Book Review: "Think and Grow Rich", by Napoleon Hill

spiritedStarred Page By spirited, 28th Sep 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
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This article is a review of this timeless and classic book.

The book itself is reviewed of course, but this writer also touches on a few rather unusual practices of the writer, Napoleon Hill, which he himself revealed in some other books of his.

The big secret of this book that is never fully given out in it

This book review is a highly unusual one.

Sure the book itself is reviewed, but a certain question that the reviewer has held within his own mind about this book for over forty years is also surprisingly revealed to him too.

It took another a little known book of the author's to bring this about, and the answer as given in the last section, might seem a bit over-the-top to some people, but that is how the author Napoleon Hill lived his own life too. When he drove his car, for example, his guardian angel nearly always sat beside him on the passenger's seat.

This well-known best-selling self-help book written by the best-selling author Napoleon Hill has always annoyed me just a little. It was first published in 1938. I have read it over many, many times since then.

Even from the preface, at the very start of his book, the author holds up a very large carrot for the reader to encourage them to read his entire book.

He tells them that throughout his book there is a hidden message or a secret that will not be disclosed, but that is there staring out at the reader, who has the eyes to see it, in at least 100 places within his book.

Here is part of what he wrote in this preface:

"The secret to which I refer has been mentioned no fewer than a hundred times,
throughout this book. It has not been directly named, for it seems to work more
successfully when it is merely uncovered and left in sight, where THOSE WHO
ARE READY, and SEARCHING FOR IT, may pick it up."

He also refers to this secret as being a magic formula that was first given to him by his mentor and sponsor, Andrew Carnegie, (1835 to 1919), a Scottish-born businessman, and industrialist.

The author claimed that this great message should be taught in schools to young kids, but then he says, almost taking this statement back again, that the secret will only benefit you if you already know what it is that you want.

What kid could really ever know this already though, yet alone an adult?

I for one still do not know what I want, nor in my long life so far did I ever know so, and I am nearly sixty years of age now.

With a start like that I was nearly put off reading his book, but read it I still did.

Go onto my next section to see why.

The author also says that you cannot ever get something for nothing.

Perhaps reading onto my next section will cost you a moment of your time, but you just might find out what this guy's mysterious secret really was all about.

I was annoyed of course, because although I read his book several times, I never did find his illusive secret, or did I?

Twenty to twenty-five years of research

The author interviewed over 500 men of great wealth over a long period of time, twenty years, he claimed in his book, but in some advertising blurbs for his book, I have seen this period actually extended to being twenty-five years.

From all of these interviews a philosophy, a formula, a magic secret was disclosed to the author, which was more-or less the same one for every one of these great men.

Napoleon Hill thought that thoughts are actual things. He thought that having a desire, or a definite purpose focussed your thoughts through your mind in such a way that whatever you wanted could then be achieved.

Determination, sticking to the idea that has arisen in you as a thought was how he thought that that thought would always be eventually realised.

Another book of Napoleon Hill's reveals the rather surprising answer

Napoleon Hill in his way was a highly spiritual person. He wrote other less know books that could only be classed as being, mystical books.

One such little known book of his, was one that was titled, "Outwitting the Devil".

This book can be read for free here.

He says here that fear is the tool of the Devil, and that self-confident faith is the weapon that we can use to defeat the devil with.

"You are entitled to know that two entities occupy your body. One of these entities is motivated by and responds to the impulse of fear. The other is motivated by and responds to the impulse of faith. Will you be guided by faith or will you allow fear to overtake you?"

This quote is from this book, "Outwitting the Devil."

In this little known book, the author makes the unusual claim that he could talk to the dead minds of many great people still. At first he thought that this was just his imagination, but the answers that he got proved to him eventually that there was something far more than just his over-active imagination going on here.

Here is what he said about himself in this book.

"Heretofore, I have remained quiet on the subject because I knew, from my own attitude in connection with such matters, that I would be branded as a pious fraud if I described my unusual experiences."

Finally the secret is revealed

We can all do what Napoleon Hill claimed that he could do above.

For the purposes of this book review, I also asked Napoleon Hill's soul what his great secret was.

Here are my questions as put to him with his answer exactly as it was given to me by him.


You wrote this book about your mysterious secret which you acquired from your association with people who knew it but then you refused to spell it out fully in your books. Would you do so now for me please, or at least tell me why you didn't give it out plainly before?

Napoleon Hill:

"The truth is that I didn't know it either.

Andrew Carnegie thought that I did, but the mind can never fully know what the heart sees and knows. This means that when you read my book with your mind alone you will discover nothing, but when you feel the truth within it being matched to what your heart already knows, you will just "know" the real truth of it then."

"These great secrets can never be fully written down in words because they always lose something within the translation. The secret in a few words though is simply that, "you should love what you are doing, and do what you love."

"This is why you must know what you want because to want what you know is not enough unless you love to know what you know enough for the loving to come out within action through a mind revealing your heart to you because it (your mind )is focussed now enough by your intent to live from this love made, or created by you listening within to your own soul's purpose for you in your own life."

Photo credits: All photos used here have been taken freely from the free media site, Wiki Commons media.


Book Review, Book Reviews, Books, Napoleon Hill, Think And Grow Rich

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author avatar spirited
I have been interested in the spiritual fields for over thirty five years now. My writing is mostly in this area.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
29th Sep 2014 (#)

Interesting book review and recommendation too!

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author avatar spirited
29th Sep 2014 (#)

thanks Fern

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
29th Sep 2014 (#)

Sprited, excellent review. For all known purposes he gave you the answer. The answer is if you believe then it is so. There is a book called "Magic" that speaks on this very topic. You may or may not have read it. I did and this review immediately brought it to mind. I loved that you picked this topic to write on. Smiles to you!

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author avatar spirited
29th Sep 2014 (#)

thanks Nancy.

Yes, I believe his answer would certainly have been along those lines. He is talking about becoming rich in spirit or in heart as I said in my reply to siva below.

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author avatar pohtiongho
29th Sep 2014 (#)

If we can just think and grow rich there would be no poor people on this planet. In a free world, a person can write whatever he wants. It is up to the intelligent ones to investigate for themselves.

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author avatar spirited
29th Sep 2014 (#)

thanks pohtiongho,

and if we couldn't think and grow rich perhaps we would all still be living in caves.

There must be some truth in this at least. A lot of people say that we are what we think most about. Our thoughts colour us, I feel.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
29th Sep 2014 (#)

Thanks Spirited for this thought provoking share. We stray away from what is right, and we know that we do, but then we want things to turn out our way and finally lead a miserable life. I know some rich who don't trust their own shadows and then spread unhappiness around. Blessed are the contented who are happy with earning a living and even enriching others paying more than they need to. May their tribe increase and do what is impossible - make an impression on the stone-hearted! siva

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author avatar spirited
29th Sep 2014 (#)

thanks siva,

The hidden message is of course that he isn't talking about rich as in money. He is talking about becoming rich in spirit and in your heart. This is clear from reading his book, where he said that he was financially rich himself but still not happy, so he gave his well paying job up to become rich in other ways.

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author avatar Utah Jay
29th Sep 2014 (#)

I read the book and others like it and they worked, I did grow rich (well sort of) my business was rich until the lawyers came, and even though I won the case, there was nothing left of me, so I sold the place.

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author avatar spirited
29th Sep 2014 (#)

I was given his "Laws of success" to read too by a very wealthy businessman who wanted to mentor me at the time to make me rich too.

I just didn't want to be rich in the monetary sense, but I could not at the time realise what his books were really all really about. I was frustrated and sold his book to a second-hand bookshop!

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author avatar Helen Thomas
29th Sep 2014 (#)

Thanks for sharing this very interesting article ~ Spirited.
Regarding the secret as mentioned in your post, I can certainly agree with the author's basic premise based on the two Scriptures below. God is a Spirit and we were created in His image ~ according to Genesis 1:27. That tells us that we are also spirit beings who have a soul and live in a physical body. So ~ our born-again spirits know ~ but it takes quite a long time for our soul (the mind, the intellect and the emotions) to catch up.

"But you have received the Holy Spirit, and He lives within you, in your hearts, so that you don’t need anyone to teach you what is right. For He teaches you all things, and He is the Truth, and no liar; and so, just as He has said, you must live in Christ, never to depart from Him." 1 John 2:27 TLB

"Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence Him. With them alone He shares the secrets of His promises." Psalm 25:14 TLB

Grace and peace be multiplied to you ~ Spirited ~ with richest blessings ~ emotionally, mentally, and financially!

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author avatar spirited
29th Sep 2014 (#)

thanks Helen.

The Holy spirit teaches us all things that we need to know. That is a great assurance. We need never go out searching for stuff then, or worry about our thinking that we do not know something. We will come to know it all in God's good time.

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