1st Book Review
Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill
This is the second time I've read this book. I read it first several months ago when I first started my personal improvement. It served as a good foundation and a good intro to success and I thought it would be fitting for this to be the first book I covered.
The author, Napoleon Hill, was mentored by the great American entrepreneur, Andrew Carnegie, who gave Napoleon the mission to write a book describing the way to success. Napoleon took this very seriously and spent 25 years interviewing over 500 successful people, looking for the common principles in their character and habits. This book, published in 1937, was the result of this mission and has been the foundation for many success books, courses and brands.
Napoleon provides a point by point tutorial to success, providing an explanation for each principle and then examples of it's use. There are 13 of these immutable (as he describes them) principles of success.
While the principles are all still in use today, some of the explanations for why they worked were very strange. They do work, it's just that Napoleon explains why they work in very strange, not true ways. Take for example:
Myself and my friend, Napoleon, are trying to boil water. We have a pot full of water but it's not getting to boil fast enough for me. I ask Napoleon if there is any way to make the water boil faster. He tells me that there is a boiling water god who loves salt, so if I give the boiling water god salt, he will make the water boil faster.
Yeah, putting salt in the water will make it boil faster but not because of no boiling water god.
He uses these objective consistencies between all of the successful people and forms them into these principles but then explains them using 1930's pseudoscience. The principles are still in use today but have much more science and reason to back them up.
Overall I really liked this book and recommend it to anyone interested in pursuing a more successful life.
What I learned
This was one of the first success books I read so I learned a lot, so I'll just highlight my 3 favorite and most useful things.
This was a cool one. This one is founded a lot in, what today would be called, the law of attraction. Once you have your definite goal written down, you recite it in the morning and before you go to bed. No, not just say it, but feel it. Attach a serious meaning to your goal and emphasize it through your body to have it stick.
Napoleon describes this as a way to let the "idea ether" know what you want so it knows what to send you. Yeah... sure thing Napoleon... I think of it as a way to build a sort of ingrained obsession that will keep reminding your subconscious of what to be figuring out.
Also, I'm pretty sure today's self-help mega guru, Tony Robbins, teaches a similar process.
If you tell me you've found a success book that doesn't have the idea of a mastermind group in it, I will not believe you. This book is the first time I ran into this concept and it is very important, not only to accountability, but also to discovering great ideas.
You have a weekly/monthly meeting with like-minded striving individuals where go down the line helping each one come up with ways to improve their business or struggle. At the end you would write out a goal you would like to accomplish before the next meeting-- and check up on the previous goal in the beginning.
I'm not sure that Napoleon Hill put it exactly this way but that's how I've sort of conglomerated all the examples together.
I'm a low level masterminder and only have 1 person in my mastermind group-- and he doesn't even have a business...
Be A Crazy Person
I had a great time listening to the 14th chapter on "the 6th sense." Up until now all of the chapters were very compelling, if not obvious, ways to be more prone to success. In this chapter though, I got a lot more entertainment value as opposed to seemingly intelligent advice.
This is where Napoleon goes into his experience with an imaginary council that he created and had meetings with in his head every night. They sit around a table and assist Napoleon with his mission.
His council included the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Charles Darwin, Napoleon Bonaparte, Thomas Edison and a few more. They were sort of an imaginary mastermind group of his and they showed their personalities throughout the meetings.
I thought it was very interesting, if it was true, and maybe one day I will start my own imaginary council with Elon Musk, Jackie Chan and Data (assuming I don't actually do it in person (fingers crossed)).
You can actually read the chapter here. I didn't realize how hard it was to read until I actually did it just now, because I always just listen to my books.
I liked this book. It's a hard read because of the old style and It's science is wonky but overall it's very actionable and descriptive-- not to mention it's still in the top 10 of most success book lists.
Want to read it yourself?
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