Book 36 of 52 – Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill


Who is the Author?

Napoleon Hill, is the epitome of seeing an opportunity and then seizing the living daylights out of it. It was 1908 when Hill was given the opportunity to interview the Industrialist Andrew Carnegie. In that time Carnegie was one of the world’s most powerful men, and although the opportunity to meet him was a wonder in itself the best was yet to come. Carnegie saw talent in Hill and asked him if he was prepared to undergo a 20-year study. During this study Hill would interview over 500 successful human beings with a view of creating a formula for success. Hill took up the opportunity and Think and Grow Rich is part of the culmination of that period of work.

Hill was born in 1883 and died in 1970.

The Formula

The formula behind Think and Grow Rich was created after Hill had spent time interviewing over 500 of the most successful people on the planet. During this time Hill didn’t just interview them, he created relationships. These relationships included personal advisory roles to two U.S. Presidents: Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D.Roosevelt.

Hill believes that in order to obtain great wealth there were 13-Steps to Riches that you must first take. These steps were the one binding commonality that emerged from his 20-year period of research. The 13-Steps to Riches are as follows.

1. Desire
2. Faith
3. Auto-Suggestion
4. Specialised Knowledge
5. Imagination
6. Organised Planning
7. Decision
8. Persistence
9. Power of the Master
10. The Mystery of Sex Transmutation
11. The Sub Conscious Mind
12. The Brain
13. The Sixth Sense

Hill provides in depth reasoning behind why he believes these steps matter, he provides related stories from his interviews and teaches you how best to master each step.

Did it Deliver the Value That I Expected?

When I chose the book, I was a little worried because of the period of time that the book was originally published. I thought it would read in a very old-fashioned sense. I thought the content would annoy me. Instead it achieved the opposite effect. Plenty of authors suggest that you revisit their pages time and time again, but let’s be honest how many times do we take them up on their offer? I mean there are simply too many books in the world to read a single one multiple times. With Think and Grow Rich it is not an option, it’s a necessity. There is simply too much to comprehend, and in order to change your habitual way of thinking, and behaving, it takes time. So Think and Grow Rich will be a book where I teach myself the 13-Steps over a prolonged period of time, and do you know what? I don’t think I will ever grow tired of it.

The most interesting observation that I make after reading this book is I now see every other book in the self-help genre as a modern, watered-down version, of this timeless classic. I am serious. Nearly every book that I have read that promises you six steps for this, or ten secrets for that, all take their philosophy from this book.

Please Give me Something Different!

The 10th Step to Riches: Sex Transmutation was a topic that I had never heard of before. So for me this has to be my little bit of difference, and it is the most controversial chapter in the book. Hill believes that sex is the most powerful of human desires. He quite rightly points out that men will go to great lengths for sex, including running the risk of life and reputation. Hill believes that during the build up of sexual energy men develop a heightened imagination, courage, will-power, persistence and creativity that is unbeknown to them at any other time.

Hill believes that the most successful men in the world somehow have the ability to transmute this energy away from sex, and into creative ventures such as the arts, literature and of course the accumulation of great riches. I have not yet built up the courage to get all hot and bothered before kicking my girlfriend out into the street so I can write a good blog post.

Throughout the book, Hill always uses the male gender when making references to people. I assume that women also have the same capacity to channel their sexual energy towards more creative endeavors, other than rolling around in the sack with their man for five-minutes per night.

My Highlights

I really enjoyed the chapter on the Fourth Step to Riches: Specialised Knowledge because it made me feel better about myself. As a young man working on the railway I was promoted quickly and given responsibilities for people, machinery and areas of responsibility that I very little, or zero, personal knowledge or experience in. Some of the people who used to work for me had a real problem with this and it resulted in a lack of respect. I always believed that as long as I surrounded myself with knowledgeable people, and was willing to learn, that my leadership skills would be more than enough compensation for my lack of experience. So it was nice to learn that Henry Ford, one of the world’ most powerful men in his time, also had the same problem. Although, just like me, Ford never saw it as a problem, it was everyone else that did.

Another favourite chapter was the Thirteenth Step to Riches: The Sixth Sense. My mind really started opening when the topic of the sixth sense was raised after I read Love and Survival by Dean Ornish. It was Ornish that recommended Healing Words by Larry Dossey and those two books have changed the way I think about spiritual intelligence. In fact, I now say a meditative prayer every night before I go to bed. It was refreshing for me to read another great piece of material on the topic, and I loved Hill’s willingness to bare his soul when he writes about his private meetings he had in his mind with famous people of the world.

Oh Dear!

The only “Oh Dear!” moment for me was the stark realisation that every self-help book that was written in the wake of Think and Grow Rich is just a rehash of Hill’s 13-Steps to Riches.

If the self-help genre is where you derive your inspiration then this book is a must-buy. If I had a chart on my blog for the top ten self-help books I have read, then this would be number one. It is a definite must read. It is a book that you will have to read countless times, and you will also have to take copious amounts of notes and revise them regularly. To not do this is to waste the work that Hill took 20-years to compile.


  1. A great book, and a timless one.

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