One of My Favorite Books

Think-and-Grow-RichNovember 8th was the anniversary of the death of  Napoleon Hill who has inspired more people to become successful than any other person in history, including me.

His classic book Think and Grow Rich is considered the greatest self-improvement book of all time, with more than 70 million copies sold worldwide.  It’s helped millions of people to become successful, and you too can benefit from its lessons by listening to the free audio version or by reading it here.

Lionel Sosa was chosen by the Napoleon Hill Foundation to write Think and Grow Rich:  A Latino Choice.   Lionel chose 13 Latino stories to illustrate the 13 principles that Napoleon Hill synthesized from twenty years of interviews and study of the success philosophy of the richest men at the turn of the 20th century:  Alexander Graham Bell, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, Henry Ford, King Gillette, John D. Rockefeller, Charles M. Schwab, William Wrigley Jr., F.W. Woolworth, and many others.

Lionel chose me to illustrate the first principle, which is to “Develop a Definite Major Purpose”.  Hill’s research showed that “there is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”  Success towards achieving your goals in life begins with knowing where you are going.  Hill knew that “without a definite major purpose, you are as helpless as a ship without a compass.”

As the first person to illustrate and write about the “law of attraction” which was copied and made famous recently by the book and movie The Secret, Napoleon Hill stated that:

Any dominating idea, plan, or purpose held in your conscious mind through repeated effort and emotionalized by a burning desire for its realization is taken over by the subconscious and acted upon through whatever natural and logical means may be available.  

 The Life of Napoleon Hill

Oliver Napoleon Hill was born in Wise County, Va., on Oct. 26, 1883. For young Napoleon, the wealthy industrialists he came to admire in later years were far removed from this primitive land where poverty, illiteracy and superstition reigned.

Nap, as he was called, was 10 when his mother passed away, leaving his father to care for him and his brother. James Hill was ill-equipped as a single parent and had difficulty in taming his son’s increasingly wild nature.  Napoleon was enamored with the outlaw Jesse James, carried a six-shooter on his hip and went about the county terrorizing its citizens.

But James Hill soon remarried, and his new wife Martha quickly established herself as a force in the two-room log cabin.  Napoleon, still pained from the loss of his mother, found a guiding light.  Martha saw the boy’s potential and encouraged him.  She told him he wasn’t a bad boy, and that he just needed to direct his energy toward accomplishing something worthwhile.  She suggested he use his overactive imagination to become a writer.

When he welcomed the idea, the well-educated Martha spent the next year tutoring him. She promised to buy him a typewriter if he gave up his six-shooter. “If you become as good with a typewriter as you are with that gun,” she said, “you may become rich and famous and known throughout the world.” Napoleon agreed to the deal.

At fifteen, he landed a position as a freelance reporter for a group of rural newspapers, followed a few years later by a job with Bob Taylor’s Magazine, a popular periodical that offered advice on achieving power and wealth.

How Andrew Carnegie Inspired Him

His first major interview was with the then richest man in America—73-year-old Pittsburgh steel magnate Andrew Carnegie—and that interview changed his life.  Hill intently listened as Carnegie recounted his extraordinary accomplishments and proffered his theories on personal achievement in the book The Wisdom of Andrew Carnegie as Told to Napoleon Hill.

“It’s a shame that each new generation must find the way to success by trial and error when the principles are really clear-cut,” Carnegie told him.  What the world needed, Carnegie suggested, was a philosophy of achievement, a compilation of success principles from the country’s greatest businessmen and leaders to show the commonality of their stories, and serve as inspiration and enlightenment to those wanting more in life.

He issued a challenge to Hill:  Commit the next 20 years, without compensation, to documenting and recording such a philosophy of success, and he would introduce him to the wealthiest and most successful men of the time. Hill jumped at the opportunity.

And so, for the next two decades, between numerous business ventures and starting a family, Hill went about fulfilling the pledge.  He met with Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, King Gillette and other contemporary giants. Carnegie believed that “definiteness of purpose” was the starting point for all success—that “the man who knows exactly what he wants… has no difficulty in believing in his own ability to succeed.”  The concept became the foundation for Hill’s later writing and professional focus.

Think and Grow Rich

After numerous rejections, Connecticut publisher Andrew Pelton agreed to print the book.

Hill’s eight-volume Law of Success debuted on March 26, 1928, offering the collective wisdom of the greatest achievers of the previous fifty years.  His work became a sensation.

The sheer size of Law of Success is daunting, running to 800 to 1000 pages depending on the edition.  Originally designed and produced in a 16 part series, each volume or chapter was substantial yet accessible.

In March 1937, he significantly reduced the book to about 200 pages, and changed the named to Think and Grow Rich – the first three print runs, increasing each time in numbers, came in rapid succession and all sold out, and it continues to sell today.

Here is an original two hour video of Napoleon Hill produced in 1937 going over the concepts of the book.

64 Responses to “One of My Favorite Books”

  1. November 10, 2013 at 4:32 pm, Tom Mack said:

    Thanks, watch the video Charles mentioned – it is worth a million dollars by itself.

    • November 10, 2013 at 4:37 pm, Charles Garcia said:

      Thanks Tom! The video is very interesting and I hadn’t seen it until recently.

  2. November 10, 2013 at 4:34 pm, K Wittenburg said:

    This book is amazing – it really changed my life in a highly positive way. Great article Charles!

  3. November 10, 2013 at 4:44 pm, Ernie Meyer said:

    I must have read this book 25 times, and yet … I still learn something new every time I read it. Your review of Napoleon’s childhood is inspiring all but itself. All too often, people look upon children of extreme energy as bad, rather than looking within to bring out the best in a child or even an adult.

    Thank you for the audio version. Since I have A.D.D., seeing and listening is my main way of absorbing information.

  4. November 10, 2013 at 5:06 pm, AlainBKK said:

    it looks very interesting. Thanks and shared 😉

  5. November 10, 2013 at 5:08 pm, Donald said:

    Interesting post. I’ll be sure to check it out

  6. November 10, 2013 at 5:19 pm, Mithu Hassan said:

    Very interesting !! Thanks to share !!

  7. November 10, 2013 at 5:32 pm, MaryHelen Ferris said:

    #granniegram shared here

    I nominate Charles Garcia as one half of this hour`s dynamic duo of inspiration…with his favorite author.
    What a perfect gift for the long snowy Remembrance have given me.

  8. November 10, 2013 at 5:36 pm, Charles Garcia said:

    Thanks Mary Helen for your great comments. I’m glad this book has inspired you too!

  9. November 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm, Detlev Artelt said:

    This is a great book and really everybody should read it. I did it as an audio book.

  10. November 10, 2013 at 5:53 pm, Liane said:

    There is nothing you cannot do if you set your mind to it.
    A great reminder that success does not come on a plate or served with a golden spoon.
    If at first you do not succeed, try , try and try again.
    Just as much as the book, I love the story of struggles behind it. Thanks for this great article!

    • November 10, 2013 at 6:18 pm, Charles Garcia said:

      Thanks Liane for your thoughtful comments.

      • November 11, 2013 at 9:34 pm, Liane said:

        Then again, it has to be said that the real take home for me was also the clarity of purpose.
        Most of us in this confused times choked by information overload, loose track of what we really want to achieve , define it with such a clarity that it withstands the challenge of mental fogginess, obstacles and verbal and visual diarrhea we are subjected to on an hourly basis.
        Yet if you have taken the time to define your focus, clearly highlighted your objective, worked your path backwards and finally developed your strategy to get to your goal, there are no fleeting distractions that will take us of course.

  11. November 10, 2013 at 5:55 pm, Jessica Martinez said:

    I would like to say thank you for reintroducing me to a book that I had only heard about before, but had never read. This is now on my list of must reads for the Holiday season. Thanks so much ~

  12. November 10, 2013 at 7:14 pm, Java Dewd said:

    Haven’t read that one. Then again, I keep reading “How to get things done” and never have finished it… #oneOfThose

  13. November 10, 2013 at 7:46 pm, Charles Carboneau said:

    Yes, this is one of my favorite self-improvement books….everyone should read it.

  14. November 10, 2013 at 7:47 pm, M. Kornowski said:

    Thxnks for the great article – will read it, thats for sure:-)

  15. November 10, 2013 at 8:08 pm, Dazza30 said:

    Thanks for bringing this article to my attention, I han’t heard of Napoleon Hill until now. But from what you’ve said he sounds like an extremely inspirational guy!

  16. November 10, 2013 at 8:24 pm, TechnoZeast said:

    Reading Napoleon Hill has changed my life.

    • November 10, 2013 at 9:11 pm, Charles Garcia said:

      I am surprised by how many people have never heard of him.

      • November 10, 2013 at 9:37 pm, TechnoZeast said:

        I wonder if that could be because of a more famous gentleman with the same first name. 🙂

  17. November 10, 2013 at 9:58 pm, Robert Gaskill said:

    Really nice info here a must see for everyone thank you for the share Charles.

  18. November 10, 2013 at 11:11 pm, Ron Sidwell said:

    Napolean Hill took the Andrew Carnegie attitude into practical application.

  19. November 11, 2013 at 12:03 am, Harold Gardner said:

    Having the right mind set and passion is so key to real accomplishment.

  20. November 11, 2013 at 1:34 am, Ming Jong Tey said:

    Think and Grow Rich is one my favourite books and I highly recommend every one to read it at least 3 times as you will definitely learn new stuff every time!


  21. November 11, 2013 at 3:31 am, Mac said:

    From Wiki:
    [Ken] Norton was given the motivational book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill,[7][8] which, as he states in his autobiography, Going the Distance, changed his life (Norton, et al., 2000, p. 46). Upon reading it, he went on a 14-fight winning streak, including a shocking victory over Muhammad Ali in 1973 to win the North American Boxing Federation heavyweight champion title.[9][10] To quote Norton from his autobiography noted above, “These words (from Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich) were the final inspiration in my victory over Ali: Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man, but sooner or later the man who wins is the man who thinks he can.”[11]

  22. November 11, 2013 at 3:58 am, Stephanie said:

    Very interesting take on the book…thanks for sharing

  23. November 11, 2013 at 4:30 am, X said:

    Great read

  24. November 11, 2013 at 4:34 am, Terri Nakamura said:

    Charlie, I remember reading Napoleon Hill’s book 30 years ago. At the time I was a young woman at the beginning of my career. There were so many pearls of wisdom in it and it doesn’t surprise me one bit that the book is still in print and providing guidance to millions of people.

    Thanks for the great backstories and for paying homage to Napoleon Hill — a truly inspirational person.

  25. November 11, 2013 at 9:48 am, Tom Laing said:

    Thanks for this. Good to be reminded of what an inspirational read Hill provided to the world. I agree with Harold – right mindset and passion are key to achievement.

  26. November 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm, Justin M. Breedlove said:

    One of my favorite books and authors of all time. Truly changed many lives for the better and continues to do so.

  27. November 11, 2013 at 3:55 pm, Erick said:

    Thanks Man,

    Always need that mentor and energy each day. Nap is great.

  28. November 11, 2013 at 5:26 pm, Michael Smith said:

    Think and Grow rich was the first book that I read about self development. Glad to hear it has been written from a latino perspective.

  29. November 12, 2013 at 2:20 pm, Tom Mack said:

    The other thing I first learned from Napoleon Hill was the law of attraction.

  30. November 12, 2013 at 7:06 pm, Jed Ost said:

    Very useful post. I look forward to coming back for more.

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  32. November 14, 2013 at 7:26 am, Tom Laing said:

    A must read to everyone wanting to be successful in life. Thanks for sharing.

  33. November 14, 2013 at 4:55 pm, Albertine Harris said:

    I’m presenting a new green industry to USA from Germany. My sponsors are from Arabia and I wish to collaborate projects for clean air, food and a women led charity. I wish you all success and hope that you will participate. Rashida

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