There once was a man who died before my time. He was widely known for writing a book which is one of the best-selling books of all time. His remarkable sayings are still being used today, like “Quitters never win and winners never quit” and “What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
Napoleon Hill wrote one of the greatest books of all time, Think and Grow Rich. The book was published in 1937 and has been a life-changer for many successful people. The book has not only taught me a philosophy of achievement, but amazed me with it’s own story. It is the history behind the book that makes it as powerful as the message it teaches.
Mr. Hill was born in a two room cabin in Virginia. His family was poor and his mother died when he was ten years old. Napoleon started working for a newspaper at the age of thirteen and paid for his own education. In 1908, he went on an assignment to interview famous men of our nation. At that time, he met the richest man in the world, Andrew Carnegie. At that time, Mr. Carnegie gave Napoleon Hill the opportunity of a lifetime. He commissioned Hill, with no pay, to work for him for 20 years. His task was to create a philosophy of personal achievement. The only help provided to him by Carnegie was letter of endorsement to a large number of successful people, many of them millionaires.
As part of his research, Hill interviewed many of the most famous people of the time, including Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, George Eastman, Henry Ford, Elmer Gates, John D. Rockefeller, Charles M. Schwab, F.W. Woolworth, William Wrigley Jr., John Wanamaker, William Jennings Bryan, Joseph Stalin, Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Charles Allen Ward and Jennings Randolph. The project lasted over twenty years, during which Hill became an adviser to Carnegie. As a result of these studies, the Philosophy of Achievement was offered as a formula for rags-to-riches success by Hill and Carnegie, published initially in 1928 as a study course called, The Law of Success. The Achievement formula was detailed further and published in home-study courses, including the seventeen-volume “Mental Dynamite” series until 1941. (from Wikipedia)
From 1933 to 1936, Napoleon Hill worked for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. During this time, he was not paid. When FDR asked him how much he was getting for his valuable service, Hill told him that he hadn’t received a penny yet and he wasn’t about to ask for one, but if the president insisted, he could be given a salary of $1 per year, which became his new salary. During this same time, Mr. Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich along with other books without the intent to publish. At the end of the Great Depression, Napoleon Hill decided that this manuscript ought to be published and it has since sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
While working with FDR, Napoleon Hill collected more than 500 influential Americans to change the attitude of the American citizen during a time of economic crisis. He united newspapers, radio stations, political parties, and even religious organizations with the same purpose, to spread the word about the greatness of America, while keeping away from the negativity and fear that was spreading.
Living well into his late 80’s, Napoleon Hill authored nine books, was a key adviser to the president, and created the Napoleon Hill Foundation to teach the philosophy of personal achievement.