future startup logo

Book Review: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich is a personal development and self-help book written by Napoleon Hill. Published in 1937, the book teaches readers about the importance of a positive mindset, goal setting, and persistence in order to achieve financial success. 

The teachings in the book are based on Hill’s interviews with successful individuals such as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison. Think and Grow Rich is a fascinating work in the sense that the book remains relevant and one of the most-sold books after all these years. Unless you create something of substance, it’s hard to make something relevant for this long. 

I recently finished reading the book after procrastinating for a long time and I’m positively inspired. In the book Hill outlines 13 stages to success, which are as follows:

01. Desire: Develop an intense, burning desire for success

Desire is the first stage of the book. According to Napoleon Hill, success starts with a strong and intense desire to achieve your goals. This desire should be so strong that it creates a drive in you to take action. Hill argues that a burning desire is the starting point for all success and without it, you cannot achieve your goals. Hill encourages everyone to identify their deepest desires and to focus on them relentlessly until they are realized. Hill writes the power of desire is a reminder that success starts with a strong, unwavering desire and the determination to turn that desire into reality. 

“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.”

02. Faith: Have unwavering faith in your ability to succeed

Faith is the second stage of the book. Hill suggests that in order to achieve success, one must have faith in themselves and their abilities. This faith must be unshakable and unwavering, even in the face of obstacles and setbacks. 

Faith is a powerful tool that can help you overcome any obstacles and achieve your goals. Faith creates a positive mental attitude, which is essential for success. Faith also helps to eliminate fear and self-doubt, which can be major obstacles to success. By having faith in yourself and your abilities, you can tap into your inner strength and achieve anything you set your mind to. 

"TELL THE WORLD WHAT YOU INTEND TO DO, BUT FIRST SHOW IT. This is the equivalent of saying "deeds, and not words, are what count most."

03. Auto-suggestion: Use positive self-talk to reinforce your desire and faith

Auto-suggestion is the third stage of the book. Here Hill argues that the thoughts you have about yourself are crucial to your success. By practicing auto-suggestion, you can control your thoughts and create a positive mental attitude. 

Auto-suggestion involves repeating positive affirmations to yourself, such as “ I am successful” or “ I am capable of achieving my goals”. This helps to train your subconscious mind to focus on positive outcomes and reinforces your faith in yourself and your abilities. Hill believes that an auto-suggestion is a powerful tool for achieving success, as it helps to eliminate negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. By using auto-suggestion, you can become more confident, motivated, and optimistic, and ultimately achieve your goals. 

“If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.”

04. Specialized knowledge: Acquire specialized knowledge relevant to your goals

Specialized knowledge is the fourth stage of the book. In this stage, Hill emphasizes the importance of acquiring specialized knowledge in order to achieve success. Success requires a combination of both desire and knowledge, and that specialized knowledge is essential for turning your desires into reality. This means continuously educating yourself, seeking out experts in your field, and learning from others who have achieved success. 

Acquiring specialized knowledge will help you make better decisions, identify new opportunities, and overcome obstacles more effectively. By continuously expanding your knowledge and understanding, you will become more confident and capable of achieving your goals. Specialized knowledge is a key ingredient to success, and everybody should prioritize it as a critical part of their personal and professional development. 

"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."

05. Imagination: Use your imagination to visualize your success

Imagination is the fifth stage of the book. Hill describes that imagination is a powerful tool for success, as it allows you to visualize goals and bring them to life. By using your imagination, you can create a clear mental picture of what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it. This helps you to focus your mind and eliminate distractions, allowing you to stay motivated and on track toward your goals. 

Imagination can also help you to identify new opportunities and find innovative solutions to problems. By tapping into your imagination, you can harness its power to bring your goals to life and make your dreams a reality. Hill encourages readers to make use of their imagination regularly and to use it as a tool for achieving success. 

"If you give up before your goal has been reached, you are a "quitter." A QUITTER NEVER WINS AND A WINNER NEVER QUITS. Lift this sentence out, write it on a piece of paper in letters an inch high, and place it where you will see it every night before you go to sleep, and every morning before you go to work"

06. Organized planning: Develop a well-organized plan to achieve your goals

Organized planning is the sixth stage of the book. In this stage, Hill explains that organized planning involves defining one’s purpose, setting clear and specific goals, and creating a plan of action to reach those goals. The process of organized planning helps individuals focus their thoughts and efforts, enabling them to overcome obstacles and achieve their desires. By following Hill’s principles, individuals can harness the power of their minds and turn their thoughts into tangible results. 

“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.”

07. Decision: Make a decision to take action toward your goals

The decision is the seventh stage of the book. It means the process of making a clear and definite choice to attain a specific goal. Hill emphasizes the importance of having unwavering faith in one’s decision and the ability to turn that decision into action. 

The power of decision is the driving force behind success, as it allows individuals to focus their thoughts, energy, and resources toward their goals. Without a clear decision, individuals tend to lack direction and become easily swayed by doubt and fear. Making a strong decision involves identifying what you truly want, setting a deadline for its attainment, and making action toward that goal with unwavering determination. 

“Put your foot upon the neck of the fear of criticism by reaching a decision not to worry about what other people think, do, or say.”

08. Persistence: Be persistent in the face of obstacles and setbacks

Persistence is the eighth stage of the book. It is a key factor in achieving success. It is the unwavering determination to continue striving towards one’s goals, despite obstacles or setbacks. Persistence requires a strong belief in oneself and one’s abilities, as well as the understanding that success is not a destination, but a continuous journey. 

By consistently applying effort and persevering through challenges, one can turn their dreams into reality. Successful individuals possess relentless persistence, never give up on their goals, and constantly push themselves toward greatness. In order to achieve success, one must cultivate the qualities of persistence and determination, and remain steadfast in the face of adversity. 

“There is no substitute for persistence. The person who makes persistence his watch-word discovers that “Old Man Failure” finally becomes tired, and makes his departure. Failure cannot cope with persistence.”

09. Power of the Master Mind: Surround yourself with like-minded individuals to support your success

The power of the mastermind is the ninth stage of the book. In this stage, Hill emphasizes the importance of surrounding oneself with like-minded individuals who share a common goal and support each other in achieving it. A mastermind group where individuals pool their knowledge, skills, and resources, can greatly enhance the success of its members. 

The mastermind principle is based on the idea that two heads are better than one that collaboration can lead to more ideas, better problem-solving, and faster progress toward one’s goals. This stage is crucial for personal growth and success, as it provides the support and accountability needed to overcome challenges and achieve one’s dreams. 

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve.”

10. The Mystery of Sex Transmutation: Channel your sexual energy into creativity and achievement

The mystery of sex transmutation is the tenth stage of the book. According to this stage, sex energy is the most powerful force in human nature and it can be harnessed and transmitted into other forms of energy, such as creative energy or ambition. This process involves redirecting one’s sexual energy towards a creative pursuit, such as starting a business or pursuing a personal goal. 

Hill asserts that this process can lead to increased focus, drive, and determination, allowing individuals to achieve success in their endeavors. He also stresses the importance of channeling this energy in a positive and productive manner, rather than allowing it to be wasted or misdirected. The mystery of sex transmutation is a crucial component of Hill’s philosophy, as it highlights the transformative power of human sexuality and the role it can play in personal success and growth. 

11. The Subconscious Mind: Use your subconscious mind to achieve your goals

The subconscious mind is the eleventh stage of the book. This stage focuses on the power of the subconscious mind in achieving success. The subconscious mind is the source of a person’s beliefs and habits and can be trained to work towards specific goals. 

Hill provides practical steps for tapping into the subconscious mind and aligning it with one’s desires, including visualization, affirmation, and self-reflection. The importance of developing a positive mental attitude and surrounding oneself with supportive individuals. By understanding and utilizing the subconscious mind, anyone can achieve financial and personal success.

“Every man is what he is, because of the dominating thoughts which he permits to occupy his mind.”

12. The Brain: Develop the habit of focused concentration to maximize the power of your brain

The brain is the twelfth stage of the book. In this stage Hill significantly emphasizes the role of the brain in personal success. A brain is a powerful tool that can be trained and developed to achieve one’s goals. The importance of using the brain to its full potential, including developing the habit of continuous learning and using imagination to visualize desired outcomes. On the other hand, the significance of avoiding negative thoughts and beliefs is as these can limit one’s potential and negatively impact the brain’s ability to reach success. By harnessing the power of the brain and tapping into the subconscious mind, individuals can achieve their full potential and attain financial and personal success. 

“Fear, the worst of all enemies, can be effectively cured by forced repetition of acts of courage.”

13. The Sixth Sense: Develop your intuition to guide you toward success

The sixth sense is the last stage of the book. The concept sixth sense is basically used to describe a person’s intuition and inner voice. The sixth sense is a direct link to the subconscious mind and is a powerful tool for achieving success. By developing and trusting one’s intuition, individuals can access new levels of creativity, insight, and understanding that can lead to new opportunities and breakthroughs. In this book, Hill provides on how to cultivate and strengthen the sixth sense, including techniques for quieting the mind and listening to one’s inner voice. According to the book, those who can tap into their sixth sense and harness its power can experience profound personal and financial success. 

“Knowledge is power.” It is nothing of the sort! Knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action, and directed to a definite end.”

These steps form the foundation of Hill's teachings and serve as a roadmap for personal and financial success. The book is a fascinating read in its entirety, highly recommended. 

Originally published on February 2023. Updated on 9 May 2023.

Ayrin Saleha Ria works at Future Startup as a full-time Research Associate. She has a background in Applied Sociology. Before joining the FS team, she worked and volunteered with a number of social organizations. As someone who comes from a social science background, she takes a deep interest in research around important social-economic challenges in our society. A voracious reader, Ayrin is passionate about working for the betterment of society, takes a deep interest in human society and behavioral science, and loves books.

In-depth business & tech coverage from Dhaka

Stories exclusively available at FS

About FS

Contact Us