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Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich Article by: Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale

All over the free world, there are thousands of successful men and women who are where they are today because they once picked up a copy of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Without question, this single book has had a greater influence on the lives, accomplishments, and fortunes of more people than any other work of its kind.

This remarkable book helped me decide once and for all how I was to accomplish my goal. It unified my thinkingand gave me a straight, clear road to the point I decided to reach. One of my closest friends found the book, stayed home for three days reading and digesting its material, and he then went on to reach the top of his industry. I’ve sat in richly paneled executive offices and listened to worldfamous business leaders tell me how reading Think and Grow Rich changed their lives.

When the last page of Think and Grow Rich is read, thehand that puts the book down on the table is a different hand. The man who then stands up and walks out into the world is a different, a changed man — the possessor of the unique knowledge that will enable him to turn dreams into reality, thoughts into things. Socalled fate and exterior circumstances are no longer in command. He who had been a passenger is now suddenly the captain.

The secret behind Think and Grow Rich, the reason why it has withstood the test of time, is because it stands on the foundation of truth: the clear, unchallengeable fact that everything begins with an idea. One may start with nothing but ideas, but ideas are incredibly powerful when they’re supported by Definiteness of Purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into material objects or riches — “riches” being whatever it is you happen to want.

In other words, by controlling your mind, you can control your destiny. And you can start that amazing process today, by absorbing and applying Napoleon Hill’s famous 13 principles for unbridled success.


Desire is the starting point for all achievement, the first step toward riches. But it’s here that we so often run into a roadblock. A person will say, “I know what I desire, but can I get it?”

The answer was best expressed by Emerson: “There’s nothing capricious in nature, and the implanting of a desire indicates that its gratification is in the constitution of the creature that feels it.” In other words, you would not have the desire unless you were capable of its achievement.

Your burning desire is nothing more than an accurate picture of what you will one day become. So right here, firmly establish in your mind that which you desire more than anything else, and cherish and nurture that desire. Do not suppress or annihilate it. A man without desire has within him no principle of action, nor motive to act.


Faith is the state of mind that may be induced or created by affirmation or repeated instructions to the subconscious mind by conscious auto suggestion. By summoning over and over again a mental image of yourself already having accomplished your main desire, you will muster the faith you need. Faith is vital to accomplishment.

Have faith that you can accomplish that which you seek, for you would never have decided upon it unless it was meant for you to accomplish it. If you find it difficult at times to have faith in yourself, you may be certain that you can have faith in these principles.

Auto Suggestion

Through repeated suggestion, the subconscious mind can be put to work for you. It’s the faculty of being able to concentrate your mind on your burning desire until your subconscious mind accepts it as fact and begins to devise ways of bringing it about. Here’s where hunches come from, sudden flashes of thought, inspiration, or guidance.

To access the power of auto suggestion, go into some quiet spot, perhaps in bed at night. Close your eyes and repeat aloud so you may hear your own words a careful reaffirmation of whatever your goal happens to be. If it’s the accumulation of a sum of money, reiterate the time limit for its accumulation and a description of the service or merchandise you intend to give in return for it. As you carry out these instructions, see yourself already in possession of your goal.

Specialized Knowledge

Knowledge is power only to the extent that it’s organized into a definite plan of action and directed to a definite end. Before you can be sure of your ability to transmute desire into its monetary equivalent, you will require specialized knowledge of the service, merchandise, or profession that you intend to offer in return for fortune.

Realize that you must learn all you can about your specialty. Set aside a definite time every day for learning more about what it is you do for a living. Take the courses that are offered on your subject and associate with people who know your business well.


Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Man’s only limitation, within reason, lies in the development and use of his imagination and subsequent motivation to action. The great leaders of business, industry, and finance, and the great artists, musicians, poets, and writers became great because they developed the power of self-motivation.

As you go about your daily work, think constantly of ways in which it could be done better, more efficiently. Think of the changes that are inevitable. Can they be made now? If you feel limited, remember the words of the late Frank Lloyd Wright: “The human race built most nobly when limitations were greatest and, therefore, when most was required of imagination in order to build at all.”


Analysis of several hundred people who’ve accumulated fortunes well beyond the million-dollar mark disclose the fact that every one of them had the habit of reaching decisions promptly and of changing these decisions slowly, if and when they were changed.

When you make up your mind, stay with it. The majority of people who fail are generally easily influenced by the opinions of others. Opinions are the cheapest commodities on earth. Keep your own counsel when you begin to put into practice the principles described here by reaching your own decisions and following them. Take no one into your confidence except the members of your mastermind alliance (as discussed later), and be very careful in your selection of this group, choosing only those who will be in complete sympathy and harmony with your purpose. Close friends and relatives, while not meaning to do so, often handicap one through uninformed opinions and sometimes through ridicule.


Persistence is simply the power of will. Willpower and desire, when properly combined, make an irresistible pair. Persistence is to an individual what carbon is to steel. In uncounted thousands of cases, persistence has stood as the difference between success and failure. It is the lack of this quality more than any other that keeps the majority from great accomplishment. As soon as the going gets tough, they fold.

If you’re to accomplish the goal you set for yourself, you must form the habit of persistence. Things will get difficult. It will seem as though there’s no longer any reason to continue. Everything in you will tell you to give up, to quit trying. It is right here that if you’ll go that extra mile and keep going, the skies will clear and you’ll begin to see the first signs of the abundance that is to be yours because you had the courage to persist. With persistence will come success.

Enthusiastic Support

It is of great significance that behind practically every great leader has been the supportive love and inspiration of a spouse. When things get tough — and you can count on it, they will — you may be deserted by some you thought were friends. But if you’ve got a good woman or man supporting you, you will never be alone. He or she will be willing to start over again if necessary and will give you the new enthusiasm that comes through faith in you.

Having someone to love is having someone to share your success and accomplishments; to give you the praise that all of us need from time to time. A person can become successful without a spouse and family, but much of the real joy is lost if it cannot be shared. Take care of your spouse and children as your greatest possessions.

Organized Planning

The first of the six steps for transforming desire into reality is the formation of a definite, practical plan through which this transformation may be made (see From Desire to Reality in Six Easy Steps, pg. 40). Once you do, it is critical that you ally yourself with one or more people or a group of as many people as you may need for the creation and carrying out of your plan. These people are your “mastermind alliance.”

Before forming your mastermind alliance, decide what advantages and benefits you may offer the individual members of your group in return for their cooperation. No one will work indefinitely without compensation, though this may not always be in the form of money.

Arrange to meet with the members of your mastermind alliance at least twice a week, and more often if possible, until you have jointly perfected the necessary plan or plans for the accomplishment of your goal.

Maintain perfect harmony between yourself and every member of your mastermind alliance. Keep in mind these facts: First, you are engaged in an undertaking of major importance to you. To be sure of success, you must have plans that are as faultless as possible. Second, you must have the advantage of the experience, education, native ability, and imagination of other minds. This is in harmony with the methods followed by every person who has risen above the average. Work at this until you have a well-executed formal plan for reaching your objective. In this way you’re never confused or wondering what you should do next. Every morning you know exactly what you’re going to do and why.

Organized planning is one the most important principles, because a person without a plan is like a ship without a course. With no place to go, disaster is a probability.

The Power of the Mastermind

No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third — a third invisible, intangible force that may be likened to a third mind. You may have noticed many times that by discussing something with another person you suddenly get good ideas as a result of the discussion, ideas you would not have gotten without this association. Well, the same thing happens to the other person. A lot of good ideas have been born in individual minds as a result of having met in committee.

Associating with your mastermind alliance is not meant as a means of letting others do your thinking for you, far from it. It is meant to stimulate your own thinking through the association with other minds. No one knows everything. The more sympathetic minds you get together — that is, minds working for a common purpose — the more related information is going to be available. Great ideas are a combination of related information.

Pick the members of your mastermind group with care. Make sure they’re people you respect and who are hard working and conscientious. You’ll have a lot of fun, and you’ll reach your goals just that much sooner.

The Subconscious Mind

The subconscious mind is a mental area in which all inputs through any of the five senses are classified and recorded, and from which they may be recalled or withdrawn like data from the storage banks of a limitless computer. No one knows very much about what we call the subconscious mind but we do know that it is incalculably powerful and can solve our problems if we go about using it the right way.

The best way is to hold in your conscious mind as often as possible a clear picture of yourself already having accomplished your goal. Know what you want. Define it clearly, and then project it on the motion picture screen of your mind. Hold it. See yourself doing and having the things you have when your objective will have been reached. Do this as often as practical, particularly at night just before you go to sleep and the first thing upon waking. As you do this, your subconscious will begin to lead you toward your objective. Don’t fight it. Follow your sudden hunches, the ideas that come into your mind, knowing that they may well represent subconscious knowledge.

If you’ll keep at this, you’ll be amazed and delighted by the ideas that just seem to come from nowhere.

The Power of the Brain

If you had access to all the wealth in the world and used only a penny, you would be doing exactly what most of us very probably have been doing in the use of our brains. You own in your brain the most marvelous, miraculous, inconceivably powerful force the world has ever known.

It is the brain that has given us the computer, supersonic airplane, our deep rocket probes into outer space, the sciences, and the arts. All of what we know today and will achieve tomorrow is born from this small, gray mass each of us carries around.

Can you doubt, even for a moment, that your brain can bring you and yours everything you want here on earth? Recognize its power, give it the job you’ve decided to accomplish, and watch it handle it.

The Sixth Sense

The sixth sense can be described as the sense through which your infinite intelligence may and will communicate. This principle is the apex of the philosophy. It can be assimilated, understood, and applied only by first mastering the other 12 principles. The sixth sense is that function of the subconscious mind that has been referred to as the creative imagination. It’s also been referred to as the receiving set through which ideas flash into the mind, sometimes called hunches or inspirations.

The sixth sense cannot be described to a person who has not mastered the other principles of this philosophy, because such a person has no knowledge and no experience to serve as points of reference. The sixth sense is not something one can take off and put on at will. The ability to use this great power comes slowly through application of the other principles we’ve outlined. So begin to develop it now by applying the principles we’ve talked about here.

Remember this: Man can create nothing that he does not first conceive in the form of an idea, a desire. Keep fear out of your mind. Concentrate on the mental picture of yourself achieving your desire. Cut yourself away from the average — from the mediocre — and chart your course on the dream in your heart. These 13 principles will never let you down. You need only remember and use them.

From Desire to Reality in Six Easy Steps
Six definite practical steps to transform a burning desire into reality.

  1. Fix in your mind an exact picture of what you desire. It’s not sufficient merely to say, for example, “I want plenty of money.” Be definite as to the amount.
  2. Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the thing you desire. There’s no such reality as something for nothing.
  3. Establish a definite date by which you intend to possess the desired thing.
  4. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you feel entirely ready or not to put this plan into action.
  5. Write out a clear, concise statement of your responses to the preceding four steps.
  6. Read your written statement aloud twice daily. Once after arising in the morning and once just before retiring at night. As you read, see and feel and believe yourself already in possession of whatever your goal happens to be.

“Through some strange and powerful principle of mental chemistry, nature wraps up in the impulse [of a] strong desire that something which recognizes no such word as impossible and accepts no such reality as failure.”
– Napoleon Hill

The Genius behind Napoleon Hill’s Science of Personal Achievement
These are just a few of the influential people Napoleon Hill interviewed on his 20-year quest to discover the science behind success. Henry Ford – Founder of Ford Motor Co.
Theodore Roosevelt – President of the United States
Charles M. Schwab – President of United States Steel Corp.
John D. Rockefeller – Founder of Standard Oil Companies
Thomas A. Edison – Inventor
F. W. Woolworth – Founder of F. W. Woolworth Co.
Woodrow Wilson – President of the United States
Wm. Howard Taft – President of the United States
J. Pierpont Morgan Sr. – Builder of “The House of Morgan”
Harvey S. Firestone – Founder of Firestone Tire & Rubber Co.
Wm. Wrigley Jr.– Founder of Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.
Julius Rosenwald – Chairman of Board, Sears, Roebuck & Co.

This interpretation of Napoleon’s classic Think and Grow Rich was created with the express permission of The Napoleon Hill Foundation (

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"First say to yourself what you would be: and then do what you have to do."

- Epictitus

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