Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill Personal Finance Book Review

Think & Grow Rich needs no introduction. It is basically the pillar on which all other business books were built.

While the book is about increasing your income and becoming wealthy, the author insists that the philosophy taught in the book can help people succeed in any part of their life, and to do, have or be anything they want.

Its principles are timeless and can be applied by everyone at any age.

The book was written at the commission of Andrew Carnegie and based on interviews of 500 of those who history now remembers as the greatest men of the early 20th century, including Henry Ford, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt, Wilbur Wright, and W. Howard Taft.

First published in 1937, it has now sold more than 70 million copies, giving it the distinction of being the all-time bestseller in the personal success category.

If you haven’t yet read it, let me warn you: it’s one of the best books I have ever read. Given the pedigree of those on whose advice this book was based, as well as those in today’s age who have recommended the book, it should be remembered that uncommon success needs uncommon thoughts and actions.

It doesn’t cost anything to follow these principles, but if you follow them diligently, you can have anything you want.

So, here is a simple summary of the relatively small book, at about 250 pages:

  • Thoughts Become Things:
    Hill tells us that thoughts can be transmuted into physical reality. What first only happens in our minds, can one day become real in the physical world. This means that if you believe you’ll become a Millionaire one day, and you keep believing it, then there’s a very high chance you will. Hill is not the only one saying this.
  • Throughout history, all the great philosophers have agreed one principle: “Our life is made by our thoughts.”
  • A good example of the power of thoughts is the placebo effect. If you are ill and take real medication (e.g. pills with actual painkillers), then, of course, you will get better. That’s to be expected, right?
  • Yet, if you’re ill and get pseudo medication (e.g. pills with sugar and water), you will also get better. Why is that? It’s because you THINK you got real medication. You THINK that this medication will help you and because you THINK that, it’s what actually happens. Keeping this in mind is very important.
  • If we think “failure”, then failure will be transmuted into reality. If we think “success”, then success will be transmuted into reality. It’s really as simple as that.

2. Desire:
This might sound obvious, but growing rich starts with the desire to do so. The desire discussed here is not simply wishing, but is an intense, burning obsession, which must be coupled with both a plan and persistence in sticking to the plan. Hill gives a six-part exercise to do:

1.Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire.

2. Determine exactly what you intend to give for this money.

3. Establish a definite date by which you intend to acquire this money.

4. Create a definite plan to acquire the money, and take the first step immediately.

5. Put the four items above into a clear, concise sentence describing each part.

6. Read the statement aloud twice daily, in the morning and at night. As you read, see, feel and believe yourself already in possession of the money.

You can write this in a point system, or as a speech. I personally find speech more effective, as you can add sentences that really motivate and inspire you.

I update my speech every week, with the same goal and plan ofcourse, but new and improved content. A point system can look bland and lifeless, but you should try both to see which one really drives you, or you can have a point statement for your long-term goal and a speech for your short-term goal.

By doing this exercise, you’re putting yourself in the rarest of the rare category: the 1% of people that actually know where they’re going and what they’re working towards.

A survey was made one time, and participants were asked why they wake up in the morning, why they get off their bed and go to work. 19 out of 20 had no idea. They just said, “Well, everyone else does it, so I have to do it too.”

With this, you’ll know why you do what you do, and you’ll have something to work towards.

There is a very famous example of this exercise working wonders that is not present in the book. It is of Bruce Lee, who wrote his “Definite Chief Aim” using the exact format recommended by Hill. It goes like this:

“I, Bruce Lee, will be the first highest paid Oriental super star in the United States. In return, I will give the most exciting performances and render the best of quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting in 1970 I will achieve world fame and from then onward till the end of 1980, I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.”

I’d say that worked out pretty well for him, so why not try this exercise for yourself?

3. Faith:
Of course, the subconscious mind must believe that something is possible in order to act on it.

Faith is an interesting concept, but in this context, the author defines it as “a state of mind which may be induced, or created, by affirmation or repeated instructions to the subconscious mind, through the principle of autosuggestion.” He goes on to assert, “Repetition of affirmation of orders to your subconscious mind is the only known method of voluntary development of the emotion of faith.” It is by this practice that you can convince your subconscious mind to “translate that impulse into its physical equivalent, by the most practical procedure available.

Whenever we set a clear goal for ourselves, our brain`s system kicks into gear to make it happen.

Let’s take an example: a thermostat.
When you set a thermostat to 70°, it will constantly monitor the temperature to make sure that it is right. The temperature may deviate from the set-point when hot or cool air comes in, but the thermostat notices those changes and adapts by cooling or heating the room.

No matter what happens on the outside, the thermostat will always hold the temperature even.

Your beliefs operate in exactly the same way. If you believe that you can earn only $50,000 per year, this creates a set-point that your brain will always try to reach. It will use all it’s resources to reach it, and only show you more and more proof to refuel those beliefs. It constantly monitors your progress, and if you fall off course, whether good or bad, your brain will do anything to get your back on track by motivating you to do better.

If you believe you can make $200K a year, then your mind will do the same thing. It is capable of anything, but it needs to be managed properly.
Hill, in the book, attributes both good and bad luck to this practice.

In other words, someone who lets himself believe negative things has communicated to his subconscious to act upon those negative beliefs and translate them into reality. 

4. Autosuggestion:
Simply put, autosuggestion is the practice of communicating to yourself using your conscious mind for the purpose of convincing your subconscious. As humans, we can exercise complete control over what reaches our subconscious mind (through our five senses), but most people don’t often exercise that control.

As humans, we can exercise complete control over what reaches our subconscious mind (through our five senses), but most people don’t often exercise that control.

You have to see your conscious mind as the gardener and the subconscious mind as the garden. Whatever your conscious mind will plant, the subconscious will grow and nurture. The author asserts that exercising this control requires both conscious attention, and the mixing of emotion (a word the author uses interchangeably with “belief” or “faith”) with what you tell yourself. He presents repetitive visualization as the best method of accomplishing this mixture – actually picturing the appearance of a specific amount of money, consistently over time.

5. Specialized Knowledge:
Hill, in this chapter, finally makes a down-to-earth assertion – that general knowledge itself is useless in accumulating wealth. You must have specific knowledge and skills (how to write a bestselling novel, how to repair a car, how to market a business) in order to add value and be paid for it.

While this is a commonly misunderstood principle, it should be evident to anyone that general education does not correlate with wealth; instead, specific knowledge applied to specific tasks is what actually leads to money.

This also doesn’t mean you have to have all the knowledge about your field in your head. You could also simply make sure to have access to those who do. However you gain access to specialized knowledge, the application of imagination to that knowledge is what leads to the ideas that in turn lead to wealth.

6. Imagination:
Hill says that imagination is one the most important steps to success that everyone must use.

And he explains that there are two types of imagination, one is the synthetic imagination, which simply rearranges the existing ideas into new concepts. And another type of imagination is the creative imagination, which creates something from nothing.

Most people think that riches come from hard work, which according to Hill, is only partially true. Hill writes that riches come “in response to definite demands, based upon the application of definite principles… when a creator of ideas and a seller of ideas got together and worked in harmony.” The ideas that come from imagination are the forces that cause things to come into reality. And so you must add imagination to your specialized knowledge to grow rich.

7. Organized Planning:
This step towards riches requires an alliance with a group of people for the purpose of carrying out your plans. A Master Mind group. To succeed, you must be sure to compensate these individuals in some manner, meet with them at least twice a week, and maintain harmony with each individual in the group.

Faultless plans are essential for the growing of riches, and only the abilities and imaginations of multiple individuals will allow the creation of plans that are perfect, or as near so as possible.

Hill also says that the process of planning must be continuous and persistent. Even when you face difficulties and failures, never give up and continue to work on your idea and tweak your plans.

8. Decision:
One cause of failure, according to Hill, stands above all else: lack of decision.

He claims that without exception, all successful people have the habit of making decisions promptly, and of changing them slowly.

People who have no desire of their own are heavily influenced by the opinions of others and are not likely to succeed.

Great accomplishments come from courageous decisions. The ability to decide quickly comes from knowing what it is you want, and it is that ability that defines leaders. As the author states, “The world has the habit of making room for the man whose words and actions show that he knows where he is going.

Hill gives the example of Henry Ford, who was known to make quick decisions and once he made those decisions, he changed them very slowly and deliberately.

Ford was famous as an obstinate person who created the ‘Model T’, where a lot of customers and advisors said that the car was ugly, but Ford did not sway from his decision. And of course, Ford’s persistence paid off handsomely and making Ford one of the largest mass car producers in the world.

9. Persistence:
When carrying out your plan, and following the principles, there will be ups and downs, but you have to make sure that you keep going forward no matter what, and don’t stop.

The addition of willpower to desire is the basis of persistence.

It is a state of mind that can be cultivated by having a definiteness of purpose, desire, self-reliance, definiteness of plans, accurate knowledge, cooperation, willpower, and habit. If you are persisting, then you are displaying faith, and that is a very big thing. Persistence is almost another word for faith.

One great way to keep yourself motivated on your journey is to stick a collection of quotes and phrases you find inspiring on your wall, or someplace where you can see them daily.

I have them on my wall, and just after I wake up, I read some of them and they keep me going when times get tough.

10. Master Mind:
Hill writes that mastermind is perhaps the most important principles to success. As what he already explains in the earlier chapter, you need to leverage both the economic and “psychic” features of having such a group of individuals to support you in your journey.

In a simple term, the combination of experience and brainpower has a serious economic advantage. For instance, when you are surrounded by like-minded people who are always striving for higher success and better results, you will think the same and act the same. You will be influenced by the people around you and become like them.

On the other hand, when you surround yourself with lazy and negative people, you will follow the same pattern and become lazy and negative.

Most of us are taught from a young age to play nice with everyone; befriend those you have differences with, those you may not think are the coolest or prettiest or funniest. If the people we surround ourselves with affect us so deeply – on a fundamental, human level – we should learn how to attract those we admire while phasing out toxic interactions and emotional vampires, right? Right.

Jim Rohn, a renowned businessman and personal development guru, said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and that means everyone in your life counts.

Do the people around you represent things you value? If they do, you’re in great shape; if your five people aren’t representative of the things you love and aspire to become, re-evaluate.

Be honest with yourself and get ready to become the person you were always meant to be. When you’re surrounded by the right group of people and in a good place within yourself, you have much to give back to them in return.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually filtered out a good deal of the elements contained within this book!

Hopefully, you learned a lot from this post, but you may want to read the book for yourself to see what you can glean from some of the more outlandish content.

Napoleon actually suggests you read the book in full at least three times.

If you want to buy the book, you can do it on Amazon.

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