changing their mind slowly, if at all.
It’s important to keep in mind that what allows successful people to arrive at a decision quickly is their complete clarity regarding the direction in which they are headed – and their plan to get there.
These two elements make most decisions very easy to make.
As Hill says, “The world has the habit of making room for the man whose words and actions show that he knows where he is going.”
The Sustained Effort Necessary to Induce Faith
We’ve already determined there will be many temporary defeats along your path.
Persistence – the combination of desire and willpower – is necessary if we want to reach our goals.
As Hill says: “A few carry on despite all opposition until they attain their goal. These few back then were Fords, Carnegies, Rockefellers, and Edisons.”
It might be a cliché to bring up Edison’s many failures in creating the light bulb, but his response “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” surely gives everybody hope.
Now, think about it for a second.
How many times are you willing to fail in pursuit of your goal?
When are you willing to stop?
If your gut instinct isn’t saying “I will never give up,” then you probably need to work more on some of the other principles.
Power of the Master Mind
The Driving Force
The creation of Master Mind groups is one of the core tenets of Hill’s teachings, and it’s a powerful one.
He describes it as: the “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”
Through these groups, Hill suggests that “men take on the habits and power of thought of those with whom they associate in a spirit of sympathy and harmony.”
One of the original Master Mind groups was formed by Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, John Burroughs, and Luther Burbank.
Things turned out pretty well for those people
Since then groups of successful people (usually CEOs) get together on a regular basis to help each other solve their biggest challenges.
Do you have a group?
Make sure you have a group of people that will challenge you and – ideally – you look up to as peers.
No matter what Think and Grow Rich chapter you are on, you should consider joining or forming a group of your own.
Subscribing to https://entrepreneursgateway.com/ is a great place to start… then continue your journey and become part of the family!
The Mystery of Sex Transmutation
I’ll just come right out and say it – this one is a little (a lot?) weird.
Here it is in his words, so you can judge for yourself.
“Fortunate, indeed, is the person who has discovered how to give sex emotion an outlet through some form of creative effort, for he has, by that discovery, lifted himself to the status of genius.”
What he’s saying is that if you can figure out how to channel your sexual energy into a creative/business pursuit, you’ll be more likely to become successful.
I’m going to leave this one without further comment.
BUT… Would love to hear your comments below on this, so make sure you comment…
The Subconscious Mind
The Connecting Link
This one is a little less controversial and has occupied volumes of self-help books published since.
The essence of this section is that your subconscious mind is influenced by your emotions, therefore you need to take great care to expose it to positive emotions instead of negative emotions.
According to Hill, there are seven positive emotions:
There are also seven dominant negative emotions:
Feed your mind on positive emotions instead of negative emotions, and you’ll be on the right path.
Is your glass half full or half empty?
A Broadcasting and Receiving Station for Thought
This section sees us return to some weird, unproven ideas.
It’s worth noting that most of what Hill describes in his book had not have been proven by science at the time of publication.
SO… maybe (just maybe), he is a little ahead of our time on this one, too.
Basically, Hill compared the brain to a radio (notice that today’s metaphor would probably be the computer), and said that it has a “sending station” and a “receiving set”.
His premise is that we can tap into collective human intelligence putting our minds in a state of high vibration through the application of the other principles in the book.
Sounds unscientific enough, right?
Until this theory is proven (please, tell me people are working on it), we’ll have to make do with the collective intelligence of the world we have access to through the wonders of the Internet.
At the same time though, in more practical (and less magical) terms, we could just say that:
We can use these principles to put ourselves in a receptive state for ideas to come to us, wherever it is they usually come from.
Maybe not so weird when stated like this, huh?
The Sixth Sense
The Door to the Temple of Wisdom
With this principle, Hill describes what we would today consider intuition.
He believed that there is something in our body that receives knowledge from sources other than our physical senses.
The way Hill suggests we access our intuition is creative – and if nothing else, it’s most certainly a Think and Grow Rich original.
He devised his own council of “Invisible Counsellors”, which included the people whose traits he wanted to acquire.
He held imaginary meetings in his mind with people he admired – including Edison, Napoleon, and Lincoln.
This means that he could imagine their advice, brainstorm with them, and put into focus what insights they might have had on his situation, had they actually been with him.
Not a bad strategy, huh?
Hill would imagine these meetings in vivid detail, and would later credit all of his hunches and intuition to them.
Give it a try sometime and see how it goes for you.
I would love to hear what you think about this, so don’t forget to comment below.
How to Outwit the Six Ghosts of Fear
Clearing the Brain for Riches
Finally, Hill tells us that, to become successful, we need to clear our minds of fear, which causes indecision and doubt to creep into our daily activities.
He indentified six fears:
- Ill health
- Loss of love
- Old age
Why is it important to be aware of these fears?
Because if we are worrying about them, we are not focusing on the things we need to do in order to become successful.
Our minds become split and we cannot function as we normally would.
But here’s the good news:
These fears are nothing more than states of mind. And we do have control over our minds.
We can then regain our drive by simply deciding to focus our attention on what we want to accomplish, rather than what we are afraid of.
It’s Your Turn
Now I’d like to hear from you:
What’s your #1 takeaway from today’s Good to Great book review?
Maybe you have a question.
Either way, I’ll be personally replying to comments and questions that come in.