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Think and Grow Rich: Chapter Wise Book Summary

Think and Grow Rich is a famous and best-selling book from Napoleon Hill. It is considered the ‘father’ of all personal development books by many and BusinessWeek Magazine ranked it the sixth best-selling paperback business book of all time.

Napoleon Hill was known for his principles to improving one’s life. When he received the assignment to interview Andrew Carnegie, one the richest and influential men at that time, Carnegie challenged Hill to interview other wealthy and successful people to discover a simple formula for success. And the result was this book, Think and Grow Rich.

Not only did this book become the best-seller in personal development books of all time, the book also went on to inspire many other successful people including Tony Robbins, John Maxwell, Brian Tracy, Bob Proctor, and many others, and is highly recommended by them.

There are 13 principles shared by Napoleon Hill in the book. And today, we will talk about the summary of these 13 principles from the book for those who do not have the time to go through the book but want to benefit from the amazing principles shared by Hill.

Chapter 1: The Power of Thought

In this first chapter, Hill demonstrates the power of your thought and how it has the power to shape your life. Hill writes that Edwin Barnes, a man who had an immense desire to partner and work with the famous inventor, Thomas Edison. Although Barnes did not know Edison in person and has no idea how he can partner with him, somehow, he kept a positive perspective on it. Of course, Barnes went through a lot of obstacles in his journey, but he never gave up. Eventually, he did manage to meet with Edison and became the major distributor of Edison’s dictating machine. Edwin Barnes became a rich man from his hard work and his labor paid off handsomely.

Besides Edwin Barnes, Hill also writes about Darby, the guy quit because he failed to mine gold. The story of Darby has become a famous inspirational story that often shared in the self-help industry. Darby quit his job and bought machinery to mine gold. After several unsuccessful attempts, he gave up and sold all his machinery to a man who collected junk. The man who bought the equipment from Darby then continued to dig the same place where Darby left off. And he found gold only after about 3 feet deeper into the ground.

A lot of people quit and give up the moment they face defeats and temporary failure. And through Darby’s story, Hill writes that one should be determined and tried harder, no matter how many times he or she experiences adversities.

Chapter 2: Desire

According to Napoleon Hill, desire is the starting point of all achievement. Anyone can achieve anything they want if they have a strong enough burning desire. And desire is not the same as a wish or a hope, it is definite and insatiable.

Hill writes, “The most practical of all methods for controlling the mind is the habit of keeping it busy with a definite purpose.” So what is a definite purpose? A definite purpose can be a goal or anything you desire to achieve with two distinctions. First, it should be one major definite purpose and not many. Second, it should be definite.

In the book, Hill shares a six-step method how anyone can achieve what they desire in life, such as to amass wealth.

First, he says, is to fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire to achieve. Second, determine exactly what you are willing to commit to receiving this amount of money. Next, specify an exact date by when you want to achieve it. Fourth, create a plan and take the first step immediately. And then describe your desire in a clear and concise sentence. Finally, read the state aloud twice daily.

These six steps are a part of the transformation of what you desire in your mind into the physical equivalent. It is the beginning of the key principle of the book, which is to tap into the power of your subconscious mind to accomplish what it is directed to do.

Chapter 3: Faith

In the third chapter, Hill writes about the important to have unshakable faith. He admits that it is difficult and challenging to be faithful when everything else around you is falling apart, but Hill states that faith is absolutely essential especially during tough times.

Hill suggests his readers build faith by spending 30 minutes on their thoughts every day to inch closer to success because the positive thoughts in your mind are extremely powerful and can influence you to move in the right direction even during tough times.

The author both the good and bad to the practice of visualization. When someone sees himself in a negative way and communicate negative beliefs to his subconscious mind, he will end up living a negative life. On the other hand, someone who is positive, always see himself as successful and visualize his desire being fulfilled, will eventually lead a success and wealthy life.

One of the famous quotes from Napoleon Hill is this, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Hill believes that if you want to achieve whatever you want in life, you must first see it in your mind and then absolutely believe in it. You need to have faith and to realize that you can do it. Whether you believe you can or you cannot, you are right.

Chapter 4: Autosuggestion

If you have followed the six-step method outlines by Hill in the previous chapter, you will have a statement and are working on a plan to achieve your desire. What you need to do next, according to Hill, is to train your subconscious mind to attain the success you want.

Auto-suggestion is a technique of teaching yourself to believe that you can achieve whatever you want. Hill writes that in order to do that, just sit in a peaceful and quiet area, and read your statement while visualizing and believing that you have already achieved your desire.

What you want to do is to condition your desire into your subconscious mind. And Hill writes that when you reach your own subconscious by channeling your thoughts, success will not be such an enigma anymore. Auto-suggestion will create an unfaltering faith in you that will steer you in the right direction that you want to travel.

Just like driving a car, you do not need to focus on doing it because you have trained your brain and body to act on it automatically, like your second nature. And when you have convinced yourself about the desire you want to achieve through auto-suggestion, you will work on the success you desire and gain desirable results effortlessly.

Chapter 5: Specialized Knowledge

In this chapter, Hill states that knowledge is power and if you want to achieve outstanding success, you must use your specialized knowledge. Hill gives the example to differentiate between education and knowledge. He writes that professors and teachers are highly knowledgeable, but some of them are struggling with their finances because they fail to organize their knowledge with practical plans. It is the application of the knowledge that is important. Knowledge itself is just a form of potential power.

And thus, Hill suggests readers to always seek knowledge through public libraries, training courses, universities, colleges, practical experiences, and often read books in the related industry to gain more specialized knowledge that will give you an edge. You do not necessarily need to have the specialized knowledge in your own head; you can rely on and make use of those who do.

Hill also says that education system may not be the best system because it does not share with students how they can organize and apply the information they have learned. If knowledge itself is power, then every teacher in the school will be the most successful people and are living wealthy right now. However, this is often not the case. It is the implementation of the ideas and knowledge that you have acquired that make the difference.

Chapter 6: Imagination

Many years ago, a clerk from a drug store used all of his life savings, about $500 to buy an old kettle, a wooden spoon and a secret formula from a doctor. It was a good deal for the doctor who wanted to retire, but little did the doctor know that it turned out to be a life-changing deal for the clerk, Asa Candler.

Asa Candler knew that he did not really purchase the kettle and the wooden spoon, but an idea. Candler then mixed the ingredient with the secret formula through his own imagination and created Coca-Cola. Candler aggressively marketed the new drink and became super successful with it. And Coca-Cola has created thousands of jobs and business opportunities to people all across the world, and it all starts with an idea.

Hill says that imagination is one the most important steps to success that everyone must use. And he explains that there are two types of imagination, one is the synthetic imagination, which simple rearrange the existing ideas into new concepts. And another type of imagination is the creative imagination, which creates something from nothing.

Most people thought that richest come from hard work, which according to Hill, is only partially true. Hill writes that riches come “in response to definite demands, based upon the application of definite principles… when a creator of ideas and a seller of ideas got together and worked in harmony.” The ideas that come from imagination are the forces that cause things to come into reality. And so you must add imagination to your specialized knowledge to grow rich.

Chapter 7: Organized Planning

In the previous chapter, Hill already touches about the importance of organized information to gain riches. And in this chapter, Hill discusses how one can achieve extraordinary success through organized planning. He shares with the readers a couple of steps that can be taken to construct a practical plan to accomplish what people desire.

First, Hill says, you must associate yourself with other people to create a direction and put your plan into action. And he calls this group of people, the ‘mastermind’, which he also dedicates a whole chapter to this subject. And before you form alliances with this group of people, you need to determine what you can offer them in return for their help and cooperation. Besides that, you must make sure you meet with your mastermind group at least twice every week to perfect your plan and strategize your action. And make sure to always maintain harmony with your group to achieve better results.

Hill also says that the process of planning must be continuous and persistent. Even when you face difficulties and failures, never give up and continue to work on your idea and tweak your plans.

Hill dedicates a lot to this chapter. He even lists the 11 qualities of a leader and his 10 major causes of a leadership failure. He also writes the 30 causes of failure in life and the 28 questions you should ask yourself annually to gauge your progress.

Chapter 8: Decision

According to Napoleon Hill, one of the most common reasons people fail is because of procrastination. He says that it is important to avoid procrastination and take immediate action. Most people will wait and refuse to do things immediately, which causes them to lose motivation and eventually, fail in their venture.

Hill gives the example of Henry Ford, who was known to make quick decisions and once he made those decisions, he changed them very slowly and deliberately. Ford was famous as an obstinate person who created the ‘Model T’, where a lot of customers and advisors said that the car was ugly, but Ford did not sway from his decision. And of course, Ford’s persistence paid off handsomely and making Ford one of the largest mass car producers in the world.

The ability to decide quickly with determination comes from having a definite purpose and understanding exactly what you want. And this ability defines leaders. As Hill writes, “The world has the habit of making room for the man whose words and actions show that he knows where he is going.”

Apart from that, Hill also says that if you are easily influenced by others and take a long time to make a decision because you need to listen to advice from others, you will rarely succeed. This is because it means that you do not have a strong burning desire for what you want. You must use your own brain, thoughts, body, and soul to make your decisions and stand by them.

Chapter 9: Persistence

Persistence is an extremely important factor that will determine your success and riches in life. Hill says that it is an important habit or practice you need to develop to build faith and succeed in your endeavors. There are a couple of examples given by Hill to show their will and determination in handling difficult moments. One is none other than Thomas Edison, the famous inventor who invented light-bulb.

Hill says that Thomas Edison failed more than 10,000 times in his attempts, but Edison continues to persist and work on his experiment despite all the failures. Most people will quit after failing a few times, let alone 10,000 times like Edison. And this is exactly why most people fail to amass wealth or success in life. They simply jump to conclusion that things will not work out and they give up way too soon. Remember the story of Darby? He was just 3 feet away from striking gold, but he quit way too soon.

Persistence is a state of mind that can be cultivated by having the definiteness of purpose, self-reliance, desire, accurate knowledge, willpower, definiteness of plans, and also a habit.

Chapter 10: Power of the Mastermind

Hill writes that mastermind is perhaps the most important principles to success. As what he already explains in the earlier chapter, you need to leverage both the economic and “psychic” features of having such a group of individuals to support you in your journey.

In a simple term, the combination of experience and brainpower has a serious economic advantage. For instance, when you are surrounded by like-minded people who are always striving for higher success and better results, you will think the same and act the same. You will then be influenced by the people around you and become like them. On the other hand, when you surround yourself with lazy and negative people, you will follow the same pattern and become lazy and negative.

A mastermind group is a group of like-minded people who meet regularly to push themselves toward their goals, hold each other accountable, and tackle challenges and solve problems together. Andrew Carnegie, the industrialist who encouraged Hill to write this book, had his own mastermind group. The same goes for Henry Ford. Ford builds a group and meets regularly with Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and other brilliant minds in a group they held at their winter mansions in Florida.

Napoleon Hill is the person who popularized the concept of the mastermind. He believes that one cannot be successful without the help of others. And he refers to help, he is not referring to any help, but specific help from other successful people who can support and grow you to greater heights.

Chapter 11: The Mystery of Sex Transmutation

Hill describes the power of sex transmutation in this chapter. He says that sexual urge is a very powerful force and oftentimes, men lose their focus and risk their lives, career and also money to quench their desires. And if this sexual energy can be transformed into a creative energy, it has tremendous power and ability to help boost your willpower.

What Hill is trying to say is that sexual desires are insatiable and they can be converted into something that is very productive. As he writes it, “When driven by this desire, men develop keenness of imagination, courage, will-power, persistence, and creative ability unknown to them at other times.”

This chapter may sound awkward, but the concept and idea that Hill trying to share is quite simple. He wants his readers to understand that sexual desire is one of the strongest human desires, and if this willpower can be channeled into your productive and creative faculty, it can be life-changing.

Chapter 12: The Subconscious Mind

This book is all about harnessing the power of your subconscious mind. And though Hill has covered some of the most important ideas and the concept of your subconscious mind works in the earlier chapter, Hill dedicates a full chapter to remind his readers about the importance of understanding and connecting their subconscious mind with richest and success.

According to Hill, we can voluntarily plant any idea we desire in our subconscious mind to use its power to achieve what we want in life. Of course, it is not really possible that we can control everything in our subconscious mind, but it is possible to achieve what you want when you believe in it.

Our subconscious mind works 24/7, even when we are sleeping our subconscious mind does not. Therefore, our habits, desires, and actions are a large part of our subconscious conditioning. And if you can condition the success and richness you want into your subconscious, you develop creativity, faith, beliefs, and actions that will automatically bring you the results you want.

One good way to condition your desire to your subconscious is through meditation and visualization. Quiet your mind through meditation, and then consciously visualize what you want to instill the pictures of your desire into your subconscious mind.

Chapter 13: The Brain

Napoleon Hill explains that our brain is a remarkable machine and it works just like a broadcasting and receiving station for thoughts. With more than 14 million nerve cells, the brain works like a factor that guides and controls our day-to-day life. He also says that thoughts are things and the greater the vibration our brain receives, the higher the chances we can achieve our goals.

This is why a mastermind group works. Your mind is a broadcasting and receiving station, when you talk with others and join them regularly, their thoughts will influence you and think like they do. This is what often calls “Like attracts like”, just like the concept of “Yin and Yang” too.

Plus, the vibrations in your brain can be increased through emotions. When people are emotionally attracted to what they desire in life, they tend to work more tirelessly and seem to have the energy to the breakthrough difficult situation and produce success more easily. This is what Hill means when he says to have a “burning” desire. He means a strong and emotional desire that will help you breakthrough all the failures, rejections and setbacks in your journey.

Chapter 14: The Sixth Sense

Some people refer sixth sense to their gut feeling or intuition, and Hill says that it is crucial to believe and tap into one’s sixth sense when it comes to making a decision and accumulates wealth.

Hill defines sixth sense as “that portion of the subconscious mind which has been referred to as the Creative Imagination,” through which “you will be warned of impending dangers in time to avoid them, and notified of opportunities in time to embrace them.”

Hill continues to say that it is not possible to explain how the sixth sense works, but it can only be understood once you have experienced it. This is why some successful people have the hunches or inner feelings that guide them and tell them what to do. They follow their instinct, and most of the time, their instinct will lead them somewhere better.

In this book, Hill writes that sixth sense has the ability to access our infinite intelligence, and it can provide a combination of spiritual and mental thoughts that guide and connect you with the Universal Mind. Sometimes, people do things out of their gut feeling, and as it turns out, they are right.

Napoleon Hill declares that he does not believe in miracles, but somehow, there seems to be a higher power that can transform things beyond our wildest imagination.

Chapter 15: How to Outwit the Six Ghosts of Fear

In this chapter, Hill addresses that there are six fears that stop us in life. They are poverty, old age, criticism, illness, love, and death. And because faith cannot co-exist with fear, you must learn to master your fear in order to grow your faith and to achieve the success you want in life. When you are fearful, you will never have faith, and when you are faithful, you will never be fearful.

For example, most people are afraid of losing their money especially during tough times like a recession. And they allow the fear of poverty stops them from moving forward. Some people are afraid to venture into a business because they are afraid of their age or criticism from others if they fail. These fears will limit your potential and spread doubt, indecision, and procrastination in your life.

And Hill writes that fear is a state of mind, and because you can control your state of mind, you can overcome your fears. Therefore, choose to exercise your willpower to banish your fear, your worry, your doubts, and the negative thinking in your head.

Chapter 16: The Devil’s Workshop

This is the final chapter in Think and Grow Rich. And in this section, Hill talks about another important factor that may prevent you from getting what you want and becoming rich. Hill states that this evil is even stronger and dangerous than the previous six fears that you have learned from the last chapter.

According to Hill, this evil is your susceptibility to negative influences. And if you did not take immediate action to analyze yourself to figure out if you are under negative influences, it will grow so strong that becomes very difficult to eliminate.

In order to get rid of this dangerous evil, Hill suggests his readers to first understand that human beings are lazy and indifferent by nature. People are easily influenced by negativity around them and the destructive thoughts will ruin their future if they are not aware of it. So once you understood this, you can set up habits and protective bunkers to prevent yourself from being influenced and attack by the negativity around you.

For instance, if you discover that you are easily swayed and influenced by negative people around you, you can either build a “wall” to block your mind against such influences or better yet, stay away from the negative people.

On the contrary, create your own mastermind group and always surround yourself with people who will inspire and uplift you. Get along with people who have the ability to support your dreams and put a positive influence on you.

Napoleon Hill believes that success is possible and anyone can achieve what they desire as long as they learn to overcome their fears and make good use of their mind.


Think and Grow Rich is a book written based on over 500 interviews of the greatest men in the early 20th century, including Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, John Rockefeller, Alexander Graham Bell, and more. The author, Napoleon Hill has compiled all the wisdom from these remarkable people into the book and there are 13 main principles of how one can change his thinking and become rich.

This book is about how one can change their lives and achieve the success they desire through the changing of their thoughts. It shows you how you must think to become money conscious and how developing the right mindset is the starting and ending point for all riches.

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