A few months ago I said I was going to start
doing a book review of the 1937 classic written by Napoleon Hill:
Think and Grow Rich. The time is now for me to start this review!
I’ve also decided to do this by reviewing individual chapters in the book.
Everyone in their lifetime will run into obstacles that may seem insurmountable.
How we attack those obstacles and get to a successful conclusion is the nexus
of chapter 1 in this groundbreaking title.
The most amazing aspect of this book is that it is still relevant 75 years
after it was first published. There are books that were published yesterday
that are no longer relevant. To stand the test of time and continue to be sold
and absorbed by new generations eager to learn the secrets is a testament
to the amount of work that Napoleon Hill put into this influential tome.
Sometimes Obsession can be a Useful Tool!
The first story in chapter 1 finds us hearing the tale of Mr. Barnes who is completely
obsessed with partnering with Thomas Edison. The story reveals a very stark distinction
drawn early in the chapter between Barnes working for Thomas Edison or
partnering with Thomas Edison. The delineation was made that he would
be a partner and not just an employee.
Working with Edison
When the Edison Dictation Machine needed to be sold, Barnes was the
man who got the call and he ended up selling this machine and heading
up this section of the company for many years. Then there was the story of
Mr. Darby. Darby had done geologic and geographic research while he was
looking for Gold. All of this information pointed to one specific spot, and he
invested heavily in the machinery aspects that could bring the Gold from the
vein out of the ground. At first the Gold was flowing but finally an impasse
was reached because all of the digging equipment had not found any more
Gold. Unfortunately for Mr. Darby he did not enlist the services of a geologist
who could have told him exactly where the vein of Gold ran in relation to the
Darby gave up, sold all of his equipment, and the new owner “the junkman”
did some research and found that the vein was only 3 feet in a different
direction from the initial digging site.
An Insurance Whiz is Made!
Darby took the lesson that he learned from his mining experience and
put his failure to good use. He became an insurance salesman who would not
take no for an answer. This persistence eventually led him to be a multi-million
dollar earner. Darby took his greatest defeat and turned it into his greatest triumph.
Then there was the story of the little “colored” girl. Now I have to put in a proviso here
as this is not at all politically correct in terminology in society today, but in 1937
this was a perfectly common descriptor.
Stand and Shriek: You Will Win!
The colored child had been sent by her mother to get $.50 from Mr. Darby’s uncle.
When she first encounters him the uncle rebukes her and tells her basically to get lost.
She does not leave, and the uncle reprimands her vocally again. She still does not leave,
and at this point the uncle moves toward her in a manner that could be construed as
aggressive. The girl stands her ground and screams at the top of her lungs that her
mother needs the $.50!
At this the uncle takes a $.50 cent piece from his pocket and hands it to her.
She has won the confrontation!
What is the secret in Chapter 1?
What do all these stories teach us: Persistence and Dogged-Determination are
able to turn defeat and failure into triumph and ultimate success!
Never give up when you are 3-feet from the Gold!
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