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Summary of Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill)

Summary of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
(includes commentary)

Forward by Good Looking Loser (Chris)

the link below is an affiliate link, I get a 5.5-6% commission if you decide to purchase the book. That equates to about 70 cents. Thank you if you purchase it! Don't feel the least bit obligated to do so, Allison's summary covers the core concepts very well.

Even if you don't read a lot about success and self-improvement, you've probably heard of the book "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. It was written in 1937 and is considered timeless classic. The book touches on concepts such as "persistence" and "creating a mastermind [of people around you]," both elements that I can attest to. Although perhaps greater-than-average- I'm not the smartest person I know, I'm not the most talented person I know and I'm not even the most well-rounded person I know.

What I am, however is - the most resourceful person I know. 

For every subject or skill that I dedicated years to trying to perfect (to the highest of my natural ability) such as meeting women, achieving and easily maintaining good body, being one of the best in-line hockey players in the country (for a brief time), improving my male anatomy and taking my hobbies and making them a "business," I learned from guys that were BETTER THAN I.

I have always tried to surround myself with guys that were at least equal or hopefully better than I at the thing we most had in common. I would be like a sponge, soaking up their EVERY word and obsessing with how to implement it into my own life. In several cases, I eventually exceeded my "mentor," always grateful of what he or she taught me, knowing that- without their guidance- I would be a very average person because I am not as talented as they. If you follow, you'll know that I have a lot to say, but when the time comes and I'm in the presence of greatness- I keep my mouth SHUT and my ears OPEN.

I encourage you to be as resourceful as you can be. Be the most resourceful person you know.

If you want to learn a certain skill set or ability, seek out someone that you KNOW has the quality. Give them everything you can offer, with gratitude and praise being the most important. Make them feel good about themself. Put the ego on the shelf. You'll get a lot further if you do.

"Think and Grow Rich" By Napoleon Hill

Book summary by - Allison Waite ( Contributor)

Napoleon Hill’s book, "Think and Grow Rich," was a best-seller on its release. Over the past 65 years, the book has transcended expectations and has sold 15 million copies worldwide.

The book sold because it was not a book of "dreamy ideas" but rather a thorough “distillation” of the secrets to success personally held by hundreds of successful men in America. Napoleon Hill sought out the best of the best and asked them every question he could think of. It was the steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie who introduced Hill to such stellar figures as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and F. W. Woolworth, men who became his subjects of intense scrutiny for two decades.  Hill was gripped with the mission to find out how the wealthy became that way – a mission which bore his systematic approach to success contained in his eight-volume Law of Success.

"Think and Grow Rich" is a condensed version of the Law of Success, a lovely prose which has a vibrancy to it. Written while Hill worked as an adviser to Franklin D. Roosevelt, the book opens with the enticing promise of unveiling a life-changing success secret: “Stop for a moment when it presents itself, and turn down a glass, for that occasion will mark the most important turning point in your life.”

The book stays true to its promise of setting forth things that really work, lucidly and plainly, without complexities and shadows.

Major Concept: Money and Spiritual Values

Hill admits, near the end of the book, that his motive for writing the book was to lift up the damp spirits of the post-Depression era. America in the 1930’s was made up of people whose ambitions extended only to surviving poverty and not much further or higher. Hill wrote the book to make people see that they could break past the poverty-avoidance line and become “fabulously rich” if they truly wanted to. This singular thought makes many classify the book as a “greed manual” yet this may be the very reason for its success.

America needed inspiration at the time. The depression left a lot of people depressed... and broke.

Non-Americans may find it difficult to comprehend the link between wealth and spiritual values, yet this link defines the typical American morality. Hill understood that wealth, when it is a product of reason, tenacity and imagination, would be a spiritual force and a value. To put another way, the triumph of the American spirit is often met with monetary reward.

In this information age, the idea that all riches and achievement emanate from the mind may be commonplace, yet in 1937, it was still an emerging idea. Hill discussed using one’s “brain capital,” hence the title of “Think and Grow Rich.” It was a concept that would slowly take shape in the late-1930s and become widely accepted in our time.

Major Concept: Relentless, Unyielding Desire

Hill told the story of Edwin C. Barnes who volunteered to become Thomas Edison’s business partner one day. Though given only a minor job, and accepting it gladly, he refused to think of himself as merely “another cog in the Edison business wheel” but as a silent partner and observer of the great inventor. He was working for money, but mainly for experience (brain capital). Barnes was like a sponge, soaking up everything he could about Thomas Edison. In the end, Barnes did learn Edison’s secrets to success, including such ideas as being willing to burn all bridges to ensure that there would be no prospect of returning to a life of mediocrity.

May the Bridges I Burn Light the Way SignOriginally a Thomas Edison Concept?

Napoleon Hill emphasizes several times "NEVER WORRY IF PEOPLE THINK YOUR IDEA IS CRAZY." Hill tells the stories of Marconi, a man who got briefly institutionalized at a mental hospital because his friends thought his idea of "sending messages through the air," (a radio) was crazy. While his ideas sounded crazy, Marconi's innovative mind gave birth to what became knows as radio. Hill says, “what the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Conversely, he also said that no effort is required to accept an existence of misery and lack.

Major Concept: Infinite Intelligence


Perhaps the most defining feature of this classic book is its acknowledgment of an “Infinite Intelligence” (God) as the source of wealth. He suggests that when the mind is fully attuned to this Infinite Intelligence, it would unlock unlimited access to all knowledge, creativity and power.

Hill cites Edison’s frequent retreats to the silence of his basement where, “in the absence of sound and light”, he would simply and passively receive brilliant ideas. Hill likens this secret trysts to a pilot flying high above the din of human activity -- a higher plane and grander realm which affords loftier views.

Major Concept: The Subconscious - The Gateway to Infinite Intelligence

Hill likens his concept of mental atonement to an Infinite Intelligence to being tuned in to a radio receiver. Just as you can hear important messages when you are tuned in to a radio receiver, so would you receive rare insights when you are fully attuned to the Infinite Intelligence. Hill says the thoughts you hold about yourself are projected out to the world by means of your subconscious and are then boomeranged back to yourself in the form of “circumstances.”

In essence, Hill is saying that you can control what filters into your subconscious by two means, first- by understanding that your circumstances matter only in terms of how you perceive them and second- by having mastery over your thoughts. By being a more real reflection of what you truly desire, your subconscious can then broadcast this body of desires to the outward realm.

On practical application, this can be translated as the process of writing down the exact figure of money you want to obtain as a way of entrenching your specific desire into your subconscious. Only when your desire is embedded in your subconscious can it be removed from your conscious mind and be able to guide your actions and decisions to the path of realization. Almost 60 years later, Anthony Robbins and other success gurus would expand on this concept.

Hill’s concept also extends to prayer. While most people give up on prayer because they think it doesn’t work for them, Hill contends that the reason for failure is because of a fault in their method and not in prayer per se. If your prayer is nothing more than a heartfelt wish, it is but a part of your conscious mind and has little chance of ever happening. Your desire, your prayer, must not remain at the level of the conscious mind but must become part of your unconscious being for it to have real effect.


This summary only a small portion of Hill’s book as there are other sections which cover faith, persistence, decision, procrastination, among others. There is also the intriguing chapter on “The Mystery of Sex Transmutation” which theorizes that the energy which drives all achievements is largely sexual. This causes others to label the book as “dubious” though the commendations given by the world’s best achievers silence the few critics the book has. The multimillionaires, Richard Dobbins and Barrie Pettman, as well as the real estate tycoon John McGrath, to name a few, hold Hill’s book as a serious “wealth-creating tool.”

Readers will soon realize that the book is not all about money. Right at the outset, Hill defines success in terms of real friendships, family closeness, work-life balance and spiritual peace. He shatters the equation of success to position of authority, citing many instances where great leaders began as excellent followers.

Perhaps the only thing in Hill’s book which has not been fully appreciated is his concept that the source of wealth is non-material. Successful people do not or cannot readily attribute their wealth and influence to “spiritual” abilities. Yet Hill is adamant in including spiritual skills in the prerequisites to success, which is probably the reason why the book continues to sell today, weathering the boom and bust seasons of the economy. After all, the idea that success can be had through our ability to tap our spiritual resources such as faith and vision, to tune in to the Infinite Intelligence by prayer, and to shape the subconscious, seem easier and more reassuring when we do not have the tangible requirements of success such as education and capital.

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Comments (2)

  1. Zuberi

Got this book when I was 17, I think think its one of the best books ever written. I know a shitload of succesful people who SWEAR by it and rightfully so.

this reminds me I gotta reread it again

  1. Klassik

This book you present is excelent, Chris. This guy is inspired by Charles F. Haanel, who wrote the "The Master Key System". THIS "COURSE" is the key to everything. It describes, how manifestation of thinking works and how life works (law of...

This book you present is excelent, Chris. This guy is inspired by Charles F. Haanel, who wrote the "The Master Key System". THIS "COURSE" is the key to everything. It describes, how manifestation of thinking works and how life works (law of attraction). In my opinion, everybody should read this book before going to school. This book also describes the mechanism of earning money.

I promise, you will change your way of thinking and acting after reading this book, your philosophy of life (worldview) will change totaly. You immediately stop wasting your time by playing computer games or watching tv all day long or whatever andwill start to realize your goals instead.

If you like to read it, this guy is selling the book:
Here is a preview of this book:

Really big.

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