Think and Grow Rich!
YOU AND I have something in common. We have both selected one of the greatest books ever written, Think and Grow Rich! by Napoleon Hill. However, it is almost 50 years since my mind was first exposed to the information that you are holding in your hands. The content of this book has the potential to improve the quality of your life to a degree that is very likely, at this time, beyond the scope of your imagination. You see, I probably know this book and what it can do as well, if not better, than most people alive today. Fifty years of studying the same book does something to you. Let me explain.
In 1963 my brother Al handed me a gift that I consider a true treasure. He gave me a copy of Think and Grow Rich! that he had bound in black Moroccan leather. Although I had already been studying another copy of the book for a few years, I have carried Al’s copy with me every day, everywhere I go, since receiving it. So much in my life has changed for the better since that day.
Just a year ago Al sent me an e-mail explaining how grateful he was that I began studying Think and Grow Rich! He went on to tell me that our entire family enjoys greater prosperity and joy today because of Napoleon Hill’s wonderful book. The philosophy contained in the following pages is one of the best perspectives on success that you will find anywhere. It has worked itself into our family’s way of thinking and into our way of living.
As I am dictating these words, I am sitting in my library surrounded by a few thousand books—great books, but none of them have had the impact on my life that Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich! has.
Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell were a few of the people who were close friends of Napoleon Hill. Even without any research, you have a pretty good idea of the impact that the work of these great individuals has had on the world. We’re aware of their accomplishments because, in most cases, their name is associated with it. And yet, to my way of thinking, it is nearly impossible to accurately describe the positive impact that Napoleon Hill and his work have had on the world. Through his books, Napoleon Hill has transformed the lives of millions of people. Today, Hill’s incredible research and the organized information that came from his years of dedicated effort, percolate in the mind of countless millions of people worldwide—many of whom have never heard of Napoleon Hill. Yet these same individuals enjoy the wisdom that has been shared by others who have been impacted by Napoleon Hill’s great work.
When Think and Grow Rich! was first placed in my hands, I was sitting in a fire hall in a suburb of Toronto, Canada. I was a very confused, unhappy, and broke 26-year-old. I had virtually no formal education and no business experience. My mental focus was always on what I didn’t have, what I was lacking, and why I couldn’t do the things I dreamed about. However, Hill’s work inspired me; it caused me to focus on what I could do. As I studied the powerful information shared in this book, I began to search for ways of how I could do things, rather than why I couldn’t.
Think and Grow Rich! taught me to work at developing my strengths and managing my weaknesses. With the repetition of reading each chapter over and over again, I began to develop a healthy respect for my potential and my capabilities. Today I own a number of very prosperous companies that operate worldwide. I have attracted business partners with whom anyone would be proud to work. The LifeSuccess Group of Companies is focused on providing service in the same area in which Hill dedicated his life—helping people understand their potential and how to develop it.
I have formed the habit of reading a few lines from Think and Grow Rich! every day and have arrived at the conclusion that whatever challenge I may face, my solution will be found in the pages of this wonderful book. Another habit I have formed that I would urge you to follow is to read the chapter on “Persistence” every day for 30 days at least twice a year.
Recently, I traveled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to speak at the international conference of the Napoleon Hill Foundation, where the Prime Minister of Malaysia was presented with the Napoleon Hill Award. Although Napoleon Hill has moved on to the next phase of his eternal journey, the Napoleon Hill Foundation continues his great work. I clearly remember the moment I walked into the Foundation’s library, which houses much of Hill’s original work. A deep feeling of gratitude came over me; I felt indebted to him and to the Foundation for the abundant life that I enjoy.
Make up your mind right now—make a firm decision that you are going to harness the philosophy in this book to do for you what it has done for millions of people all over the world! I strongly urge you to do as I did some 46 years ago, to read Think and Grow Rich!: The Original Version, Restored and Revised over and over again until it becomes a part of your way of thinking, your way of being. You will be richly rewarded for doing so.
Bob Proctor, best-selling author, You Were Born Rich
THE EDITOR’S FOREWORD
BEFORE THE CLOSE of the first decade of the 21st century, America and the world faced a financial and economic abyss that came close to collapsing the world economic system. By most estimates, the meltdown would have been far worse—up to five times greater—than that of the Great Depression. Billions of people could have been ruined and hundreds of thousands of businesses destroyed.
Like ducks in a shooting gallery, one giant financial institution and big business after another teetered on the brink of disaster—Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Bros, AIG, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, General Motors. Many failed. All were imperiled. We were facing an economic black hole. Today, for the moment, the ship seems to have righted, the “black hole” of 2008 avoided.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s there was born a cultural and publishing phenomenon that was tailor-made to help down-on-their-luck, down-in-the-dumps people survive the most trying financial difficulties. It was the landmark book Think and Grow Rich!, researched and written by Napoleon Hill during the Depression years. No book ever written had more relevance then, or has today, as Americans and other people around the globe continue to rebuild and strengthen their economies and try to plan for a personal economic future that despite many good signs and steps taken still remains uncertain.
So get ready. If this is your first exposure to Think and Grow Rich!, I urge you to stop reading at the end of the third paragraph below and turn immediately to “The Author’s Preface” on page 1. The beginning of a life-altering experience of the most profound kind awaits you there—an experience that has given thousands of men and women the key to success every year since Napoleon Hill first published this landmark work. What they learned helped many survive the Depression and many since then to go on to achieve great success and wealth in the years since those desperate times.
Think and Grow Rich! is the ONLY “how-to” book or other resource on personal success that you MUST have. It will help you grow rich—it will enrich your life—in all ways that matter, not just financially and materially. The ideas behind Think and Grow Rich! are the wellspring from which all “Personal Success” and “Positive Mental Attitude” movements have flowed. Every book, CD, DVD, podcast, speech, seminar, online resource or other product on personal success that has been produced since Think and Grow Rich! was first published does little more than rediscover or repackage Dr. Hill’s ideas and principles.
If you are reading Think and Grow Rich! for the first time, pay no attention for now to footnotes, the 52 pages of endnotes, and the appendices in this book. They contain information that will one day expand your appreciation for the book, but during your first reading, they will simply slow you down and interrupt your learning process. When you have completed your first reading (there will be many!) and thus begun your journey on the road to high personal achievement, financial independence, and true success in life, return to this foreword for the additional insights it provides into Think and Grow Rich! and the philosophy it entails. Study the endnotes, where you will gain further insight into such things as “Positive Mental Attitude,” the era in which Napoleon Hill worked and wrote, the people he wrote about, and Napoleon Hill himself. So again, I urge you, First-Time Reader: Do not hesitate. Waste no time. Turn to “The Author’s Preface” to begin your study—and DO IT NOW!
If you are not a newcomer to Napoleon Hill’s work and have already used another version of Think and Grow Rich!, a different sort of reward awaits you. The edition of Think and Grow Rich! you are now holding, as its subtitle indicates, is the Original Version, Restored and RevisedTM. Remember that Dr. Hill first published Think and Grow Rich! and the money-making secret it contains in 1937, at the depths of the Great Depression. In 1960, he published a revised edition of the book, which deleted many sections that appeared in the original. Much of this deleted material focused on specific matters related to the environment of a deep economic depression. These and other changes in the original manuscript were made so as not to “date” the book.
Copies of the 1960 edition and its subsequent printings have, until now, been just about the only ones available in bookstores and most libraries since the 1960s. Ironically, because of the enormous economic upheavals, dislocations, and uncertainties that have swept America and the world since the near collapse of the world economy in 2008, much of what was omitted from the 1960 edition turns out to be amazingly relevant to circumstances and conditions that prevail today. Think and Grow Rich! in its original form speaks as clearly and meaningfully to people in the 21st century as it did to those who came before—and perhaps more so.
The version of Think and Grow Rich! you at this moment are reading restores the book to its original form by reinstating material that was edited out more than five decades ago. (A few original passages are not restored in the main body of the text because of their obsolescence, but these passages are fully quoted and explained in the endnotes.) In addition, the original “look” of Think and Grow Rich! has been re-created. The typeface used, combined with Dr. Hill’s creative use of italics and “all caps” words, gives a vigorous, enthusiastic “visual quality” to the text.
While this new version restores Think and Grow Rich! to its original form and look, the book has also been revised throughout. In every chapter there are minor changes in punctuation, terminology, and, occasionally, phrasing. Financial and economic data are updated where it made sense to do so (for example, using updated dollar values in illustrations and figures), so that readers will not constantly be forced to do in-the-head calculations to make comparisons. Each such revision of word or figure was made solely to remove any obstacles to a full understanding of Dr. Hill’s ideas. The goal at every step has been to make Think and Grow Rich! as user-friendly as possible for today’s reader.
This edition is revised also in that it is the first and only fully annotated version of Think and Grow Rich! ever published, the first with footnotes, endnotes, and appendices, and it contains the first comprehensive index to assist readers in using the book more effectively. Most of the annotations will be of interest primarily to the Napoleon Hill devotee who seeks greater understanding of the historical context in which Dr. Hill created Think and Grow Rich! While his message itself is timeless, many of the persons, events, and circumstances he discusses in his commentary and illustrations are no longer familiar to most readers. Think and Grow Rich!: The Original Version, Restored and Revised aims—in the sense of a “revised standard version”—to make all of these things as clear as possible without in any way interfering with or disturbing the integrity and message of the original work.
What to make of Think and Grow Rich!? Dr. Hill’s book is a publishing phenomenon. Year after year, people continue to “discover” it—tucked away inconspicuously on a bookstore or library shelf or passed along from a family member, friend, or associate—and they have read it, loved it, and used it to turn their lives around and their powers of creativity and imagination loose.
The first copy of Think and Grow Rich! was sold in 1937. Eleven years later, in February 1948, Coronet magazine polled 300 successful young men and women, asking, “What book or books most influenced your life and contributed to your success?” Think and Grow Rich! ranked fourth on the list. In September 1986—38 years and eight U.S. presidents later—USA Today published a list of the “10 top-selling paperback books about investments” in America for that month. Despite the fact that it is only in the most general sense an investment book, being primarily about investing in yourself and other people, Think and Grow Rich! ranked No. 1 on the list. (Books it beat? How to Buy Stocks, The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need, and Getting Yours.)
Some years ago the Library of Congress conducted a survey asking what books most influenced readers’ lives. The top answer, by a wide margin, was the Bible. In second and third place were, respectively, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and Think and Grow Rich! by Napoleon Hill. In 2002, Business Week magazine published “The BusinessWeek Best-Seller List” in its October 14 edition. Almost incredibly, Think and Grow Rich! ranked tenth on the list of the current 15 top-selling paperback business books—65 years after the first copy of the book was purchased!
Walk into any well-stocked bookstore in America or check any online seller and you will find a few paperback copies of Think and Grow Rich! for sale (usually the 1960 version in one of its manifestations) in the business or self-motivation sections. Think and Grow Rich! endures because it works.
For three years it was my privilege to serve as the first editor-in-chief of Think & Grow Rich Newsletter, published by Imagine, Inc., for the Napoleon Hill Foundation, a charitable organization he had established. My experience in that position not only provided me with the insight and confidence needed to undertake this restoration/revision of Think and Grow Rich!, but also introduced me to the living power of this book in changing people’s lives. I was exposed to the kind of correspondence and phone calls that pour in daily from people throughout the world, in all walks of life and in all circumstances, who have read Think and Grow Rich!, applied its principles diligently, and attained self-confidence, self-understanding, and levels of success that most people only dare dream of. You may one day find yourself giving such a personal testimonial.
Yet there is more to Think and Grow Rich! than the power of the principles it explains. Part of the book’s appeal is the uncanny, almost prophetic insights of Napoleon Hill about matters and issues that are very much “today.” He talked about concepts such as networking, participatory management, excellence in customer service, visualization techniques, brainstorming, and the use of written goals and objectives long before any of these became corporate or psychological buzzwords—even before, in most instances, the terms themselves were created. He spends almost an entire chapter discussing the concept of mentorship, although he never refers to it as such and puts an unusual “Hill twist” on it. His speculations on human brain functions anticipate the whole area of right brain/left brain research. Any one of the numerous self-analysis tests scattered throughout his pages is thoroughly applicable today and well worth the price of this book alone. Fifty years before the word “downsizing” would come into vogue, Napoleon Hill spelled out in specific detail the perfect strategy and tactics to use when one finds oneself suddenly forced to look for a job or trying to start a business. His analysis of what capitalism is and means (in Chapter 6) is the most compelling and persuasive ever made and should be required reading for everyone.
No matter what town, state, province, or country you may live in, your personal success library will never be complete without this restored, revised, fully annotated, and fully indexed version of Think and Grow Rich! It contains all of the book’s original contents. It includes restored material that makes it more relevant and valuable to today’s economy than it was when it was first written. Teaching the practical steps to the attainment of financial independence and even great wealth is one of the main purposes of Think and Grow Rich! But it turns out that the greatest value of this wonderful book is not that it can make you financially successful, but that it can help YOU, or ANYONE, achieve success however you may define it—and help you get whatever else it is that you desire from life.
To paraphrase Napoleon Hill’s most famous statement:
“Whatever, friend, you can conceive and believe, you can achieve!”
Think and Grow Rich!: The Original Version, Restored and RevisedTM shows you step-by-step just how to do it.
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