The book was first published during the Great Depression. At the time of Hill's death in 1970, Think and Grow Rich had sold more than 20 million copies, and by 2011 over 70 million copies had been sold worldwide. It remains the biggest seller of Napoleon Hill's books. Business Week magazine's Best-Seller List ranked it the sixth best-selling paperback business book 70 years after it was published. Think and Grow Rich is listed in John C. Maxwell's A Lifetime "Must Read" Books List.
The text of Think and Grow Rich is based on Hill's earlier work The Law of Success, said to be the result of more than twenty years of study of many individuals who had amassed personal fortunes.
Hill studied their habits and evolved 16 "laws" to be applied to achieve success. Think and Grow Rich condenses them, providing the reader with 13 principles in the form of a "Philosophy of Achievement". Mark Hansen has said time has shown that two of the laws/principles are most important: 1) The MasterMind principle/process and 2) "Know very clearly where you want to go."
The book asserts that desire, faith and persistence can propel one to great heights if one can suppress negative thoughts and focus on long-term goals.
The 13 "steps" listed in the book are: 1. Desire 2. Faith 3. Autosuggestion 4. Specialized Knowledge 5. Imagination 6. Organized Planning 7. Decision 8. Persistence 9. Power of the Master Mind 10. The Mystery of Sex Transmutation 11. The Subconscious Mind 12. The Brain 13. The Sixth Sense
There are several courses created from the Think and Grow Rich content and principles.
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- Desire – you would not have the desire unless you were capable of achieving it. Pick the desire that you desire the most. Fix in your mind how much money you want. Determine exactly how much you are willing to give up. Set a date. Create a definite plane. Write out a clear statement of amount, time, and plan. Ready your written statement aloud daily.
- Faith --- the state of mind through affirmation and conscious auto suggestion (a suggestion by yourself to yourself, auto-suggestion.
- Auto-suggestion through repeated concentration so that it appears as a fact in your own mind. Go to some quiet spot and restate your goal, the time limit and a description of what you are willing to give to get it. Get to where you can see the goal in your mind.
- Specialized knowledge – knowledge is power only when directed to an end. You need detailed knowledge to achieve the desired end. Know your specialty. Learn the subject and associate with those who know the business.
- Imagination – man can create anything he can imagine. Conceive and believe, then achieve. This is the key to success.
- Organized planning to accomplish the goal. Allay yourself with others who can help you. Decide what you can offer members of the group to help you. Meet with the group at least twice a week to get the plan going. Be civil to group members. Develop a formal plan. Unwavering courage, self control, sense of justice, definiteness of decision, do more than paid for, employ a pleasing personality, demonstrate mastery of detail and cooperation.
- Decision – the mastery of procrastination. Lack of decision heads the list for reason for failure. Failure = reaching decisions slowly and changing them often.
- Persistence. It’s what carbon adds to steel. Go that extra mile and keep going. It is a state of mind that can be cultivated.
- Power of the master mind – find a group that is sympathetic. two or more minds are needed to create a third, the master mind.
- The subconscious mind – a file cabinet that should include intentional input. You cannot entirely control it but can hand over to it any specific plan you have. Keep an image of your successful plan fully actuated.
- The brain should be fully used. It is normally underestimated. It is the most powerful device in the world. Recognize its power and trust it.
- The sixth sense –the way infinite intelligence communicates with us (only by mastering 12 out of 12 principles above). It hits us with hunches or flashes.