Napoleon Hill (Otober 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 (1937), is one of the best-selling books of all time (at the time of Hill’s death in 1970, Think and Grow Rich had sold 20 million copies). Hill’s works examined the power of personal beliefs, and the role they play in personal success. He became an 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 of the average person, were the focal points of Hill’s books.
Life and works
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 (1835–1919)
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 1925 as a multi-volume study course called The Law of Success, later re-released in 1928 in an abridged version under the same title. 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 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 were 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, etc., 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 Hill felt readers would benefit most if they discovered it for themselves. Although most readers feel that he never explicitly identified this secret, he offers these words about 20 pages into the book: If you truly desire money so keenly that your desire is an obsession, you will have no difficulty in convincing yourself that you will acquire it. The object is to want money, and to be so determined to have it that you convince yourself that you will have it.
You may as well know, right here, that you can never have riches in great quantities unless you work yourself into a white heat of desire for money, and believe you will possess it.
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 neither 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 or speak.
From 1952-1962, Hill taught his Philosophy of Personal Achievement – Lectures on “Science of Success” in association with W. Clement Stone. In 1960, Hill and Stone co-authored the book, Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude. Norman Vincent Peale stated “These two men [Hill and Stone] have the rare gift of inspiring and helping people…In fact, I owe them both a personal debt of gratitude for the helpful guidance I have received from their writings.”
Think and Grow Rich remains the top seller of Napoleon Hill’s books – a perennial best-seller after 70 years (Business Week 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, showing that the secret of achievement is still highly sought-after by many today. 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 human.
Today’s philosophy-of-success teachers still use the research formulas taught by Hill to expand their students’ knowledge of personal development.
Napoleon Hill: Day 1
The best job goes to the person who can get it done without passing the buck or coming back with excuses.
Action is the real measure of intelligence.
Do it now! can affect every phase of your life. It can help you do the things you should do but don’t feel like doing. It can keep you from procrastinating when an unpleasant duty faces you. But it can also help you do th ose things that you want to do. It helps you seize those precious moments that, if lost, may never be retrieved
Do not wait; the time will never be ”just right.” Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.
The world has the habit of making room for the man whose actions show that he knows where he is going.
Napoleon Hill: Day 2
Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.
What ever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
The jack-of-all-trades seldom is good at any. Concentrate all of your efforts on one definite chief aim.
The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.
Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.
Who said it could not be done? And tell me what great victories does he have to his credit which qualifies him to judge what can and can’t be accomplished.
Napoleon Hill: Day 3
The intention is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.
Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.
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.
Hold a picture of yourself long and steadily enough in your mind, eye, and you will be drawn toward it.
If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.
The ladder of success is never crowded at the top.
Until you have learned to be tolerant with those who do not always agree with you; until you have cultivated the habit of saying some kind word of those whom you do not admire; until you have formed the habit of looking for the good instead of the bad there is in others, you will be neither successful nor happy.
Napoleon Hill: Day 4
You must get involved to have an impact. No one is impressed with the won-lost record of the referee.
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.
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.
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.
It is literally true that you can succeed be st and quickest by helping others to succeed.