You can gain knowledge in school but the experience will leave an imprint on what you have learned. Even your parents cannot teach you a step-by-step tutorial on how to live a life beyond their support. You can listen, but you are only hoping they can understand you.
You need someone’s perspective other than your parents’ mindset. That is why self-help books are popular. They are products from experiences of people who learned beyond traditional education and use the learning for success beyond people’s expectations.
One of the most successful authors of self-help books is Napoleon Hill. He is a silent figure of the 20th century wherein his works inspire the readers to be successful in their own ways. He may have some challenges faced during his lifetime, but his books sure did incite a lot of encouragement.
Who is Napoleon Hill?
Napoleon Hill was an American author of self-help books. He lived in 1883 and was motivated at an early age greatly by his stepmother. He had gone through school, deal with very hard problems and decent starting jobs, and proceed to enroll in a law institute. Due to the lack of funds, he withdrew but applied the title of ‘attorney’ still on his subsequent works.
He went on to start a lumber business only to encounter charges due to its practices. After that, he became an instructor of an automobile learning center but met another obstacle wherein the school’s reputation is being ridiculed so much that it ended its business a few months after. During that time, he married his first wife and bore three kids in the process.
He moved on with his life being an instructor of a college and a candy store owner. He would later become a dean of a new school but was charged with fraud by the local government, which led to another school ending its business. He would, later on, venture on many businesses and associated with people that brought him trouble.
He experienced a lot of trials in his life that led his first wife to file for a divorce. It was at the height of his climb from struggles in 1928 where he started to write self-help books and gained success for it. After experiencing success and downfall due to the economic depression, he then remarried and went back to being a lecturer. He died in 1970.
What is Napoleon Hill Best Known for?
Hill’s formula for success, ‘Philosophy of Achievement’, went on to become the basis of his first set of self-help books. Throughout his adulthood, he claimed to have interviewed and associated with all sorts of influential people, like the powerful billionaire Andrew Carnegie, President Woodrow Wilson during World War 1, controversial Thomas Edison, and the notorious local forger Butler Storke.
His books may be very popular, but he is also infamous for his unproven claims of being close to the successful people enough to have a conversation with them and also for his many different charges regarding his business strategies.
What are the Best books by Napoleon Hill?
Best Books by Napoleon Hill
|1. The Law of Success|
|2. Think and Grow Rich|
|3. Outwitting the Devil|
|4. How to Raise Your Own Salary|
|5. The Master Key to Riches|
|6. Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude|
|7. Grow Rich! with Peace of Mind|
|8. Napoleon Hill’s Golden Rules|
1 – The Law of Success
The Law of Success In Sixteen Lessons
This book was published in 1928. It was created as an eight-volume work and became Napoleon Hill’s first success after all the business and employment failures. At this point in time, he started to live a luxurious lifestyle but the beginning of ‘The Great Depression’ hit his finances hard.
According to the statements of Napoleon Hill, the book was commissioned due to Andrew Carnegie. He interviewed over 100 American millionaires, including the very influential such as John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, J. P. Morgan, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell, and focused on what are their differences to that of a common person.
The book contained sixteen lessons about being successful during harsh economic periods. Some of the concepts of best self-help books of today like ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ or ‘The Law of Attraction’ had based their premises on the lessons of Hill’s book.
Quotes from the book;
“Success in life depends upon happiness, and happiness is found in no other way than through SERVICE that is rendered in a spirit of love.” Napoleon Hill”
“Those who work for money alone, and who receive for their pay nothing but money, are always underpaid, no matter how much they receive. Money is necessary, but the big prizes of life cannot be measured in dollars and cents. No”
“TO do much clear thinking a man must arrange for regular periods of solitude when he can concentrate and indulge his imagination without distraction. -Thomas A. Edison.”
“The object of your definite chief aim should become your “hobby.” You should ride this “hobby” continuously; you should sleep with it, eat with it, play with it, work with it, live with it and THINK with it.”
“Everyone needs a change of mental environment at regular periods, the same as a change and variety of food are essential. The mind becomes more alert, more elastic and more ready to work with speed and accuracy after it has been bathed in new ideas, outside of one’s own field of daily labor.”
“Hard labor and good intentions are not sufficient to carry a man through to success, for how may a man be sure that he has attained success unless he has established in his mind some definite object that he wishes?”
“Love is essential for happiness, but the person who loves so deeply that his or her happiness is placed entirely in the hands of another, resembles the little lamb who crept into the den of the nice, gentle little wolf and begged to be permitted to lie down and go to sleep, or the canary”
“Before you can achieve success in the higher and broader sense you must gain such thorough control over yourself that you will be a person of poise.”
“Far from being a disadvantage, struggle is a decided advantage, because it develops those qualities which would forever lie dormant without it.”
2 – Think and Grow Rich
This book was published in 1937. It would, later on, become Hill’s best selling book and his best-known work. His second wife contributed a substantial amount to the content and editing. As of today, it has been recognized as one of the best self-help books of all time.
Although it was published in the midst of ‘The Great Depression’, he and his second wife gained fortune out of it. Hill then, relived his luxurious lifestyle but soon would be divorced once again. Years later, Hill remarried and went again to become a lecturer.
The contents of the book were said to be inspired by Andrew Carnegie. His early work, ‘The Law of Success’ paved the way for the success of this book. Its contents condensed the sixteen lessons from his previous book into fourteen principles. It emphasizes that faith, desire, and persistence can drive one person to new heights if he/she focused on long-term goals and rejected negative thoughts.
Quotes from the book;
“The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.”
“Opinions are the cheapest commodities on earth. Everyone has a flock of opinions ready to be wished upon anyone who will accept them. If you are influenced by “opinions” when you reach DECISIONS, you will not succeed in any undertaking.”
“There is a difference between WISHING for a thing and being READY to receive it. No one is ready for a thing, until he believes he can acquire it. The state of mind must be BELIEF, not mere hope or wish. Open-mindedness is essential for belief.”
“Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.”
“To win the big stakes in this changed world, you must catch the spirit of the great pioneers of the past, whose dreams have given to civilization all that it has of value, the spirit that serves as the life-blood of our own country – your opportunity and mine, to develop and market our talents.”
“We refuse to believe that which we don’t understand.”
“The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.”
“An educated man is not, necessarily, one who has an abundance of general or specialized knowledge. An educated man is one who has so developed the faculties of his mind that he may acquire anything he wants, or its equivalent, without violating the rights of others.”
3 – Outwitting the Devil
This book was published in 1938. The contents of the book were said to be controversial during that period. It was a much different approach compared to his first two published books.
The book contained a metaphorical interview between the author, Hill, and the devil Satan. The fictional interview attempts to uncover surefire methods to success and freedom through assessment of the obstacles humans had to achieve for their life goals. The obstacles mentioned, like fear, anger, procrastination, and jealousy, were indicated that they were all of orchestrated by the devil.
The book emphasized how to create a path to success in spite of having many roadblocks. Hill revealed also the ‘Seven Principles of Good’ that can help in order to overcome the devil’s work. The book was so notorious that it took almost 70 years since finished in 1938, to be distributed to the public through the efforts of Sharon Lechter.
Quotes from the book;
“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?”
“Nature will not tolerate idleness or vacuums of any sort. All space must be and is filled with something . . . When the individual does not use the brain for the expression of positive, creative thoughts, nature fills the vacuum by forcing the brain to act upon negative thoughts.”
“Failure brings a climax in which one has the privilege of clearing his mind of fear and making a new start in another direction.”
“The majority of people who acquire wisdom do so after they have passed the age of forty. Prior to that time the majority of people are too busy gathering knowledge and organizing it into plans to spend any effort seeking wisdom.”
“The person who moves with definiteness recognizes the difference between temporary defeat and failure. When plans fail he substitutes others but he does not change his purpose. He perseveres.”
“Men and women who come to the closing chapter of life disappointed because they did not attain the goal which they had set their hearts upon achieving, they teach you what not to do.”
4 – How to Raise Your Own Salary
After World War 2, this book was published in 1953. It contained concrete and proven techniques to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills for increasing the share of your life’s riches. It contained the dialogue of Hill and Andrew Carnegie in detail.
The content focused on stimulating the subconscious part of the brain to create a sense of urgency in order to achieve what a person desires. It highlighted the ‘secrets’ of Carnegie on how to set goals of winning prestige, riches, and power with the correct mental attitude. One of the most compelling concepts in this book is how to make life compensate you for the efforts you had done personally.
Quotes from the book;
“That the quality of service you render, plus the quantity, plus the mental attitude in which you render it determines the sort of job you hold and the amount of pay you receive.—NAPOLEON HILL”
5 – The Master Key to Riches
In the midst of World War 2, this book was published in 1945. It is similar to his first two books, but it is more of like an easy-to-read guide. The content focused on the ‘twelve riches’ of life and the master key to unlock the path towards attaining them.
The riches were not tangibles but more of abstracts that most people are longing for. There are many concepts introduced in this book and each one can be very well relatable. It also introduced the concept ‘Wheel of Life’ wherein it is said to control the destiny of a human being through the power of thought, and by utilizing the ‘master key’, one can gain hold of that ‘wheel’ and yield the abundance he/she desired.
The concepts, since based on the numerous influential persons interviewed in Hill’s past, can be applied by anyone, no matter what the occupation and the financial status are.
Quotes from the book;
“Ralph Waldo Emerson had this truth in mind when he said (in his essay on Compensation), “If you serve an ungrateful master, serve him the more. Put God in your debt. Every stroke shall be repaid. The longer the payment is withholden, the better for you; for compound interest on compound interest is the rate and usage of this exchequer”
“The responsibility of embracing and using this foundation must be assumed by every person who claims any portion of this freedom and wealth.”
“Turn on the full powers of your will and take complete control of your own mind. It is your own mind! It was given to you as a servant to carry out your desires. And no one may enter it or influence it in the slightest degree without your consent and cooperation. What a profound fact this is!”
“A man’s ego in his greatest asset or his greatest liability, according to the way he relates himself to it.”
“When the mind has been cleared of a negative mental attitude the power of Faith moves in and begins to take possession!”
6 – Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude
Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude
This book was published in 1959. It was a product of the partnership between Hill and a millionaire CEO named W. Clement Stone. It contained how the right attitude to fuel a person to achieve his/her dreams.
The content introduced two mental attitudes: PMA, or positive mental attitude, and NMA, or negative mental attitude. It might be obvious which of the two is the correct mental attitude, but a lot of gray areas, where an ordinary individual failed to see, was being thoroughly discussed. How one person developed the mindset will mold the success and happiness he/she can attain for his/her health and wealth.
Quotes from the book;
“You become what you think about”
“There is very little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.”
“Is money good? Is money good? Many negative-minded persons say, “Money is the root of all evil.” But the Bible says: Love of money is the root of all evil. And there is a big difference between the two even though one little word makes the difference.”
“So we do not lose heart… Because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
“HUMILITY: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.”
“Whatever your mind can conceive and can believe, it can achieve”
7 – Grow Rich! with Peace of Mind
Tom Kendrick, who was a former program planner at Hewlett-Packard and presently a director in both project and agile management at UC Berkeley, composed a book about complex management. He lets his readers understand the complexity of his book by breaking it into sections, beginning with “program initiation” until “program closure.” He uses his experience as an ex-program planner at HP to offer his readers actual examples and learnings. Though a few sections of his writings are lengthy and challenging, Kendrick provides you with detailed information concerning this topic. For those who are concerned about developing their careers, you won’t regret reading this manual.
8 – Napoleon Hill’s Golden Rules
Aside from being a salesperson and a lecturer and before he became the famous book author that he was greatly known today, he also wrote articles for magazine publications. The book contained compilations of the magazine articles written by Napoleon Hill between the years 1919 and 1923 for a certain publication ‘Success Magazine’ wherein he became an editor eventually.
His obsession with personal formulas of success drove him to associate many influential people of his time, evaluate their opinions and perspectives, and create his own philosophies which became widely considered concepts by book readers of today. The chapters included 12 lessons wherein most of them became the basis of the premises of his best-selling books later on.
Napoleon Hill was successful in life despite the many failures and trials he faced. He grew up from poverty, overcame divorces brought by his own choice of living a life of luxury, and left unwanted business practices that brought a lot of arrests.
He had his fair share of ups and downs, and there may be infamous, unsettled disputes like the meeting between him and Andrew Carnegie, you cannot help but commend his guts to associate himself with such powerful men of his time.
Napoleon Hill had made some of the best self-help books and that only means his writing address to a wide range of readers. The concepts he gathered from, the techniques he presented, and the solutions he concluded are written in a way readers can relate to their current situations in life.
After all, Hill experienced the effects of both World Wars, lived in a time of many industrial pioneers, survived through personal problems and economic depression, and still managed to live a lavish life during his lifetime and long enough to the elderly age.
His life story validated the contents of his books and served as a living example. No matter how bad were his early business practices, no one can dispute the truthfulness and legitimacy of the words he had written. Successful authors of best-selling self-help books today got their inspiration mostly from the works of Hill.
Whenever you feel down, confused about the situations presented for you, uncertain of the possibilities of the actions you are sincere of doing, or just needed a motivational push in order to overcome the ordeal of ordinary routines in life, you can grab one of Napoleon Hill’s books and take time to read and absorb the contents.
His words may not give you concrete answers to your problems, but they were written in a way, that is relatable to any struggling person with such high economic ambitions. Feel free to be inspired by them and apply the things you have to learn while sharing them with others if you have to.
James is the editor-in-chief at biggerinvesting.com. James is a workaholic and an entrepreneur who has been in the tech industry for over ten years. He has worked with Microsoft, owns multiple websites, and now owns a mattress shop. Furthermore, when he has time left over, he will be in his woodworking shop building furniture as a side hustle. James has a B.S. in Business Management Information Systems and a Master’s in Business Administration from Liberty University. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in Executive Leadership, and once he completes that, he will pursue his Ph.D. in Business Administration – Entrepreneurship. James also seeks investment opportunities, putting his money to work instead of himself.