A Quick Guide to Think and Grow Rich

Inspiration Behind the Book

Napoleon Hill, then a young special investigator for a nationally known business magazine, was sent to interview Andrew Carnegie. During that interview, Carnegie slyly dropped a hint of a certain master power he used—a magic law of the human mind, a little-known psychological principle—that was amazing in its power. Carnegie suggested to Hill that upon that principle he could build the philosophy of all personal success—whether it be measured in terms of money, power, position, prestige, influence, or the accumulation of wealth. That part of the interview never made it into Hill’s magazine, but it did launch the young author on a research journey that lasted twenty years. Think and Grow Rich is the result of Hill’s study of over five hundred self-made millionaires—a condensed, accessible explanation of his Law of Success philosophy, which includes thirteen steps to riches (financial, emotional, and spiritual).

Chapter Summaries

Desire: The Starting Point of All Achievement

Wishing your desires will materialize will not bring you riches. To attain any goal, you must have a burning desire, combined with belief you will possess it, backed by definiteness of purpose—the firm knowledge of what one wants. Hill details six steps for turning your desires into reality.

Faith: Visualization of, and Belief in the Attainment of Desire

Through affirmations or repeated suggestions to the subconscious, you can develop the emotion of faith, which is necessary to transmuting your desires into their physical or monetary equivalent.

Auto-suggestion: The Medium for Influencing the Subconscious Mind

Auto-suggestion refers to the use of self-directed communication and self-administered stimuli to channel thoughts from the conscious mind to the seat of the subconscious. Because the conscious mind often acts as a barrier to sensory impressions, auto-suggestion must be used to create thought patterns conducive to translating your desires into their physical equivalent.

Specialized Knowledge: Personal Experiences or Observations

General knowledge, or that typically taught in schools, will not help you accumulate riches, nor will specialized knowledge on its own. Rather, you must learn how to organize and use knowledge after you acquire it. If you lack the specialized knowledge necessary to build your business or attain your goals, you can supplement your own knowledge with that of other individuals by forming a “Master Mind” group.

Imagination: The Workshop of the Mind

The imagination is the unique faculty of humankind that shapes, forms, and gives action to desire. Hill distinguishes between two modes by which the imagination functions: the synthetic imagination, which does not create but rather arranges old concepts, ideas, or plans into new combinations; and the creative imagination, which, when stimulated by strong desire, picks up thought vibrations from other humans and from the ether, connects with Infinite Intelligence, and develops new ideas.

Organized Planning: The Crystallization of Desire into Action

In order to translate desire into its physical or monetary equivalent, you must form a definite, practical plan and put it into action. This chapter details how to build plans and ensure they are functioning to your advantage.

Decision: The Mastery of Procrastination

Procrastination and indecisiveness are major causes of failure. Men and women of great wealth, on the other hand, share in common the ability to reach definite decisions quickly and change their minds slowly. This chapter teaches you how not to be swayed by the opinions of others but instead to keep your own counsel (and that of your Master Mind group) so that you make firm, productive decisions that ensure your success.

Persistence: The Sustained Effort Necessary to Induce Faith

Most people will throw in the towel at the first sign of opposition. However, willpower, combined with desire, is necessary to ensure that one’s objectives are reached. Hill provides four steps for cultivating the habit of persistence, your insurance against failure.

Power of the Master Mind: The Driving Force

Individuals can attain and apply power through the formation of a Master Mind group, an alliance of individuals with different strengths and perspectives who coordinate their knowledge and efforts to attain a definite purpose. Master Mind groups bring both economic advantages (riches) as well as psychic benefits (a cosmic harmony that generates a “third mind,” or spiritual unit of energy operating at a higher frequency). 

The Mystery of Sex Transmutation

Sex transmutation entails the channeling of carnal desires and their corresponding energies into other outlets than those that are purely physical—namely, creative ones. A correlative to this principle is the importance of selecting a compatible partner.

The Subconscious Mind: The Connecting Link

Hill describes the subconscious mind as the intermediary between the finite mind of man and Infinite Intelligence that enables humans to tap into the forces of the Universal Mind. He emphasizes that it alone is the medium for translating mental impulses into their spiritual and physical equivalents.

The Brain: A Broadcasting and Receiving Station for Thought

Hill writes, “Through the medium of the ether, in a fashion similar to that employed by the radio broadcasting principle, every human brain is capable of picking up vibrations of thought which are being released by other brains.” In this chapter, he explains the process by which the mind is stimulated by external vibrations and supplies a method for using emotions to increase the mind’s receptivity to these sensory stimuli.

The Sixth Sense: The Door to the Temple of Wisdom

The Sixth Sense refers to the faculty of the subconscious also termed the Creative Imagination by which humans, through no effort of their own, receive communications from Infinite Intelligence. Hill calls this principle the “apex” of his Law of Success philosophy, for it can be comprehended and applied only after mastering the first twelve principles.

How to Outwit the Six Ghosts of Fear

In order to implement these thirteen success principles, you have to prepare your mind to receive the philosophy. The first step to prime your psyche is to study, analyze, and understand the three enemies you’ll have to defeat: indecision, doubt, and fear. This chapter outlines and explains the cure to the six basic fears that, although often hidden in the subconscious, hold humans back in their pursuit of riches: the fear of poverty, the fear of criticism, the fear of ill health, the fear of loss of love, the fear of old age, and the fear of death.