Napoleon Hill is famous for being the author of Think and Grow Rich, the most famous self-help prosperity book ever written. What is less well known is that in 1928 Hill published an eight volume set called The Law of Success. In 1937, Hill released a revised version which became Think and Grow Rich. Yes, the book covers a wide range of business-related topics but the heart of each book is what he referred to as "the Carnegie secret" or what is now called the Law of Attraction. What's so fascinating about Napoleon Hill is that he was such an unlikely success story. In fact, his life is a testament to the Law of Attraction.
Napoleon Hill As Punk & Troublemaker
Napoleon Hill was born in 1883 and he certainly did not have a promising beginning. His home was a two room log cabin in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia and serious poverty was the lot of his family and everyone about him.
"For three generations my people had been born, lived, struggled, and died without ever having been outside the mountains of that section. There were no roads, telephones, electric lights, or passable public highways".
When he was nine years old, Napoleon Hill's mother died and Hill became the local hell raiser. With his two brothers he roamed the mountains getting into trouble while idolizing the bandit Jesse James and carrying a gun in his belt. Feuds among the mountain people were common and so was drinking "corn likker" and Hill participated in both. "Nap" Hill had a pretty dim future.
Fortunately, Hill's daddy remarried and his new bride was the daughter of a doctor and was cultured and well educated (we might wonder what she saw in Hill senior?) She was a strong-willed woman who not going to let Napoleon and his two brothers turned into uneducated criminals. Within days of her arrival in the squalid two room cabin, Martha Hill began feeding her three new stepsons and her new husband fabulous ideas to lead them towards great achievement. It's important to note that her entire plan revolved around ideas of greatness that she pounded into their heads over and over and over again.
Was she successful?
* Her poor dirt farmer husband, James, became the county's most successful dentist …
* Napoleon Hill's brother Vivian graduated from Georgetown University and became a prestigious lawyer …
* Nap's brother Paul became an extremely successful surgeon …
Napoleon himself became her greatest success story and by the age of 12 had exchanged his pistol for a typewriter. Martha said, "If you become as good with a typewriter as you are with that gun, you may become rich and famous and known throughout the world." Which is exactly what happened.
Andrew Carnegie: Multi Billionaire
Andrew Carnegie was the Bill Gates of his day. arriving in America in 1848 with absolutely nothing. He started his own company which became US steel and in 1901 he sold his company for $400,000,000. I have read that this would be approximately equal to $8 billion in today's purchasing power.
Carnegie then turned his brilliance to helping others and became one of the greatest philanthropists of all times. He used his vast fortune to create and fund colleges, public schools, churches, libraries and numerous foundations and trusts promoting world peace, education, science, the arts and every possible advancement of human rights. He was a truly remarkable man and one of the most successful in the world.
Hill Meets Carnegie
In 1908, Napoleon Hill was working for a magazine when he received an assignment to interview the famous Andrew Carnegie. The interview was on a Friday afternoon and was to last for three hours. Standing in the foyer of Carnegie's opulent 64 room mansion in New York, Nap Hill was awestruck as he was escorted to the library to meet Carnegie.
The two men instantly hit it off and the three hour interview didn't end until the following Monday! During this three-day marathon Carnegie explained how anyone — anyone at all — can obtain wealth and success. He referred again and again to "the secret" of prosperity and abundance. Not multiple secrets but THE Secret.
Carnegie said his greatest contribution to mankind would be to explain The Secret to everyone who was interested and he had been seeking someone to undertake this project. He offered this chance to Napoleon Hill who immediately accepted.
Carnegie was willing to pay Hill's travel expenses but he would not pay him a salary. Instead he would give Napoleon introductions to the most successful people of the day and considered that reward enough. This meant that Napoleon Hill would have to earn a living while he undertook his research project. In the end, Think and Grow Rich was the result of 25,000 interviews, 1000 of which were "in-depth". Napoleon Hill, himself, used The Secret to achieve wealth and fame.