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384 of 410 people found the following review helpful
I was literally brought up on Napoleon Hill. His writing gave me a grand foundation upon which I built much. This book, written in 1938, is both great and yet it makes one doubt the author. I'm glad the publisher and editor left the writing in the exact way it was written and didn't attempt to update the language. It's good to hear Hill's voice as we remember it, in the way he actually wrote and talked.

I was, however, concerned when he described his meeting with his "other self" and, in one instance, he became unconscious. Another time he heard a loud noise just before he got his message from his other self. These are things which, in the light of today, many people will find too much to take.

Moreover, in knowing what we now know about most of the rich people of which he talks, we know they didn't start their businesses to help others or as a service to others. We suspect that was a side-effect. Hill, however, says that success results from doing what we love as a service to others --- then the riches will come. (Ayn Rand fans beware.)

It is true the book was written just as The Great Depression was ending. That makes it especially appealing today as we struggle in The Great Recession. And much of what he says certainly is inspiring and motivational at this unique time in history. Yet, one can see why his family didn't want the manuscript published because Hill sounds a bit loony in parts of the book. But, alas, hang on. There's a method to his madness.

There is greatness here too. He, like so many others, lost everything in 1929. He saw no way to continue to teach his wealth philosophy when people were filled with fear of poverty. "This thought came to me one evening while I was sitting in my automobile, in front of the Lincoln Memorial on the Potomac River, within the shadow of the Capitol. With it came another thought: The world had staged an unprecedented depression over which no human being had control. With that depression had come to me an opportunity to test the philosophy of self determination, to the organization of which I had devoted the better portion of my adult life. Once more I had the opportunity to learn whether my philosophy was practical or mere theory."

He said he discovered he'd lost his courage and initiative. He lost his enthusiasm. "Worst of all, I was sorely ashamed to acknowledge that I was the author of a philosophy of self-determination, because down deep in my heart I knew or thought I knew, that I could not make my philosophy pull me out of the hold of despair in which I found myself."

Fortunately, he admits he didn't know if the devil he interviewed was real or imagined. To talk of a devil today to a secular world is rather silly. But to see a devil as our own inner fears is more acceptable.

I read the devil to be negative thoughts that are in 98 percent of the human race. (The figure given in the book.) That leave 2 percent without negative thinking, which is about the percentage of the highly successful at the time he wrote the book if my figures are close to correct.

Fear is the killer of greatness. Hill knew that. In one question he asked the devil, you sense this.

"Q. Go ahead and describe your clever tricks, Your Majesty.
A. One of my cleverest devices for mind control is fear. I plant the seed of fear in the minds of people, and as these seeds germinate and grow, through use, I control the space they occupy. The six most effective fears are the fear of poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of love, old age, and death."

I find that most telling. Was he calling fear the devil?

The devil says then that positive thinking neutralizes him/her/it. Hill's devil loves poverty and ill health. Such people are easy to control. "An unhealthy body discourages thinking," says Hill's devil.

But then the devil says he (the devil) fears the Rockefeller fortune. Why, asks Hill. Because they give so much to fight disease. They do so much good. I wonder what he would say now about how that fortune is being used to gain control of the world through the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, Bilderbergers and disgraceful actions during and after World War 2? The respect once held for these people has long since been replaced with knowledge of the truth. Hill was not aware of this when he wrote his books.

I felt the book used this interview with the devil to show what caused failure and unhappiness in people. And, of course, how the opposite creates wealth and happiness.

But, before you think this is a religious book, you'll be interested to know that the devil reveals the biggest, best way he has to take control of people --- though religion! ". . . I break down independent thought and start people on the habit of drifting, by confusing their minds with unprovable ideas concerning a world of which they know nothing. It is here also that I plant in the minds of children the greatest of all fears --- the fear of hell!"

Unfortunately, Hill's devil (or Hill?) contradicts himself, causing the reader to doubt the whole thing. In one place Hill writes through the devil that Hell is here on earth and is man made --- that there is no hell fire, etc. Yet a bit later, the same devil says, "Drifting is also the habit through which I take over their souls after they give up their physical bodies."

I find this contradiction unfortunate in what otherwise is an excellent book.

In some parts it sounds naive in the light of some seven decades. And yet, truth be told, the laws of nature never change. Just as H2O will always be water. The causes of failure will never change. And I can think of no better time to read this gift from Napoleon Hill then now. Regardless of what you may think of the way it's written, you'll take something deeply valuable from it, something that could change your life.

And yet, there is a concern for those who studied Hill decades ago. Hill was so enamored of men like Henry Ford. He called him good and moral. Henry Ford, however, was abhorrent. He hated Jews. He owned an anti-Semitic newspaper. He was a friend of Hitler and his name fondly mentioned in Mein Kampf.

So, one has to wonder, what kind of man was Hill? Was he gullible or was he just like these men he admired? And can we believe what he penned?

The reader will have to judge. In the meantime, there is much wisdom, lots of inspiration and motivation for those who look for it in this book.

-- Susanna K. Hutcheson
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175 of 189 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2011
I've been pondering, reading and researching the very topic in Outwitting the Devil for decades and in this pursuit have read a thousand books on the formula for success. I must say that many, many books are excellent but over time they tend to repeat the same message in different fashion. Therefore, I've not seen anything for 20 years that separates itself from all the others, including Hill's "Think and Grow Rick"

This secret manuscript, however, is a cataclysmic event in it's publication. I'm fascinated how Napoleon Hill was able to disseminate the secrets of how our Universe REALLY works by depicting a full confession from the Devil himself, who is the destroyer of all human potential when he succeeds.

In my opinion this is the most powerful book ever written on this topic and one I've been studying nearly every day for months. Once I read 2 pages in the middle I was desperate to read it in it's entirety. I then was privileged to read the manuscript before publication thanks to Sharon Lechter and a highly esteemed friend.

This book, in my opinion, is the game changer that America is begging for given the times we are in today. It's time that we learn to rely on our own potential as our government institutions have failed us miserably and continue to do so.

I want to thank the Napoleon Hill Foundation for first having the courage to finally publish this provocative, controversial, and truthful depiction of how the Universe REALLY works nearly 75 years after Hill's death. I would also like to thank them for having the great sense to sanction someone as credible as financial literacy expert Sharon Lechter of Rich Dad Poor Dad Company fame to be the foot soldier to annotate Hill's most important work and bring it to the world.

I promise you this with all sincerity. If you've been living a life of quiet desperation because you are not becoming who you know you could become, achieving all that you know you could achieve, or living a life you've always dreamed about in terms of personal happiness, you life will NEVER, EVER be the same after discovering Outwitting the Devil: In fact, I don't promise you this. I guarantee it!!

Always remember that the future is not yet set, fate is what you make it. And Outwitting the Devil will provide you a precise road map to making your CHOSEN fate become a reality.
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155 of 178 people found the following review helpful
I love Napoleon Hill. His work will always be a "Hall of Famer" in the annals of self-help history. In many ways this work was far ahead of it's time in that he recognized the negative effects of our sacred cow institutions such as church and state in failing to teach anyone to think for themselves or provide them with the basic tools to be a self-sufficient, successful human being. He clearly saw how even something as simple as nutrition has a deleterious effect on people's ability to learn and think. Very clever presentation even if one doesn't agree with all of his ideas. I give him the 5 stars for a book idea well done.

As for Ms. Lechter - holy cow, can that woman ruin a reading experience or what? Her unnecessary and incessant kibitzing was one of the most obnoxious reading experiences I've ever had. She constantly cuts in, repeats the obvious and irritated the crap out of this reader. To her I say, "I read. I understand English. I don't care for nor want your opinion, particularly a restatement of what I just read, thank you very much". Reading this book was a lot like having someone sitting next to you in a movie who not only yaps in your ear the whole way through, but blathers on about what you just saw. Annoying as hell (trust me I'm being nice)!
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96 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2011
I just finished reading "Outwitting the Devil" and it is truly inspirational.

This is a must-read for any Napoleon Hill followers out there. The book is the unpublished manuscript writted by Hill as a sequel to his famous "Think and Grow Rich" and it expands on many of the principles in that book. We all know the basics of how to be successful, but this book examines how to implement them and why so many of us have this knowledge but aren't able to execute it.

Sharon Lechter's insight into Hill's original writings is inspirational as well. She draws parallels between what what written in the 1930s to what is happening in our world today. Lechter, who has written a number of bestsellers over the years, writes that this book was actually meant to be read today, not in the 30s when it was written.

I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to take their careers to the next level or anyone who is on a personal mission to better themselves. It's a book that's different from any other and you won't be disappointed!
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2011
Written by Napoleon Hill over 70 years ago, "Outwitting the Devil" was not published until 41 years after his death. The concern was that his community would utterly reject him for printing the bold things that his interrogation of the adversary brought to light.

This book reminds me of C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters," insofar as a devil is giving the goods on how he overcomes individuals. It differes in that Hill is directly questioning the devil's methods and also the gaining the adversary's own aknowledged way to escape the nefarious influence.

The points that struck me the hardest include:
- The danger of drifting aimlessly throught life. If I'm watching 6 hours of TV a day or spending my time on video games or at the races or investing in any other time-sink which is not helping me achieve my goals, I'm drifting. The antidote is focus and maintaining a Definite Chief Aim which keeps me on track and out of the drifting paths.

- Fear as one of the great tools of the adversary. Focusing on that which we don't want is fear. Fear is faith acting in reverse. Focus on your chief aims to the exclusion of all doubt and fear is replaced by empowering confidence.

- Hypnotic Rhythm. If you drift long enough, you will be unable to break the habit of drifting. If you smoke long enough, you'll puff away through a hole in your throat while emphysema crushes the life out of you. The upside of this is that when you consistently focus on your definite chief aim, the power of Hypnotic Rhythm accelerates your progress and maintains your success. (Nothing succeeds like success:)

- The list of recommendations to transform education in the world from failed institutions of mediocrity to producer of self-directed, self-thinking, and empowered (not entitled) individuals.

This book is a life-changer. Evaluate and accept what will serve you; include a grain of salt if it gives you comfort. But be ready to be inspired, and choose now to stop drifiting and focus on your goals.
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51 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2012
Have you ever sat in class next to a student that had to give his or her input on what the teacher said? On EVERYTHING the teacher said? That is what reading this book was like.

Napoleon Hill says this or that and suddenly there's a paragraph about how some lady felt when she read this. I don't care about the lady. I don't care that she wrote another book (she mentions it several times in the course of the "annotating".) Nor do I need such challenging questions as, "Do you agree with him?"

However since there is no version available with out the annotations that I could find, I created a solution to make the book readable. I've whited out all the "annotations" to distill as much Napoleon Hill as possible.

God only knows what editing changes have been made to the original manuscript.

Its sad that this man spent a fortune and a better part of his lifetime developing these ideas and the editor has decided to ejaculate her thoughts all over his work.

So 1 star because of the constant interruptions the annotations cause while reading. Hey Publisher, how about a classic text version with just the words of Napoleon Hill? I would buy this book again even though I've spent all this time fixing my book already.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2011
I read the Napolean Hill original eight books the summer I finished High School fifty years ago. As a result I went to college, finished 5 degrees including the doctorate, wrote books, etc. His original words are fantastic and don't need improvement. While Sharon Lechter may be a motivator, she does not need to distract, and disrupt, this work. Her commentary waters down the message. I think that Hill would "cringe" at her selfimportant comments alongside of his. Hill gets an A+. Lechter receives a F-. It makes one wonder what else is changed or missing in "her translation" of what he wrote. What a travesty.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2012
I was listening to the audio version of this book and while I'm a big fan of Hills, the constant intrusion of the editors POV and her constant explanations and justifications as to why this work is pertinent now was so frustrating I had to stop. I might have to read the print version so I can skip over the editors incessant need to explain every detail. It reminds me of going to the movies with someone who has already seen the picture and can't keep their mouth shut. They keep telling you why this or that happened, removing the joy of figuring it out for yourself. I was really engaged in the book but the constant interruptions were driving me crazy, so I stopped listening. Really good stuff though. I'd really enjoy reading the original manuscript. Anyway, just my two cents.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2013
Without the incessant ramblings of 'annotator' Sharon Lechter, this would likely have been a very enjoyable read. I do not know the details of Ms. Lechter's involvement in the publication of Hill's work, but I do know that her input *throughout* the entirety of the text ruined the experience for me.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2011
Let me start with a one word review: WOW! Napoleon Hill's Think & Grow Rich was a ground breaking literary lighthouse. It showed the way for millions of people - as well as providing a platform for a whole generation of authors to follow the model created by Hill. However, nobody's going to be able to duplicate what he's captured & delivered in Outwitting the Devil. This is a one of a kind literary masterpiece. This one stands alone!

You've heard the old saying: "When in doubt, read the instructions." Well - here it is: The Owner's Manual on how to live a meaningful and successful life. Think and Grow Rich revealed Napoleon Hill's brilliance. Outwitting the Devil reveals his genius. How did he know the things he put between the covers of this book 70 years ago? And, why was it kept under lock & key for so long?

We must keep in mind that Think and Grow Rich sold 80 million copies and positively impacted the lives of so many of that generation. However, many - too many - of this generation don't even know who Hill is let alone have an understanding of the powerful principles he gifted to the world. So -the release of Outwitting the Devil seems to very timely because we - the countless number us who are surrounded by the smothering troubled state of today's world need to be thrown some kind of a life-line. I suggest we grab the line thrown to us by Hill & Sharon Lechter - and start to pull ourselves upward!

I'll conclude by expanding somewhat on that thought: Have you ever had the feeling that you're engaged in battle with an enemy whose job it is to keep you off track in your quest to live a happy, rewarding and successful life? If you've ever had those feelings - as so many of us have - how would you like to know your enemy's game plan - his weaknesses - the secrets of how to win this battle?? And, to top it off, how would like it if all those things came right out of the mouth of your enemy? If you're serious about winning that battle - then your Slam Dunk Game Plan is outlined for you in this book.

I'm going to recommend Outwitting the Devil to everyone I care about! I suggest you do the same - and start with yourself.
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