Basics About Napoleon Hill
and
Author's Preface to his famous book
Think and Grow Rich

published 1938

Organized through 25 years of research,
in collaboration with more than 500 distinguished men of great wealth,
who proved by their own achievements that this philosophy is practical.

It's suggested before reading books it's helpful to become acquainted with the author, and basics about the era in which their writing occurred.... In this IDEAL LifeStyle Course series about "Comprehending Ourselves" we shall begin encountering the writings and recordings of Napoleon Hill and The Master Key to manifesting your vision....

Napoleon Hill
(born October 26,1883 - died November 8,1970)

Napoleon Hill was born in Appalachian Mountain town of Pound in Southwest Virginia. His mother died when he was ten years old. His father remarried two years later. At 13 years of age, Napoleon Hill began writing as a "mountain reporter" for small-town newspapers in the area of Wise County, Virginia.

Napoleon 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.

In 1919, Napoleon Hill wrote Haanel a letter thanking him for The Master Key System. In the letter Hill stated: "...my present success and the success which has followed my work as President of the Napoleon Hill Institute is due largely to the principles laid down in The Master-Key System."

April 21, 1919. Mr. Charles F. Haanel, St. Louis, Mo.

My Dear Mr. Haanel,

You probably know, from the editorial in the January issue of the Golden Rule, copy of which my Secretary sent to you, that I began twenty-two years ago as a coal miner at a dollar a day.

I have just been retained by a ten million dollar corporation at a salary of $105,200.00 a year, for a portion of my time only, it having been agreed that I shall continue as editor of the Hill's Golden Rule.

I believe in giving credit where it is due, therefore I believe I ought to inform you that my present success and the success which has followed my work as President of the Napoleon Hill Institute is due largely to the principles laid down in The Master-Key System.

You are doing a good work by helping people to realize that nothing is impossible of accomplishment which a man can create in his imagination. Surely my own experience proves this.

I shall cooperate with you in getting your course into the hands of the many who so greatly need your message.

Cordially and sincerely,
Napoleon Hill,
Editor The Golden Rule
Chicago, Illinois

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.

Napoleon Hill's works examined the power of personal beliefs, and the role they play in personal success. He became the 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. 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.

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.

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. In Chapter 2 of his book "Think And Grow Rich" Napolean 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.

From 1952-1962, Hill taught his Philosophy of Personal Achievement - Lectures on "Science of Success" in association with W. Clement Stone. 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."

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). Think and Grow Rich is listed in John C. Maxwell's A Lifetime "Must Read" Books List.

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 American.

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

More at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon_Hill

AUTHOR'S PREFACE

IN EVERY chapter of this book, mention has been made of the money-making secret which has made fortunes for more than five hundred exceedingly wealthy men whom I have carefully analyzed over a long period of years.

The secret was brought to my attention by Andrew Carnegie, more than a quarter of a century ago. The canny, lovable old Scotsman carelessly tossed it into my mind, when I was but a boy. Then he sat back in his chair, with a merry twinkle in his eyes, and watched carefully to see if I had brains enough to understand the full significance of what he had said to me.

When he saw that I had grasped the idea, he asked if I would be willing to spend twenty years or more, preparing myself to take it to the world, to men and women who, without the secret, might go through life as failures. I said I would, and with Mr. Carnegie's cooperation, I have kept my promise.

This book contains the secret, after having been put to a practical test by thousands of people, in almost every walk of life. It was Mr. Carnegie's idea that the magic formula, which gave him a stupendous fortune, ought to be placed within reach of people who do not have time to investigate how men make money, and it was his hope that I might test and demonstrate the soundness of the formula through the experience of men and women in every calling. He believed the formula should be taught in all public schools and colleges, and expressed the opinion that if it were properly taught it would so revolutionize the entire educational system that the time spent in school could be reduced to less than half.

His experience with Charles M. Schwab, and other young men of Mr. Schwab's type, convinced Mr. Carnegie that much of that which is taught in the schools is of no value whatsoever in connection with the business of earning a living or accumulating riches. He had arrived at this decision, because he had taken into his business one young man after another, many of them with but little schooling, and by coaching them in the use of this formula, developed in them rare leadership. Moreover, his coaching made fortunes for everyone of them who followed his instructions.

In the chapter on Faith, you will read the astounding story of the organization of the giant United States Steel Corporation, as it was conceived and carried out by one of the young men through whom Mr. Carnegie proved that his formula will work for all who are ready for it. This single application of the secret, by that young man -- Charles M. Schwab -- made him a huge fortune in both money and OPPORTUNITY. Roughly speaking, this particular application of the formula was worth six hundred million dollars.

These facts -- and they are facts well known to almost everyone who knew Mr. Carnegie -- give you a fair idea of what the reading of this book may bring to you, provided you KNOW WHAT IT IS THAT YOU WANT.

Even before it had undergone twenty years of practical testing, the secret was passed on to more than one hundred thousand men and women who have used it for their personal benefit, as Mr. Carnegie planned that they should. Some have made fortunes with it. Others have used it successfully in creating harmony in their homes. A clergyman used it so effectively that it brought him an income of upwards of $75,000.00 a year.

Arthur Nash, a Cincinnati tailor, used his near-bankrupt business as a "guinea pig" on which to test the formula. The business came to life and made a fortune for its owners. It is still thriving, although Mr. Nash has gone. The experiment was so unique that newspapers and magazines, gave it more than a million dollars' worth of laudatory publicity.

The secret was passed on to Stuart Austin Wier, of Dallas, Texas. He was ready for it -- so ready that he gave up his profession and studied law. Did he succeed? That story is told too.

I gave the secret to Jennings Randolph, the day he graduated from College, and he has used it so successfully that he is now serving his third term as a Member of Congress, with an excellent opportunity to keep on using it until it carries him to the White House.

While serving as Advertising Manager of the LaSalle Extension University, when it was little more than a name, I had the privilege of seeing J. G. Chapline, President of the University, use the formula so effectively that he has since made the LaSalle one of the great extension schools of the country.

The secret to which I refer has been mentioned no fewer than a hundred times, throughout this book. It has not been directly named, for it seems to work more successfully when it is merely uncovered and left in sight, where THOSE WHO ARE READY, and SEARCHING FOR IT, may pick it up. That is why Mr. Carnegie tossed it to me so quietly, without giving me its specific name.

If you are READY to put it to use, you will recognize this secret at least once in every chapter. I wish I might feel privileged to tell you how you will know if you are ready, but that would deprive you of much of the benefit you will receive when you make the discovery in your own way.

While this book was being written, my own son, who was then finishing the last year of his college work, picked up the manuscript of chapter two, read it, and discovered the secret for himself. He used the information so effectively that he went directly into a responsible position at a beginning salary greater than the average man ever earns. His story has been briefly described in chapter two. When you read it, perhaps you will dismiss any feeling you may have had, at the beginning of the book, that it promised too much. And, too, if you have ever been discouraged, if you have had difficulties to surmount which took the very soul out of you, if you have tried and failed, if you were ever handicapped by illness or physical affliction, this story of my son's discovery and use of the Carnegie formula may prove to be the oasis in the Desert of Lost Hope, for which you have been searching.

This secret was extensively used by President Woodrow Wilson, during the World War. It was passed on to every soldier who fought in the war, carefully wrapped in the training received before going to the front. President Wilson told me it was a strong factor in raising the funds needed for the war.

More than twenty years ago, Hon. Manuel L. Quezon (then Resident Commissioner of the Philippine Islands), was inspired by the secret to gain freedom for his people. He has gained freedom for the Philippines, and is the first President of the free state.

A peculiar thing about this secret is that those who once acquire it and use it, find themselves literally swept on to success, with but little effort, and they never again submit to failure! If you doubt this, study the names of those who have used it, wherever they have been mentioned, check their records for yourself, and be convinced.

There is no such thing as SOMETHING FOR NOTHING!

The secret to which I refer cannot be had without a price, although the price is far less than its value. It cannot be had at any price by those who are not intentionally searching for it. It cannot be given away, it cannot be purchased for money, for the reason that it comes in two parts. One part is already in possession of those who are ready for it.

The secret serves equally well, all who are ready for it. Education has nothing to do with it. Long before I was born, the secret had found its way into the possession of Thomas A. Edison, and he used it so intelligently that he became the world's leading inventor, although he had but three months of schooling.

The secret was passed on to a business associate of Mr. Edison. He used it so effectively that, although he was then making only $12,000 a year, he accumulated a great fortune, and retired from active business while still a young man. You will find his story at the beginning of the first chapter. It should convince you that riches are not beyond your reach, that you can still be what you wish to be, that money, fame, recognition and happiness can be had by all who are ready and determined to have these blessings.

How do I know these things? You should have the answer before you finish this book. You may find it in the very first chapter, or on the last page.

While I was performing the twenty year task of research, which I had undertaken at Mr. Carnegie's request, I analyzed hundreds of well known men, many of whom admitted that they had accumulated their vast fortunes through the aid of the Carnegie secret; among these men were:

Darlene's Note: The links connected to these names will help with discovering what these men did in their - (dash) through living on planet Earth... Exploring their experiences might inspire and help the reader to create Ever-Better Personal Life-expressions, and add ever-more to their contributions to An Ever Better World... How many names do you recognize? ... How many might serve you well to be in your MasterMind Team? ... MORE About People Napoleon Hill Studied being collected in document accessed via this hot link. Please help in adding to what is known about the people he thought worthy of mention....
A person mentioned in the following list, Robert A. Dollar in "Opinion On Life and Death" Letter, wrote:
"In this world all we leave behind us that is worth anything is that we can be well regarded and spoken of after we are gone, and that we can say that we left the world just a little better than we found it. If we can't accomplish these two things then life, according to my view, has been a failure. Many people erroneously speak of a man when he is gone as having left so much money. That, according to my view, amounts to very little."

Henry Ford
born July 30, 1863; Greenfield Township, Dearborn, Michigan - died April 7, 1947 (age 83); Fair Lane, Dearborn, Michigan

William Wrigley Jr.
born September 30, 1861; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - died January 26, 1932 (age 70); Phoenix, Arizona

John Wanamaker
born July 11, 1838; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - died December 12, 1922 (age 84); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

James J. Hill
born September 16, 1838; Eramosa Township, Ontario, Canada - died May 29, 1916 (aged 82); Saint Paul, Minnesota

George S. Parker
born November 1, 1863; Shullsburg, Wisconsin - died July 19, 1937; Chicago, Illinois

E.M. Statler (Ellsworth Milton Statler )
born October 26, 1863 near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - died April 16, 1928;

Henry L. Doherty (Henry Latham Doherty)
born May 15, 1870; Columbus, Ohio - died December 26, 1939; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Cyrus H. K. Curtis (Cyrus Hermann Kotzschmar Curtis)
born June 18, 1850; Portland, Maine - died June 7, 1933 (age 82); Wyncote, Pennsylvania; interred in West Laurel Hill Cemetery at Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania

George Eastman
born July 12, 1854; Waterville, New York - died March 14, 1932 (aged 77); Rochester, New York; Ashes buried at Kodak Park

Theodore Roosevelt
born October 27, 1858; New York, New York - died January 6, 1919 (age 60); Oyster Bay, New York

John W. Davis (John William Davis)
born April 13, 1873; Clarksburg, West Virginia - died March 24, 1955 (age 81); Charleston, South Carolina

Elbert Hubbard (Elbert Green Hubbard)
born June 19, 1856; Bloomington, Illinois - died May 7, 1915 (age 58); 8 miles (13 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland

Wilbur Wright
born April 16, 1867; Millville, Indiana - died May 30, 1912 (age 45); Dayton, Ohio

William Jennings Bryan
born March 19, 1860; Salem, Illinois - died July 26, 1925 (aged 65); Dayton, Tennessee

Dr. David Starr Jordan
born January 19, 1851; Gainesville, New York - died September 19, 1931; Palo Alto, California

J. Ogden Armour (Jonathan Ogden Armour)
born November 11, 1863; Milwaukee, Wisconsin - died August 16, 1927 (age 63); London, England

Charles M. Schwab (Charles Michael Schwab)
born 18 February 1862; Williamsburg, Pennsylvania - died 18 October 1939; buried in Loretto, Pennsylvania at Saint Michael's Cemetery in a private mausoleum

Harris F. Williams
Born March 1, 1869, at Springfield, Mo;

Dr. Frank Gunsaulus Frank Wakeley Gunsaulus
born January 1, 1856; Chesterville, Ohio - died March 17, 1921 (age 65); Chicago, Illinois

Daniel Willard
born January 28, 1861; Hartland, Vermont - died July 6, 1942 (age 81) - buried Hartland, Vermont

King Gillette (King Camp Gillette)
born January 5, 1855; Fond du Lac, Wisconsin - died July 9, 1932 (age 77); Los Angeles, California

Ralph A. Weeks

Judge Daniel T. Wright (Daniel Thew Wright)
born September 24, 1864; Riverside, Ohio - died November 18, 1943; Fenwick, Maryland

John D. Rockefeller ( John Davison Rockefeller)
born July 8, 1839; Richford, New York - died May 23, 1937 (age 97) Ormond Beach, Florida; Buried: Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio

Thomas A. Edison (Thomas Alva Edison)
born February 11, 1847 ; Milan, Ohio - died October 18, 1931 (age 84) West Orange, New Jersey

Frank A. Vanderlip (Frank Arthur Vanderlip)
born November 17, 1864; Aurora, Illinois - died June 30, 1937
November 1910, member of Jekyll Island group
Trustee of Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching

More

F. W. Woolworth (Frank Winfield Woolworth)
born April 13, 1852; Rodman, New York - died April 8, 1919 (age 66); Glen Cove, New York

Col. Robert A. Dollar
born March 20, 1844; Falkirk, Scotland - died May 16, 1932 (age 88) San Rafael, California
1858 emigrated to Canada with his father

Edward A. Filene Edward Albert Filene)
born September 3, 1860; Salem, Massachusetts - September 26, 1937; Paris, France

Edwin C. Barnes
born around 1878; Wisconsin - died September 23, 1952; Bradenton, Florida

Arthur Brisbane
born December 12, 1864; Buffalo, New York - died December 25, 1936;

Woodrow Wilson
born December 28, 1856; Staunton, Virginia - died February 3, 1924 (age 67) Washington, D.C.

Wm. Howard Taft (William Howard Taft)
born September 15, 1857; Cincinnati, Ohio - died March 8, 1930 (age 72) Washington, D.C.; buried: Arlington National Cemetery Section 30, Lot S-14, Grid Y/Z-39.5

Luther Burbank
born March 7, 1849; Lancaster, Massachusetts - died April 11, 1926 (age 77); Santa Rosa, California

Edward W. Bok Eduard Willem Gerard Cesar Hidde Bok -- Americanized: Edward William Bok
born October 9, 1863; Den Helder, The Netherlands - died January 9, 1930, at 4:25 a.m.; Lake Wales, Florida (Heart attack)
President Theodore Roosevelt said of him, "Bok is the only man I ever heard of who changed, for the better, the architecture of an entire nation, and he did it so quickly and yet so effectively that we didn't know it was begun before it was finished."

Frank A. Munsey (Frank Andrew Munsey)
born August 21, 1854; Mercer, Maine - died December 22, 1925; (age 71) New York City December 22, 1925 (burst appendix)

Elbert H. Gary (Elbert Henry Gary)
born October 8, 1846; near Wheaton, Illinois - died August 15, 1927; New York

Dr. Aexander Graham Bell
born March 3, 1847; Edinburgh, Scotland, UK - died August 2, 1922 at 2:am (age 75); at his private estate, Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia, Canada (complications of diabetes)

John H. Patterson John Henry Patterson
born December 13, 1844; near Dayton, Ohio - died May 7, 1922; interred in the Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio

Julius Rosenwald
born August 12, 1862 Springfield, Illinois - died January 6, 1932 at his home in Ravinia section of Highland Park, Illinois
born and raised few blocks from Abraham Lincoln residence during Lincoln's presidency of the United States

Stuart Austin Wier
Born August 21, 1894; Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana - Died April 23, 1959 (age 64) Dallas, Texas
Mentioned in this "Author Preface" and "Chapter 5"

Dr. Frank Crane
born 1861 - died 1928

George M. Alexander
born September 21, 1839; Glasgow, Scotland - died August 2, 1923; age 83) interred Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles, California

J. G. Chapline (Jesse_Grant_Chapline)
born July 2, 1870; Waverly, Missouri - died July 4, 1937 (agee 67); Chicago, Illinois

HON. Jennings Randolph
born March 8, 1902; Salem, West Virginia - died May 8, 1998 (age 96); St. Louis, Missouri

Arthur Nash
born circa 1870; Tipton County, Indiana - died in 1927; based on references in his book "The Golden Rule in Business" published 1923

Clarence Darrow
born April 18, 1857; Kinsman Township, Trumbull County, Ohio - died March 13, 1938 (age 80); Chicago, Illinois

These names represent but a small fraction of the hundreds of well known Americans whose achievements, financially and otherwise, prove that those who understand and apply the Carnegie secret, reach high stations in life. I have never known anyone who was inspired to use the secret, who did not achieve noteworthy success in his chosen calling. I have never known any person to distinguish himself, or to accumulate riches of any consequence, without possession of the secret. From these two facts I draw the conclusion that the secret is more important, as a part of the knowledge essential for self-determination, than any which one receives through what is popularly known as "education." What is EDUCATION, anyway? This has been answered in full detail.

As far as schooling is concerned, many of these men had very little. John Wanamaker once told me that what little schooling he had, he acquired in very much the same manner as a modern locomotive takes on water, by "scooping it up as it runs." Henry Ford never reached high school, let alone college. I am not attempting to minimize the value of schooling, but I am trying to express my earnest belief that those who master and apply the secret will reach high stations, accumulate riches, and bargain with life on their own terms, even if their schooling has been meager.

Somewhere, as you read, the secret to which I refer will jump from the page and stand boldly before you, IF YOU ARE READY FOR IT! When it appears, you will recognize it. Whether you receive the sign in the first or the last chapter, stop for a moment when it presents itself, and turn down a glass, for that occasion will mark the most important turning-point of your life.

We pass now, to Chapter One, and to the story of my very dear friend, who has generously acknowledged having seen the mystic sign, and whose business achievements are evidence enough that he turned down a glass. As you read his story, and the others, remember that they deal with the important problems of life, such as all men experience. The problems arising from one's endeavor to earn a living, to find hope, courage, contentment and peace of mind; to accumulate riches and to enjoy freedom of body and spirit.

Remember, too, as you go through the book, that it deals with facts and not with fiction, its purpose being to convey a great universal truth through which all who are READY may learn, not only WHAT TO DO, BUT ALSO HOW TO DO IT! and receive, as well, THE NEEDED STIMULUS TO MAKE A START.

As a final word of preparation, before you begin the first chapter, may I offer one brief suggestion which may provide a clue by which the Carnegie secret may be recognized? It is this -- ALL ACHIEVEMENT, ALL EARNED RICHES, HAVE THEIR BEGINNING IN AN IDEA! If you are ready for the secret, you already possess one half of it, therefore, you will readily recognize the other half the moment it reaches your mind.

THE AUTHOR

Note: THIS font color in text of this online book indicates additions by Darlene Sartore, as are any hyper-links

Project to Collect More Data About People Napoleon Hill Mentions in his books

Next: Chapter 1.
Introduction

Index for Think And Grow Rich by Napolean Hill

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