I'll be honest, I read this book about 11 years ago and, I've done a lot of thinking (and doing) since then but I really have not grown rich. So you may want to just stop watching this now if you were hoping to hear from someone who's made a bunch of money as a result of reading Think & Grow Rich.
However, where it's really ROI'd for me is in rich life experiences...
I've spent years traveling around the world living in interesting places..
Having control of my time. I spent pretty close to 100% of my my time doing the things I want to do.
Finding meaningful work. Finding that intersection of what I'm good at, what I'm passionate about and what people are willing to handsomely compensate me for.
Having interesting relationships with a diversity of people.
And it's really given me an abundance of the two things that I have always I valued most, which are...
1. An adventurous life of novelty.
2. Being a thinker. Even when I was very young I knew I wanted to be a writer, I knew I wanted to be a philosopher. With the application of the principals in this book I've accomplished that.
There are some things in this book that I actually think Napoleon Hill was wrong about...
He makes some inaccurate predictions...
"Crooners and light chatter artists who now pollute the air with wisecracks and silly giggles, will go the way of all light timbers, and their places will be taken by real artists who interpret carefully planned programed which have been designed to service the minds of men, as well as provide entertainment."
Napoleon Hill would be spinning in his grave if he could see how bad art has gotten; a Nicki Minaj music video, a rude comedian perform or a DJ being cheered on by hundreds of people in a nightclub just for pressing buttons on their laptop.
He was obviously a capitalist but there's a couple of passages that reveals some proto-socialism actually, for example
The relationship of employer and employee, or of leader and follower, in the future, will be one of mutual cooperation, based upon an equitable division of the profits of business. In the future, the relationship of employer and employee will be more like a partnership than it has been in the past. (p. 67)
He also writes
"in the future, business will be conducted by methods that will require no pressure. "
I don't know how you would quantify how cut throat on a whole the business world is. I guess businessmen don't hire mercenaries to break employee strikes anymore and there are a whole lot more self employed people now, but I think Napoleon Hill was, like a lot of great thinkers, a bit deluded by this idea of a fair and benign business world. This is contrary to human nature.
He also had an unrealistic optimism about the future of journalism, writing
"New leaders will be required in the field of Journalism. Newspapers of the future, to be conducted successfully, must be divorced from “special privilege” and relieved from the subsidy of advertising. They must cease to be organs of propaganda for the interests which patronize their advertising columns. "
Again he'd be spinning in his grave if he could see the nepotism that typifies the main stream media today.
The book is rife with psuedo-spirituality
Moreover, men know that this living, pulsating, vibratory energy which permeates every atom of matter, and fills every niche of space, connects every human brain with every other human brain. What reason have men to believe that this same energy does not connect every human brain with Infinite Intelligence? (p. 146)
The phrase "infinite intelligence" appears 40 times in the book
faith is the only agency through which the cosmic force of Infinite Intelligence can be harnessed and used by man. (p. 20)
The notion that there is this ethereal none human intelligence, that inspires invention and genius as opposed to it just being a combination of hard work, cleverness, and inherent human ability is interesting. It's an idea that great writers and thinkers have espoused for a long time, yet it is totally none falsifiable - you can't really prove or disprove it. So it's pretty wu-wu, Napoleon Hill also states...
Mental telepathy is a reality. Thoughts pass from one mind to another, voluntarily, whether or not this fact is recognized by either the person releasing the thoughts, or the persons who pick up those thoughts. (p. 179)
There may actually be some scientific basis for this. You might remember in the video game Rainbow 6 you could use a heartbeat sensor to detect where other people where. This is based upon a real device used by special forces, that works by detecting the electro-magnetic field that the heart gives off. Humans seem to have a keen ability to pickup what the electro-magnetic heart fields of those around us are saying. This bio-phenomenon is likely responsible for that effect where you sense the emotions of people around you without some really obvious clue.
There's a lot of emphasis on faith
"faith is the starting point of all accumulation of riches!"
This chapter was maybe a little difficult for me because I'm not a big fan of faith, I'm an empiricist.
“faith is a state of mind, and that it may be induced by self-suggestion.”
The most interesting chapter of the book is, I think, on sex
There are other mind stimulants, some of which have been listed, but no one of them, nor all of them combined, can equal the driving power of sex. (p. 132)
Among the greatest, and most powerful of these stimuli is the urge of sex. When harnessed and transmuted, this driving force is capable of lifting men into that higher sphere of thought which enables them to master the sources of worry and petty annoyance which beset their pathway on the lower plane. (p. 129)
I'll say something that will perhaps be a little controversial; I think this chapter is just for men. I have no idea how sex transmutation would work for women in the way that Napoleon Hill talks about it working for men.. Maybe someone can tell me?
Love, Romance, and Sex are all emotions capable of driving men to heights of super achievement. Love is the emotion which serves as a safety valve, and insures balance, poise, and constructive effort. (p. 136)
He talks about love quiet a bit in the book and it should be noted that the popular definition of love has changed a lot since this book was written. In the past love was a word that signified an intense emotional commitment to something greater than oneself expressed through acts of service. Now love just means like this intoxicated feeling, that you fall into and fall out of randomly, that makes you act stupid. It's this insatiable desire for someone or something that makes you irrational. It's this thing that people say to each other for our own emotional validation. I really think modern day love, does more harm than good.
"The better portion of all sales I have made, were made after people had said ‘NO’.”
This reminded me of what's called The Four Times Rule which comes from a pickup artist. The rule is the you are allowed to approach someone you find attractive four times. Which is really a good rule for anything in life, if you want something persist in asking for it as many as four times.
He would have been totally dismayed with all the free education available today. He writes that it's important that we pay cash for our personal development
"Being asked to pay, whether the student makes good grades or poor, has the effect of causing one to follow through with the course when he would otherwise drop it."
He goes on to criticize the Public library system
"there is one astounding weakness to this marvelous system— it is free! "
Which provides an interesting commentary on a current hot button political issue - what Napolean Hill would have thought of free college? He probably would have thought it was a totally asinine notion.
He lists 30 common causes of failure, there's one that really jumped out at me, which Napoleon also emphasizes
Wrong selection of a mate in marriage. This a most common cause of failure. (p. 81)
If you've ever read the classic book The Millionaire Next Door, in which they really exhaustively analyze the average millionaire in the United States, you know that one of the biggest factors in becoming wealthy is selection of spouse.
He goes on to list another common cause of failure...
Intemperance. The most damaging forms of intemperance are connected with eating, strong drink, and sexual activities. Overindulgence in any of these is fatal to success. (p. 82)
It's interesting that temperance or Intemperance is a word that is almost completely forgotten by our society. When I was a younger man I seemed to attract a lot of friends who were bad hedonists, completely intemperate. They were fun to be friends with but over time I saw how self destructive their overindulgent impulsiveness was and how it put me at risk. Now I'm really repulsed by people that display intemperance.
This is something pretty cool that can be added to your meditation practice...
Every night, over a long period of years, I held an imaginary Council meeting with this group whom I called my “Invisible Counselors.” (p. 154)
The procedure was this. Just before going to sleep at night, I would shut my eyes, and see, in my imagination, this group of men seated with me around my Council Table. Here I had not only an opportunity to sit among those whom I considered to be great, but I actually dominated the group, by serving as the Chairman. (pp. 154-155)
I now go to my imaginary counselors with every difficult problem which confronts me and my clients. The results are often astonishing, although I do not depend entirely on this form of Counsel. (p. 159)
My counselors would be Donald Trump, Stefan Molynuex (A philosopher) and Claus von Stauffenberg (the Nazi who tried to kill Hitler). Who would your invisible counselors be?
Napoleon Hill recommends that instead of being disparaging of getting older we should
[express] gratitude for having reached the age of wisdom and understanding. (p. 176)
I totally agree, I've really enjoyed getting older. When I was a quiet young man I had this interesting relationship with a Korean business woman, she told me something interesting; Getting older only sucks if you are stupid. If you are stupid years keep passing by and you don't advance in life, life doesn't get any better. Life actually gets worse. You become increasingly self delusional and bitter. However, if you are smart life just keeps getting better and better over time.
That's totally been my experience.
I said that I think I got more out of this book the first time I read it, that's because when I was younger this book gave me a lot of audacity to try things that were really far outside of the norm. It gave me the audacity to start a challenging career in sales when my peers were all starting college. It gave me the audacity to quiet my comfortable job in corporate America and start a business.
Where I see a lot of value in this book is in what I will call temporal self auditing. This book contains at least a couple of lengthy questionnaires that really force you to face yourself, look at inner beliefs, outer behaviors and your position in life.
This allows you to audit yourself and in the future you can look back and see how your beliefs and behaviors have changed. I've done this over the years and interestingly what you really see is that over longer periods of time your beliefs and deep desires do really manifest in the world.