The other day, I bumped into an old piece of vinyl in my collection. Truthfully, I bought it just for the artwork. The title seemed funny. The artwork looked old school and austere. Anyway, after several years, I gave it a whirl. My, what a beautiful rabbit hole I discovered by accident.
Instead of some hokey self help manual, I spent the next hour listening to very different approach of accumulating wealth. The striking thought is that this book was published in 1937 during the Great Depression. This guy called Napoleon Hill, who was born into poverty, turned this book into his life project.
Back in 1908, Napoleon had to write some article for a magazine on success. This interview would soon be a game-changer for Napoleon. His subject was 73 year old Andrew Carnegie, one of the most richest men in America… but above all, he was a badass philanthropist. The two men bonded, and Carnegie commissioned Napoleon to write a book on the “philosophy of achievement” (isn’t that an awesome term?). He would never be the same again.
The plan was simple, interview 500 extremely wealthy people… and find a formula for the regular guy to understand. Who did he talk to?
• Henry Ford (Ford Motor Company)
• William Wrigley Jr (Chewing gum industrialist)
• John Wanamaker (considered the father of modern advertising)
• George Eastman (founder of Kodak, roll film, and seeds of motion picture film)
• Theodore Roosevelt
• Charles M. Schwab
• John D. Rockefeller
• Thomas A. Edison
• F.W. Woolworth
• Woodrow Wilson
• Dr. Alexander Graham Bell (inventor of the phone)
There were several others he interviewed also. As you can see, lots of scientists, visionaries, and inventors here. It took 20 years to capture these interviews. Napoleon began publishing his findings, one book in 1928, the other in 1930. But it would be Think & Grow Rich that would be his grand finale, his magnum opus — he turned 53 years old when the book was finally published in 1937.
Now back to the dusty record spinning on my turntable. Wow. There is something wise about this book. It’s not just about making money. It’s also about respect, love, dreams, and other things in context with accumulating money. There’s even a chapter about “finding a good woman”. Of course this was written in a time where the book spoke to men only. But I sorta like that. It feels like a secret mens club… but the type of men who were the biggest visionaries. Even Mahatma Gandhi endorsed this book which was distributed heavily through India. I think I’ve said enough. The information in these pages are timeless — regardless if its the industrial revolution or the internet revolution.
The Chapters are as follows:
Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – Desire: The Starting Point of All Achievement
Chapter 3 – Faith: Visualization of, and Belief in Attainment of Desire
Chapter 4 – Auto-Suggestion: The Medium for Influencing the Subconscious Mind
Chapter 5 – Specialized Knowledge: Personal Experiences or Observations
Chapter 6 – Imagination: The Workshop of the Mind
Chapter 7 – Organized Planning: The Crystallization of Desire into Action
Chapter 8 – Decision: The Mastery of Procrastination
Chapter 9 – Persistence: The Sustained Effort Necessary to Induce Faith
Chapter 10 – Power of the Master Mind: The Driving Force
Chapter 11 – The Mystery of Sex Transmutation
Chapter 12 – The Subconscious Mind: The Connecting Link
Chapter 13 – The Brain: A Broadcasting and Receiving Station for Thought
Chapter 14 – The Sixth Sense: The Door to the Temple of Wisdom
Chapter 15 – How to Outwit the Six Ghosts of Fear
The book is currently found on iTunes (although it sounds better on vinyl with all the snap, crackle, pops…. makes you feel like you are transported into an aged library with an old friend).