Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

I finished reading Napoleon Hill’s 1937 inspirational classic, Think and Grow Rich, on Chinese New Year’s Eve.  The book offered 13 steps toward riches.  Even though Hill emphasized riches in terms of money, he also talked about riches in other areas such as success, love and happiness.  Here are the 13 steps and some of my favourite quotes from the book:

  1. The starting point of all achievement: Desire
    • “Every human being 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.”
  2. Visualization of, and belief in attainment of desire: Faith
    • “Faith is the head chemist of the mind.  When faith is blended with thought, the subconscious mind instantly picks up the vibration, translates it into its spiritual equivalent, and transmits it to Infinite Intelligence, as in the case of prayer.”
    • “A mind dominated by positive emotions, becomes a favorable abode for the state of mind known as faith.  A mind so dominated may, at will, give the subconscious mind instructions, which it will accept and act upon immediately.”
  3. The medium for influencing the subconscious mind: Autosuggestion
    • “Your subconscious mind recognizes and acts only upon thoughts which have been well-mixed with emotion or feeling.  This is a fact of such importance as to warrant repetition in practically every chapter, because the lack of understanding of this is the main reason the majority of people who try to apply the principle of autosuggestion get no desirable results.”
  4. Personal experiences or observations: Specialized knowledge
    • “Knowledge will not attract money, unless it is organized, and intelligently directed, through practical plans of action, to the definite end of accumulation of money.  Lack of understanding of this fact has been the source of confusion to millions of people who falsely believe that ‘knowledge is power’.”
    • “I am also trying to emphasize another point, namely, that both success and failure are largely the results of habit!”
  5. The workshop of the mind: Imagination
    • “Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes.  Ideas are products of the imagination.”
    • “Gradually, the idea became a giant under its own power, and it coaxed, nursed, and drove me.  Ideas are like that.  First you give life and action and guidance to ideas, then they take on power of their own and sweep aside all opposition.”
    • “Ideas are intangible forces, but they have more power than the physical brains that give birth to them.  They have the power to live on, after the brain that creates them has returned to dust.”
  6. The crystallization of desire into action: Organized planning
    • “You have learned that everything man creates or acquires begins in the form of desire, that desire is taken on the first lap of its journey, from the abstract to the concrete, into the workshop of the imagination, where plans for its transition are created and organized.”
    • “It is one thing to want money – everyone wants more – but it is something entirely different to be worth more!”
  7. The mastery of procrastination: Decision
    • “Procrastination, the opposite of decision, is a common enemy which practically every man must conquer.”
    • “Financial independence, riches, desirable business and professional positions are not within reach of the person who neglects or refuses to expect, plan, and demand these things.”
  8. The sustained effort necessary to induce faith: Persistence
    • “Persistence is a state of mind, therefore it can be cultivated.”
    • “As one makes an impartial study of the prophets, philosophers, miracle men, and religious leaders of the past, one is drawn to the inevitable conclusion that persistence, concentration of effort, and definiteness of purpose, were the major sources of their achievements.”
  9. The driving force: Power of the master mind
    • “Power is essential for success in the accumulation of money.”
    • “Power is necessary for the retention of money after it has been accumulated!”
    • “The Master Mind may be defined as: ‘Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.'”
    • “Two characteristics of the Master Mind principle: one of which is economic in nature, and the other psychic.”
    • “Happiness is found in doing, not merely in possessing.”
  10. The mystery of sex transmutation
    • “Sex desire is the most powerful of human desires.  When driven by this desire, men develop keenness of imagination, courage, will-power, persistence, and creative ability unknown to them at other times.”
    • “When the emotion of love is mixed with the emotion of sex, that same man will guide his actions with more sanity, balance, and reason.”
    • “One who has loved truly, can never lose entirely.”
    • “Love is spiritual, while sex is biological.”
    • “Love, alone, will not bring happiness in marriage, nor will sex alone.  When these two beautiful emotions are blended, marriage may bring about a state of mind closest to the spiritual that one may ever know on this earthly plane.”
  11. The connection link: The subconscious mind
    • “You cannot entirely control your subconscious mind, but you can voluntarily hand over to it any plan, desire, or purpose which you wish transformed into concrete form.”
    • “Everything which man creates begins in the form of a thought impulse.”
    • “The subconscious mind is the intermediary, which translates one’s prayers into terms which Infinite Intelligence can recognize, presents the message, and brings back the answer in the form of a definite plan or idea for procuring the object of the prayer.”
    • “Anybody can wish for riches, and most people do, but only a few know that a definite plan, plus a burning desire for wealth, are the only dependable means of accumulating wealth.”
  12. A broadcasting and receiving station for thought: The brain
    • “Every human brain is both a broadcasting and receiving station for the vibration of thought.”
    • “We are now entering the most marvelous of all ages – an age which will teach us something of the intangible forces of the world about us.  Perhaps we shall learn, as we pass through this age, that the ‘other self’ is more power than the physical self we see when we look into a mirror.
    • Sometimes men speak lightly of the intangibles – the things which they cannot perceive through any of their five senses, and when we hear them, it should remind us that all of us are controlled by forces which are unseen and intangible.”
  13. The door to the temple of wisdom: The sixth sense
    • “This principle is the apex of the philosophy.  It can be assimilated, understood, and applied only by first mastering the other twelve principles.”
    • “Understanding of the sixth sense comes only by meditation through mind development from within.”
    • “Repeat this experience from time to time, giving no concern as to how much or how little you learn at the time, and eventually you will find yourself in possession of a power that will enable you to throw off discouragement, master fear, overcome procrastination, and draw freely upon your imagination.  Then you will have felt the touch of that unknown “something” which has been the moving spirit of every truly great thinker, leader, artist, musician, writer, statesman.  Then you will be in position to transmute your desires into their physical or financial counterpart as easily as you may lie down and quit at the first sign of opposition.”


Attributes of Leadership

According to Napoleon Hill in his book, Think and Grow Rich (1937), there are 11 attributes of leadership:

  1. Unwavering courage.  No follower wishes to be dominated by a leader who lacks self-confidence and courage.  No intelligent follower will be dominated by such a leader very long.
  2. Self-control.  The man who cannot control himself can never control others.  Self-control sets a mighty example for one’s followers, which the more intelligent will emulate.
  3. A keen sense of justice.  Without a sense of fairness and justice, no leader can command and retain the respect of his followers.
  4. Definiteness of decision.  The man who wavers in his decisions, shows that he is not sure of himself, cannot lead others successfully.
  5. Definiteness of plans.  The successful leader must plan his work, and work his plan.
  6. The habit of doing more than paid for.  One of the penalties of leadership is the necessity of willingness, upon the part of the leader, to do more than he requires of his followers.
  7. A pleasing personality.  Leadership calls for respect.  No slovenly, careless person can become a successful leader.
  8. Sympathy and understanding.  The successful leader must be in sympathy with his followers and understand them as well as their problems.
  9. Mastery of detail.  Successful leadership calls for mastery of the details of the leader’s position.
  10. Willingness to assume full responsibility.  The successful leader must be willing to assume responsibility for the mistakes and the shortcomings of his followers.  If one of his followers makes a mistake, and shows himself incompetent, the leader must consider that it is he who failed.
  11. Cooperation.  Leadership calls for power, and power calls for cooperation.

Furthermore, there are two forms of leadership.  The first, and by far the most effective, is leadership by consent of, and with the sympathy of the followers.  The second is leadership by force, without the consent and sympathy of the followers.  History is filled with evidences that leadership by force cannot endure: Napoleon, Mussolini, and Hitler.  Leadership-by-consent of the followers is the only brand which can endure.

Note to self: how many of the 11 attributes of leadership do you already possess and are actively practicing, and which form of leadership are you aspired to adapt?

Napoleon Hill

In order to achieve one of my 2016 goals, which is to read a book a month, I started reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.  I bought the book in 2010 when I first started Toastmasters.  I think Leo walked me to Russell Books on Fort street, pulled this book down from the shelf, and said, “here, buy this one. You won’t regret it.”  I bought it, thinking one day when I’m done with grad school, I’ll read it.

I finished the chapter on Desire yesterday, so I was hoping to finish the current chapter, which is about Faith.  I didn’t finish it tonight because I was reading lines and paragraphs over and over again.  Here are some of the good ones:

  • Faith is the head chemist of the mind.  When faith is blended with thought, the subconscious mind instantly picks up the vibration, translates it into its spiritual equivalent, and transmits it to Infinite Intelligence, as in the case of prayer.
  • Not only thought impulses which have been mixed with faith, but those which have been mixed with any of the positive emotions, or any of the negative emotions, may reach, and influence the subconscious mind.
  • I fully realize that no wealth or position can long endure, unless built upon truth and justice; therefore, I will engage in no transaction which does not benefit all whom it affects.  I will succeed by attracting to myself the forces I wish to use, and the cooperation of other people.  I will induce others to serve me, because of my willingness to serve others.  I will eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness, and cynicism, by developing love for all humanity, because I know that a negative attitude toward others can never bring me success.  I will cause others to believe in me, because I will believe in them, and in myself.