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Book Review: The Law of Success- Napoleon Hill



Orne Publishing LLC 2010

Almost everyone interested in personal development has read or at least heard about Napoleon Hill’s great classic, Think and Grow Rich.  It’s arguably the most influential personal development book of the 20th century.

What few people realize is that this little book is just a diluted, much shorter version of a far more amazing original.  And now, for the first time in generations, you can actually get your hands on that original version!

The Law of Success– the unabridged, undiluted result of Hill’s research with many of the most extraordinary personalities of his time, from Rockefeller to the Roosevelts to Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell – is finally available again in its original form.

In case you don’t know the story, Hill, working under the patronage of Andrew Carnegie,  harvested from this remarkable group their secrets of personal success.  The principles he found were remarkably consistent.  And yet, when he sent copies of this work to the subjects of his research, they demanded he water it down for public consumption.  What this edition provides is the 1925 original.  Its life lessons are still as powerful today as they were then.

Here are a few of the success principles you will find in this book:

  1. Napoleon Hill’s self-confidence formula stipulates, “I will engage in no transaction that does not benefit all whom it affects,” “I will induce others to serve me because I will first serve them,” and, “I will eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness and cynicism by developing love for all humanity, because I know that a negative attitude toward others can never bring me success.”
  2. There are two kinds of “people of action,” what Hill calls caretakers and promoters. To find a role in line with your talents, it is important to know which you are. “One of the outstanding tragedies of the world,” he writes, “is the fact that most people never engage in the work for which they are best fitted by nature.”
  3. Desire is the foundation of self-control. Self-control, or control of the thoughts one accepts, is the foundation of success.
  4. Concentration- “the ability to control your attention and focus it on a given problem until you have solved it”- is propelled by desire to attain our definite purpose and is necessary to achieve it.
  5. A definite purpose is what we will accept as the measure of a successful life- accept nothing less.
  6. “No man can attain success in its highest form without the aid of earnest prayer.”
  7. What Napoleon Hill calls the power of auto-suggestion but which we can more simply call the power of belief gives us the ability to reorganise our thoughts on the basis of whatever beliefs we adopt, and in so doing to attract those of like mind and ultimately, to make our beliefs physical reality.
  8. The results of optimism and persistence are infinitely superior to the results of pessimism. “Skepticism is the deadly enemy of progress and self-development.”

Also found in this book, a plan to end war and the power of laughter and song in clearing negative emotions- no, seriously!

Napoleon Hill had a sign in his office with the motto, “Day by day in every way I am becoming more successful.”  A skeptic asked him if he ‘really believed that stuff,’ to which he replied, “Of course not.  All it ever did for me was to help me get out of the coal mines, where I started as a labourer, and find a place in the world in which I am serving upwards of 100,000 in whose minds I am planting the same positive thought that this sign brings out.”

Hill’s Preface quotes one of the economics professors who reviewed the book, saying, “It is a tragedy that ever boy and girl who enters high school is not efficiently drilled on the fifteen major parts of your Reading Course on The Law of Success.  It is regrettable that the great university with which I am connected, and every other university, does not include your course as part of its curriculum.”  That pretty much says it all.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger