"Hold a picture of yourself long and steadily enough in your mind's eye, and you will be drawn toward it." -- Napoleon Hill
Napoleon Hill (October 26, 1883 — November 8, 1970) was an American author who was one of the earliest producers of the modern genre of personal-success literature. He is widely considered to be one of the great writers on success. His most famous work, Think and Grow Rich, is one of the best-selling books of all time. Hill's works examined the power of personal beliefs, and the role they play in personal success. He became the advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933-36. "What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve" is one of Hill's hallmark expressions. How achievement actually occurs, and a formula for it that puts success in reach for the average person, were the focal points of Hill's books.
"A goal is a dream with a deadline.""Action is the real measure of intelligence.""All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.""All the breaks you need in life wait within your imagination, Imagination is the workshop of your mind, capable of turning mind energy into accomplishment and wealth.""Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.""Before success comes in any man's life, he's sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps some failures. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and the most logical thing to do is to quit. That's exactly what the majority of men do.""Big pay and little responsibility are circumstances seldom found together.""Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.""Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you ready or not, to put this plan into action.""Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.""Don't wait. The time will never be just right.""Edison failed 10, 000 times before he made the electric light. Do not be discouraged if you fail a few times.""Education comes from within; you get it by struggle and effort and thought.""Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.""Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.""Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to cut all sources of retreat. Only by doing so can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win - essential to success.""Everyone enjoys doing the kind of work for which he is best suited.""Fears are nothing more than a state of mind.""First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.""Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.""Happiness is found in doing, not merely possessing.""Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes.""If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.""If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.""If you must speak ill of another, do not speak it, write it in the sand near the water's edge.""It has always been my belief that a man should do his best, regardless of how much he receives for his services, or the number of people he may be serving or the class of people served.""It is always your next move.""It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.""It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project.""Just as our eyes need light in order to see, our minds need ideas in order to conceive.""Man, alone, has the power to transform his thoughts into physical reality; man, alone, can dream and make his dreams come true.""Money without brains is always dangerous.""More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has been taken from the earth.""Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.""Nature cannot be tricked or cheated. She will give up to you the object of your struggles only after you have paid her price.""No accurate thinker will judge another person by that which the other person's enemies say about him.""No man can succeed in a line of endeavor which he does not like.""No man ever achieved worth-while success who did not, at one time or other, find himself with at least one foot hanging well over the brink of failure.""No man is ever whipped until he quits in his own mind.""One must marry one's feelings to one's beliefs and ideas. That is probably the only way to achieve a measure of harmony in one's life.""Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.""Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.""Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel.""Procrastination is the bad habit of putting of until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.""Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire.""Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.""Success in its highest and noblest form calls for peace of mind and enjoyment and happiness which come only to the man who has found the work that he likes best.""The battle is all over except the "shouting" when one knows what is wanted and has made up his mind to get it, whatever the price may be.""The best way to sell yourself to others is first to sell the others to yourself.""The ladder of success is never crowded at the top.""The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.""The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does.""The most interesting thing about a postage stamp is the persistence with which it sticks to its job.""The starting point of all achievement is desire.""The way to develop decisiveness is to start right where you are, with the very next question you face.""The world has the habit of making room for the man whose actions show that he knows where he is going.""There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge.""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.""Think and grow rich.""Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.""Understand this law and you will then know, beyond room for the slightest doubt, that you are constantly punishing yourself for every wrong you commit and rewarding yourself for every act of constructive conduct in which you indulge.""Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting.""War grows out of the desire of the individual to gain advantage at the expense of his fellow man.""We begin to see, therefore, the importance of selecting our environment with the greatest of care, because environment is the mental feeding ground out of which the food that goes into our minds is extracted.""When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.""When your desires are strong enough you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve.""Wise men, when in doubt whether to speak or to keep quiet, give themselves the benefit of the doubt, and remain silent.""You can start right where you stand and apply the habit of going the extra mile by rendering more service and better service than you are now being paid for.""You give before you get.""You might well remember that nothing can bring you success but yourself.""Your ability to use the principle of autosuggestion will depend, very largely, upon your capacity to concentrate upon a given desire until that desire becomes a burning obsession.""Your big opportunity may be right where you are now."
According to his official biographer, Tom Butler-Bowdon, Napoleon Hill was born in a one-room cabin in the Appalachian town of Pound in Southwest Virginia. Hill's mother died when he was ten years old, and his father remarried two years later. At the age of 13, Hill began writing as a "mountain reporter" for small-town newspapers in the area of Wise County, Virginia. He later used his earnings as a reporter to enter law school, but soon he had to withdraw for financial reasons.
Influence of Andrew Carnegie
Hill considered the turning point in his life to have occurred in the year 1908 with his assignment, as part of a series of articles about famous and successful men, to interview the industrialist Andrew Carnegie. At the time, Carnegie was one of the most powerful men in the world. Hill discovered that Carnegie believed that the process of success could be outlined in a simple formula that anyone would be able to understand and achieve. Impressed with Hill, Carnegie asked him if he was up to the task of putting together this information, to interview or analyze over 500 successful men and women, many of them millionaires, in order to discover and publish this formula for success.
As part of his research, Hill interviewed many of the most famous people of the time, including Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, George Eastman, Henry Ford, Elmer Gates, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Charles M. Schwab, F.W. Woolworth, William Wrigley Jr., John Wanamaker, William Jennings Bryan, Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft and Jennings Randolph. Hill was also an advisor to two presidents of the United States of America, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The Philosophy of Achievement
As a result of Hill's studies via Carnegie's introductions, the Philosophy of Achievement was offered as a formula for rags-to-riches success by Hill and Carnegie, published initially in 1928 as a study course called The Law of Success. The Achievement formula was detailed further and published in home-study courses, including the seventeen-volume "Mental Dynamite" series until 1941.
Hill later called his personal success teachings "The Philosophy of Achievement", and he considered freedom, democracy, capitalism, and harmony to be important contributing elements to this philosophy. Hill claimed throughout his writings that without these foundations upon which to build, successful personal achievements are not possible. He contrasted his philosophy with others and thought that the Achievement Philosophy was superior. He felt that it was responsible for the success Americans enjoyed for the better part of two centuries. Negative emotions such as fear, selfishness and others, had no part to play in his philosophy. Hill considered those emotions to be the source of failure for unsuccessful people.
The secret of achievement was tantalizingly offered to readers of Think and Grow Rich, but it was never explicitly identified. Hill felt discovering it for themselves would provide readers with the most benefit. He presented the idea of a "Definite Major Purpose" as a challenge to his readers in order to make them ask themselves, "In what do I truly believe?" According to Hill, 98% of people had few or no firm beliefs, and this alone put true success firmly out of their reach.
One of Hill's most moving stories was about his own son, Blair. He tells how his son was an inspiration to him, because although Blair was born without ears, without any normal hearing organs at all, even though his doctor told Hill that his son would probably never be able to hear nor speak, Blair grew up to be able to hear and speak almost normally. Hill tells how his son, in his last year of college, picked up the manuscript of chapter two of Think and Grow Rich, discovered Hill's secret for himself and went on to be an inspiration for hundreds and thousands of people who could not hear nor speak.
Think and Grow Rich remains the top best-seller of Napoleon Hill's books - a perennial best-seller after 70 years (BusinessWeek Magazine's Best-Seller List ranked Think and Grow Rich as the sixth best-selling paperback business book 70 years after it was first published). Think and Grow Rich is listed in John C. Maxwell's A Lifetime "Must Read" Books List.
Hill's numerous books have sold millions of copies, proving that the secret of Achievement is still highly sought-after by modern Americans. Hill dealt with many controversial subjects through his writings including racism, slavery, oppression, failure, revolution, war and poverty. Persevering and then succeeding in spite of these obstacles using the Philosophy of Achievement, Hill stated, was the responsibility of every American.
Today's philosophy-of-success teachers still use the research formulas taught by Hill to expand their students' knowledge of personal development.
Writings and other works
Hill's Golden Rule magazine, publisher and editor (1919—1920)The Law of Success (1925)The Magic Ladder to Success (1930)unpaid advisor to U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt (1933—1936)Think and Grow Rich - still in print in several versions, and has sold more than 30 million copies (1937).How to Sell Your Way through Life (1939)How to Raise Your Own Salary (1953)
taught ''Philosophy of Personal Achievement'' with [[W. Clement Stone]] and lectured on the ''Science of Success'' (1952—1962)
Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude (1960)
abridged version of ''Think and Grow Rich'' (1960)
You Can Work Your Own Miracles, was published posthumously (1971) following Napoleon Hill's death in 1970 at age 87 in South CarolinaThink and Grow Rich!: The Original Version, Restored and Revised (2004, published by Ross Cornwell)