Think And Grow Rich (1937) is one of the most popular self-books to have ever been written. The author, Napoleon Hill (1883 – 1970) spent more than two decades studying over 500 individuals of great wealth and success; the likes of which include Theodore Roosevelt, F W Woolworth, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford. In his book, Hill explains a set of principles that he claims are the 13 steps towards riches.

“Think And Grow Rich” Summary

  • “I had learned from years of experience with men, that when a man really desires a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it, he is sure to win.” 
  • “The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE.”
    Specialized Knowledge.
    Organized Planning.
    Power of the Master Mind.
    The Mystery of Sex Transmutation.
    The Subconscious Mind.
    The Brain.
    The Sixth Sense.
  • “Remember, It takes no more effort to aim high in life, to demand abundance and prosperity than is required to accept misery and poverty.”
  • “Set your mind on a definite goal and observe how quickly the world stands aside to let you pass.”
  • Every man is what he is because of the dominating thoughts which he permits to occupy in his mind.

Napoleon Hill “Think And Grow Rich” Summary 


Chapter 1: The Power of Thought

  • [Book Notes] “Truly, ‘thoughts are things,’ and powerful things at that, when they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into riches, or other material objects.”
  • “Edwin C. Barnes discovered how true it is that men really do Think And Grow Rich. His discovery did not come about at one sitting. It came little by little, beginning with a burning desire to become a business associate of the great Edison.”
  • When this desire initially flashed into his mind, he wasn’t in any position to act upon it since he did not know Edison personally, nor did he have the money to pay for his railroad fare. But this was no ordinary desire!
  • Edison would later recall his first impressions of meeting Barnes: “He stood there before me, looking like an ordinary tramp, but there was something in the expression of his face which conveyed the impression that he was determined to get what he had come after.
  • “I had learned, from years of experience with men, that when a man really desires a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it, he is sure to win.”
  • Hill writes: “It could not have been the young man’s appearance which got him his start in the Edison office, for that was definitely against him. It was what he thought that counted. If the significance of this statement could be conveyed to every person who reads it, there would be no need for the remainder of this book.”
  • “Psychologists have correctly said that ‘when one is truly ready for a thing, it puts in its appearance.’ ”
  • “…we are the Masters of our Fate, Captains of our Souls, because we have the power to control our thoughts.”

Chapter 2: Desire

(The first step toward riches)

  • “A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which eventually insured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own.”
  • “He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy’s country, unloaded the soldiers and equipment, and then gave the order to burn the ships that had carried them.”
  • “Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, “You see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice – we win – or we perish!” They won.” ”
  • Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by doing so can he be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win, essential to success.
  • The method by which desire for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent, consists of six definite, practical steps:
  1. “Fix in your mind the exact amount you desire. It is not sufficient to say ‘I want plenty of money.’ Be definite as to the amount.”
  1. “Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire.”
  1. “Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.”
  1. “Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.”
  1. “Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.”
  1. “Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. As you read, see and feel and believe yourself already in possession of the money.”

Chapter 3: Faith

(The second step toward riches)

  • “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 auto-suggestion.”
  • Hill phrases the words of a famous criminologist to clarify what he means by auto-suggestion:
  • “When men first come into contact with crime, they abhor it. If they remain in contact with crime for a time, they become accustomed to it and endure it. If they remain in contact with it long enough, they finally embrace it, and become influenced by it.”
  • He adds: “It is a well-known fact that one comes, finally, to believe whatever one repeats to one’s self, whether the statement is true or false.
  • “If a man repeats a lie over and over, he will eventually accept the lie as truth. Moreover, he will believe it to be the truth. Every man is what he is, because of the dominating thoughts which he permits to occupy his mind.”
  • “Like the wind which carries one ship East, and another West, the law of auto-suggestion will lift you up or pull you down, according to the way you set your sails of thought.”
  • “There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge.”
  • “Both poverty and riches are the offspring of thought.”

Chapter 4: Auto-Suggestion

  • Nature has built man in a manner that he has absolute control over what reaches his subconscious mind, through his five senses. However, man does not always exercise this control, which explains why so many people go through life in poverty.
  • Auto-suggestion is a term which applies to all suggestions and all self-administered stimuli which reaches one’s mind through the five sense. Stated in another way, auto-suggestion is self-suggestion.
  • “Your ability to use the principle of auto-suggestion will mostly depend on your capacity to concentrate upon a given desire until that desire becomes a burning obsession.”
  • As outlined in the six-step process in the second chapter of Think And Grow Rich (check notes on Desire), Napoleon Hill encourages the reader to write down their goals, in this case – how much money they want to obtain, how they intend to obtain it and by when…  with an emphasis on being as specific as possible.
  • He adds: “When reading aloud the statement of your desire, the mere reading of the words is of no consequence unless you mix emotion, or feeling with your words.”
  • “Plain unemotional words do not influence the subconscious mind. You will get no appreciable results until you learn to reach your subconscious mind with thoughts, or spoken words which have been emotionalized with belief.”

Chapter 5: Specialized Knowledge

  • “General knowledge, no matter how great in quantity or variety it may be, is of but little use in the accumulation of money. The faculties of great universities possess, in the aggregate, practically every form of general knowledge known to civilization.”
  • However, most of the professors have little but no money. They specialize in teaching knowledge, but they do not specialize in the organization or the use of knowledge.”
  • The ‘missing link’ in all systems of education known to civilization today, may be found in the failure of educational institutions to teach their students how to organize and use knowledge after they acquire it [specialized knowledge].
  • On acquiring specialized knowledge, Hill writes: “First, decide on the sort of specialized knowledge you require and of the purpose for which it is needed. Your major purpose in life, that is, the goal toward which you are working will help determine the type of specialized knowledge you need.”
  • Your next move requires that you have accurate information concerning dependable sources of knowledge. These sources include industry experts, mentors, colleges, universities, public libraries, night schools, etc.
  • He adds: “As knowledge is acquired, it must be organized and put into use, for a definite purpose, through practical plans.”

Chapter 6: Imagination

(The fifth step toward riches).

“The imagination is literally the workshop wherein are fashioned all plans created by man. The impulse, the desire, is given shape, form, and action through the aid of the imaginative faculty.”

  • “The imaginative faculty functions in two forms, one is known as ‘synthetic imagination,’ and the other as ‘creative imagination.’ ”
  • “Synthetic imagination: Through this faculty, one may arrange old concepts, ideas, or plans into new combinations. This faculty creates nothing. It merely works with the material of experience, education, and observation with which it is fed.”
  • “Creative imagination: Through the faculty of creative imagination, the finite mind of man has direct communication with Infinite Intelligence. It is the faculty through which ‘hunches’ and ‘inspirations’ are received. It is through this faculty that all new ideas are handed over to man.”
  • “Just like any muscle or organ of the body that is developed through use, both the synthetic and creative faculties of the imagination become more alert the more often it is used.”

Chapter 7: Organized Planning  

  • Hill tells us about the importance of having a plan that is a joint creation of a “Master Mind” Group.
  • He defines a Master Mind group as ‘the coordination of knowledge and effort between two or more people who work towards a definite purpose.’ In other words, A Master Mind group is formed when a group of people work towards attaining a specific goal, thus combining their knowledge, skills, and experience.
  • He adds: “You may originate your own plans, either in whole or in part, but see that those plans are checked, and approved by the members of your ‘master mind’ alliance.”
  • “Everything man creates or acquires begins in the form of desire. That desire is taken on the first lap of its journey, from the abstract to the concrete into the workshop of the imagination, where plans for its transition are created and organized.”
  • No individual has sufficient experience, education, native ability, or knowledge to ensure the accumulation of a great fortune without the cooperation of other people.

Chapter 8: Decision

  • “Accurate analysis of over 25,000 men and women who had experienced failure, disclosed the fact that lack of decision was near the head of the list of the 30 major causes of failure. This is no mere statement of a theory –it is a fact.”
  • “Socrates’ decision to drink the cup of poison, rather than compromise in his personal belief, was a decision of courage…. the decision of General Robert E. Lee, when he came to the parting of the way with the Union and took up the cause of the South, was a decision of courage.”
  • “Analyze the events which led to the Declaration of Independence, and be convinced that this nation, which now holds a position of commanding respect and power among all nations of the world, was born of a decision created by a Master Mind, consisting of fifty-six men.”
  • “Indecision is a habit which usually begins in youth. The habit takes on permanency as the youth goes through grade school, high school, and even through college, without definiteness of purpose.”
  • “The major weakness of all educational systems is that they neither teach nor encourage the habit of definite decision.”
  • “Definiteness of decision always requires courage, sometimes very great courage.”

Chapter 9: Persistence

(The eighth step toward riches)

  • “Sometimes it appears that there is a hidden Guide whose duty is to test man through all sorts of discouraging experiences. Those who pick themselves up after defeat and keep on trying, arrive; those who can’t take it, simply do not make the grade.”
  • “The basis of persistence is the power of will. Will power and desire, when properly combined, make an irresistible pair.
  • “There may be no heroic connotation to the word ‘persistence,’ but the quality is to the character of man what carbon is to steel.”
  • “There are four simple steps that lead to the habit of persistence. They call for no great amount of intelligence, no particular amount of education, and but little time or effort. These steps are:
  1. A definite purpose backed by a burning desire for its fulfillment
  2. A definite plan, expressed in continuous action.
  3. A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences, including negative suggestions of relative’s friends and acquaintances.
  4. A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.”
  • “There is no substitute for persistence! It cannot be supplanted by any other quality! Those who have cultivated the habit of persistence seem to enjoy insurance against failure. No matter how many times they are defeated, they finally arrive up toward the top of the ladder.”

Chapter 10: Power of the Master Mind

  • “The Master Mind principle holds the secret of power wielded by men who surround themselves with other men of brains. 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.”
  • “Power as the term here is used, refers to organized effort, sufficient to enable an individual to transmute desire into its monetary equivalent. Organized effort is produced through the coordination of effort of two or more people (Master Mind Group), who work toward a definite end, in a spirit of harmony.”
  • Andrew Carnegie’s Master Mind group consisted of a staff of approximately fifty men with whom he would surround himself for the definite purpose of manufacturing and marketing steel. Carnegie himself attributed his entire fortune to the power he had accumulated through this Master Mind alliance.

Chapter 11: The Mystery of Sex Transmutation

  • “I discovered, from the analysis of over 25,000 people, that men who succeed in an outstanding way, seldom do so before the age of forty, and more often they do not strike their real pace until they are well beyond the age of fifty.”
  • “This fact was so astounding that it prompted me to go into the study of its cause most carefully, carrying the investigation over a period of more than twelve years.”
  • “This study disclosed the fact that the major reason why the majority of men succeed do not begin to do so before the age of forty to fifty, is their tendency to dissipate their energies through over-indulgence in physical expression of the emotion of sex.”
  • “The majority of men never learn that the urge of sex has other possibilities, which far transcend in importance, that of mere physical expression. The majority of those who make this discovery, do so after having wasted many years at a period when the sex energy is at its height, prior to the age of forty-five to fifty. This usually is followed by noteworthy achievement.”
  • Sex transmutation is the most powerful human desires. When driven by this desire, men develop keenness of imagination, courage, willpower, persistence, and creative abilities unknown to them at other times.

Chapter 12: The Subconscious Mind

  • “The subconscious mind consists of a field of consciousness, in which every impulse of thought that reaches the objective mind through any of the five senses, is classified and recorded, and from which thoughts may be recalled.”
  • “There is plenty of evidence to support the belief that the subconscious mind is the connecting link between the finite mind of man and Infinite Intelligence. It is the intermediary through which one may draw upon the forces of Infinite Intelligence at will.”
  • “It alone contains the secret process by which mental impulses are modified and changed into their spiritual equivalent. It alone is the medium through which prayer may be transmitted to the source capable of answering prayer.”
  • “The subconscious mind is more susceptible to influence by impulses of thought mixed with ‘feeling’ or emotion, than by those originating solely in the reasoning portion of the mind.”
  • “Moreover, since you are preparing yourself to influence this ‘inner audience; of your subconscious mind, it is essential that you understand the method of approach to this ‘inner audience’ and understand the language of emotion or feeling.”
  • “Let us, therefore, describe the seven major positive emotions, and the seven major negative emotions, so that you may draw upon the positives and avoid the negatives when giving instructions to your subconscious mind.”
  • The seven major positive emotions:
  1. Desire
  2. Faith
  3. Love
  4. Sex Enthusiasm
  5. Romance
  6. Hope
  • The seven major negative emotions (to be avoided):
  1. Fear
  2. Jealousy
  3. Hatred
  4. Revenge
  5. Greed
  6. Superstition
  7. Anger
  • “Positive and negative emotions cannot occupy the mind at the same time. One or the other must dominate. It is your responsibility to make sure that positive emotions constitute the dominating influence of your mind.”
  • “There are no toll-gates between the finite mind of man and infinite intelligence. The communication costs nothing except Patience, Faith, Persistence.”
  • “Faith is the only known agency that will give your thoughts a spiritual nature. Faith and fear make poor bedfellows. Where one is found, the other cannot exist.”

Chapter 13: The Brain

(The twelfth step toward riches)

  • “Every human brain is both a broadcasting and receiving station for the vibration of thought.”
  • “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 vibrations of thought are picked up from the ether.”
  • “You have but three principles to bear in mind and to apply, when you wish to use your broadcasting station. They are – the subconscious mind, the creative imagination, and auto-suggestion.

Chapter 14: The Sixth Sense

(The thirteenth step toward riches)

  • “The thirteenth principle is known as the sixth sense, through which infinite intelligence may, and will communicate voluntarily, without any effort from, or demands by, the individual.”
  • 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. These ‘flashes’ are sometimes called ‘hunches’ or ‘inspirations.’
  • “Somewhere in the cell-structure of the brain, is located an organ which receives vibrations of thought ordinarily called ‘hunches.’ So far, science has not discovered where this organ of the sixth sense is located, but this is not important.
  • The fact remains that human beings do receive accurate knowledge, through sources other than the physical senses. Such knowledge generally is received when the mind is under the influence of extraordinary stimulation.
  • Any emergency which arouses the emotions, causes the heart to beat more rapidly than normal may, and generally does, bring the sixth sense into action.”
  • “Understanding of the sixth sense comes only by meditation through mind development from within. The sixth sense probably is the medium of contact between the finite mind of man and infinite intelligence, and for this reason, it is a mixture of both the mental and the spiritual. It is believed to be the point at which the mind of man contacts the universal mind.”



“Think and Grow Rich”



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