Think and Grow Rich

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill Book Summary

Want to know about a simple formula for insane growth in your life? Say Thanks to Mr. Hill who have made it open for you. Napoleon Hill is widely acknowledged as the Godfather of Self Help books. Despite his many controversies, his books are considered the “Gold Standard” for all other books of the said genre. Hill’s notable contributions are, Think and Grow Rich (1937), The Law of Success (1928), and Success through a Positive Mental Attitude (1959). All of his works have vehemently emphasized the thinking pattern of individuals. However, “Think and Grow Rich” has bagged unprecedented fame and approval from the readers with more than 20 million copies sold. It is among the list of all-time top 10 best-selling books for self-help.

‘Think and Grow Rich’ came into existence as a result of twenty-five years of research by Napoleon Hill in which he interviewed almost 25000 people who were masters in their fields. Yes, you read it right. Twenty-Five thousand. All those interviews, research, and process moved around the analysis of one simple question: “What makes an individual rich?” He founded thirteen principles that will pave the way for anyone’s success. Each chapter in the book is dedicated to one principle. Therefore, every sub-heading below represents the crux of an entire chapter. It could be a long read for you. In case you feel tired, bookmark the tab, take a break, and then resume reading at your ease.

1. Desire


The first and foremost principle of Think and Grow Rich is to have a strong desire. Whether you want to be rich in finances, relationships, or health; you have to have a strong urge for it. Once you have ignited that fire inside you, you’d be on track to achieve greatness. Mr. Hill presents 6 points cum questions for readers to mark their goals. 

  1. Clearly state your goal. It shouldn’t be ambiguous or vague. For instance, if your goal is to earn money, write “I want to make 1 million Dollars”. 
  2. How much are you willing to sacrifice or struggle to achieve your goal? It means how much hard work you can put in. 
  3. Specify a time frame for your goal. It could be a year or 2 or even 5.
  4. What is your action plan to achieve the goal? Specify what you want to work at. 
  5. Make a single statement blending the first 4 points stated above. For example, “I want to make 1 million dollars in the next 3 years by doing digital marketing, and I am willing to work 10 hours a day for it.”
  6. Repeat this statement aloud twice a day. It will keep you focused and won’t let the fire die. 

2. Faith


Chapter 2 in the book Think and Grow Rich is about faith. It refers to the belief and conviction you have about your skills, and the confidence you have in yourself. There is psychology associated with it. The more belief you have in yourself, the more firm your subconscious mind will be in pursuing your next move. This confidence will attract positive energy and increase your risk-taking ability and negotiation power. Contrarily, if you are pessimistic about your future, you will turn out to be a certain failure. So, have faith in yourself, be optimistic, and feel confident. 

3. Autosuggestion


Auto-suggestion is the fine-tuning of our subconscious mind. The book, ‘Think and Grow Rich’, states that whatever you feel in your daily lives, it affects your mind. If you feel positive, your subconscious mind will feel more confident and ready to do things. But the question is how do you make it feel the way you want? We feel through our five senses. If we apply the technique of auto-suggestion to our senses, we can control every thought that has been going inside and affecting our brain. So, autosuggestion suggests that whatever statement you have written in the ‘Desire’ part, let your five senses tell that to your brain daily with true emotions. Write the statement in such a place where you could see that. Read that aloud so you could hear that and so on. When all your five senses would be busy sending the same message to your brain, it will transform itself in a way as to achieve that goal quickly. 

4. Specialized Knowledge

Specialized Knowledge

There are two types of knowledge. One is general knowledge, and the other is specialized knowledge. Napoleon Hill says that while GK is also important to acquire but it doesn’t make you enough money. You have to master a specialized skill to succeed. Recall point (iv) from the ‘Desire’ chapter. Whatever field you want to work in, acquire in-depth knowledge. Another important point Hill mentions is the importance of continuous learning. Whoever stops learning new things is doomed to mediocrity and failure. So this is fourth principle of Think and Grow Rich. Robin Sharma has termed the same thing as the Capitalization of IQ in his masterpiece The 5 AM Club. 

5. Imagination


Welcome to my personal favorite chapter of this incredible book, ‘Think and Grow Rich’. Man’s only limitation is the limitation of his imagination. The more you can imagine, the further you can go in your life. There are two types of imagination; one is synthetic, and the other is creative. Synthetic imagination is when you use the ancient experience and stuff and couple them with new ideas and technology. That’s what inventors do. While the creative imagination is what no one else in the world has ever done. That comes when man’s finiteness comes in contact with the infinite intelligence of the universe. You meditate to gain this creativity. The more you use any of the two faculties, the more muscle it will develop, and you’d be fluent in using it. The writer states that every cell in this universe was once a form of energy. When you desire something, you generate an impulse full of energy. You imitate nature’s way of doing things. Once, you have written the statement of the ‘Desire’ part, and you have inculcated it in your imagination, you’ve taken your first step in materializing it. The last thing writer says in this chapter is about hard work. He writes that hard work doesn’t bring riches. It’s the smart work, identification of opportunity, and imagining a unique way to address it that will bring you great fortune. 

6. Organized Planning

Organized Planning

The writer says that every person in the world has some weaknesses and some strengths. You should be able to underline your weaknesses and work on them and also should be able to cash on your strengths. Once you have understood your strengths and weaknesses, you should make workable and practical plans around your strengths. (Editor’s Edit: Using the SMART technique is an excellent strategy to be used during the planning phase.) He stresses the concept of persistence that a person should be persistent in his actions i.e. if one plan fails, he should make some adjustments and go again. He should continue going until becomes successful. One should not be bothered with the temporary defeats. He gives the concept of the ‘Law of Economics’ stating that in this world, the only way to attract riches and sustain them is to add value to the lives of people. It could be through rendering your services or giving them things in exchange. Last but not least is to get your plans checked and approved with the Master Mind Groups. The concept of the mastermind is discussed ahead in the book.

7. Decision Making

Decision Making

If you have come this far, congratulation. You really seem to like ‘Think and Grow Rich’ and you’re halfway there in the pursuit of some great knowledge. Decision-making is one of the most important elements of success. After examining 25000 people, Napoleon says that those who failed in life were indecisive. They didn’t know what they want from life. However, people who succeeded were prompt in making their decisions and they changed them slowly. Right decisions at right time create a domino effect that changes one’s life quickly. Successful people do not affect themselves with the opinion of others. Opinions are one of the cheapest found things on Earth. If you want to be successful, only pay heed to the opinion of your master group. The writer further says that successful people keep their mouths closed. They keep their eyes and ears wide open to learn about new opportunities, and their mouths closed so others don’t find out about their plans. Courage is also one of the traits of such leaders. The more a decision is demanding courage, the more it will be fruitful and would bring riches. 

8. Persistence


Napoleon starts this chapter by the law of necessity. He says that starting point of persistence is the intensity of a desire that you want to achieve. That intensity comes most often than not through necessity. If your back is against the wall and you see no options other than succeeding, that’s when desire is at the highest level. If you want to be persistent, identify your necessity or create an artificial one for that matter. For most people, a lack of persistence is due to fear of criticism from relatives and other closed people. The fear of criticism is stronger than the desire for success. If you want to make persistence your habit, Napoleon gives four steps: 

  1. You need to have a definite purpose and an intense desire to fulfill it.
  2. A clear plan with underlined steps to achieve it.
  3. A strong mind which doesn’t pay attention to any negative comments or suggestions coming from friends, family, or acquaintances. 
  4. A friendly alliance with one person or two where everyone would motivate each other to do better. 

In the end, he gives a 98/100 rule which argues that if you ask the next 100 people about what they want in their life, 98 would either give vague answers or no answers at all. This is why you or anyone lack persistence. You need to have a clear direction in your life. 

9. Power of the Master Mind

Mastermind Group

A mastermind is a group of two or more people who work in harmony to attain a common goal. The writer says that despite all the knowledge we have, it is still not enough to attract a big fortune. Therefore, we must take other people’s knowledge in the pursuit of our goal. Preferably, it should consist of people each with specific expertise. So the group would lift each other and hold accountable. This mastermind group would create enough power to translate the deep burning desire into riches. Mr. Hill further states that when two or more minds work in harmony, their combined effect is equal to three or more minds working together. This is due to the synchronized effect they produce. Out of examining 25000 highly successful people, no person has ever attained his position without the aid of a mastermind group. 

10. The Mystery of Sex Transmutation

Mystery of Sex Transmutation

This is widely stated as the most controversial chapter of ‘Think and Grow Rich’. Sex transmutation refers to channelizing the sexual urge into some creative work. Some stimuli can speed up the working of the human brain to an unprecedented level. They are: 

  1. Sex
  2. Love
  3. Friendship
  4. Autosuggestion 
  5. A burning desire for something 
  6. Music 
  7. Mastermind Alliance 
  8. Fear
  9. Drugs

The first 7 are constructive and natural stimuli while the last two are destructive. Out of these 7, Sex is the most powerful among all. Anyone who can transmute this emotion through meditation or some other way is truly a genius. It contains the secret of creative ability.  

11. The Sub-Conscious Mind

Subconscious Mind

Your subconscious mind is a treasure that you have to count on while attracting riches. The author believes that the amount of positivity in your subconscious mind makes a direct impact on the outcome of what you seek. This is precisely the science behind the prayers. If you pray due to fear or any other negative emotion, your prayer is not going to be fulfilled. This is due to the fact because making a contact with the higher intelligence or God. Therefore, you need to be the guardian of your brain. Seek only positivity. Don’t let the negativity barge in. Choose your circle carefully. When you’ll do this, there will come a point in your life when you’d no longer feel negative emotions (or perhaps you’d be so good at filtering those emotions that you won’t see any negativity around.) In simple words, there are thoughts, and then there are emotions. Aid your positive thoughts with positive emotions and feed them to your subconscious mind for great results. This is the eleventh principle of ‘Think and Grow Rich’. 

12. The Brain

The Brain

Want your brain to come up with great ideas that can take you out of your misery and poverty cycle? Your brain is the broadcasting center. Your subconscstationd is the ‘sending station’ of the brain which sends ideas and thoughts in the form of vibrations, while the creative imagination is the ‘receiving station’ that receives those vibrations either coming from your brain or other brains around. These vibrations translate into the thoughts and ideas onto the creative imagination. That’s how any genius idea suddenly sparks in the mind of any genius that has ever existed. All of this rests on three pillars: (i) Subconscious Mind (ii) Creative Imagination (iii) Autosuggestion. If you worked on these pillars well, your brain will continue giving you great ideas. Mr. Hill further suggests that your mind is connected with some ‘intangible forces’. Same forces generate a spark in your neurons when you think of something and those neurons can implant an imaginary image in your eyes. Same forces that produced gravity or electricity or any other powerful thing in this universe. The same system that gives the neuron cells the power to communicate with one another gives the power of our brain to communicate with those intangible forces. 

13. The Sixth Sense

Sixth Sense

The last principle of ‘Think and Grow Rich’ is about the sixth sense. The sixth sense is the apex of philosophy. It connects you to the infinite intelligence of this universe. It tells you about the upcoming opportunities, warns you of the dangers, and secretly navigates you on a path to success. It’s not something ordinary to have rather it is mastered through years of constant meditation and practice and paying attention to it. It also has a great influence on the creative imagination. Therefore, you need to pay attention to it.

Executive Summary:

Summarizing all of the treasure that ‘Think and Grow Rich’ offers. If you want to succeed in life, have a clear goal and ignite a burning fire inside you to achieve it. Get specialized knowledge for it and have absolute faith in your abilities. Have a clear and organized plan about how to achieve your goal, and be persistent in that. Take timely decisions. Offer services that add value to the life of others if you want to attract a big fortune. Create a ‘Mastermind’ group to boost your growth and hold you accountable for your progress. Constantly wire your conscious and subconscious mind with positive thoughts and healthy emotions through autosuggestion. Channelize your emotions into doing something productive. Invest in your creative and synthetic imagination. Listen to your sixth sense. Inculcate all of this in your life through the constant practice of meditation. Do this, and no one will be able to stop you from having what you want in life. 

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