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Napoleon Hill (October 26, 1883 – November 8, 1970) was an American author who

was one of the earliest producers of the modern genre of personal-success literature. He is
widely considered to be one of the great writers on success.[1] His most famous work,
Think and Grow Rich, is one of the best-selling books of all time. Hill's works examined
the power of personal beliefs, and the role they play in personal success. He became an
advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933-36. "What the mind of man can
conceive and believe, it can achieve" is one of Hill's hallmark expressions.[2][3] How
achievement actually occurs, and a formula for it that puts success in reach for the
average person, were the focal points of Hill's books.

Life and works

According to his official biographer, Tom Butler-Bowdon, Napoleon Hill was born in a
one-room cabin in the Appalachian town of Pound in Southwest Virginia.[4] Hill's mother
died when he was ten years old, and his father remarried two years later. At the age of 13,
Hill began writing as a "mountain reporter" for small-town newspapers in the area of
Wise County, Virginia. He later used his earnings as a reporter to enter law school, but
soon he had to withdraw for financial reasons.[5]

Influence of Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie

Hill considered the turning point in his life to have occurred in the year 1908 with his
assignment, as part of a series of articles about famous and successful men, to interview
the industrialist Andrew Carnegie. At the time, Carnegie was one of the most powerful
men in the world. Hill discovered that Carnegie believed that the process of success could
be outlined in a simple formula that anyone would be able to understand and achieve.
Impressed with Hill, Carnegie asked him if he was up to the task of putting together this
information, to interview or analyze over 500 successful men and women, many of them
millionaires, in order to discover and publish this formula for success.[6]

As part of his research, Hill interviewed many of the most famous people of the time,
including Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, George Eastman, Henry Ford, Elmer
Gates, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Charles M. Schwab, F.W. Woolworth, William Wrigley
Jr., John Wanamaker, William Jennings Bryan, Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft and
Jennings Randolph. Hill was also an advisor to two presidents of the United States of
America, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The Philosophy of Achievement

Napoleon Hill holding his book Think and Grow Rich

As a result of Hill's studies via Carnegie's introductions, the Philosophy of Achievement

was offered as a formula for rags-to-riches success by Hill and Carnegie, published
initially in 1925 as a multi-volume study course called The Law of Success, later re-
released in 1928 in an abridged version under the same title. The Achievement formula
was detailed further and published in home-study courses, including the seventeen-
volume "Mental Dynamite" series until 1941.

Hill later called his personal success teachings "The Philosophy of Achievement", and he
considered freedom, democracy, capitalism, and harmony to be important contributing
elements to this philosophy. Hill claimed throughout his writings that without these
foundations upon which to build, successful personal achievements are not possible. He
contrasted his philosophy with others and thought that the Achievement Philosophy was
superior. He felt that it was responsible for the success Americans enjoyed for the better
part of two centuries. Negative emotions such as fear, selfishness and others, had no part
to play in his philosophy. Hill considered those emotions to be the source of failure for
unsuccessful people.[8]

The secret of achievement was tantalizingly offered to readers of Think and Grow Rich,
but it was never explicitly identified. Hill felt discovering it for themselves would provide
readers with the most benefit. He presented the idea of a "Definite Major Purpose" as a
challenge to his readers in order to make them ask themselves, "In what do I truly
believe?" According to Hill, 98% of people had few or no firm beliefs, and this alone put
true success firmly out of their reach.[9]

One of Hill's most moving stories was about his own son, Blair. He tells how his son was
an inspiration to him, because although Blair was born without ears, without any normal
hearing organs at all, even though his doctor told Hill that his son would probably never
be able to hear nor speak, Blair grew up to be able to hear and speak almost normally.
Hill tells how his son, in his last year of college, picked up the manuscript of chapter two
of Think and Grow Rich, discovered Hill's secret for himself and went on to be an
inspiration for hundreds and thousands of people who could not hear nor speak.[10]

From 1952-1962, Hill taught his Philosophy of Personal Achievement - Lectures on

"Science of Success" in association with W. Clement Stone.[11] In 1960, Hill and Stone
co-authored the book, Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude. Norman Vincent
Peale stated "These two men [Hill and Stone] have the rare gift of inspiring and helping
people...In fact, I owe them both a personal debt of gratitute for the helpful guidance I
have received from their writings." [12]

Think and Grow Rich remains the top best-seller of Napoleon Hill's books - a perennial
best-seller after 70 years (BusinessWeek Magazine's Best-Seller List ranked Think and
Grow Rich as the sixth best-selling paperback business book 70 years after it was first
published).[13] Think and Grow Rich is listed in John C. Maxwell's A Lifetime "Must
Read" Books List. [14]

Hill's numerous books have sold millions of copies, proving that the secret of
Achievement is still highly sought-after by modern Americans. Hill dealt with many
controversial subjects through his writings including racism, slavery, oppression, failure,
revolution, war and poverty. Persevering and then succeeding in spite of these obstacles
using the Philosophy of Achievement, Hill stated, was the responsibility of every

Today's philosophy-of-success teachers still use the research formulas taught by Hill to
expand their students' knowledge of personal development.[14]

• The Law of Success (1928)
• The Magic Ladder To Success (1930)
• Think and Grow Rich (1937)
• How to Sell Your Way through Life (1939)
• Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude (1960)
• You Can Work Your Own Miracles (1971)
• Napoleon Hill's Keys to Success: The 17 Principles of Personal Achievement
• Grow Rich!: With Peace of Mind
• The Master-Key to Riches
• Succeed and Grow Rich Through Persuasion

A goal is a dream with a deadline.

Napoleon Hill

Action is the real measure of intelligence.

Napoleon Hill

All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.

Napoleon Hill

All the breaks you need in life wait within your imagination, Imagination is the
workshop of your mind, capable of turning mind energy into accomplishment and
Napoleon Hill

Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.
Napoleon Hill

Before success comes in any man's life, he's sure to meet with much temporary
defeat and, perhaps some failures. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and
the most logical thing to do is to quit. That's exactly what the majority of men do.
Napoleon Hill
Big pay and little responsibility are circumstances seldom found together.
Napoleon Hill

Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the
blueprints of your ultimate achievements.
Napoleon Hill

Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you
ready or not, to put this plan into action.
Napoleon Hill

Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen
pulsating desire which transcends everything.
Napoleon Hill

Don't wait. The time will never be just right.

Napoleon Hill

Edison failed 10, 000 times before he made the electric light. Do not be discouraged
if you fail a few times.
Napoleon Hill

Education comes from within; you get it by struggle and effort and thought.
Napoleon Hill

Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.
Napoleon Hill

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal
or greater benefit.
Napoleon Hill

Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to cut all sources of
retreat. Only by doing so can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as
a burning desire to win - essential to success.
Napoleon Hill

Everyone enjoys doing the kind of work for which he is best suited.
Napoleon Hill

Fears are nothing more than a state of mind.

Napoleon Hill

First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then
transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in
your imagination.
Napoleon Hill

Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of
Napoleon Hill
Napoleon Hill

Portrait of a young Napoleon Hill

October 26, 1883
Pound, Virginia
Died November 8, 1970 (aged 87)
Occupation author, journalist, attorney, lecturer
Nationality United States
Period 1928-1970
Genres non-fiction, how-to, treatise
personal development, self-help,
motivation, finance, investment
personal development, self-help
Think and Grow Rich
The Law of Success
Notable work(s)
Success Through a Positive Mental

Related Interests