From the title, “Think and Grow Rich,” you probably are thinking that Hill’s masterpiece on achieving success is about becoming a better businessperson or making as much money as possible. Although this was the initial motivation for writing this book, the end result was a handbook on gaining success in life in general. The 13 steps to obtaining success outlined in this best-seller are the results of 20 years of research and accumulating information from over 500 successful individuals in a wide array of disciplines. These keys to success have stood the test of time having sold over 70 million copies to date, and this book is still regarded as one of the best self-improvement titles ever written. There is so much valuable information packed into these pages that I have decided to make Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” this week’s edition of the Scott Drotar Literary Review.
The man driving the more than 20 year endeavor of researching what makes people successful, and in turn driving the creation of this book, was the philanthropic, steel tycoon, Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie charged Hill with the quest of interviewing and studying hundreds of successful people, such as Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and Woodrow Wilson, and then trying to decipher the common factors that helped them achieve all of their accomplishments in business and in life. The end result of this more than 2 decade journey are the 13 lessons discussed in “Think and Grow Rich.” The author claims that by understanding and employing these 13 ideas, that you will discover the “secret” to obtaining success. The goal of this undertaking was to bring the keys to creating a successful life to the average person, so that anyone, regardless of their level of education, professional background, or social status, could build a prosperous future for themselves and their families. Given that this book was first published in 1937, right in the middle of the Great Depression, this was something that most people found appealing, which is probably why every copy was sold within the first 6 weeks of its initial release. The popularity just continued growing from there, as this book is still one of the most read self-help, motivational titles around, even more than 75 years later.
“Think and Grow Rich” was a great read and packed full of powerful content, but it is not without its flaws. Hill does a fantastic job of writing in a style that is easy to read and accessible to almost any reader, while still thoroughly examining and explaining the topic at hand. There are frequent examples and anecdotes throughout each chapter that provide qualitative evidence of the importance of each lesson, as well as illustrating how to go about applying that lesson to your life. That is one of the best things about this book, you don’t just learn what to do, but you also learn how to do it. As great as “Think and Grow Rich” is though, there are a few minor things that could be improved upon. First, this book is 75 plus years old, and it does show its age at times. Some of the anecdotes and stories were so outdated that I found it difficult to connect them with the point he was making. Another issue related to the age of this work is that the writing style is from the early 20th century, which means that it can be a little verbose and long-winded at times. This is not necessarily a problem depending on your preferred writing style, but personally I thought that it was a bit dry and overly descriptive in certain sections. The final issue I had was that there were times when the focus became almost entirely about business and financial success, and I found it difficult to draw the connection to personal success. Once again though, depending on your desired goals in reading this book, you may or may not feel that this is a bad thing.
Considering the fact that this self-improvement masterpiece is still widely read more than 75 years since its initial publication, you know that the information to be gained from its message is valuable. If you read, study, and apply the 13 lessons to be learned from its pages, you will find it much easier to build success in any part of your life. Even though it may be showing some signs of age that can complicate the point being discussed occasionally, “Think and Grow Rich” is still a treasure trove of knowledge for anyone who wants to be more successful. And who doesn’t want that? That is why Napoleon Hill’s classic gets a 4 out of 5 on the Roll Models Review Scale.