Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill is one of the founding fathers of commercial personal development. Such is his impact on the world of self development and positive thinking, many – if not most – of today’s motivational gurus would be nobody’s. If it was not for the book Think And Grow Rich, I would personally not be where I am today, so I find it suitable to start off the series of Influential People with the man himself: Napoleon Hill.

Tribute To Napoleon Hill

Napoleon HillRegular visitors to this blog are no strangers to Napoleon Hill. He is, as many of you know, the author of the book that is at the heart of our Mindset Mastery series, Think and Grow Rich. He is one of the pioneers of wealth creation and one of the original motivational authors—the man and the work, in fact, who has served as the foundation of some of the most proven and prolific self-help and prosperity gurus of today.

Considering the many gifts that Napoleon Hill has given us, I thought it only right to pay homage back to the man, and take the time out in what will be a two-part series to highlight and celebrate the accomplishments and the work of this man who has been so integral to the life success of so many for literally generations now.

The Humble Beginnings of Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill was not born into wealth; this one simple fact, when considering where his life led him, served as even more proof that the man knew of what he spoke, wrote, and taught.

Hill was born in 1883 in Pound, Virginia, an Appalachian mountain town in the US state of Virginia. The home he was born into is described as an “impoverished, one-room cabin” and Hill’s family struggled financially throughout his childhood and early adulthood.

Think And Grow RichHill’s mother passed away when he was only nine years old, and his father remarried two years later. Not long after that, at the very early age of thirteen, Napoleon Hill went to work for several small-town newspapers, working as a “mountain reporter”. This was the very humble beginning of the writing career that would give birth to one of the world’s all-time best sellers, Think and Grow Rich.

Early on the intention of Hill’s fledgling writing career was to help him fund his way through college. He used what he earned as a teenage newspaper reporter to pay for law school, but was forced to withdraw when he did not have the funds to continue his law degree. In the end, the financial struggles of Napoleon Hill proved to be to the distinct advantage of him and every other person who has gone on to achieve wealth thanks to Hill’s work.

A Serendipitous Return

After leaving law school, Napoleon Hill returned to journalism as a means of support. It was a serendipitous move that not only paved the way for the rest of Hill’s life, but also for millions of others who came to be influenced by Hill’s later works.

In the early 1900’s one of Napoleon Hill’s assignments was to interview selected persons of fame and fortune and to feature each in a series of newspaper articles. In 1908, this assignment led him to the door of Mr. Andrew Carnegie, the Scottish-born billionaire-steel magnate and philanthropist.

The Mentor: Andrew Carnegie

Andrew CarnegieAndrew Carnegie, who like Napoleon Hill was born into virtual poverty, saw great potential in Hill, and encouraged him to do more than simply finish his series of articles. Carnegie encouraged Hill to carefully study the persons whom he was writing about, and to take on the very large task of interviewing as many as 500 people of wealth and success with the end-goal being to decipher what it is that the rich and successful have in common, and deducing this down into a simple formula for success that any person could follow—man or woman, born to wealth, poverty, or average means. The only financial support that he offered Hill for the endeavour was a modest reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses that Napoleon Hill would incur in travel and interviewing the selected subjects.

Hill, of course, accepted Carnegie’s challenge and rose to it and beyond. In the course of researching the formula for success that any man or woman could follow, he interviewed no less than 500 of the most successful and wealthiest people in the world at the time. His research put him into contact with many hugely famous names in a wide variety of professions, including the political arena (where Napoleon Hill would also later serve, going on to become the advisor to two American Presidents).

Deducing The Formula

For all time Andrew Carnegie believed strongly that any person could become wealthy and successful. He also strongly believed in a formula for success and wealth; he believed that formula, once discovered, would prove to be a basic, timeless strategy based on a core set of principles. He believed that those core principles would become readily apparent after interviewing, researching, and analysing the lives, beliefs, and actions of those whom he considered to be true successes. Proving this and deducing the formula was the task that he set Napoleon Hill to.

This formula, in simple terms, was to Think And Grow Rich. Readers of Napoleon Hill’s books know this to be the common thread of the super successful. The nay-sayers, who deny this formula to work – are predominantly not wealthy people. That surely says something in itself!

Napoleon Hill – In His Own Words

Napoleon Hill speaks of his meeting with Andrew Carnegie and of, possibly his most famous saying: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve

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Think and Grow Rich

It took Napoleon Hill some twenty years before the first fruits of his labor were produced. The first introduction to Hill and Carnegie’s formula did not come in Think and Grow Rich, but in a home-study course called “The Law of Success“. The research and information that he gathered in the formation of that course did, however, serve as the foundation for Think And Grow Rich, the book that is known as the “cornerstone” of financial success literature and which has launched numerous careers, and countless numbers on to success and wealth.

In the next part, I will conclude my series in honor of Napoleon Hill

Sean Rasmussen
Success Communicator
Aussie Internet Marketer © 2004 – 2009

About Sean Rasmussen

Sean Rasmussen is a passionate blogger and has been a full time internet marketer since 2005. When he's not with his family, or dog Buddy, Sean is usually blogging or doing something related to the internet.


  1. Great inspirational story! True rags to riches! 20 years it took truly says it all, you need to work hard for a consistent period of time, and slowly but surely you will start to see the change.
    .-= Marko Saric´s last blog ..Beyond all the blogging rage =-.

  2. Love it Sean,

    Very powerful video – think I’ll watch it again shortly. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    .-= Eils.´s last blog ..Dehydrating Food =-.

  3. Craig Mullins says:

    Love Napoleon Hill

  4. Thank you for your recount of Napoleon Hill. A great man that is often in my thoughts. I find the few recording of Napoleon Hill wonderful and invaluable. There is something about seeing and hearing the man himself, even late in life.
    I often return to “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude” by Hill and W. Clement Stone. I only wish that this book was in the Public Domain; it would help so many people if it was circulated more.
    To 2010 and beyond!
    .-= johneeds´s last blog ..Microsoft Shop on A to Z Emporium =-.

  5. What profound sentiments!
    Great inspiration to start off the next decade!
    Happy New Year to you Sean

  6. Al Palumbo says:

    Mr Hill’s book is a great contribution. I have worn out my book reading it so often plus the on line rendention from Sean. This is good information, but useless unless one takes action to follow the instructions.

  7. Napoleon expressed so often that it is not the goings on of the conscious mind that is most important, rather it is what is going on unconsciously. As I look back over his books and observe the limits he places on what can be done to affect the unconscious mind (eg ‘only by following these instructions literally …’, ie ‘only’ is a limiting term) I can only imagine that if he were alive today and were aware of the power of NLP and EFT then he would revise these limiting passages. So to make it clear about what I am saying, I am agreeing with Napoleon in identifying what needs to be done, it is just that in the context of new, modern developments in the field of influencing the unconscious mind that have occurred since his death, there are now better, faster, more certain ways of achieving this than the ones he proposes as the ‘only’ ones.

  8. David Holloway says:

    Thanks Sean, yes like many others the book “Think and grow rich” changed my life.
    I read it first about thirty years ago, I knew straight away that it was going to change my life, and it has.
    Maybe I would have done most of what I have done, maybe not.
    I do know that often as I accomplish things in my life, that in my mind I thank the people that gave me the chance to read it.
    You know I have suggested to many that they should read it, but I have not read it my self for a while, I think I will soon.

  9. Hi Sean,

    Thanks for this information article about Napoleon, I’ve heard of the book but have not read it yet. Sounds like an interesting concept, I will have to check it out! : )

  10. Thanks for sharing this Sean,
    The concept of attracting all your wildest desires with the power of your own thought sounds like a bit of hocus pocus so I am interested to see what’s behind it all when I read it! : )

  11. Dayle Block says:

    Thank you Sean, that is just what I needed to read and see as I opened my emails for the first time 2010! Thank you for your example of enthusiasm, enlightenment and constant encouragement towards the bigger picture!!!

    Dayle Block

  12. Thanks Sean, great to see the Napoleon’s video again,
    I appreciate the way you share. Thanks again,

  13. Thanks Sean,

    What a great way to kick off the new year. God bless and may all your thoughts be pure and true as is your intentions.

  14. Raka Taviri jr says:

    Hi Sean,

    Thank you for the offer to send me a copy of NH’s book “Think and Grow Rich”.

    I look forward to finding out some principles I can apply.

  15. Hi Sean
    Thanks for reminding me about this book infact I have bought this book 2 years ago in sydney, but didnt make any effort to read the whole book wihtout realiziang that there are alots of life changing truths to learn from. Now I begin to know that this book is one of the must book to read, and so inspiring.

  16. Thanks for the record given here about Napoleon Hill. I admire the courage of Hill to rise to the task Andrew Carnegie set before him, which he accomplished 20years later!

    He was truly brave indeed!

    Self-confidence and courage with a positive mindset will take one to unimaginable heights!

  17. Anyone with a mentor as great as Carnegie deserves every success – although I have to admit, when I first saw your link to Napolean I though you must have an affiliate program with the make-up brand…
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Sign Language for Babies =-.

  18. Determination, commitment, passion – Napoleon Hill showed all of these traits. And he took action, concentrating on what he wanted to achieve. It’s great to have people like him, sharing their knowledge with the world in the attempt to give everybody even better chances to live the best possible life.
    .-= Renee´s last blog ..Overcoming Procrastination =-.

  19. What a fantastic video to share of Napoleon Hill explaining the Law of Attraction in such a matter of fact way!

    He was a man ahead of his times!!!

    Thanks Sean.
    .-= Samantha Banfield´s last blog ..Sean Rasmussen and his crazy talk! =-.

  20. If I could talk to Mr Hill today, I’d ask him a million questions… The closest I will get, is reading this blog. Thanks Sean.
    .-= Lina Nguyen´s last blog ..How to make comments online and build your online persona =-.

  21. I never realised that there was a video made of Napoleon Hill discussing his meeting of Andrew Carnegie. Its such a powerful message, and love how he finishes with his own quote. I had heard the back ground of his upbringing but did not realise about his mother dieing, and having to work at age 13. That’s a tall order to place on a child, as a Mother of a boy aged 14 – that would be hard for me to pull him out of school to work. He went from nothing, to being something – even though it took him 20 years, that is a major achievement.
    Well done Napoleon Hill – a man worth more than money – a man worth wisdom which is priceless.
    Thank you Sean for sharing this amazing video.
    .-= Lisa Wood´s last blog ..Its Meant To Be =-.

  22. If Napolean Hill’s mentor was Andrew Carnegie, who mentored him?

  23. Very powerful and inspirational indeed. To realize someone studied this method and wrote about it while it continues to go ignored is baffling in itself. The way to get rich in wealth and happiness is at everyone’s fingertips and so many people let it escape their entire lives.

    The world could be rid of poverty if only more people grasped the idea of working hard while enjoying it. To take the time to discover what it is you were born to do instead of looking at the professions income is priceless.
    .-= Sarah Butland´s last blog ..I Am Attracting You and Your Vote Via Law Of Attraction =-.

  24. Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi Sean,

    Napoleon Hill was an amazing man and to think from one meeting with Andrew Carnegie came the work from which ‘Think and Grow Rich’ would be created. It’s a book that is still changing people’s lives today and I am really grateful that he dedicated a large portion of his life to helping others learn to be better people and live the lives they dream of.

    The video clip is one of the most powerful that I have ever seen. I have actually written out the contents of the two envelopes and I have them on my wall as a constant reminder to be careful what I choose to think. Thank-you Sean, for your excellent posts on such a great man. 🙂

  25. Hi Sean,
    So nice a tribute to Napoleon Hill. He would have to be the legend of mentors. She has inspired millions of people and still going strong. Results speak for themselves. He is the best of all time.

    Two envelopes: one for “riches”(what I will give to become wealthy) one for “penalties” (if I don’s take control of my life!)

  26. Napolean Hill
    One who contributed to his fellow man, well.
    .-= Jo Carey-Bradshaw´s last blog ..Empowering Mindset – Mindfulness =-.

  27. Just took another look at this blog and had a moment to watch the video – WOW!!! I just asked for this book as a gift and plan to get it in the next couple weeks. It’ll definitely be one of the few books that I will read multiple times.
    .-= Sarah Butland´s last blog ..Attracting Good People and Good Books =-.

  28. I thank you for this post. It is good to see what we can do with our lives so long as we let ourselves into the world of accepting. I really like the video at the end of Napoleon Hill, that was inspirational.
    .-= Richard Colum´s last blog ..Property: An Excellent Financial Investment =-.

  29. Great History Napoleon Hill he did really contributed a lot and his books are still inspiring a lot of people. I think he really needs to be recognized for that.

  30. I am so grateful for this master work of Napoleon Hill.
    In a world where negative people delight in putting others down for daring to try something different, it is a constant Breathe Of Fresh Air. Read it years ago, and since joining the forum have read it till the print is wearing out…………. almost.

    Thanks, Sean for bringing it to my attention again.
    .-= Harry Lynn´s last blog ..SEAN RASMUSSEN’S ” LEARN AND EARN ” COMPETITION. =-.

  31. Great post Jack, thank you
    I loved the book, though it isn’t until I read it 3 times and used videos made about the book, to fully comprehend its principles, and fully apply them, daily.


    to fully understand the science of Thing and Grow Rich.

    Hill is an amazing man indeed!

    Cheers, Nick Baron

  32. Steve Haymond says:

    Sean, thanks so much for this informative piece about Napoleon Hill. I was only vaguely familiar with him until now. Although he lived a long time ago, the success principles he spoke about are still as true today as they were then!

  33. Wow, what a very inspirational story about Napoleon Hill. I wish I can write a book as Napoleon Hill did. Hes an amazing man. The video was awesome. Thanks for sharing..

  34. Napoleon Hill did a great job, He’s the man! Thanks for the awesome video!..

    Trishiex @ As Seen On TV Shoppers

  35. Napoleon Hill is amazign

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