“Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill
It has sold over 70 million copies worldwide, remains the author's best-selling book to date, and is considered to have inspired more people's success than any other book in history.
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It's called Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, and more millionaires and billionaires have made their fortunes as a result of reading it than any other book ever printed.
Now, I know out of everything we're going to discuss in our “Greatest Books You've Never Read” series, this is the one you most likely have read. But, don't jump ship quite yet…
You see, Napoleon Hill had written numerous other books in his lifetime. And many of them expand upon the ideas presented in this book.
And there are two in particular that are vital to an entrepreneur's success, that I will cover later on in this post…
But first, some history: According to his biographer, “Napoleon Hill was born in a one-room cabin near the Appalachian town of Pound, in Virginia. Hill's mother died when he was nine years old. At the age of 13, Hill began writing as a ‘mountain reporter’ for small-town newspapers.”
Hill had to interview the most successful men in America at the time for an article he was writing. In doing so, he met Andrew Carnegie, and Carnegie was so impressed with his ambition, that he proposed a challenge to him:
“Carnegie believed that the process of success could be outlined in a simple formula that anyone would be able to understand and achieve. He asked Hill to interview over 500 successful men and women, many of them millionaires, in order to discover and publish this formula for success.”
The result of Hill's efforts was the Laws of Success, a compilation of 16 principles for achievement. His first revision, Think and Grow Rich, condenses these laws down to 13.
Now, there are numerous things we could discuss regarding Hill's ideas and approaches in this book. However, there are two in particular that have been proven time and time again to be the most important.
1) Goal Setting
2) The Master Mind
Goal setting is one of the most important elements to success you can implement.
According to Napoleon Hill, if you want something, you have to discover what way of thinking and acting is required in order to get it, and then adopt it.
Studies have shown that only 2% of people actually set goals and write them down. Also, it just so happens that only 2% of the population actually attains a high degree of success (based on income).
This brings into play one of Napoleon's lesser-known books, The 12 Great Riches of Life.
In this book, he discusses the 12 most important elements to living a rich and fulfilled life – important things like a positive mental attitude, harmony in human relationships, and hope for achievement.
But the real takeaway here for entrepreneurs is #10, “Self Discipline.”
Success as a leader and a business person requires you to create and organize plans that are actionable.
And once these plans are set, you need to jump right in and test them out. If they don't work? You count your losses and try something new.
As the old adage says, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”
These books really outline the steps you need to take to create a detailed, workable goal plan, and how to revise it once you come up to a road block.
This leads us to Hill's next principle…
“No individual has sufficient experience, education, native ability, and knowledge to insure the accumulation of a great fortune, without the cooperation of other people.”
You probably have heard the term “Master Mind” more than you'd ever like – every entrepreneur, guru, and coach on the planet talks about them.
But there's a good reason for that: they work.
Napoleon Hill actually coined the term Master Mind, and defines it as such: “the Coordination of Knowledge and effort, in a Spirit of Harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a Definite Purpose.”
Basically, by surrounding yourself with successful, ambitious, and positive people, you position yourself to succeed in anything you set your mind to.
In fact, Carnegie surrounded himself with a staff of fifty men, purely for the purpose of manufacturing and marketing steel…
Henry Ford credits his success to connecting with Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and other successful people…
Dan Kennedy, one of the most successful entrepreneurs today, consistently runs mastermind groups connecting high-achieving business owners, who willingly pay $10,000 a year just to bounce ideas off of each other for 6 days out of the year.
The reality is, we take on the nature and habits with whom we associate. And by going it alone, you are putting yourself at a distinct disadvantage.
Incidentally, I also run a program called the “Momentum Mastermind” – by connecting you with other “expertpreneurs” to communicate, share ideas, and hold each other accountable, you guarantee that you will not only soar in your own business, but help others succeed as well.
But I'll give you more info on that, later…
You see, there is a caveat to all of this… and this is where the other of Hill's two lesser known books comes into play: you can learn all of the tricks, tactics, and methods for success that you want, but without this one key element, you can never succeed…
A positive mindset.
It may sound cheesy, but if you don't believe deep down that you have the ability to succeed, then you absolutely never will.
Napoleon Hill released a book with W. Clement Stone, another prolific inspirational writer, called Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude.
And they put this idea very simply, “Your mind has a secret invisible talisman. On one side is emblazoned the letters PMA (positive mental attitude) and on the other the letters NMA (negative mental attitude). A positive attitude will naturally attract the good and the beautiful. The negative attitude will rob you of all that makes life worth living.”
Even stressful situations can be looked at in a positive light. When you are faced with road blocks, as every entrepreneur is, think about how you can spin that into the positive. Not only will you feel better, but you will accomplish so much more.
By putting these two major principles together, and implementing any of the other wonderful ideas Mr. Hill shares in his books, you can position yourself for unbridled success. After all…
“Anybody can wish 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.”
With that, I sign off on this edition of “The Greatest Books You've Never Read.” Next week, you will meet one of the men who is credited with the rise of social media and the creation of a multi-million dollar corporation – purely from vlogs.
(And if you are serious about taking your coaching business to the next level, take a moment to learn more about my “Momentum Mastermind” group – you'll get firsthand experience with many of Hill's most powerful concepts.)