Napoleon Hill’s famous book Think and Grow Rich was written in 1937. It is a one of the best selling books ever and it is widely known as the father of all the self improvement books that we are reading today. For me, this book is very interesting because it does contain a lot of good ideas to achieve success that are nowaday partially backed by science, and it does also contain some weird ideas that make me wonder whether the author is writing a fiction or a non-fiction. Since this book is so interesting and also controversial, I have also did some enough research on it and found some very interesting and strange stories behind the author and the book. Let me share with you some of the lessons from the book, followed by those interesting stories.
You Need Burning Desire to Succeed
In his book, Hill said that the starting point of getting rich or achieving success is to have a burning desire. The term burning desire sounds very powerful that you can almost visualize the fire burning in your eyes. We commonly call that “passion” in today’s world. No matter, how you call it, having a passion or a purpose, or simply a goal should be a necessary step to achieve success.
You Need Affirmation or Auto Suggestion
I don’t remember exactly whether Hill suggested that you need to write down your goal on a piece of paper everyday or say it out loud everyday. But what he is suggestion is that you have to tell your subconscious mind repeatedly what you are trying to achieve. That will help you become tougher mentally and also push you to make decisions and actions towards your final goal.
You Still Need a Plan
By the title “Think and Grow Rich”, it may sound like that the author is suggesting people to just think very hard and then they will get rich. Actually, it does include the “doing” part, not just the “thinking” part. To achieve your goal, you will need to have your strategy or your plan.
You Need Persistent Action
If you have experience some good victories before, there is a good chance that the victories are results of some persistent actions towards a goal, but not just results from a few all-nighters. I am pretty sure that persistent action towards a goal is the key to success as suggested by one of my favorite books, Angela Duckworth’s Grit. It is very interesting and a little ironic to see myself liking so much Duckworth’s idea on grit, that is backed by her scientific research, while an old book has already talked about it many years ago. It makes me wonder whether people have already unlock the key to success a long time ago, without the need of science.
Transforming Sexual Energy
This is one very weird chapter where Hill didn’t really talk directly about what transforming sexual energy means. He kind of danced around the topic without giving any advice. In the chapter, he talked about how sexual desire is one of the strongest desire of human, so if we can turn the energy of that desire into the energy needed for our burning desire, we can go one level higher. Some of my guesses of what he meant in the book are: not to have too much sexual activities so that you have more energy for your work, or to use sexual activities as your rewards for pushing yourself to work better and harder. My follow-up wild guess is that either approach should work.
I want to conclude the lessons from the book here as I want to move on and talk about the interesting stories or rumours that I have found on the internet. To conclude the lessons I have learnt from the book, I would say that things like burning desire, affirmation, plan and action are very common sense, yet I cannot fairly evaluate the effectiveness of these steps as I personally don’t do the affirmation part, which should be a very important part of his advice. Now, let’s move on to the stories behind the scene.
Story Time: The Rumours about the Think and Grow Rich and the Napoleon Hill
Who Napoleon Hill Probably Was
There are rumours saying that Hill was actually a con artist. I actually belief that. However, in a way, a scam is kind of like an evil and accelerated version of business that sells people products, the false hope or the lie, and generate money as a result. So, even if he is a scam artist, his messages in his book can still be good advice to get rich or achieve success.
Whom He Said The Content of The Book Come From
In his book, he said the steps or secrets to achieve success that are shown in the book actually come from one of the richest people by the time called Andrew Carnegie. He said that it was a book that Carnegie asked him to write in order to share his tips for getting rich to the world.
Whom The Content Might Have Actually Come From
Very interestingly, before Hill wrote his book Think and Grow Rich, he has written a book called How to Raise Your Own Salary which gave almost the exact same advice as he wrote in Think and Grow Rich. That makes people wonder if Think and Grow Rich is actually advice from Andrew Carnegie or is he just advice from Napoleon Hill, who was possibly a con artist.
Rich People Banned the Publishing of the Original Version of the Book
Another very interesting thing that happened was that the original version of Think and Grow Rich was banned and that banning action was caused by requests from some of the most influential people like Henry Ford. Does the original version contain some secrets that are no long available to the public? Or did the secrets have to be written in a way in the revised version that is not as direct, so he can only dance around some topics without giving direct advice?
I usually don’t dig that deep into the background of the author or the history of the book. However, for this book, it is quite important to understand the whole story behind the scene to have a more objective view on how to interpret the messages from the book.