Think and Grow Rich - Book Review

July 19, 2022

The book I'm going to review is "Think and Grow Rich," written by Napoleon Hill. Reading this book in public might be a bit awkward, not because it's poorly written, but because its title could come off as superficial. Given that people often judge a book by its cover, I worry they may judge me based on what I'm reading.

2022 07 19

Let's start with a quotation from Henry Ford that is featured in the book: "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right." This quote encapsulates the essence of the book. Initially, I was skeptical about reading it. Was it a scam? A Ponzi scheme? Or perhaps an attempt to persuade me to invest in Bitcoin and NFTs? The author claims to reveal "the biggest secret of all time," even though he has faced accusations of fraud and business failure.

However, before passing judgment, it's important to understand the book's historical context. It was published in 1937, during the Great Depression. Today, we find ourselves in a similar situation, with the stock market having dropped by 20%. Despite this, the book remains a bestseller, has sold more than 20 million copies, and belongs to the self-improvement genre. I've read many self-improvement books, and if they were as effective as they claim, I'd already be wealthy and retired on a yacht, enjoying my life.

The book emphasizes mindset, distilled down to a simple formula: desire, faith, and then action. Despite its title, the book clarifies that you can't simply think your way to riches; action is required. If you possess enough desire, have faith in yourself, and conquer your fears, you'll be compelled to act.

The book features numerous motivational stories and case studies of successful individuals, like American industrialist Andrew Carnegie. While it claims to be supported by research, the methodology doesn't appear to be rigorously scientific. The best way to test the book's ideas is to put them into action.

Don't expect to get paid simply for knowing something; you have to act on that knowledge. The world doesn't pay people for what they "know"; it pays them for what they do or for their ability to inspire others to act. A skilled leader can significantly increase the efficiency of others, persuading them to provide better service than they would on their own.

It's one thing to want money—everyone does—but it's another thing entirely to actually be worth more. Many people confuse their desires with their true worth. Your financial goals have nothing to do with your actual value, which is determined solely by your ability to provide valuable service or to encourage others to do so.

Success is unattainable for those who repel people with a negative personality. Power is achieved through cooperative efforts, and a negative personality won't facilitate such cooperation.

Having a college degree doesn't necessarily make one educated. An educated person has learned how to achieve their goals without infringing upon the rights of others. Education is less about accumulating knowledge and more about applying it effectively and consistently.

If you're obsessed with the idea of becoming rich, my first recommendation would be to read this book.

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Victor Leung, who blog about business, technology and personal development. Happy to connect on LinkedIn