Think and Grow Rich

Written By Adam Drake

11 min read

Napoleon Hill - Think and Grow Rich
personal growth


Napoleon Hill was the first to bring Self-Help to the public. The story goes that in 1908 the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie asked Napoleon to create a philosophy of success based on some of Americas’ most successful businessmen.

He spent 25 years researching over forty millionaires to find out what habits and traits they possessed that brought about success and riches. He states that ‘thoughts are things’ and whatever you can conceive of and believe in your mind you can manifest into reality.

The book ‘Think and Grow Rich’ breaks down the steps needed in order to achieve riches. This book was written around the time of the Great Depression which explains why the book is mainly focused on how you can manifest money riches into your life.

Summary of main ideas

Napoleon breaks down his method to attain riches into thirteen steps. He is very adamant that each step must be taken and each step must be done properly in order for the combination of all the steps to have the desired effect. The thirteen steps are as follows:

1. Desire: The starting point for all achievement.

Napoleon states that all success starts from having a burning desire. It can still take a long time for the riches to manifest but there has to be a burning desire otherwise it will not happen. He states there are six steps to transmute desire into its financial equivalent:

  • First: Decide exactly how much money you wish to attain.

  • Second: Decide what you intend to give in return.

  • Third: Establish a definite date.

  • Fourth: Create a definite plan.

  • Fifth: Write these things down.

  • Sixth: Read your statement aloud twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening.

These steps are very important in attaining riches as it lays the platform for you becoming ‘money conscious’ and this is needed in order to become successful.

2. Faith: Visualization Of, and Belief in Attainment of Desire

Faith is the head chemist of the mind. Napoleon writes that thoughts are not enough in and of themselves. They need to be combined with emotion. Only then can they start manifesting into reality.

Faith, love and Sex are the most powerful emotions. All thoughts that have given feelings and then mixed with faith will immediately translate themselves into their physical equivalent.

A man’s imagination is very important in creating riches. It is the place where plans and desires are formed. Without an imagination it will be very difficult to create any kind of wealth.

3. Auto-Suggestion: The Medium for Influencing the SubConscious Mind

Auto-suggestion applies to all suggestions and stimuli that reach the mind via the five senses. The dominating thoughts in one’s mind, whether they are positive or negative, cannot enter the subconscious mind without the aid of the principle of auto-suggestion. So any impressions received from the senses are stopped by the conscious thinking mind and may be allowed to be rejected or to pass to the subconscious mind. The conscious mind acts as an outer-guard.

So by following the six steps laid out in the First Step and attaching emotion to the words you read out every morning and night you can slowly move these thoughts into your subconscious mind.

4. Specialized Knowledge: Personal Experiences or Observations

There are two types of knowledge. General and Specialized. General knowledge is of little use when it comes to amassing wealth. In order to make riches you must have specialized knowledge in the area in which you want to make wealth. Become a master of your trade.

5. Imagination: The Workshop of the Mind

A man’s imagination is very important in creating riches. It is the place where plans and desires are formed. Without an imagination it will be very difficult to create any kind of wealth.

There are two types of imagination according to Napoleon - Synthetic and Creative.

Synthetic - Through this one can arrange old ideas, concepts, plans into new combinations. However nothing is created by this type of imagination.

Creative - Through this type of imagination man has direct communication with ‘Infinite Intelligence’. It is the faculty through which ‘hunches’ and ‘inspiration’ are received. It is a muscle and like all muscles it can be trained.

6. Organised Planning: The Crystallization of Desire into Action

There are four steps that can be utilized in order to build your plans:

  • Ally yourself with a ‘Master Mind’ group. This is a group of specialized individuals who can help you achieve your goals.

  • Decide beforehand what you can offer each person of this ‘Master Mind’ group as no one will work for free.

  • Arrange to meet with the group at least twice a week until you have constructed the necessary plan.

  • Maintain good relations with each member of the group.

You must have a plan in order to succeed and you will need other people’s experience, education and native abilities in order to create this plan and make sure it succeeds. You cannot do this alone.

7. Decision: The mastery of Procrastination

You will need to get good at making decisions. This is a skill and can be improved over time with practise and experience. A good leader makes decisions promptly and changes these decisions rarely and if so then slowly. People that fail to accumulate money make decisions, if at all, very slowly, and change these decisions quickly and often.

The opposite of decisions is Procrastination and this is a common enemy that every man must conquer.

8. Persistence: The Sustained Effort Necessary to Induce Faith

This is probably one of the most important steps and the most overlooked as it’s not very ‘sexy’. So many people begin projects with exuberance and excitement but soon give up at the first sign of opposition or misfortune.

People that succeed in their endeavours do so utilising their power of will. They follow through with all of their plans. They carry on despite all the opposition and they attain their goals.

Napoleon outlines 4 steps which lead to the habit of persistence:

  • A definite purpose backed by a burning desire for its fulfillment.

  • A definite plan, expressed in continuous action.

  • A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences.

  • A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.

A good leader makes decisions promptly and changes these decisions rarely and if so then slowly. People that fail to accumulate money make decisions, if at all, very slowly, and change these decisions quickly and often.

9. Power of the Master Mind: The Driving Force

Power is an essential ingredient in the accumulation of money. Without it your plans are useless according to Napoleon. Power is defined as ‘organised and intelligently directed knowledge’. There are three sources of knowledge:

  • Infinite intelligence.

  • Accumulated experience.

  • Experiment and research.

This knowledge may be converted into power by organizing it into definite plans and then expressing these plans in terms of action. This is where the knowledge of the ‘Master Mind’ group is crucial as you will require knowledge of others in order to succeed. An individual will have real difficulties if he relies upon his efforts alone.

10. The Mystery of Sex: Transmutation

‘Transmute’ in this context means the transfer of one form of energy into another. The emotion of sex brings into being a state of mind.

Sex desire is the most powerful of human desires and when driven by this desire men can accomplish great feats. Their whole keenness of imagination, will-power, courage, persistence and creative abilities are all enhanced when driven by this sex desire.

Napoleon states a transmuted sex desire can result in amazing creative abilities. This creative imagination is a human’s six sense. A link between the finite mind of man and Infinite intelligence. It is labelled as ‘intuition’, ‘hunch’ or the ‘small voice inside us’ and in order to succeed this creative imagination must be developed and utilized.

11. The Subconscious Mind: The Connecting Link

There is still relatively little known about the subconscious mind. Napoleon suggests it is the link between man's thinking mind and Infinite Intelligence. However there are certain tried and tested ways you can use the subconscious mind to your advantage.

The subconscious mind works day and night. You can hand plans, problems and desires over to it and it will mull over them and very often give you an answer. Combining thoughts with emotions and making this a daily habit will cultivate your subconscious mind. By doing this consistently you can begin to bring about your goals into physical reality.

12. The Brain: A Broadcasting and Receiving Station for Thought

The brain is both a broadcasting and receiving station for the vibration of thought. These vibrations need to be of an exceedingly high rate though. These thoughts can be stepped up by combining them with major emotions.

The emotion of sex is at the top of this list. By utilizing sex transmutation you can increase the rate of vibration of thoughts and then the Creative Imagination becomes highly receptive to ideas.

13. The Sixth Sense: The Door to the Temple of Wisdom

Once you have mastered the first twelve steps can the connection with Infinite Intelligence be opened. It will communicate with you voluntarily without any effort from you. It is also known as ‘flashes of inspiration’ or ‘hunches’.

It can communicate ideas as well as dangers that may lurk ahead. You can avoid potential problems ahead by having this line of communication open. However you have to follow each step in this book in order to get your mind in a suitable place to receive these communications

How to Outwit the Six Ghosts of Fear

There are six fears which are the cause of all discouragement, timidity, indifference, procrastination, indecision and lack of enthusiasm. Napoleon calls these the Six Ghosts of Fear and advises that by having an understanding of them will give you the means to overcome them. The Six Basic Fears are:

  • The fear of poverty

  • The fear of criticism

  • The fear of ill health

  • The fear of loss of love of someone

  • The fear of old age

  • The fear of death

How this book can help you

This book is one of the first ‘Self-Help’ books and really helped kick off a whole genre which has exploded into the huge business it is today. The book's main premise is around the mind and how important it is to have your mind in order if you want to succeed at anything.

It reminds me a lot about the Law of Attraction and how cultivating a positive mindset will bring about a positive life.

Napoleon really breaks down the steps you can take in order to create riches in your life. This is very helpful for anyone who is lost or not sure what to do to get out of a rut. There does seem to be an element of faith needed in order for these steps to pay off though so any amount of skepticism going in could hold you back.

One thing it does show though is how much can be done with the mind if you are willing to. The cultivation of the mind is essential if you wish to bring about any success in your life. The steps about creating a ‘Master Mind’ group, having persistence and organised planning really stood out for me.

If you are starting a new endeavour, or find yourself in a lull then this book is definitely worth a read.

Some good further reading/watching/listening

In this video you can listen to Napolean Hill give a lecture on ‘The Laws of Success’:


and this is where I discovered this book in the first place:


Where to get it

Read on paperback Think and Grow Rich from Amazon

Listen to Think and Grow Rich on Audible

About the author

Oliver Napolean Hill was an American Self-Help author. He was certainly an interesting character and there is some controversy surrounding his life and you can read more of it here. One thing for certain though is his book ‘Think and Grow Rich’ is among the top 10 best selling self-help books of all time.

Published by

TarcherPerigee; Revised & enlarged edition

Publication Date:

August 18, 2005



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