Napoleon Hill Biography – The Paradox

Wealth Creation Mastermind — Nov 7, 2018


Napoleon Hill was a Paradox. In this Napoleon Hill biography the objective is neither to argue his unpleasant aspects nor to glorify his accomplishments. There was a great divergence between what he espoused and how he acted. The abundant evidence of abhorrent behavior in his early career is troubling. On the other hand he is recognized as the grandfather of the personal development movement. His positive impact is undeniable. What makes Hill’s life so captivating? It is a story of transformation. The material he was tasked to deliver to the world caused a complete makeover in his personal character.
 

Napoleon Hill’s life and career

The intention of this Napoleon Hill biography is to illuminate the personal change Hill went through. Hill was born in a two-room cabin in rural southwest Virginia on October 26, 1883. A troubled youth still in poverty, Oliver Napoleon Hill began writing at the age of 13. This was the result of encouragement and the gift of a typewriter from his stepmother. He eventually used his philosophy of personal success and talent for writing to achieve numerous literary and financial accomplishments. By the time of his death on November 8, 1970 in South Carolina, according to Fortune magazine his net worth was about one million dollars.

Beyond his net worth

Adjusted for inflation, Hill’s $1,000,000 net worth is equal to $6,539,098 today. More impressive than his net worth is the impact of Napoleon Hill’s philosophy for success on others. He once made the claim that the publication of his philosophy of success was responsible for the creation of more millionaires than any other teaching.

A troubled start

It is easy to find a Napoleon Hill biography that paints a sinister picture of the man. Hill is accused of philandering, swindling, and story telling to the point of complete fabrication. Allegations are made that the origin of his magnum opus, Think and Grow Rich. has no basis in fact.

The deeper you dig into Napoleon Hill’s biography the more his life seems plagued by a roller-coaster-like sequence of devastating failures and spiraling achievements. Learning about his life demands an answer to a troubling question. What is of greater importance, the merit of an idea, or the source of its inception?

A google search of the icons of the self-development genre invariably turn up connections to Napoleon Hill. The most successful self-help books in print were authored by devotees of Napoleon Hill. Famous personalities like Earl Nightingale, W. Clement Stone, and Norman Vincent Peale attribute Hill with inspiring their personal epiphanies. Decipher the motivation for the works of Bob Proctor, Brian Tracy, Less Brown, and Tony Robbins and again, there lies Napoleon Hill.
 

Napoleon Hill’s biography is one of transformation

Napoleon Hill appeared to discover the meaning and merit of his life through his writing and lectures. The primary position of this Napoleon Hill biography is this. The more he engaged in absorbing and teaching the central message of the New Thought movement, the higher he climbed in personal achievement, morally and financially. At times in his life he was not a stellar example of integrity or moral rectitude. However, the overwhelming positive influence he had on others’ thinking about personal success is awe inspiring.

To get the dirt, and yes there is plenty of filth in the story, here’s a link to Matt Novak’s unflattering Napoleon Hill Biography. The Untold Story of Napoleon Hill.
 

Many successful men endorsed Napoleon Hill

Before taking Novak’s Napoleon Hill biography at face value, consider this. Hill’s publication of The Law of Success, according to the publishers, Ralston University Press, received endorsements from some of the most illustrious scientists, inventors, publishers, politicians and business magnates of the day. They included Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, William H. Taft, Luther Burbank, Edward W. Bok, E. M. Statler and Cyrus H. K. Curtis.

Whatever the true inspiration for Napoleon Hill’s bestselling book, Think and Grow Rich, an undeniable reality is the outstanding success of the book itself. To date it has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Never out of print since its original publication in 1937. Credited as one of the most important and best-selling books of all time. There’s a reason so many biographies of Napoleon Hill have been written: Think and Grow Rich changed the world.

The popularity of Think and Grow Rich

This is in large part due to the way it is written. Instead of being presented as a set of dry and unwavering rules to follow, the book is constructed like a mystery that compels the reader to engage in solving a riddle. At the outset Hill unveils a clue to a hidden secret. Furthermore he heightens our interest by promising that once the secret is discovered, the worthy sleuth who removes the veil and illuminates the mystery will possess a Master Key. This Key will enable the praiseworthy possessor to cause anything she fervently desires and believes she can possess to come into physical manifestation.
 

A turning point in Napoleon Hill’s biography: the meeting with Andrew Carnegie

Every Napoleon Hill biography agrees on one point: the pivotal role of one of America’s wealthiest citizens, Andrew Carnegie. According to Hill, his great life work began as a challenge from Carnegie. He was told to dedicate two decades of his life to unravel and reveal to a waiting world the formula for success. This method, according to Carnegie, was followed by many of the early twentieth century business giants.

Hill’s task, should he accept the challenge, was to first discover the formula’s component parts. Next, to curate it into a set of principles that anyone could follow. Finally, to popularize the method so others would understand and apply it themselves. The outcome was to be the ability of anyone to lift themselves to a higher plane of success in life.

Over a twenty-year timeframe Hill consulted with the leading businessmen and inventors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His research included interviews with Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, Charles M Schwab, William Jennings Bryan, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, William Wrigley Jr., F. W. Woolworth, John Wanamaker, George Eastman, Elmer Gates, William Taft, and Jennings Randolph. His objective was to study their success formulas and identify the common theme.
 

Napoleon Hill’s philosophy

In 1928, nine years before Think and Grow Rich was published, Napoleon Hill first released the result of his exhaustive investigation into the science of success. It was originally released as a series of individual lessons. Napoleon Hill’s intention was to present a class on achievement and prosperity. The formula was published in The Law of Success. It contained 16 principles.

  1. The Mastermind
  2. Your Definite Chief Aim
  3. Self Confidence
  4. The Habit of Saving
  5. Initiative and Leadership
  6. Imagination
  7. Enthusiasm
  8. Self Control
  9. Habit of Doing More Than Paid For
  10. Pleasing Personality
  11. Accurate Thought
  12. Concentration
  13. Cooperation
  14. Failure
  15. Tolerance
  16. The Golden Rule

The formula can be summed up by the concept of “the more you give, the more you get.” By adding value that improves others’ lives in unexpected ways, the success formula mandates that everything you do should advance peoples’ lives and give them increase. If you would like to read more about this topic, here is a link to our blog on Other Success Formula Books by Napoleon Hill.

Philosophy refined

By the time Napoleon Hill’s timeless classic Think and Grow Rich came into print in 1937, the philosophy for success had been reduced to 13 principles.

  1. Desire
  2. Faith
  3. Autosuggestion
  4. Specialized Knowledge
  5. Imagination
  6. Organized Planning
  7. Decision
  8. Persistence
  9. Power of the Mastermind
  10. Sex Transmutation
  11. Subconscious Mind
  12. The Brain
  13. The Sixth Sense

For a more in-depth explanation of each of the principles read our blog – Think and Grow Rich – Concepts.

What influenced Hill’s thinking

No Napoleon Hill biography is complete without an explanation of his primary influence. Napoleon Hill became a profound advocate of New Thought. The belief that we are individual manifestations of the original, universal source called Infinite Intelligence. Moreover, we have the power to receive guidance from this infallible All. We are able to act by intelligent principle. Instead of blundering through life, we can choose our destiny.

The teachings of New Thought reveal that life, with all its limitless possibilities, is a continual outflow from the Infinite. Furthermore, we may turn this unlimited spring of creation in any direction that we desire. The truth is that “good” is not a certain limited quantity. Instead, it is a stream continuously flowing from the inexhaustible Infinite. In addition, it is ready to take any direction we choose to give it. The meaning is that each of us is able, by the action of individual thought, to draw from the original inexhaustible source of Infinite Intelligence and do so indefinitely.

A common theme of New Thought authors like Hill is advocacy of the principle of life. The belief that life is ever for increase. Abundance is a natural birthright because that’s what aligns with the belief in a constant expansion of expression and experience. Hill points out that the world of perception is made of only two things. Energy and matter. We know that both can be converted but never destroyed. Therefore, since life is a form of energy, the only possible outcome is never-ending transformation along the lines of increase. The only thing that can interrupt attracting an endless flow of prosperity is a limiting mental state.
Your potential for individual achievement is only capped by your negative thoughts.
 

Napoleon Hill’s most powerful tool

Napoleon Hill advocates that anyone seeking success must be part of a Mastermind alliance. His hypothesis is that surrounding yourself with a Mastermind group to assist you in the achievement of your chief aim in life will generate benefits that can be attained no other way. This perception is championed repeatedly by Napoleon Hill. In both of his best-selling self-help books, Think and Grow Rich and The Law of Success, Hill devotes a full chapter to drive home that belief. This is not the only Napoleon Hill biography to conclude that one of Hill’s greatest contributions was his advocacy for joining a Mastermind alliance.

Here’s link to Jack Canfield’s authoritative blog on Why you Need a Mastermind Group.

The hidden message in the Mastermind group conception is that it is in harmony with the Law of Life. Namely, it will benefit and advance all members. Not the organizer alone. It postulates that when two or more minds come together in a spirit of perfect harmony for the achievement of a common aim there is a psychic power like a third mind that is generated. This mind is greater than the sum of its constituent members. Furthermore, and more significantly, participation in a Mastermind will enable you to receive guidance through the faculty of the sixth sense: intuition.
 

Join a Mastermind Today!

Napoleon Hill provides a strong case for joining a Mastermind. He pointed out that power is required for the accumulation and retention of prosperity. He defined power as, “organized and intelligently directed knowledge.” Hill went on to say that, “power 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, who work together toward a definite end, in a spirit of harmony.”

The benefits to you of joining the Wealth Creation Mastermind are tangible and intangible. Before engaging in any activity a wise question to ask is how connecting with any particular pursuit will serve you. Will the action move you closer to, or further from, achieving your chief aim in life? You have to know what is involved. What is the time commitment? Is there a cost? Additionally you need to assess where it will fit in your hierarchy of priorities. The definite objective of the Wealth Creation Mastermind is to be the vehicle for its members to master the creative method of thought. The purpose is to empower each member to be able to cause the things they think about to become manifest on the physical plane.

You are invited to join for free. There is also a no-obligation weekly Mastermind Webcast every Monday evening to help you learn more. To receive your invitation, simply fill out the form and become a member.

Next Post: Think and Grow Rich (Ch 15)

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Chris Pilgrim
Chris Pilgrim

Early in your blog the question is asked: “What is of greater importance, the merit of an idea, or the source of its inception?” I loved hearing the the less impressive side of Oliver Napoleon Hill as that once again proves that we are not defined by our past more so we have the opportunity to build the future we choose. Clearly it is the merit of an idea! Later in this blog you not only discuss the merits of joining a Mastermind but back it up with credible sources throughout recent and past history. Most people go through life… Read more »

Karen
Karen

So agree!

Stever (AKA Stephen Rousseau)

This little bio of Napoleon Hill points out the obvious evolution of Think and Grow Rich. A little digging found that his Law of Success was initially printed as 15 separate booklets in 1925 based on a series of lectures he had given over the previous 20 years. These were compiled and edited into the book published in 1928 after receiving feedback from the initial series. Another decade of refinement resulted in Think and Grow Rich in 1937. His “Overnight Success” only took 30 years. It shows how Mr. Hill practiced what he preached, learning and adapting as he progressed.… Read more »

Karen
Karen

Hahaha THINK indeed!

Karen
Karen

What stands out for me is that each of us, as humans, make mistakes. And yet we have successes too. Ultimately we hope that by the end of our lives we’ve done more good than not. From that perspective, Napoleon Hill did very well. Look at the positive impact of his thought on the world. Redemption.

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