Book Review: Think and Grow Rich

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Jason Hettler

Jason Hettler

I was late to the party.

I’ve just read the oft-recommended, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

Unpopular opinion….I would not recommend.

Maybe my expectations were too high due to the publicity this book receives. Maybe I’m too big a fan of Mastery by Robert Greene and not ready to allow another book of similar content to surpass it.

Either way, I didn’t find the book bad per se, just very underwhelming. 


I certainly appreciate the general outline and message and will happily ‘borrow’ much of it for the remainder of what I am about to say (or type).

I’ll summarize my takeaway from Think and Grow Rich in one word…control. To me, it is all about taking control of the direction you go. 

Great message.

Let’s break it down using the first 8 (my favorite) ‘steps toward riches’ from Napoleon Hill.

The foundation of success is desire. A burning desire to achieve that which we have set out to  achieve. Once we have determined our desire, we must believe that it is attainable

“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”

Just as an athlete may visualize their execution beforehand, we must take control of our thoughts and subscribe only to those which aid in the attainment of our desires. 

“Every man is what he is because of the dominating thoughts which he permits to occupy his mind.”

From here, the collection of specialized knowledge, ideally through experience, will really kickstart the action. The role of imagination will assist in this collection of specialized knowledge, particularly in the coaching world where no two environments are exactly alike, nor any two athletes. 

“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.”

Imagination can be help us to bridge our general knowledge with a more specialized understanding. But we cannot expect to make it to the mountain top on our own. We need a ‘Mastermind’ group and the only way to structure this effectively is through organized planning

“You must have the advantage of the experience, education, native ability, and imagination of other minds. No individual has sufficient experience, education, native ability, and knowledge to insure the accumulation of a great fortune, without the cooperation of other people.”

At this point, without neglecting the previous steps, it very much becomes a matter of alternating between making decisions and exhibiting persistence. 

“The world has the habit of making room for the man whose words and actions show that he knows where he is going.”

So ask yourself, “What is it that you desire?”

When you have a clear answer, make sure it is one you truly believe in. Harness the power of the mind, gain the necessary expertise, be creative and lean on others as needed. 

Top it all of with being comfortable making decisions and persistence to follow through and you will be well on your way!

As much as I would like to simply leave it at that, I can’t. 

You see, while this all sounds logical, neat, orderly, and straightforward – it’s certainly not simple.

From my experience, for whatever it’s worth…

I’m still not exactly sure what it is I desire. Oftentimes my belief and self-talk turn negative. I have much to learn.

At this point I’m putting my money on persistence. 

“One thing we all know, if one does not possess persistence, one does not achieve noteworthy success in any calling.”


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