Sound Advice – from 1937
Think and Grow Rich

Sound Advice – from 1937

Napoleon Hill shares the secret success strategies of Andrew Carnegie, mixed with his own remarkably forward-looking tactics for achievement.

American self-help author Napoleon Hill – who was born in 1883, studied law and worked for the legendary corporate leader Andrew Carnegie – may remind you of an elderly, wise, slightly wacky uncle advising you about career, life and love. Hill offers a wide range of tips – many based on the ideas of his mentor Andrew Carnegie – including practical ideas and surprisingly New Age-like mystical musing on the infinite powers of the universe. Though published long ago, his words of wisdom remain astonishingly relevant today.

Og Mandino, author of The Greatest Salesman in the World, said, “I shudder to think where I’d be today, or what I’d be doing if I had not been exposed to Napoleon Hill’s philosophy. It changed my life.

Your Thoughts

Hill explains that his mentor, Andrew Carnegie, gave him his formula for financial success and challenged him to write a book explaining this secret approach. During Hill’s 20-year journey to fulfill that challenge, he studied the habits and philosophies of Theodore Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller, F.W. Woolworth and others who built fortunes by applying Carnegie’s wisdom.

Every man is what he is because of the dominating thoughts which he permits to occupy his mind.Napoleon Hill

Hill says that the secret begins with this simple idea: Your thoughts are real objects, and with passion and purpose, your thoughts can evolve into wealth.


Hill regards desire as the necessary fuel for achievement, but you must plan to attain your objectives. Hill urges you to envision how much money you want and to name the specific figure. Create a deadline date by which you will achieve this goal. Write a mission statement and read it aloud twice a day.


According to Hill, formal education matters little. He cites, for example, Thomas Edison, who attended school for only three months. Yet, through specialization, organization and networking, Hill notes, Edison gained the power of a well-educated mind.

Hill recognizes the value of specialization: organized knowledge applied to a specific purpose. He suggests you gain this practical know-how from apprenticeship, night schools and other targeted training programs.


Imagination operates on two playing fields, Hill writes. “Synthetic imagination” arranges existing ideas, concepts and strategies into novel formats. “Creative imagination,” conversely, bridges the human mind and the borderless universe – the land of gut feelings and hunches.

Dreams are not born of indifference, laziness or lack of ambition.Napoleon Hill

Your imagination is a muscle, Hill avows, so work it, develop it and create a written plan to convert your dreams into wealth.


To develop your success, Hill asserts, you need the right team. Establish harmonious relations with your team members and fine-tune your plan with regular support group meetings. Presaging much current thought about teams, Hill recounts how a group working together combines individual thoughts, ideas and plans into a powerful force. Multiply your brainpower, he suggests, by tapping into the infinite wisdom of the group mind, which is far greater than that of any individual.


Don’t accept failure and if your initial plan fails, Hill says, flat-out; adopt a new strategy.

Success requires no explanation. Failure permits no alibis.Napoleon Hill

Again, his advice predicts much of today’s business guidance: Study your field, the company and the individuals in it; inventory your talents and skills; write a detailed strategy for achieving the right job; target the appropriate channels and people; make your résumé concise, thoughtful and relevant; and know your marketplace value.


Procrastination is your enemy. Successful leaders, Hill counsels, make quick, meaningful decisions. He realizes that everyone falls into doubt, disbelief and depression at some point, but argues that you can liberate yourself via perseverance.

Your Subconscious

Hill regards the subconscious as operating outside of your controlled thoughts. He believes you must repeat affirmations; stay in the moment; shun negative thoughts; and cultivate faith, desire, sex, love, energy, hope and romance. Hill further urges you to avoid jealousy, fear, greed, revenge, anger and hatred. In this, he proves remarkably prescient regarding today’s cognitive therapy practices and the recognized power of positive thinking.

Life is a checkerboard and the player opposite you is time. If you hesitate before moving, or neglect to move promptly, your men will be wiped off the board by time.Napoleon Hill

Hill believes in a sixth sense connecting your subconscious mind to the infinite light of the universe. This, he maintains, fuels your creative imagination, intuition and premonitions. To use this force to bring you wealth, success and creativity, repeat and review your goals; let the universe deliver insight to your subconscious mind.

The author reminds you to never let the “six basic fears” – the fear of being poor, fear of reproach, fear of becoming sick, fear of being unloved, fear of getting old and the fear of dying – hamper you. Avoid fretting and negative thoughts, Hill advises. The power of your thoughts gives you mastery, he insists, and money.


Of course, like any old uncle, Hill can be long-winded and repetitive, but he packs so much wisdom into this slender volume, you will likely reread it repeatedly. His views are astonishingly modern – or else, many of today’s guidance gurus are echoing his prescient words from decades ago. Hill writes with real verve, in a slightly archaic voice that gives his sentences a ring of profundity. He’s seldom dull and always gets straight to the point. This classic will help anyone who finds him- or herself struggling up the career ladder and wondering how to prosper.

Napoleon Hill also wrote Outwitting the Devil; Positive Mental Attitude; How To Own Your Own Mind; and The Path to Personal Power. Parallel works include Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People.

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