*A Book Review*
The Law of Success
By Napoleon Hill
by Michael C. Gray
October 15, 2002
If you know the name Napoleon Hill, you probably associate it with the book Think and Grow Rich. I have previously written a review of Think and Grow Rich, which has probably provided a road map to success to more people than any other book, besides scriptures like the Bible.
Before Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill wrote a series of sixteen lessons, called The Law of Success, which were designed to teach fifteen principles of successful living to students, starting at the high school level.
The Law of Success has long been out of print, until now. Melvin Powers and the Wilshire Book Company, who sold millions of copies of Think and Grow Rich in paperback, have now published The Law of Success as two paperback volumes. Now you can have your own copy to study and enjoy.
My paperback edition of Think and Grow Rich is 296 pages. Each of the sixteen lessons in The Law of Success averages over 100 pages for a total of over 1,600 pages, so reading the set is challenging, but I think rewarding.
The Law of Success was first published in 1928. Napoleon Hill interviewed the greatest leaders of his time in business, politics, science and religion as research, and many of them also gave him suggestions for the lessons. At the time the book was published, Henry Ford was the wealthiest and most powerful man in the world, so Ford is one of Hill's role models. He claimed Alexander Graham Bell practically wrote the chapter on the Master Mind. Some of the explanations of chemistry and science now seem antiquated, but most of the material is as relevant now as it was in 1928. Some concepts, such as telepathy, are still little understood but are being studied by governments and universities.
Studying these lessons also gives insight into Napoleon Hill himself.
Napoleon Hill's idea of success was not just the accomplishment of goals. He wanted his students to accomplish something wonderful with their lives. A key principle is to develop a Definite Chief Aim to be your life's work. This "simple" step is a major stumbling block for many of us. We have trouble deciding what to do.
Although he was careful to satisfy his readers' desire for building material wealth, he also emphasized that material wealth doesn't necessarily bring happiness. Hill encouraged his readers to resist society's (advertisers') promotion of acquiring possessions and "keeping up with the Joneses." He encouraged his readers to cultivate the habit of saving and of doing more than paid for, of approaching life for giving, not getting.
One of Hill's unique ideas was the Master Mind. Today, the closest term that we have is synergy. Hill believed that when two or more people worked together for a common goal in harmony, another "mind" became involved that enabled the group to accomplish superior results. He believed it is essential to develop a Master Mind group to accomplish your wonderful Definite Chief Aim. Today, I think the most visible advocate of this idea is Barbara Sher, who calls it a "Success Team." For small service businesses, the Master Mind group may be a network of associates serving a common client or customer.
Napoleon Hill was one of the great sales trainers of his day, and concepts of successful selling are woven throughout the lessons. The similarity of the concepts taught by Hill and those included by Frank Bettger in How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling (first published 21 years later) is striking.
Hill served in the armed services during World War I, and was appalled by the wastefulness of war. He was a great admirer of Woodrow Wilson, who promoted the League of Nations, and Warren Harding, who formed a World Court. Hill believed in promoting world peace as the primary value of society, instead of seeking wealth. He wanted to see children and society in general indoctrinated with the value of world peace through the schools, the press and the churches. His own contribution to this effort was publishing the Golden Rule magazine.
Hill knew that applying his principles could result in the accomplishment of great evil without some balancing guideline. Historically, Napoleon Bonaparte was an example of a person of great accomplishment in establishing power but who also hurt many people. Hill urged the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," as the necessary guideline to be adopted by anyone seeking greatness.
Reading a book will not make you successful. It's what you do with what you learn that makes the difference. The Law of Success remains a valuable series of lessons to study and apply in accomplishing more with your life.
Buy it on Amazon: The Law of Success In Sixteen Lessons by Napoleon Hill.
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