Think and Grow Rich should be required reading for all entrepreneurs. Although it was originally published in 1937, a quick reread shows that its philosophy has stood the test of time. The content of this book is just as relevant today as it was when it was published near the end of the Great Depression. “Think and Grow Rich” was inspired by Andrew Carnegie, one of the wealthiest individuals in the world at the time, who disclosed his formula of personal success to Napoleon Hill. Hill went on to interview more than 500 very wealthy men do discover their personal secrets and philosophies of success. From his research, Hill went on to identify the similarities in the philosophies of these magnates and assemble the ultimate “what-to-do” and “how-to-do-it” manual for personal achievement.
The book is not only for those who want to achieve financial success, but for anyone who needs a breakthrough in order to achieve a personal accomplishment, whether it is financial, technical, physical, mental, emotional, or even habitual. One of my favorite passages of “Think and Grow Rich”, that I immediately committed to memory upon reading, is taken from the second chapter entitled “Desire, The Starting Point of All Achievement, The First Step Toward Riches” Hill states, “Every human who reaches the age of understanding of the purpose of money wishes for it. Wishing will not bring riches. But desiring riches, with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches.” Hill then goes on to list the six ways to turn desires into gold. It was at that point that I was immediately hooked, not only because of his writing style, but because every chapter was teeming with lists and how-to’s on various topics of achievement and success.
This is not to say that Think and Grow Rich is simply a book of lists. On the contrary, the lists are usually generalized summaries of the preceding passages, and they typically paraphrase and present the moral or lesson of the story of an individual or group who was able to accomplish a seemingly impossible task by 1) taking control of their mindset, 2) creating a definite plan, 3) persisting until success, and 4) not accepting failure as an option. As an example, in the chapter on Desire, before presenting the six ways to turn desire into gold (or more symbolically, riches) Hill tells the story of Edwin C. Barnes. Barnes was a man who at one point in his life would be considered a tramp by any reasonable person’s standards, yet through a burning desire and definite plan, created a partnership with Thomas Edison five years after deciding that was his goal.
As he revealed how he accomplished this feat he stated, “There is but one thing in this world that I am determined to have, and that is a business association with Thomas A. Edison. …