12 min read

šŸ“š Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

šŸŽÆ Read This Book If

You want to gain an understanding of the role our thoughts play in achieving our dreams.

šŸ”‘ Key Points

  • The power of thought is an underrated skill in the process of accumulating riches, or any other material thing.
  • It's not enough to just wish for a thing, you have to have a burning desire and a defined goal aligned with your purpose.
  • Persistence is key because life will throw failures and obstacles in your way, the trick is to never give up in the quest to your goal.

šŸ¤” Main Ideas

I. Thoughts Are Things

Truly, thoughts are things, and powerful things when they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into riches, or other material objects.

We often can only find success once we've made up our mind that we will be successful. When one is truly ready for a thing, it will appear.

Opportunity has a habit of slipping in by the back door, and often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat. Perhaps this is why so many fail to recognize it.

One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. Before success comes, you're sure to be met with much temporary defeat, and some failure. This is the exact moment when the easy thing to do, to quit, is what you must not do.

We keep on keeping on, no matter how hard the going may be, a lesson that has to be learnt before success comes.

When you begin to think and grow rich, you observe that riches begin with a state of mind, with definiteness of purpose, with little or no hard work. Success comes to those who are success conscious. We must magnetize our minds to become money conscious until the desire for money drives us to create definite plans for acquiring it.


II. Desire

The Starting Point of All Achievement ā€“ The First Step toward Riches

Everyone who reaches the age of understanding the purpose of money wishes for it. Wishing will not bring riches, but desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence, will bring riches.

  • First, be definite as to the amount.
  • Second, determine what you will give in return for what you desire.
  • Third, define when you intend to possess the money you desire.
  • Fourth, create a definite plan for carrying out your desire.
  • Fifth, write a clear and concise statement of everything above.
  • Sixth, revisit that statement often.

The object is to want money, and become so determined to have it that you convince yourself you will have it. All who have accumulated fortunes first did a certain amount of dreaming, hoping, wishing, desiring, and planning before they acquired it.

Practical dreamers do not quit. The world is full of abundance, so no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as reality. There's a difference between wishing for a thing and being ready to receive it. The state of mind must be belief, not mere hope or wish. A burning desire has devious ways of transmuting itself into its physical equivalent.

There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge.

III. Faith

Visualization of, and Belief in Attainment of Desire ā€“ The Second Step toward Riches

When faith is blended with thought, the subconscious mind instantly picks up the vibration, translates it into its spiritual equivalent, and transmits it to Infinite Intelligence.

Faith is a state of mind which may be induced, or created, by affirmation or repeated instructions to the subconscious mind, through the principle of autosuggestion.

Perfection comes through practice, it cannot come by merely reading instructions. It's essential to encourage the positive emotions as dominating forces of your mind, and eliminate negative emotions. A mind dominated by positive emotions because a favourable abode for faith.

One comes, finally, to believe whatever one repeats to one's self, whether the statement be true or false. We become our dominating thoughts that we permit to occupy our mind.

The subconscious mind makes no distinction between constructive and destructive thoughts. It works with the material we feed it, through our own thoughts. If you fill your mind with fear, doubt and unbelief in your ability, the law of autosuggestion will take this spirit and use it as a pattern by which your subconscious mind will translate it into its physical equivalent.

Riches begin in the form of thought! The amount is limited only by the person in whose mind the thought is put into motion. Faith removes limitations.

IV. Autosuggestion

The Medium for Influencing the Subconscious Mind ā€“ The Third Step toward Riches

Autosuggestion is a term which applies to all suggestions and all self-administered stimuli which reach one's mind through the five senses. It's the agency of control through which an individual may voluntarily feed their subconscious mind on thoughts of a creative nature, or, by neglect, permit thoughts of a destructive nature to find their way in the mind.

Your subconscious mind recognizes and acts only upon thoughts which have been well-mixed with emotion or feeling. You won't get appreciable results until you learn to reach your subconscious mind with thoughts, or spoken words which have been well emotionalized with belief.

It is necessary to make use of the principle of concentration. We only become the master of ourself, and our environment, because we have the power to influence our own subconscious mind.

Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the Seed of an equivalent or a greater Benefit.

V. Specialized Knowledge

Personal Experiences or Observations ā€“ The Fourth Step toward Riches

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. But knowledge does not, necessarily, have to be in the possession of the person who accumulates the fortune.

Knowledge has no value except that which can be gained from its application toward some worthy end. Successful people, in all callings, never stop acquiring specialized knowledge related to their major purpose, business, or profession.

We rise to high positions or remain at the bottom because of the conditions we can control if we desire to control them. Specialized knowledge is more abundant and more easily acquired than ideas.

Capability means imagination, the one quality needed to combine specialized knowledge with ideas, in the form of organized plans designed to yield riches.

VI. Imagination

The Workshop of the Mind ā€“ The Fifth Step toward Riches

The imagination is literally the workshop where all plans are created. The thought, the desire, is given shape, form and action through the aid of the imaginative faculty of the mind.

It has been said that we can create anything that we imagine. Our only limitation, within reason, lies in our development and use of our imagination. Both synthetic imagination (using existing ideas) and creative imagination (using something new) become more alert with use, just like a muscle.

Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes, ideas are products of the imagination. The definiteness of purpose is the starting point from which one must begin.

Riches, when they come in huge quantities, are never the result of hard work alone. Riches come, if they come at all, in response to definite demands, and not by chance or luck. An idea is an impulse of thought that impels action, by an appeal to the imagination.

Millions of people go through life hoping for favourable breaks. Perhaps a favourable break can get one an opportunity, but the safest plan is not to depend upon luck.

Ideas are intangible forces, but they have more power than the physical brains that give birth to them. They have the power to live on, after the brain that creates them has returned to dust.

VII. Organized Planning

The Crystallization of Desire into Action ā€“ The Sixth Step toward Riches

No one has sufficient experience, education, ability, and knowledge to insure the accumulation of a great fortune, without the cooperation of other people. The most intelligent person living cannot succeed in accumulating money ā€“ nor in any other undertaking ā€“ without plans which are practical and workable.

Temporary defeat is not permanent failure. When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.

Remember that it is not the lawyer who knows the most law, but the one who best prepares their case, who wins. Every person who starts, or gets in halfway up the ladder, does so by deliberate and careful planning.

Those who have lost their fortunes, and those who are just beginning to earn money, have nothing but personal services to offer in return for riches; therefore it is essential that they have available the practical information needed to market services to best advantage. Those who fail to serve well, lose their privilege of serving.

All who seek riches must recognize and adapt themselves to the system that controls all approaches to fortunes, large or small. Step up to the front, select what you want, create your plan, put the plan into action, and follow through with persistence.

Success requires to explanations. Failure permits no alibis.

VIII. Decision

The Mastery of Procrastination ā€“ The Seventh Step toward Riches

Procrastination, the opposite of decision, is a common enemy which practically everyone must conquer. Everyone who accumulates fortunes, had the habit of reaching decisions promptly, and of changing their decisions slowly, if at all.

Opinions are the cheapest commodities on earth. If you are influenced by the opinions of others, you will have no desire of your own.

If you talk more than you listen, you not only deprive yourself of many opportunities to accumulate useful knowledge, but you also disclose your plans and purposes to others who will take great delight in defeating you, because they envy you. Genuine wisdom is usually conspicuous through modesty and silence.

Throughout this philosophy will be found the suggestion that thought, back by strong desire, has a tendency to transmute itself into its physical equivalent. Do not look for a miracle, because you will not find it. You will find only the eternal laws of nature.

Those who reach decisions promptly and definitely, know what they want, and generally get it. Definiteness of decision always requires courage, sometimes very great courage.

Financial independence, riches, desirable business and professional positions are not within reach of the person who neglects or refuses to expect, plan, and demand these things.

IX. Persistence

The Sustained Effort Necessary to Induce Faith ā€“ The Eighth Step toward Riches

Persistence is an essential factor in the procedure of transmuting desire into its monetary equivalent. The basis of persistence is the power of will. Will-power and desire, when properly combined, make an irresistible pair.

Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat. You must apply all of the rules until their application becomes a fixed habit with you.

The trick is doing step by step, with persistence comes success. Those who pick themselves up after defeat and keep on trying arrive. If one does not possess persistence, one does not achieve noteworthy success in any calling.

The fear of criticism in some cases is stronger than the desire for success. Riches do not respond to wishes, they respond only to definite plans, backed by definite desires, through constant persistence.

As one makes an impartial study of the prophets, philosophers, miracle men, and religious leaders of the past, one is drawn to the inevitable conclusion that persistence, concentration of effort, and definiteness of purpose, were the major sources of their achievements.

X. Power of the Master Mind

The Driving Force ā€“ The Ninth Step toward Riches

Power is essential for success in the accumulation of money. Plans are inert and useless, without sufficient power to translate them into action. Power refers to organized effort, sufficient to enable an individual to transmute desire into its monetary equivalent.

The human mind is a form of energy, a part of it being spiritual in nature. When the minds of two people are coordinated in a spirit of harmony, the spiritual units of energy of each mind form an affinity, which constitutes the psychic phase of the Master Mind.

A group of brains coordinated in a spirit of harmony will provide more thought-energy than a single brain. The Master Mind principle: When a group of individual brains are coordinated and function in harmony, the increased energy created through that alliance becomes available to every individual brain in the group.

When two or more people coordinate in a spirit of harmony, and work toward a definite objective, they place themselves in position, through that alliance, to absorb power directly from the great universal storehouse of Infinite Intelligence.

When riches take the place of poverty, the change is usually brought about through well-conceived and carefully executed plans. Poverty needs no plan. It needs no one to aid it, because it is bold and ruthless. Riches are shy and timid. They have to be attracted.

HAPPINESS is found in DOING not merely in POSSESSING.

XI. The Mystery of Sex Transmutation

The Tenth Step toward Riches

Sex transmutation is the switching of the mind from thoughts of physical expression, to thoughts of some other nature. Sex desire is the most powerful of human desires.

When harnessed, and redirected along other lines, this motivating force maintains all of its attributes of keenness of imagination, courage, etc., which may be used as powerful creative forces in literature, art, or in any other profession or calling, including, of course, the accumulation of riches.

When harness and transmuted, this driving force is capable of lifting people into that higher sphere of thought. Sex energy is the creative energy of all geniuses.

The world is ruled, and the destiny of civilization is established, by the human emotions. People are influenced in their actions, not by reason so much as by feelings.

This calls for more will-power than the average person cares to use for this purpose, but the rewards for the practise is more than worth the effort.

XII. The Subconscious Mind

The Connecting Link ā€“ The Eleventh Step toward Riches

The subconscious mind consists of a field of consciousness, in which every impulse of thought that reaches the conscious mind through any of the five senses, is classified and recorded. It receives and files sense impressions or thoughts, regardless of their nature.

The subconscious mind works day and night. Through a method of procedure, it transmutes one's desires into their physical equivalent. You cannot entirely control your subconscious mind, but you can voluntarily hand over to it any plan, desire, or purpose which you wish transformed into concrete form.

The subconscious mind may be voluntarily directed only through habit. If you fail to plant desires in your subconscious mind, it will feed upon the thoughts which reach it as the result of your neglect. Everything which we create begins in the form of a thought.

It is your responsibility to make sure that positive emotions constitute the dominating influence of your mind.

ANYBODY can wish for riches, and most people do, but only a few know that a definite plan, plus a burning desire for wealth, are the only dependable means of accumulating wealth.

XIII. The Brain

A Broadcasting and Receiving Station for Thought ā€“ The Twelfth Step toward Riches

Every human brain is capable of picking up vibrations of thought which are being released by other brains.

The subconscious mind is the sending station of the brain, through which vibrations of thought are broadcast. The creative imagination is the receiving set, through which the energies of thought are picked up. All of us are controlled by forces which are unseen and intangible.

The ladder of success is never crowded at the top.

XIV. The Sixth Sense

The Door to the Temple of Wisdom ā€“ The Thirteenth Step toward Riches

The sixth sense is that portion of the subconscious mind which has been referred to as the creative imagination. It has also been referred to as the receiving set, through which ideas, plans, and thoughts flash into the mind. The flashes are sometimes called hunches or inspirations.

Through the aid of the sixth sense, you will be warned of impending dangers in the time to avoid them, and notified of opportunities in time to embrace them. We all become what we are because of their dominating thoughts and desires.

The sixth sense is not something that one can take off and put on at will. Ability to use this great power comes slowly, through application of the other principles outlined in this book.

XV. The Six Ghosts of Fear

Take Inventory of Yourself, As You Read This Closing Chapter, and Find Out How Many of the "Ghosts" Are Standing In Your Way

Before you can put any portion of this philosophy into successful use, your mind must be prepared to receive it.

The six basic fears are: poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of love of someone, old age, and death. Fears are nothing more than states of mind, every human being has the ability to completely control their mind.

If it is true that all thought has a tendency to clothe itself in its physical equivalent, it is equally true that thought impulses of fear and poverty cannot be translated into terms of courage and financial gain.

The six basic fears become translated into a state of worry, through indecision. Kill the habit of worry by reaching a general, blanket decision that nothing which life has to offer is worth the price of worry.

To be successful, you must find peace of mind, acquire the material needs of life, and above all, attain happiness.

To protect yourself against negative influences, recognize that you have a will-power, and put it into constant use, until it builds a wall of immunity against negative influences in your own mind. Without a doubt, the most common weakness of all human beings is the habit of leaving their minds open to the negative influence of other people.

Life is a checkerboard, and the players opposite you is time. If you hesitate before moving, or neglect to move promptly, your men will be wiped off the board by time. You are playing against a partner who will not tolerate indecision.

šŸ§  Final Thoughts

Think & Grow Rich is a powerful book that emphasizes the idea of making your dreams become your reality through desire and persistence. It's a mindset that can be applied to anything, it can be your guide to being able to Think & Grow ___.

Written almost 90 years ago, the lessons and stories are timeless, and it's easy to see why it ranks near the top of many book recommendation lists. If you're looking to improve your mindset while working towards your dreams, this book might be a perfect companion for the road ahead.

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All ideas, quotes, and illustrations are borrowed or based on Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.