Book Review: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

It’s not exaggerating to say Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is equivalent to the Bible in the personal development arena.

The book is one of the most frequently recommended books as I have done so myself here.

This book survived my decluttering/downsizing regime when I gave away most of my book collection before moving to a new home.

Now I know keeping this book was not born out of love – sadly.

It’s most likely I hadn’t finished reading it in my first attempt, or I’d felt obligated to keep it with me as a long-time personal development fanatic.

Just like a Christian who wouldn’t dare to give away or throw away her Bible. Or something like that. Ha.

You’ve probably noticed from the tone of my writing so far I’m not too thrilled about the book.

I meant to write this review a while ago, but after having read it, I felt too demotivated to even talk about it: it was a tad let down.

This will surprise lots of people who love the book (and recommend it) or those who keep this title on her next-book-to-read list.

To be fair, I initially enjoyed it enough to write a blog post about Chapter 2 called Desire.

But it went quickly downhill. So much so, it took a real effort to get through the rest.

Dubious Claims about the Book and the Author

I have a habit of looking up the author to learn more about every time I finish reading a book.

What I found about the author put a damp on my already not so favourable impression on the book.

According to Wiki, he had started several businesses that went bankrupt. I have no qualm about business being failed. My online retail business had failed too.

But I like an inspiring story about people who, despite all the failures, eventually succeed, being a living proof of:

Don’t give up. Keep going.

That’s what motivates me.

Perhaps it was the success of this book that did it for him. Who knows?

To illustrate what I mean, when Mark Twain declared bankruptcy and subsequently rebuilt a successful business, he paid off his old creditors when he didn’t need to.

That’s the inspiration I aspire to.

Not only did he eventually achieve success, he made sure he paid back those who were affected by his failed business.

I admire his integrity and generosity.

Another thing about Think and Grow Rich and Napoleon Hill is that they claim that his ex-wife has written the book.

Still, no big deal.

Many books are written by ghostwriters.

Giving away the right to the book to her after a divorce most likely confirms that she is the original writer.

But here’s the most crucial part that questions Napoleon Hill’s integrity.

His meeting with Andrew Carnegie mentioned in the book is claimed to have not happened. Along with many other famous people mentioned.

Which means most stories in the book were fabricated.

Some may say all these things shouldn’t take away good messages in the book.

I agree, but not entirely.

What I liked

It covers a broad range of topics essential for personal development, which you can see from the table of contents below.

The underlying messages and principles are good and useful.

It started off in an informative, educational and engaging way.

I also loved various anecdotes (true or not), especially about his son, albeit some might have been fabricated.

Table of Contents

• Chapter 1. Thoughts are things
The Man Who “Thought” His Way into Partnership with Thomas A. Edition

• Chapter 2. Desire
The Starting Point of All Achievement

• Chapter 3.  Faith
Visualisation of, and Belief in Attainment of Desire

• Chapter 4. Autosuggestion
The Medium for Influencing the Subconscious Mind

• Chapter 5. Specialised Knowledge
Personal Experiences or Observations

• Chapter 6. Imagination
The Workshop of the Mind

• Chapter 7. Organized Planning
The Crystallization of Desire Into Action

• Chapter 8. Decision
The Mastery of Procrastination

• Chapter 9. Persistence
The Sustained Effort Necessary to Induce Faith

• Chapter 10. Power of the Master Mind
The Driving Force

• Chapter 11. The Mystery of Sex Transmutation

• Chapter 12. The Subconscious Mind
The Connecting Link

• Chapter 13. The Brain
The Broadcasting and Receiving Station for Thought

• Chapter 14. The Sixth Sense
The Door to the Temple of Wisdom

• Chapter 15. The Six Ghosts of Fear

What I didn’t Like

A good few chapters in, I quickly started losing interest and really struggled to finish the rest of the book.

I felt it’s awfully outdated, losing touch with today’s audience hence engagement.

My previous book review includes an ancient Babylonian story which I loved.

The language in Babylonian story is outdated too. Yet, I appreciated the important and timeless messages to the last page: it was super engaging!

With Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, endless listicles in most chapters were wearing me down.

I held on to it and read it through fast, not because it inspired me to do so, but for the sake of finishing it (finally!).

Many people love this book. You may, too.

I’d, however, caution you to check out Amazon reviews before committing to buying the book.

My review is for one of the old editions.

Below link will take you to the latest version that says ‘Updated for the 21s Century’.

I have little doubt that the updated version will hold my attention until the last page.

I just think there are plenty of more contemporary and superior books out there that you may want to spend your time and money on.

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