I’ve been reading more and more self-development books, and one of the classics in that field is one which was originally published in 1937 by Napoleon Hill. It’s titled Think and Grow Rich and is the work of 20+ years of research that was commissioned to Hill by Andrew Carnegie. It’s a great book, with a not so great title. I was originally put off by the “grow rich” part, because of my tendency to raise eyebrows at any easy money-making scheme.
However, I’m glad I got past that part, because the book is full of great insight. Hill and I disagree, sometimes quite strongly, on certain elements and philosophies, but the overall premise of the book is excellent. The version depicted is one in which was revised and updated for the 21st century. It adds to the original text some more modern day examples.
I think to begin my review, I want to revisit the “grow rich” aspect. Throughout the pages, Hill seems to proclaim the necessity to have materialism and greed – constantly dwelling upon the mass collection of wealth. Indeed, he calls this the first step to riches. This encroaches upon my understanding of 1 Timothy 6.1-10, in which Paul commands Timothy to find contentment regardless of net worth, and also that the specific love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
And so, my understanding of riches – material or not – comes from Hill’s own words, in the Chapter of the Six Ghosts of Fear (Pg 264 of the pictured edition). “The word ‘riches’ is here used in its broadest sense, meaning financial, spiritual, mental, and material estates.” This is how I understand Hill when I read the words “grow rich,” and it is with this large assumption that I find a lot of value can be taken from the book.
Hill states that there are 13 steps to riches. Each one builds upon the previous step, and so the order is of utmost importance.
- Desire – to have a burning intent to achieve whatever your “richness” may be
- Faith – to have unresolved faith that you will achieve this richness
- Auto suggestion – the method(s) or regularly reminding yourself of what this richness is
- Specialized knowledge – becoming exceedingly good at one specific service/product
- Imagination – having the ability to adapt and find creative ways to resolve problems
- Organized plan – to have a written out, comprehensive, specific plan on how you will achieve your riches
- Decision – the resolution to achieve anti-procrastination and determine to move forward with your plan
- Persistence – to not give up when trials and unforeseen obstacles arrive
- Masterminds – a group of like-minded individuals who will help you achieve your riches
- Sex transmutation – (definitely a strange chapter) the redirecting of our sex drive to our riches drive
- Subconscious – utilizing the power of “un-thought” thought
- Brain – fully using the capacities of your brain and its connectivity to the world around us
- 6th Sense – using all of the previous steps together to tap into the 6th sense (those “haunches” you get occasionally)
The book is strange. I’ll openly admit that – but I really did enjoy reading it. The basic framework is that riches will develop through steps that originate with thought. In essence, what we think is what we become. Hill uses some strange examples of universal ether, which I know very little of, but the principles that can be enacted are very powerful, and useful.
My walkaway from the book is that I already have many of those steps in place. Where I am lacking is my daily visualization of where I want to be, and who I would like to be. I’ve written down specific descriptions of how I’d like to be able to describe myself as husband and father, and specific metrics to measure my success as a financial planner. I dwell on these in the mornings, attaching emotions to the thoughts (as these will cling tighter to the subconscious, according to Hill).
There is a secret throughout the book that Hill says to look for, which is never directly identified as “The Secret. It’s not hidden – it’s right in the title. We become what we think – and the key to achieving riches is to think about them. (Remember my previously defined understanding of riches).
I’d encourage you to read the book, Jack. I believe it will be one of those books I look back on years from now and can identify as a contributor to my success as a professional and family man. Till next time, Jack.