Think and Grow Rich

Think and Grow Rich
Publisher: Chartwell Books
Published: 12/8/2015
Think and Grow Rich reveals the secrets that can bring you fortune. By suppressing negative thoughts and keeping your focus on the long term, you can find true and lasting success. Napoleon Hill details his philosophy through the 13 principles.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

What if the only thing standing between you and all the riches you’ve ever dreamed of, was the way you think about wealth? In Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, he talks about how mastering your mindset about money can lead you to the riches you’ve always dreamed of.

When Napoleon was a young journalist, he was tasked with interviewing Andrew Carnegie. Andrew was so impressed with the young journalist that he assigned him his next project: interview 500 millionaires and create a formula the average person can follow to lead them to the same success. Hill took on the task: interviewing presidents, leaders, and millionaires. Amongst them were Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Theodore Roosevelt. He came up with a formula encapsulated in 13 Principles. We will get to the principles he discovered. But first, a brief anecdote:

Edwin C. Barnes was hell-bent on working with Thomas Edison as his partner but had two problems. First, he didn’t know him. At all. Not only that, he didn’t have enough money to get to him to meet him either. He didn’t let either of these stands in his way. He figured out he could ride a freight train to where Thomas Edison worked at East Orange. Edison recounts meeting him and noticing the determination in his face. He said:

“I had learned from years of experience that when a man desires a thing so deeply… he is sure to win”.

The important thing about Barnes’ desire is that he knew EXACTLY what he wanted, and he wanted it with a high level of intensity… to the degree that he refused to give up regardless of how far from his goals he seemed. Eventually, after five years, he got his shot and was finally partnered with Edison. He didn’t give up.

What happens when you do give up? Ask Mr. Darby, who stopped drilling in a mine and later learned he was three feet away from gold. Had he kept going a mere three feet, he would have been a millionaire.

In fact, of the 500 of the most successful people in America who were interviewed, many of them stated that “their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.”

Change your mind from Failure Conscious to Success Conscious

When Henry Ford was making the V-8 engine, his engineers believed it was impossible. Ford found their opinions to be irrelevant and demanded they make it work anyway. And they did. Henry Ford was focused on success and possibility. His engineers were focused on how things would not work. Which one came out on top?

The 13 Principles

Desire is the Starting Point of all Achievement

Remember Barnes from earlier? Why exactly was he so successful? According to Hill, he chose a definite goal. He placed all of his energy and willpower into achieving it. It took him 5 years of working with Edison before his opportunity for achievement and the partnership he had dreamed of arrived. His desire was so strong that he could wait.

Desire is NOT wishing. Get clear on this: wishing for money will not bring you riches. Do this instead:


  1. Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire.
  2. Determine exactly what you are willing to give in return for the money you desire.
  3. Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.
  4. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire.
  5. Write out a clear and concise statement of the amount of money you desire. Name the time limit for its acquisition. State what you intend to give for the money. Describe clearly the plan you intend to use to get it.
  6. Read the statement at night and in the morning. As you read it, see, feel, and believe yourself to be in possession of the money.


Two things are essential here:

First… becoming money conscious. Here, this means becoming so obsessed with becoming rich that your mind is absolutely drenched in it and you can already see yourself in possession of it.

Second… generate a burning desire. That means desiring the money so deeply you are consumed with the desire for it.

It's ok if these steps sound insane.

Hill goes on to remind us that tolerance and an open mind are essential for good leadership. It also doesn’t hurt that these steps also endorsed by Thomas Edison and Andrew Carnegie.

So go ahead and give them a try.

And have some faith. Which coincidentally is the next principle.


The subconscious mind is a powerful thing. Hill talks about how the subconscious mind will manifest whatever it believes… and whether this helps or harms you is entirely up to you. Your belief or faith determines the actions of your subconscious mind. So how do you manage it? Hill gives a clear answer: act as if you were already in possession of the material thing you are demanding. He also discusses autosuggestion: The idea that if you create a suggestion your mind will often carry it out without realizing it. What does that mean exactly? We thought you’d never ask!

Auto Suggestion: The medium for influencing the subconscious mind

Autosuggestion is self-suggestion: and Hill calls it the link between the conscious and unconscious mind. The conscious mind is a guard to the subconscious mind. By monitoring the conscious mind, you can protect your unconscious mind.

How exactly do you do this?

Think back to the six steps above. The way to manifest them is through emotion. Unemotional words do not influence the subconscious mind. Generating emotion is difficult: but must be done. Think about how badly you want the riches you desire. Your ability to use auto-suggestion will be determined by your ability to concentrate on your burning desire until it becomes a burning obsession. The intensity of what you generate in your conscious mind will be mirrored in your subconscious mind, and then reflected in your actions.

However, wanting things alone will not get you the riches you desire. This is where specialized knowledge comes in.

Specialized Knowledge

Knowledge alone will not attract money unless it is utilized through plans of action. How do you develop plans of action? Education is key.

But what if you’re not particularly educated or book smart? Sometimes you don’t need to have the knowledge, you just need to know where to get it (more on that later).

Oh, and don’t feel inferior if you haven't had much schooling: neither did Henry Ford or Thomas Edison. If you’re not a school star, it's ok. Research done by Hill indicates that while some jobs like the academic stars, many prefer people who are well rounded academically and can get along well with others.

But, that doesn’t mean you can forget about scholarly pursuits.

“The person who stops studying merely because he is finished with school is forever doomed to a life of mediocrity.” Says Hill. If you want to think and grow rich, there isn’t a free pass to stop learning. Hill recommends being a lifetime learner. Lifelong learning is the result of habit - and according to Hill, both success and failure are products of habit… so you better get used to developing good ones.

Imagination can be used to combine ideas with specialized knowledge, creating a business plan that will get you rich. Which leads us to...

The Workshop of the Mind

Man’s only limitation lies in the use and development of his imagination. Imagination is the only way to make desires into reality. Plans require imagination to be created. Ideas can be transmuted into cash through the power of definite purpose and definite plans.

Basically, creating a definite purpose means you need plans to achieve it. But how will you do this? Through imagination. Creativity plays an essential role in solving problems and generating plans, which are two key elements of growing rich.

Now that you’ve got a grasp on how important creativity is, there is one element that is absolutely essential to manifesting your plans: the mastermind group.

Organized Planning

Here’s how you build plans once you have a practical vision.


  1. Ally yourself with a group of as many people as you need to make your creation. This essential. Don’t skip this. This is your “Master Mind” group. Henry Ford had one, and you should too.
  2. Decide what advantages you offer your group in return for their work before meeting with them.
  3. Agree to meet with your “Master Mind” group.
  4. Maintain perfect harmony between yourself and every member of this group.


Are you more of a loner? That’s too bad. According to Hill, you must accept that in order to achieve success, you need to work with other people.

Make sure any plans you create are approved and checked by your alliance. And make sure members of your alliance aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Failure is just part of the game, so you better have people on your team who are ready to stick it out with you.

Don’t forget: It's ok to start out as a follower. The skills that make someone a good leader often also make someone a good follower. And an intelligent follower can acquire useful knowledge from their leader. But, on the path to riches, it is important to remember that you’ll make less money as a follower.

You might be wondering what traits, according to Hill, make a successful leader. They are:


  1. Unwavering Courage
  2. Self Control
  3. A Keen Sense of Justice
  4. Definiteness of Decision
  5. Definiteness of Plans
  6. The Habit of Doing More Than Paid For
  7. Pleasing Personality
  8. Sympathy and Understanding
  9. Mastery of Detail
  10. Willingness to assume full responsibility
  11.  Cooperation


Kind of a lot to swallow, right? Anyone with all of those traits would be a formidable leader, but how do you develop these in yourself? More on that later, but first:

10 major causes of failure in leadership:


  1. Inability to organize details
  2. Unwillingness to render humble services
  3. Expectation of pay for what they know, instead of what they do with what they know.
  4. Fear of competition from followers
  5. Lack of imagination
  6. Selfishness
  7. Intemperence
  8. Disloyalty
  9. Emphasis on the authority of leadership
  10. Emphasis of title


All scary characteristics. However, none as scary as being caught in a trap of procrastination. What do you do about that?

The Mastery of Procrastination

Procrastination can often be caused by indecision. People who are successful have to make decisions frequently, and according to Hill, they make decisions promptly. They change them slowly if they need to be changed. Hill goes on to say that people who can’t make decisions are often too influenced by the opinions of others. That means if you are strongly influenced by the opinions of others, making decisions will be even harder. Don’t ignore others completely, though. It is important to seek out with wisdom of others when making decisions if it is a field where they are well versed or knowledgeable.

Remember, people who are successful make decisions promptly. They know what they want, and more importantly, they get it. Definiteness of decision requires great courage, which is why it is not often found. If you wish to obtain success, you must definitely decide to organize a plan of action. If you plan to manifest any ideas from your plan of action, you’ll need persistence.

Persistence: The Sustained Effort Necessary to Induce Faith

Men who are successful are often looked at as “cold-blooded.” But, what seems like cold-bloodedness is often willpower and desire: two essentials for success. If these are lacking, one will often demonstrate a lack of persistence. This lack is one of the major causes of failure.

So, how do you overcome this?

Remember building your desire? Weak desire produces weak results. The habit of persistence can be insurance against failure. If you find you are weak in persistence, surround yourself with a mastermind group to help.

You can also develop it by having a burning desire, a definite plan (with continuous action), a mind closed tightly against all negative influences, and a friendly alliance with someone who will encourage you. Definiteness of purpose is ESSENTIAL for riches.

Some find their persistence is eliminated because they fear criticism. For them, the fear of criticism outweighs the desire for success. Keep reading for tips on how to eliminate that fear. But first: more about the Master Mind.

Power of the Master Mind

Power is organized and intelligently directed knowledge. Therefore, to have power, you must first develop knowledge. Knowledge can be developed through a variety of means: by intelligence, experience, or accumulated research.

The Master Mind is helpful because it creates power. There are two ways it does this. First, it gives one an economic advantage: more people is more powerful. There is a psychic element to the mastermind group. "No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind."

Great power cannot be accumulated without a mastermind and there’s evidence for this: Carnegie had one, so did Henry Ford.

Now, let's talk about sex energy (yes, Hill went there).

The Mystery of Sex Transmutation

Sex energy is intense. So intense people are willing to risk their reputations or sometimes even their lives to pursue it. If this energy is harnessed, it can be used for powerful creative forces: music, art, and even the accumulation of riches.

The human mind responds to stimulation. According to Hill, if you lack sex energy, you lack the kind of energy that stimulates people: charisma. Think about a weak handshake, yuck!

So how do you harness this energy? By learning to discipline your subconscious mind.

The subconscious mind

According to Hill, genius is developed through the sixth sense, the creative imagination. People who are in tune with this are willing to listen to the small voice which comes from within their intuition and hunches. All of this is developed through your subconscious.

Your subconscious mind functions all the time. It makes sense to harness that energy to be useful to you. Your subconscious mind is influenced by your conscious thoughts, especially your emotional ones. Your subconscious understands feelings: use this knowledge to control it. It is a difficult discipline to develop, but form the habit of masking negative emotions and feelings with positive ones.

Here prayer can also be helpful, but you must absolutely believe in it. Your brain is important here, or rather, your MIND. Get it?

The Brain

The other-self, meaning your internal workings, is more powerful than your physical form. That’s pretty cool to think about! Hill says the best way to utilize your mind is by working with your mastermind group to solve problems. But how else can you solve them?

The sixth sense

This is the portion of the subconscious mind, also known as the creative imagination. All men have dominating thoughts and desires they wish to transmute into reality.

Hill had an imaginary cabinet he consulted, which grew to roughly 60 men, including Lincoln, Confucius, Homer, and many more icons he desired to be like. Consulting with his counsel has given him ideas, facts, and knowledge. He even credits his counsel for getting him through life-threatening situations. This counsel was completely imagined, and yet had a powerful impact on his ability to problem solve and acquire knowledge. Imagination can be a powerful thing, and creating this group allowed him to harness his sixth sense.

It is important to continue to work on growing your sixth sense, even if you don’t have an imaginary cabinet of your greatest icons. It can be channeled through music and many other things.

Growing your sixth sense has a lot to do with developing faith. Whether that faith is religious is not relevant. The key is to believe in something strongly, and that faith will create the space for creative solutions to form. In a state of fear and agitation, it is very difficult to work things out. In a space of faith, it is easier to generate better solutions.

Speaking of fear, according to Hill, there are six basic fears and they’re scary!

The Six Basic Fears

The fear of poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of love, old age, and death. Yikes! When grappling with fear, remember that fears are nothing more than states of mind. Remember, your thoughts translate themselves into their physical equivalent. Fearing you won’t have money or fearing failure may cause you to act out in ways that actually cause those things to happen. Hill shares this example from his time period: Men often wore hats because they feared being criticized by others for not being stylish. The hats cause them to become bald, which is something they feared most of all. Then they had to wear the hats to cover up baldness, and the hats continue to make them balder.

Fear made them wear hats, fear made them bald, and fear made them continue to wear hats. Even if it's not particularly relatable now, the concept is universal: fear should not be the driving force behind all of your decision making.

Even though you don’t have control over a lot of scary things, the way you think about them is the one thing you do have control over!

If you’re like the men with hats above, many of your problems may stem from a fear of criticism. Symptoms of the fear of criticism include: self-consciousness, lack of purpose, lack of personality, inferiority complex, extravagance, lack of initiative, and lack of ambition.

If you relate, you know you have it. And there is a solution.

Reach a decision. Hill interviewed an inmate on death row who was 2 hours away from execution, and the inmate was in a great mood. Hill Asked him why, and the inmate responded that he decided that he was going to approach it with a good spirit. You can control how you approach things that scare you, and the mindset you’ll have when you face them.

Hill states A man whose mind is filled with fear not only destroys his own chances of intelligent action, but, he transmits these destructive vibrations to the minds of all who come into contact with him, and destroys, also their chances.

One essential aspect of success is a peace of mind. But there’s just one piece we’ve missed:

The seventh basic evil

The susceptibility to negative influences. Negative influences can take many forms, but their result is always the same: you feel worse, and begin to doubt yourself. The first part of avoiding this is by recognizing that you are susceptible to negative influences. They can affect everything from your mood to your confidence in your ability to think rationally.

One surefire way to avoid negative influences is to exclusively seek the company of people who want you to think and act for yourself. Negative influences want to control or manipulate you.

If you are grappling with people who influence you negatively, you are not alone. In fact, you share this with Thomas A. Edison, F.W. Woolworth, even George Washington. The negative influences didn’t win with them and they don’t have to win with you either. You can either control your mind, or it controls you.

Finally, Don’t fall into the 57 ifs!

Hill makes a complete list of the 57 if statements people make to justify why they were not successful. They read like this:

“If I wasn’t married”

“If I wasn’t in debt”

On and on and on.

People like to make excuses for why they aren’t where they want to be. The good news is, it is almost guaranteed that if there’s an “if” on that list, someone has faced and overcome it. Don’t make one of those “ifs” the reason you are not able to achieve. Don’t let anyone or anything trick you into believing you can be stopped. You can’t. And believing that is KEY to achieving the riches you desire.

Sum up

Understanding your need to control your thoughts is essential. Once you’ve mastered this understanding: define your purpose, find your burning desire, and follow the 13 principles. Now get ready to channel that fire into the riches you desire!


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