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Think and Grow Rich Summary by Chapters (Napoleon Hill’s Best Insights)

July 14, 2021

up to date chapter by chapter summary of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

In this post, I break down and give my opinion on the bestselling book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

here's the deal

You'll get an in-depth look at each lesson and learn why this book has stood the test of time

But you are probably wondering

"Is this book really worth all the hubbub?"

By the end of this article you'll know whether Think and Grow Rich is for you. 

Why you want to read this review

I not only share about the book, but how Think and Grow Rich gave me the mindset that led to my first online business success

A lil bit about me... My name is Ippei...

From 2014 to today, I went from barely affording a studio apartment in Detroit to living in a nice flat in downtown San Francisco by building and ranking simple websites to provide customers for small businesses (like that tree service site next to me). 

Think & Grow Rich Led Me to Lead Generation

When I first read Think and Grow Rich, it encouraged me to think for myself what I wanted for my life, rather than waddle for the weekend with the rest of the rat race. 

In my experience, it came down to this:

Ultimately I had to choose either to continue spending 40 hours a week building someone else's dream or to make my own dreams come true

I'm not going to lie to you...

My journey's included a lot of nights burning the midnight oil, but since gaining my freedom from the 9-5 life in 2015, I've been able to explore Europe as well as visit my family in Japan #travels

Follow me on Instagram here

Think and Grow Rich gave me the mindset and this lead generation coaching program gave me the skillset to escape my 9-5 in 7 months. 

Now let's dive into Think and Grow Rich!

9 lesson summary of rich dad poor dad infographic

16 Chapters Summarized

Absorb the Core Principles of Think and Grow Rich in this In-Depth Summary of each section. 

Free Book

Think & Grow Rich Book in PDF Form

Read the Cornerstone Self-Help Book Think and Grow Rich via your laptop or phone now. 

Think and Grow Rich is a standout among inspirational and self-help books.

I mean, it's like sold almost as many copies as the Bible.

(Not really, but you know what I mean)

It was published in 1937 and been a best seller ever since. (source)

It's like they like couldn't get enough. 

Now, in 2020, it remains the cornerstone of personal development. 

When Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich, it was intended to be a self-help book for readers interested in using psychology to better themselves, but has been adopted by people from all walks of life, encompassing all age ranges.

Would You Believe Who Inspired Hill's Book?

America’s richest man at that time, the steel king, Andrew Carnegie, is credited as the person who inspired Napoleon Hill’s best selling book. 

So taken in by Carnegie’s magnetic personality and level of success that Hill stalked like a bloodhound on a rabbit trail, and through his persistence, got several interviews with the billionaire. 

Why do you think Hill admired Carnegie?

Here's the deal:

Ultimately, Hill had a heart for others.

He wanted to break down the steel king's wisdom and forge it into a tool so that others could build themselves new lives. 

It gets better

All told, Hill met with more than twenty other wealthy people, studying everything about them: their daily routines, their habits, and possibly the most important of all: how they made decisions. 

(Admittedly, having Carnegie as a friend probably gave Hill a foot in their door)

Hill became a student of successful people, and after years of study he came out with 16 “laws” he shared with his readers which he claims if followed, can lead to personal success.

Think and Grow Rich became a literary force to be reckoned with, selling in excess of 20 million copies since its release. (source)

It's true

It was published at the perfect time.

People were coming out of the Great Depression’s tail-end and rebuilding their personal wealth.

Think about it:

Most people wanted some sort of guide to give them confidence in their business decisions, reeling from thousands of businesses that succumbed to bankruptcy during the Great Depression.

And Hill’s book filled that gap.

No wonder it sold like hotcakes after its release.

Booksellers can't stock their shelves with copies of Think and Grow Rich fast enough.

Stats on Think and Grow Rich

BusinessWeek Best-Seller List:
Ranked 6th
1st Published:
At the end of the Great Depression (1937)
Number Sold:
Recommended by:
John C. Maxwell (on his "Lifetime 'Must Read' List)
1st Published:
During the Great Depression (1930's)

Napoleon Hill Himself: A Brief Bio

“Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

Sound familiar?

It's been around awhile. 

92 years in fact. 

In 1928, it was published in the Law of Success, Napoleon Hill's first book. 

But it wasn't the first thing Hill had written.

(I mean, would you sit down just write 1,200 pages?)

Napoleon Hill was a gifted writer from a young age, as evidenced by the eye-catching line he wrote above.

Born in October 1883, Hill was the oldest son in a simple family who tilled the land near Pound, Virginia.

He grew up in wretched scarcity, his misfortune compounded by his mother’s death.

Hill was only 9 when his mother died, but he gained another mother figure with his father’s remarriage two years later.

The new Mrs. Hill was a strict disciplinarian, pushed young Hill to digest books like most of us drink ice-cold kool-aid on a hot summer day. 

The budding writer learned discipline and thrived under a more structured lifestyle.

At 13, he was already a contributing writer to numerous local small-town newspapers. (just getting started)

Not contented with literary work, he ventured into several business ventures which all flopped. 

The first companies he founded either went bankrupt or got closed down.

(Typical of an Entrepreneur, am I right?)

But, walking his talk, Hill didn't fold or give up. 

He kept his goal in mind. 

After his business failures, Hill struck gold when he wrote his first bestseller, The Law of Success in 1928.

Think and Grow Rich followed 9 years later, which cemented his reputation as the grandfather of personal development books focusing on improving the human potential.

Because Hill had flocks of fans, many of us don't know that he wasn't an angel. 

He did have a dark side....

Was Napoleon Hill a Fraud?

Hill’s lumber company in Alabama failed in 1907, charged with mail fraud. In 1909, he established an automobile school in Washington, D.C., which was later accused of fraud.

In 1915, Hill landed in hot water in Chicago when he sold shares of his George Washington Institute of Advertising School for capitalization as high as $100,000. But his school was only worth $1,200.

Think and Grow Rich – Chapter Summaries

Chapter 1: Introduction

think and grow rich summary chapter 1 introduction

To some, Hill seems a little out there, believing that if you get what you want in tune with the Universe, you'll mystically receive what you want. 

A little woo woo, right?

Stick with me, 'cause that's about as weird it gets. 

As this is the beginning, Hill outlines the "road to success" process a bit more, saying that you must get your rear in gear by clarifying (aka writing down) what you want.

Whether that's drawing a picture of the house of your dreams or the exact amount of money you want to have in your bank account. 

This books gives you a path with clear instructions. Hill shares seven principles of getting rich and achieving success in whatever you do.

He points out the power of your mind, its capacity to empower you to reach your goals or lead you astray almost as many times as Meghan Trainor said she's "all about that bass."

To illustrate the mental side of the dream-to-reality process, Hill drops a non-fiction fable

His story uses the journey of light-bulb inventor Thomas Edison's partner, Edwin C. Barnes, who engaged his mind (and consistent action) to make his dream to work with Edison come true. 

The bottom line is this:

Key Takeaway
The more intentional you are about focusing your conscious mind on what you want, and then communicating what you want to your subconscious mind through reciting your desire aloud, meditating on that picture and taking steps toward your goal. 

Don’t underestimate the power of your thoughts.

You've got more potential energy there than McGregor has in his fists!

(hard to believe, but it's true)

illustration in ippei think and grow rich summary chapter 1

Chapter 2: Desire

think and grow rich summary chapter 2 desire

Hill calls desire the starting point of all achievement.

You've heard the phrase:

"You gotta want it"?

That basically is what Hill is saying.

You must become obsessed with the object of your desires. 

In the 21st century, Grant Cardone put it this way:

The meat of the chapter is Hill using Barnes as an example of how to move your dream from a figment of your imagination into your foremost obsession. 

I'll let you in on a secret:

Barnes eventually succeeded in setting up a business partnership with Edison. 


Hill breaks it down like Eminem at the end of 8 Mile

Here's his process: 

Converting Dreams to Reality

  • Figure Out What You Want and Write It Down
  • Decide what you are willing to exchange for what you want (time, money, etc.).
  • Set a timeline for your success.
  • Establish an action plan. Begin immediately.
  • Verbally say what you want. Repeatedly. Morning & Evening.
  • Read your declaration aloud twice daily. See and believe the money is already in your hands.

Easy to read and mull over, but when taken seriously, these instructions will grant your mind the power to shift its focus.

Consistently perform the declarations as taught by Hill and you will go on to greater things.

Chapter 3: Faith

think and grow rich summary chapter 3 faith

Do you see how it works?

Affirm each morning and evening what you want

The consistent affirmation "auto-suggests" your  want, building your faith that eventually you'll have what you want. 

That faith builds your obsession with that want

Obsession increases your focus, and gives you more energy to direct toward getting what you want

Take the example of a person falling in love with another: 

They get obsessed with that person, and are willing to

  • Go the extra mile to be with their person (change work shifts)
  • Spend money to please that person (gifts, flowers, you get the idea)
  • Drive for hours to see that person

Now doing that with another person is pretty much biologically wired in

(aka puberty and hormones)

But becoming obsessed with a certain goal aint so natural

So Napoleon Hill showed the step-by-step process in chapter 2

In this chapter, Hill walks through exactly what you must do, providing a "Self-Confidence Formula" that you can copy verbatim and make your own by signing and dating the bottom. 

By doing this, you show yourself that you are committed to making your want your reality. 

In my case, I was committed to building an online business.

But I didn't know what kind or on what platform that profit generating machine would be made. 

All I knew was that:

no matter what I would eventually be successful as an online entrepreneur.

And inside of 5 years, I'd brought my dream into reality

Back in the day, I made my own version the agreement. 

Here's a copy of Hill's agreement if you'd like to make it your own as I did

Napoleon Hill

“FAITH is a state of mind which may be induced, or created, by affirmation or repeated instructions to the subconscious mind, through the principle of auto-suggestion (self-talk).”

If you are an analytic personality like I am, you might wonder what principle the development of faith is based on. 

After doing a bit of homework, I think there's some pretty legitimate science behind what Hill's talking about. 

Here's why:

Hill believes faith is a state of mind which may be achieved to constant, repetitive self-suggestion or verbal affirmations.

This is how the principle of Neuro-linguistic Programming works too.

Priming your brain to be more receptive to following the principles of success.

Chapter 4: Auto-Suggestion

Looks a bit complicated?

Let's break down "auto-suggestion"

(it's not a word we use in daily life)

It's the bridge between conscious thought and the subconscious part of the brain.

how auto suggestion works think and grow rich

It is willing yourself to create thought habits until you capture that part of your brain that’s below the surface, the elusive but powerful inner force.

Napoleon Hill

“Auto-suggestion is self-suggestion.”

Definition of Auto-Suggestion defines auto-suggestion as “the hypnotic or subconscious adoption of an idea via repetitive statements in order to change behavior.”

You will yourself to believe you’re rich and successful, feel it in all your five senses.

Rinse & Repeat everyday until your subconscious mind adapts to the idea.

Chapter 5: Specialized Knowledge

Another powerful force that should be used is knowledge. Not just rote memorization or book knowledge, but its functional application to everyday situations.

The mighty mind knows no limits. It will break any barriers put in front of it.

The saddest sight to see is a man chock-full of pedantic knowledge but not agile enough to translate that awareness to solve problems. Pedantic know-how when unused is a burden to the holder.

The more specialized knowledge you possess, the more you’ll attract success. Use your brain to your advantage.

Knowledge withheld is a waste of resources. Implement your ideas and voice out your observations as you see fit.

In a way, Hill declares that street learning is more important than book learning.

Chapter 6: Imagination

This is the most important step to success.

There are two types:

The Synthetic imagination which concerns retrieving ideas you’ve stored in your mind and cobbling together a new approach.

The Creative imagination is more advantageous to humankind. Creative means venturing to create an original thought/concept/idea from nothing.

As a way to illustrate the two kinds of imagination, Hill elaborated on business tycoon Asa Griggs Candler, who founded the behemoth that we now know as Coca-Cola.

Candler first started working in a pharmacy. Through that business he met Dr. John Pemberton who invented a tonic to cure headaches and migraines. Pemberton called it Coca-Cola.

Recognizing the potential of this fizzy drink, Candler bought the patent from Pemberton and set out to establish a distributing plant to make the drinks.

The product became so popular it got its own nickname: “Coke.” Today, its one of the most well-known products around the world.

Napoleon Hill

“The Imagination is literally the workshop wherein are fashioned all plans created by man.”

Without Asa Candler’s passion and marketing magic, we wouldn’t be enjoying Coke and its multiple flavored concoctions in these modern times.

Chapter 7: Organized Planning

Create your own colony of entrepreneur-focused men and women and cultivate frequent engagement in the group – enduring that each one stays focused on achieving success.

You'll learn more about how to do this in Chapter 10! 

In this chapter, Hill stresses the importance of writing down what you plan to do and put your process from pen to paper

as if all that writing isn't enough

then you must vet those plans through your mastermind, through your coaches, through experienced people who can point out the strengths and weaknesses of your plan


So then your plan can be the best it can be. 

Napoleon Hill

“The most intelligent person living cannot succeed in accumulating money without plans which are practical and workable.”

Such a group can be called a mastermind, and the energy created within can motivate you to do more sales or and pursue success without flagging.  

It is important that you participate actively in your mastermind group and not just be a passive listener, for when we vigorously enter into a community will we be able to truly learn.

A mastermind community is essential to keep your focus and remind you of your goals, and what it takes to achieve them.

Hang out with ambitious individuals and you imbibe their fearless spirit too.

Socialize with slackers and losers, you become one of them. As the quote says, we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.

Chapter 8: Decision

Be like the great industrialist Henry Ford – stop procrastinating and take action now!

In this chapter, Hill pits making decisions quickly and putting important decisions off against each other.

Check this out:

Then he shows why, using the story of Henry Ford, the wealthy have committed themselves to making decisions quickly. 

Napoleon Hill

“Procrastination, the opposite of decision, is a common enemy which practically every person must conquer.”

When you understand yourself and what you have to do to achieve satisfaction in life, your mind will be quick on the uptake, flexible and nimble.

You’ll become a lightning-fast decision-maker. 

Decide what to do now and just do it.

Procrastination only multiplies the fear in your head and wasted valuable time that should be better spent taking action.

Chapter 9: Persistence

Definition: Persistence
"Firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition"

It takes enduring grit to achieve success, because it doesn’t arrive in your lap after a single effort.

Napoleon Hill

“Those who can 'take it' are bountifully rewarded for their persistence. They receive, as their compensation, whatever goal they are pursuing.” 

Having a well-defined purpose, bunches of self-confidence, oodles of desire, a deep well of knowledge, innate willpower, and good habits will result to a state of mind called persistence.

Cultivate the will and the determination to handle bad business breaks and down times.

Persistence is absolutely necessary to reach success. Without persistence, you will turn back at the worst moment because you’ve had “enough.”

Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under 4 minutes, took years of training before he accomplished this record-breaking feat.

He ran everyday, running out of breath. Every person in the track and field arena always told him it’s impossible to break the 4-minute mile, mocking his efforts to break it. They said human beings aren’t just made to run that fast.

D’you think Roger Bannister gave up?

No, he kept training. He ran faster and faster until in 1954, he ran a mile in 3 minutes, 59 seconds. He broke what was deemed impossible to break.

He was 25 when he finally did it. The law of averages doesn’t work if you only try once.

Sir Rodger Bannister narrates what happened that day in this 4 minute video:

Chapter 10: The Power of the Mastermind

Starting out this chapter, Hill talks about power, specifically how important power is to building wealth.

Think of your business as a vehicle, a sports car , a Lamborghini to be specific. 

(be cool or go home, am I right?)

But your Lambo not going anywhere without properly made gas.

Well, the fuel is the power Hill is talking about. 

And the gas being properly made comes out of a collaboration between fuel engineers, car engineers and a host of other knowledgeable experts. 

That collaboration is what Hill is talking about when he speaks of a "Mastermind."

For example, Henry Ford didn't know much about the technical side of creating vehicles, but he overcame his lack of knowledge by creating a mastermind of individuals who were committed to his goal of creating an 8 liter engine for his cars. 

Napoleon Hill

“The 'mastermind' may be defined as: 'Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose (a goal).”

These individuals were tools in Ford's tool box, as they were springs of knowledge when it came to the mathematics, the design and the creation of engines. 

What role did Ford play?

He provided the direction, coordinating the mastermind to work in the same direction. 

His contribution was the obsession with creating an 8 liter engine and his devotion to making that type of engine a reality. 

For me, I was committed to becoming a successful online entrepreneur. 

After months of searching the internet every night after work, I bumped into a guy online showing how he brought in monthly mailbox money (recurring revenue) using Google. 

Long story short: I joined the coaching program.

But it turned out to be much more than simply an online educational course. 

I was put into a group of people who were all putting in work to create their own online businesses. 

I was, as Hill would say, plopped into a mastermind, which accelerated my growth. 

Let’s admit it:

humans are social creatures.

We are influenced by the people who live and move closest to us.

We unconsciously copy their lifestyle and imbibe their mindset.

It is well accepted that being around successful people will motivate an individual to pursue success as if his life depended on it.

Personal mentorship is one of the secrets of success.

Accountability is the key to making bold decisions that brings you closer to success.

Mentorship is a huge deal, and I was very keen to experience its benefits. Book after self-help book I read mentions that the author really ramped up their business when they found themselves a successful mentor willing to instruct them and develop their biz skills.

Everything Hill said about the Mastermind holds water better than an orange Home Depot Bucket.

 I’ll attest to it as I'm still in the mastermind that is filled with hardworking business owners as hungry for success as I am. 

Today there's over 6,000 of us helping each other.

but don't take my word for it

Here's Patric's story:

We take care of each other and empower the other when energies are flagging off.

Success births more success.

Learn more about the mastermind by clicking below

Chapter 11: The Mystery of Sex Transmutation

Sexual power, when channeled into the right direction, can be harnessed and harvested as a tremendous source of energy and power.

Rather than channeling this energy toward the creation of children, many of the successful people in this world transmute this energy and put it to work for them in creating solutions for problems they see in the world. 

Sex Transmutation is not hard to explain:

It means switching of the mind from thoughts of physical expression to expressing it toward other endeavors.

For instance, Hill notes that the success of famed preacher Billy Sunday was rooted in his ability to transmute sex emotion into powerful sermons. 

Sex Desire is the most powerful of human desires.

When motivated by the sex emotion, people experience high levels of imagination, courage, will power, persistence, and creative ability unknown to them at other times.

When harnessed and redirected along other lines this driving force will be used as powerful creative forces in the accumulation of riches & spiritual power. 

Napoleon Hill

“Fortunate, indeed, is the person who has discovered how to give sex emotion an outlet through some form of creative effort, for he has, by that discovery, lifted himself to the status of a genius.”

Key Takeaway
Transmutation of sexual energy = using your sexual energy as fuel to create great work or do great business.

Chapter 12: The Subconscious Mind

If you can condition Napoleon Hill’s roadmap to success and wealth into your subconscious, you will bring forth the positive results you want.

Napoleon Hill

“The Subconscious Mind consists of a field of consciousness, in which every impulse of thought that reaches the objective mind through any of the five senses, is classified and recorded, and from which thoughts may be recalled or withdrawn as letters may be taken from a filing cabinet.”

Hill stipulates that we can plant ideas in our subconscious mind to harness its power to achieve what we want in life.

Chapter 13: The Brain

Our brains are very powerful, complex and controlling.

Every decision we take throughout our daily life is guided by our brain.

Napoleon Hill

“The subconscious mind is the “sending station” of the brain, through which vibrations of thought are broadcast.”

Our brain is a broadcasting station that sends and receives signals, so if you surround yourself with like-minded individuals, ambitious and running after success like a hungry dog after a meat truck, you can achieve success more easily.

The more “success thoughts” our brain receives, the higher chances we can achieve our goals.

Chapter 14: The Sixth Sense

This is a hunch. An instinct.

Napoleon Hill

“The SIXTH SENSE is that portion of the subconscious mind which has been referred to as the Creative Imagination.”

Your gut feeling.

Hill believes that the sixth sense can connect to our infinite intelligence.

It can link us up with spiritual and mental thoughts that guide and connect us so we avoid impending dangers.

Chapter 15: How to Outwit the Six Ghosts of Fear

The six ghosts are poverty, old age, criticism, illness, love, and death.

The 6 Ghosts of Fear

  • Poverty (Can't buy what your family needs)
  • Old Age ((too senile to complete your bucket list)
  • Criticism (negative FB comments, anyone?)
  • Illness (Dying young from cancer)
  • Loss of Love (broken heart)
  • Death

In this chapter, Hill goes through each fear, showing how it influences our behavior for the worse. 

But here's the deal

The lesson that Hill tries to get across can be boiled down to this:

Key Takeaway from Chapter 15 
Either you control your mind, or your mind controls you.

Are you holding the dial on your mind? 

How can you control your mind?

In 2020, we've seen a ton of chaos come through the media: from the hype about Covid-19 (is it bad or no worse than a bad flu or what??) to the protests happening around the US. 

How do you stay in control during such a chaotic period?

Hill put it this way: self-suggestion (auto-suggestion). 

Whatever you feed your mind, your mind will eat. 

If you simply let the fear mongering media feed your mind, you'll end up like this guy

Our situation today isn't that different from the situation Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich in (which during the end of the Great Depression)

Hill saw a ton of people stuck in their fear of poverty like this guy was stuck in concrete in Grey's Anatomy

So he's like

Guys, form groups of people who want to get shit done like you do

Meet with them regularly

Share your plans to reach the moon with them

(and be open to their constructive criticism, it'll make your plans better)

Run your big decisions by your mastermind and you'll make better (and faster) decisions. 

Napoleon Hill

“INDECISION is the seedling of FEAR.”

Master your fears so you can build up your faith instead of cowering in a corner, paralyzed by doubts.

Don’t let the six ghosts (fears) limit your potential and stunt your dreams of entrepreneurship.

Instead, surround yourself with a group that's going in the direction you are, and get the support you know you need to reach your destination sooner than later. 

How I Grew Rich Through Lead Generation

In 2014, I joined a mastermind that supported me step by step to getting free from my 9-5 only 7 months after joining

(that was phase one of the plan)

2 years later

I became one of the lead earners in the group

Follow Me
Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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