Summary: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
think and grow rich summary napoleon hill

Summary: Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

"When you begin to think and grow rich, you will observe that riches begin with a state of mind, with definiteness of purpose, with little or no hard work. You, and every other person, ought to be interested in knowing how to acquire that state of mind which will attract riches… Observe very closely, as soon as you master the principles of this philosophy, and begin to follow the instructions for applying those principles, your financial status will begin to improve, and everything you touch will begin to transmute itself into an asset for your benefit. Impossible? Not at all!”
Success comes to those who become success conscious. Failure comes to those who indifferently allow themselves to become failure conscious.
The object of this book is to help all who seek it learn the art of changing their minds from failure consciousness to success consciousness.
…that before we can accumulate riches in great abundance, we must magnetize our minds with intense desire for riches, that we must become ‘money conscious’ until the desire for money drives us to create definite plans for acquiring it."

- Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Think & Grow Rich is probably THE #1 most famous success book of all time. It was written by Napoleon Hill in 1937 and has sold over 15 million copies.

The premise of the book is simple:

Riches begin with a state of mind. If we want to get rich, we must first change our minds so that we become, as Napoleon Hill calls it, money conscious. He says that we must literally THINK ourselves rich. The term riches by the way could mean any form of wealth like money, happiness, healthy relationships, business success etc..

This book offers the How-To of the aforementioned concept. It shows us how we must think to become money conscious. It shows us how to think ourselves rich, how to control our minds and our thoughts so that we can become rich.


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Thoughts Become Things

Throughout this philosophy will be found the suggestion that thought, backed by strong desire, has a tendency to transmute itself into its physical equivalent.
The meaning of the word ‘transmute’ is, in simple language, ‘the changing or transferring of one element, or form of energy, into another’.
This book has been confined, exclusively, to instructing the reader how to transmute the definite purpose of desire for money into its monetary equivalent.

Napoleon Hill tells us that thoughts can be transmuted into physical reality. What first only happens in our minds, can one day become real in the physical world.

If we think in our mind that we will become a millionaire, this thought, in this moment, doesn’t equal our physical reality. At least not mine. I am not a millionaire in this moment. (Not yet!) However, through the use of this book, we can transmute that thought into reality and actually become a real millionaire.

This transmutation from thoughts (abstract, only in mind) into reality (concrete, physical) can be achieved through the use of Napoleon Hill’s advice in this book.

Napoleon Hill is not the only one telling us that thoughts become things. Pretty much all of the great teachers emphasize that.

Our life is what our thoughts make it. – James Allen

Thoughts become things. If you see it in your mind, you will hold it in your hand. – Bob Proctor

A good example for the power of thoughts is the placebo effect. If you are ill and take real medication (e.g. pills with actual painkillers), then of course you will get better. That’s to be expected, right? Yet, if you’re ill and get pseudo medication (e.g. pills with sugar and water), you will also get better. Why is that? It’s because you THINK you got real medication. You THINK that this medication will help you and because you THINK that, it’s what actually happens.

If we THINK we will get better, then we will get better (even if all we do is swallow sugar pills).

Keeping this constantly in mind is really important, because if thoughts become things, if thoughts become our reality, then we should start paying much more attention to what we’re thinking all the time.

If we think “failure”, then failure will be transmuted into reality. If we think “success”, then success will be transmuted into reality.

This concept is the cornerstone of Napoleon Hill’s philosophy. If we truly want to think and grow rich, we must start to take control over our thoughts, or in other words over our mind. I can’t emphasize this enough. We must TAKE CONTROL over our own minds. Let’s learn how to do that now...

We MUST Take Control Over Our Thoughts

You have ABSOLUTE CONTROL over but one thing, and that is your thoughts. This is the most significant and inspiring of all facts known to man! It reflects man’s Divine nature. This Divine prerogative is the sole means by which you may control your own destiny. If you fail to control your own mind, you may be sure you will control nothing else.
Study the record of any man who achieves noteworthy success, and you will observe that he has control over his own mind, moreover, that he exercises that control and directs it toward the attainment of definite objectives. Without this control, success is not possible.

This doesn’t come as a surprise… if thoughts become things, then we MUST take control over our thoughts. Otherwise we can never control or even influence what’s going to happen in our lives. And I don’t know about you, but I really want to control my life as much as possible. I want to live a great fcking life. And you do, too, right?

So, if that’s the case, we must start to control our thoughts.

Napoleon Hill goes as far to say that we can never be successful if we don’t control our thoughts.

On the flipside, he also tells us that we can absolutely and 100% control our own destiny, if we DO control our thoughts. I can’t stress this enough… taking control over our thoughts is what this book is all about. Because if we can do that, we can create the necessary money consciousness to attract all kinds of riches into our lives.

Right now you may be thinking, “Okay, I get it. Thoughts become things and therefore I must control my thoughts to create the things that I want in my life… yet, HOW can I do this? HOW can I control my thoughts?”

Don’t worry, this is what this book is here to teach us. Now that we know how important our thinking is, it’s time to play… it’s time for some practical steps.

Have a Burning Desire to Accomplish ONE MAJOR DEFINITE PURPOSE

The most practical of all methods for controlling the mind is the habit of keeping it busy with a definite purpose.
Have a burning desire to accomplish one major definite purpose.

There we have it: the most practical method for controlling the mind is to keep it busy with a definite purpose. In other words, we need a definite goal. PLUS we need a second thing, and that is a burning desire to accomplish that definite purpose. This is important. According to Hill, we need these two things:

  • A major definite purpose.
  • A BURNING DESIRE to achieve that major definite purpose.

Let’s start with having a closer look at the major definite purpose. (You’ll learn about desire in the next point)

So, what exactly is a major definite purpose?

It’s quite simply a goal that you want to achieve. It could be losing weight, gaining muscles, getting rich, getting a promotion at work, finding your soulmate, becoming a movie star, becoming a fitness model, becoming a monk, getting a new car… could be anything that you want … what’s crucial is this:

  • It should be ONE major definite purpose/goal
  • It should be definite

These two factors are very important.

First, Napoleon Hill is always referring to ONE major definite purpose. Not two… not three… not twenty… just ONE major definite purpose. Solely ONE THING that you want to accomplish.

In my opinion the reason for this is obvious. If we focus on achieving ONE PURPOSE, then the chances of actually achieving it are pretty big. There are not 10, 20 or 30 things to do anymore… there’s just one. This means we can 100% focus on achieving that goal. We can use all of our energy, time, thinking power etc… on the accomplishment of that one goal or purpose.

Think about it this way. If you have person A and person B who are both trying to achieve the same goal of getting a promotion at work. For person A it’s the only goal he has, but person B has four other things he’s trying to accomplish. Person A is completely focused on getting promoted so he works longer hours than person B. Person B can’t work longer, because he also has to work on achieving his other goals. Person A is the first to arrive at work and the last to leave. He takes a lot of responsibility and reads books about how to get better at his job and books on how to get a promotion. Person B on the other hand reads books about his other goals and while Person A is working on getting promoted, person B is working on achieving other things.

In that scenario it’s pretty obvious that person A will get the promotion, and achieve his goal. It’s only fair too, because he invested much more time and energy than person B. All person A was focusing on was the promotion at work, while person B’s focus was scattered on many other things.

Here’s another example. Again, person A and person B both want to achieve the same goal. They want to win a prize for building the biggest hill of sand on the beach. For person A it’s the only goal, but person B simultaneously also wants to dig the biggest hole on the beach. Who do you think will win the prize for the biggest hill?!

Again, it’s probably going to be person A because she can completely focus on doing that. She doesn’t get distracted with anything else and can completely concentrate all of her efforts on achieving her one goal of building the biggest hill of sand.

My point is that if we focus on achieving only one thing, our odds of achieving it are greatly enhanced.

Today’s society is full of distractions and it’s already hard enough to stay focused on the achievement of one goal. Once we have too many goals, it’s almost impossible to find the motivation and discipline to stay focused on all of them. It’s much easier if we just focus on one thing and one thing only.

Success demands singleness of purpose. You need to be doing fewer things for more effect instead of doing more things with side effects. – Gary Keller

(By the way, a great example for singleness of purpose are athletes. For them their purpose is their respective sport, and it’s all they focus on during their active careers.)

So that’s the first point I wanted to make about major definite purposes: Napoleon Hill wants us to focus on ONE goal/purpose at a time.

The second important factor is that your goal or purpose should be definite.

That means that we must clearly define what exactly we want. We must be definite. It’s not enough to say that we want to “lose weight”. We must clearly define how much weight we want to lose, by when we want to have lost it, and what kind of weight we want to lose (we probably want to lose fat and keep the muscles, right?).

If we want to earn more money, we must clearly define how much money. Monthly salary? How much? By when? Passive income? How much? By when? Money on our savings account? How much? By when?

If we want a new car, we must clearly define what kind of car. Red? Blue? Mercedes? Toyota? Big? Small? Sports car? Limousine? How many seats? By when do we want it?

Our goal must be DEFINITE, so that the subconscious mind, the universe, God or whatever higher force there is, knows exactly how to help us. This may sound silly, yet it’s exactly how it works.

Let’s say you want to buy 4 roses, but tell the flower seller that you want “some flowers”. How big are the chances that you will actually get exactly 4 roses? It’s almost impossible, isn’t it? How on earth should she know that you want 4 roses if you don’t tell her specifically?

And it’s exactly the same with the universe/subconscious mind/God/whatever. What the fck should a “better job” be? It could be anything! So we have to get specific on what we want for our major goal. In Napoleon Hill’s words, we must have a major definite purpose.

So that’s basically the two things on which Napoleon Hill focuses on when it comes to our purpose/goals:

  • Focus on ONE goal at a time
  • Make your goal DEFINITE

That’s what Napoleon Hill constantly repeats like a mad man throughout the book. That we should always focus on achieving ONE MAJOR DEFINITE PURPOSE.

We must direct all of our energy, time, and resources on that ONE THING.

Most importantly, as you’ll learn later in this summary, we should also direct all of our thinking towards that one major definite purpose.

That goal, our major definite purpose should make up the dominating thoughts of our minds. It should become an all-consuming obsession until we achieve it. It should be constantly on our minds. It should almost be all that we think about.

Achieving that major purpose is the most important thing in our life.

And the way we turn that major purpose into an all-consuming obsession is through the help of desire, which we’ll talk about right now in the next point.

Note*: Unfortunately, Napoleon Hill doesn’t describe how we can figure out our major definite purpose. If you’re not sure about that yet, then the goal-setting guide that you got as a bonus with your purchase, should be of help.

A BURNING DESIRE Is The Starting Point of All Achievement

Desire is the starting point of all achievement.
I wish to covey the thought that all achievement, no matter what may be its true nature or its purpose, must begin with an intense, BURNING DESIRE for something definite.
I had learned, from years of experience with men, that when a man really desires a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it, he is sure to win.

A BURNING DESIRE to accomplish one major definite purpose is Napoleon Hill’s official first step to riches, and in my opinion by far the most important. (You already know what a major definite purpose is, so now let’s look at why it’s so important to have a HUGE desire to accomplish that.)

Why is desire the most important step?

Because if we really, really, really want something, then we’re very likely to find a way to do it. If our desire is big enough, if it’s really a BURNING desire to achieve something, then we will do almost anything to achieve it. We will automatically feel motivated all the time, we will put in the hard work, and we will do what’s necessary to achieve that burning desire. Accomplishing that desire is what’s constantly on our minds. It becomes a burning obsession. We just MUST accomplish it. It’s all we can think of.

Think about it. Have you ever wanted to lose some weight or gain some muscle mass for example? Chances are you have. Most of us have. So, in the beginning you were probably very motivated. For a few weeks you were exercising regularly and eating healthy… but then all of a sudden that early motivation was gone and you just stopped. You went from truly wanting and desiring it to “just kind of” wanting it. Maybe you’re still eating fairly healthy and are exercising a bit here and there, but you lack the necessary drive or discipline to really do what it takes to lose that weight or gain those muscles.

This has happened to me many times. The problem is that the desire is or was simply not big enough. Yes, we probably all do want to have a better body, but for most of us it’s not something that we want bad enough.

On the other hand, take for example a bodybuilder. For him, building a superior physique is a HUGE DESIRE. It’s very likely THE most important thing in his life. He will do everything to pack on some more muscles and get rid of those last pounds of fat. Improving his body is constantly on his mind. He thinks about it first thing after waking up and last thing before he drifts off to sleep. It’s his #1 thing. It’s his obsession, his burning desire.

Many people often say things like: “If I really wanted it… I could do it.” And they’re right!

Think about it… if you really wanted to have a perfect body. If it was an obsession for you. If it's all you thought about all day long… do you think you could do it? Of course you could! It’s not so fcking complicated. Eat healthy, exercise and be persistent. If your body is all you focus on, it’s not that hard to achieve a better body or the kind of body that you desire.

Again, the problem for most of the people is a lack of motivation. And a lack of motivation always stems from a lack of desire. If we’re not motivated, we don’t want it bad enough. This is HUGELY IMPORTANT. If we truly desire something, then we will do what it takes!

Napoleon Hill says that big desires bring about big results. Weak desires bring weak results.

The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat. If you find yourself lacking persistence, this weakness may be remedied by building a stronger fire under your desires.

Do we really want something? We will do what it takes.

Do we kind of want something? We will give up at the first sight of defeat.

That’s the difference! That’s why a burning desire is so important!

Good examples for people with a burning desire are great athletes. The Roger Federers, Lionel Messis, Kobe Bryants of this world. For them, being the best at what they do is a HUGE desire. They all started with their sports at a very early age and never changed course. They will do all it takes to become the best at their craft. They work longer and harder than everybody else. They make huge sacrifices. They do everything it takes to achieve their dreams. And the reason why they can do this is because their desire is big enough. It’s a truly burning desire. And that desire is what they are constantly thinking about. It’s what makes up their dominating thoughts. It’s their all-consuming obsession.

For me, this realization was groundbreaking.

Whenever I set myself a goal in the past that I didn’t achieve, I now realize that the desire was simply not big enough. The desire to achieve that goal was not enough. It wasn’t a BURNING desire. It wasn’t an obsession. It wasn’t something I focused on enough. It wasn’t something I thought about all the time.

Here are the two things that define what a burning desire should look or feel like:

1. The burning desire makes up the dominating thoughts of our mind. We constantly think about it all day long. It’s what’s on our minds 24/7 from the minute we wake up to the moment we fall asleep. We possibly even dream about it in the night. And because we keep our desire constantly in mind, it will become a burning obsession. That’s a GREAT thing! That’s what’s necessary! That’s what separates us from the rest. That’s that guarantees that we will do all it takes.

2. The burning desire ensures that we will do whatever it takes to achieve what we desire. We will work hard, make sacrifices, be disciplined, and persistent. We will do almost anything.


It’s the most important step to achieving any goal that you have in life.

Okay, so we got that. Now it’s time for a quick recap of what we’ve learned so far.

Quick Recap​

1. Thoughts become things. Thoughts get transmuted into the physical reality. This means that we are constantly creating our own reality through the dominating thoughts which we hold in our minds. Think “success”, create success. Think “money”, create money. Think “goal X”, create goal X…

2. We MUST control our thoughts. By controlling our thoughts, we can control our lives. We have 100% control over our thinking and this means that we have also control over our destiny. We can, through the power of our thoughts, create our own reality the way we want it. Yet, we can only do that if we start to CONTROL our thoughts.

3. The most practical of all methods for controlling the mind is to keep it busy with a definite purpose. We all need ONE MAJOR DEFINITE PURPOSE that we can focus on. This ensures that we can control our minds by constantly thinking about it. (If our desire to achieve this major definite purpose is big enough, this happens almost automatically.)

4. We must have a BURNING DESIRE to accomplish our major definite purpose. If we truly want to achieve our major purpose, then we will think about it all day long, then it will become an all-consuming obsession, and then our mind can constantly be controlled by focusing on accomplishing that desire. A big enough desire ensures that we can control our mind, and therefore our future.

I hope I’ve made this clear by now. The way to control our mind is this: We constantly think about our desire. We constantly think about achieving our major definite purpose. There simply isn’t any space left for other thoughts. And that’s GREAT! We don’t need any other thoughts… they would probably be negative anyway…

Once you have a burning desire to achieve one major purpose, it becomes important to develop belief or faith in the achievement of that purpose. This is what you’ll learn right now...

Have Faith That You Will Succeed

I believe in the power of desire backed by faith.
FAITH is the ‘external’ elixir’, which gives life, power and action to the impulse of thought.

We must develop the faith or belief that we will accomplish our major definite purpose. We must believe (have faith) that it will happen. Once we know what we want, we must create in ourselves the belief that we can do it.

Hill states that the emotion of faith is what gives life, power and action to the impulse of thought. In other words, if we want to transmute our major definite purpose into physical reality, we must have faith. We must believe, and we must be convinced that we will accomplish our major definite purpose.

Again, this is something that all the great teachers tell us.

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. – Henry Ford

Believe you can succeed, and you will. – David J. Schwartz

Believe you can and you're halfway there. – Theodore Roosevelt

Only when we believe that something is possible, it can become possible. Once we believe that we will become rich, we actually will become rich.

This is again what the Placebo effect is all about. If we THINK we will get better, then we will get better (even if all we do is swallow sugar pills).

If we THINK we will achieve our goal, then we will achieve our goal.

How do we develop that faith or belief? How do we get convinced that we can achieve our purpose? How can we believe in the accomplishment of what we desire?

That’s what you’ll learn in the next point...

How To Create Faith

FAITH: Visualizing and Believing in the Attainment of Desire
Faith is a state of mind that may be induced, or created, by affirmation or repeated instructions to the subconscious mind, through the principle of autosuggestion.
…you may convince the subconscious mind that you believe you will receive what you ask for.
Making repeated affirmations to your subconscious mind is the only known method of developing the emotion of faith voluntarily. Perhaps the meaning may be made clearer through the following explanation as to the way people sometimes become criminals. Stated in the word of a famous criminologist, “When people first come into contact with crime, they abhor it. If they remain in contact with crime for a time, they become accustomed to it, and endure it. If they remain in contact with it long enough, they finally embrace it, and become influenced by it.”

Napoleon Hill says that making repeated affirmations or instructions to our subconscious mind is the only known method to do develop faith. For me, this means that we must constantly bombard our minds with affirmations and visualizations that tell it that we can and will achieve our major definite purpose. We must see and feel ourselves as if we’ve already achieved our purpose. This way, over time, we can convince our subconscious mind that we believe in the achievement of our major definite purpose.

The concept of visualizing our desired outcomes as already achieved is something we find in almost every self-help/success book: We must see our goal as already achieved in our mind first, before it can manifest itself in the real world. We must visualize our desired future as if it was already real.

By doing that we create the necessary feeling of faith that is needed to accomplish our goal. If we constantly tell our mind that we already have achieved our desired outcome, it will slowly start to believe that it’s true. It will slowly get convinced that we can actually accomplish our goal. This is the way through which we develop the faith or belief that we will succeed.

Let’s imagine that there’s a magic pill that would automatically make you accomplish your goal. That pill would give you all the necessary ideas, financial means, business partnerships, confidence etc… that you would need to succeed.

You know what that pill is?

It’s faith.

It’s the placebo effect. Because once you have faith or belief that you will succeed, then you have swallowed that pill from above. Then you will get the ideas, financial means, partnerships, the confidence, energy, and whatever else it takes for you to achieve the desired outcome. Then you make the placebo effect work for you. (Just remember how powerful that effect is if it can heal severe illnesses with a bunch of sugary pills!)

The way to get there, the way to create faith is through making repeated affirmations and instructions to your subconscious mind.

Lucky for us, Napoleon Hill tells us exactly how to make these affirmations and instructions to our subconscious mind. He offers us the exact 6 steps we need to transmute our desires into their physical equivalents. Let’s look at them right now...

Six Practical Steps to Transmute Desires Into Physical Reality

The method by which desire for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent consists of six definite, practical steps:
1 Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say, “I want plenty of money”. Be definite as to the amount.
2. Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire.
3. Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.
4. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.
5. Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire. Name the time limit for its acquisition. State what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.
6. Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after rising in the morning. AS YOU READ, SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY.

(In this example, the desire or major definite purpose is simply a certain amount of money. Again, it could be any other goal that you desire to achieve.)

You should clearly see where the desire and major definite purpose come in in these 6 steps. You also see that you’ll need a plan (which will be discussed in the next point), and you see that you must bombard your mind with these statements at least twice daily, once just before going to bed, and once after rising in the morning. This is how you control your mind, and this is how you will develop faith or belief in the accomplishment of your major purpose.

If your desire is big enough, you will be doing some form of this exercise all day long, because you will be thinking about your purpose all day long. This is how you control your mind. By keeping it busy with a definite purpose.

A burning desire to accomplish one major definite purpose is really the most important thing. Once you have that, you will automatically think about it all the time and therefore also create the necessary faith or belief. You will do almost anything to achieve it.

Just constantly remind yourself of your desire and that desire will become an all-consuming obsession in no time. Once you’re obsessed with something, you will find ways to make it happen.

Before we move on, I want to make something clear…

Napoleon Hill emphasizes that these 6 steps must be executed persistently day in and day out. Only through persistent application can we successfully influence our mind, create faith, and let our desire develop into a burning obsession.

If you’re looking for a way to achieve your goals, look no further. According to Hill, these 6 steps are what it takes to transmute any desire into its physical equivalent.

Create a Plan to Achieve Your Major Definite Purpose

When riches take the place of poverty, the change is usually brought about through well-conceived and carefully executed plans. Poverty needs no plan. It needs no one to aid it, because it is bold and ruthless.
Anybody can wish for riches, and most people do, but only a few know that a definite plan plus a burning desire for wealth are the only dependable means of accumulating it.
The most practical of all methods for controlling the mind is the habit of keeping it busy with a definite purpose, backed by a definite plan.

Why are plans so important?

Let’s say you want to go from place A to place B, from Los Angeles to New York by car. When you have a GPS system (=plan), then it’s pretty easy, right? You just follow the instructions… Without a map on the other hand (=without a plan) you will probably get lost. Literally! Or at least you will lose a lot of time, energy and resources that could have been used in a better way. For sure, you will arrive at the desired location later, than if you had had a plan.

The same principle applies to our goals. Without a clear plan we waste a lot of unnecessary time, energy and resources PLUS we achieve the goal (if at all) later than with a clear plan.

Yet, here come the good news…

Do not wait for a definite plan through which you intend to exchange services or merchandise in return for the money you are visualizing. Begin at once to see yourself in possession of the money, demanding and expecting meanwhile that your subconscious mind will hand over the plan, or plans, you need.

When we visualize our major definite purpose as already complete, the subconscious mind will hand over the plans for us. Once we believe in the accomplishment of our desired outcomes, our mind will serve us the plans on a silver plate.

That’s exactly what David J. Schwartz means in his book “Magic of Thinking Big” when he writes:

“The how-to-do-it always comes to the person who believes he can do it.” – David J. Schwartz

This is important if you think stuff like, “But I don’t know how to achieve my major definite purpose. It’s impossible to do. I have no idea how it can be done!” That doesn’t matter in the beginning. Just get started with applying the 6 steps and then your subconscious mind will give you ideas on how it could be done.

Application of the 6 steps will kind of force your subconscious mind to hand over plans for you. The how-to-do-it or the plan will almost mystically appear once you start visualizing your goal as already achieved.

Oh, and one more thing: It doesn’t matter if the first plan isn’t particularly good. Just get started. When the first plan fails, create a new plan. You can find out why this is important right now...

If Your First Plan Fails… Replace it With a New One

If the first plan which you adopt does not work successfully, replace it with a new plan, if this new plan fails to work, replace it, in turn with still another, and so on, until you find a plan which DOES WORK. Right here is the point at which 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 majority of people are ready to throw their arms and purposes overboard, and give up at the first sign of opposition or misfortune. A few carry on despite all opposition until they attain their goal.

This is HUGE.

When a plan fails, then we must create a new plan. We can’t just give up at the first sign of failure. How pathetic would that be? Instead, if we always create a new plan if one failed, then we are certain to succeed sooner or later, because surely there will come a plan that works.

Think about Thomas Edison for example. He needed over 10,000 attempts to eventually create a functioning lightbulb. In other words, he had to make over 10,000 new plans to achieve his goal. That’s persistence!

Let’s say you want to lose weight and your plan is to make a low-fat diet. Because low-fat diets suck (in my opinion) you fail and don’t lose any weight. Most people would then simply give up. They will say they’ve tried and it didn’t work. What you should do instead in this situation, is to come up with a new plan and start again. Your new plan could be to try a high fat diet (smart idea!), create an exercise regimen, or hire a nutrition coach. There are plenty of options. What’s important: Don’t get discouraged, don’t give up, and instead create a new plan and immediately start to put that plan into action.

After failing once, you are already in a much better position to succeed. You already have feedback. You know that low-fat diets don’t work for you, and you can try another approach.

I like to remind myself that “nothing works the first time”. I don’t mean it in a negative way, but as a way to remind myself to NOT give up. To not throw in the towel, but to give it a fait shot and be persistent. That’s important: Persistence in everything we do. Let’s learn more about that...

Persistence Is Key

Those who have cultivated the HABIT of persistence seem to enjoy insurance against failure. No matter how many times they are defeated, they finally arrive up toward the top of the ladder. Sometimes it appears that there is a hidden Guide whose duty is to test men through all sorts of discouraging experiences. Those who pick themselves up after defeat and keep on trying, arrive; and the world cries, “Bravo! I knew you could do it!” The hidden Guide lets no one enjoy great achievement without passing the PERSISTENCE TEST. Those who can’t take it, simply do not make the grade.
Without persistence, you will be defeated, even before you start. With persistence, you will win.

This is the same principle as discussed earlier… even if the first thousand plans have failed, we still have to keep going and create a new plan. No matter how many times we fall down, fail, feel like a total loser, get discouraged, feel like giving up, it doesn’t matter! It’s all part of what Napoleon Hill calls the persistence test.

It’s good to remind ourselves that we must be IN EVERYTHING WE DO. We can’t build muscle, lose weight, build a business or do anything else noteworthy from one day to the next. We need to be patient and persistent.

This means we must also be persistent when applying the principles of this book. We must apply his 6 steps consistently… not just for a week or two… but consistently over a long period of time. Napoleon Hill says that this is crucial if we want to influence our subconscious mind and create a money/success consciousness. We must pay the price of persistence…

“Remember, there is no such possibility as SOMETHING FOR NOTHING. Ability to reach, and influence your subconscious mind has its price, and you MUST PAY THAT PRICE. You cannot cheat, even if you desire to do so. The price of ability to influence your subconscious mind is everlasting PERSISTENCE in applying the principles described here. You cannot develop the desired ability for a lower price. You, and YOU ALONE, must decide whether or not the reward for which you are striving (the “money consciousness”), is worth the price you must pay for it in effort.”

By the way… what helps us in being persistent is to have a BURNING DESIRE to accomplish our goal. If we really want something we will put in the necessary time and energy. We will do what it takes, and we will do it persistently. That’s why I always want to remind you that desire is the most important ingredient whenever we try to achieve a goal or purpose.

When we want it bad enough, we will find ways to make it happen. And we will be PERSISTENT until we succeed. With enough persistence, we enjoy an insurance against failure. How cool is that!?! Who needs car insurance if you can have insurance against failure? Funny enough, in our society almost nobody gets an insurance against failure (by being persistent), but most of the people get a car insurance. Pffff…

Create a Master Mind to Help You Achieve Your One Major Definite Purpose

The Master Mind may be defined as: coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.

A Master Mind is a group of people who work together for the attainment of a definite purpose.

This is pretty simple and straightforward. A Master Mind brings a host of benefits that will help us in accomplishing our major definite purpose.

If you want to build a business, a partner brings additional knowledge, effort, money and depending on the partnership a host of other things. You and your partner can motivate each other when times are tough and each of you brings his or her own ideas to improve the business.

One of the most important things that a Master Mind can bring you is FAITH. If you have powerful people in your Master Mind, chances are that you’ll believe that with the cooperation of your Master Mind allies you will achieve your definite purpose.

Let’s say you want to lose 5 pounds. If you hire a professional trainer, your chances of achieving your major definite purpose are much better than without a trainer. Your coach will bring all the necessary knowledge about how someone can lose weight. Your coach will motivate you and make sure that you stick to your plan. He or she will lift you up when you’re down. And again, most importantly, with a coach you will have more faith that you can lose the 5 pounds.

I’m not sure if that example would technically be a Master Mind, but it shows clearly some of the benefits of finding other people to work with you on achieving your major definite purpose.


Riches begin with a STATE OF MIND.

In order to attract money you must first become money conscious.

You must realize that thoughts become things. Thoughts literally get transmuted from the mental reality in our minds into the physical reality.

Because thoughts are so POWERFUL, we must learn to control our thoughts. According to Hill, the best way to do that is to have a burning desire to accomplish one major definite purpose.

If our desire is BIG and STRONG enough we will automatically think about achieving it 24/7. This means that our mind is constantly filled with positive thoughts of us achieving our desire.

In other words, we can best control our thoughts by occupying our mind with a BURNING DESIRE to accomplish ONE MAJOR DEFINITE PURPOSE.

Once we have both desire and purpose, we must develop faith (through visualization) that we can achieve our purpose. We must believe that it’s going to happen.

Next up, we need to create a plan to achieve our one major definite purpose. If that first plan fails, we must replace it with a new one. In fact, EVERY time one of our plans fails, we must immediately create a new plan. In other words, we must be PERSISTENT and never give up.

Last but not least we want to create a Master Mind. A group of people who help us achieve our major definite purpose.

And that’s it!

That was a quick rundown of Napoleon Hill’s best ideas from Think & Grow Rich.

I hope you enjoyed!

summary think and grow rich by napoleon hill

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Nils Salzgeber

Nils Salzgeber is the author of two books and co-founder of the popular NJlifehacks blog. He is passionate about anything that helps him become a more peaceful, productive, and loving version of himself. After quitting university twice, he has recently gone back to get a psychology degree. Nils lives in Thun, Switzerland.

  • Lucas says:

    Fantastic recap Nils! Thank you so much!

  • It’s true, in order to attract money, you must become money conscious.

  • Sundar says:

    Thanks Nils for bringing out the essence of the great book. I feel more energised now to achieve my dreams.

  • amazing content…
    nice explanation

  • Palm Nyamz says:

    Thanks for the detailed review of this book.

    This is one of the greatest books on success to be honest. I have read it a couple of times and just can’t enough of it. It has so much information, not just on how to make money but on a variety of areas of life.

    The principles are so true and actually applicable in all aspects of life. Surely success and wealthy starts from the mind, followed by a burning desire to achieve it. Even Grant Cardone says, you should be obsessed or you just will be average. I personally think obsession and persistence are key.

  • Andre Cachucho says:

    Great summary! Much appreciated.
    Andre from South Africa

  • M. Murtaza says:

    Great job man!! Thanks for putting your efforts into this summary.

  • Oganda says:

    I find the book accurate on what exactly to do to attain any level of success which again has to be definite. I wish I read the book ten years a go, its a masterpiece. All the way from small village in Kenya – Africa, I find the underlying concepts applicable .

  • It’s very informative self help book. I really appreciate your efforts. you write summary in good manners.
    Thanks Nils Salzgeber

  • mark ondrake says:

    thanks, you give us some very positive ideas and some inspiring approaches to goal-setting and to the achievement of those goals.
    keep up the good work, you’re making a great contribution!
    Seattle, USA

  • Eric Lwk says:

    Hey man, great summary…although you didn’t cover all the 13 steps. You point out the main ones. Btw i LOVE your writing!!

  • Thoa says:

    This was such a great summary! Thank you so much for writing it! I read the book before but your summary really helped organize everything again for me. Cheers from Japan!

  • Hey man, great summary…although you didn’t cover all the 13 steps

  • Sherif Mehanny says:

    Great summery

    Thank you Nils
    Really inspiring

  • Seth says:

    Thank you for your summary! It was very helpful in understanding the book and takes a lot less time to digest. Great writing, too!

  • Adrian says:

    I read this fantastic book. Thank you for the great summary and revision. It’s much appreciated.

  • Thank you, I have gotten all my impossible dreams because of this book, it has no limits, it can even take into the supernatural world of real xman like powers. I love you clear precise writing. Keep on plugging away.

  • Aviral says:

    how you get image in your blog
    can you answer me plz

  • enext says:

    Great summary! thanks.

  • alex says:

    its quiet amazing

  • charles kakooza says:

    Very nice summary. I like it really

  • This is the best summary of all time. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  • Iyed says:

    Good Job Nils ! But the “Imagination” part dude :(((( the dopest part of the book, otherwise respect for the good modern example employement <3 ! Peace

  • Femi Jefferson says:

    Whaaooo! What A Great Summary, This Got Me Refreshed Greatly. Thank You Nils.

  • A.B says:

    Fantastic summary! It felt like I was reading the book. Thank you

  • Mani says:

    All I can say is thanks! I don’t have to read it again just to take notes. I would like to mention the part about looking past what you see in a physical form and learn to believe how the invisible source can make anything become a reality as long as you believe it.

  • Cyrus says:

    Really fantastic ! I read this book twice, but the way of transferring the points of this book was great, maybe it is good to name this summary, think and grow rich in a nutshell!

  • nirosha says:

    Much needed one, thanks very much for the brief summary
    Nils Salzgeber 🙂

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