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Think and Grow Rich: Book Review-Chapter 5: General Versus Specialized Knowledge

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Chapter 5:  Specialized Knowledge

This is another blog post that is going to continue with my journey through the book Think and Grow Rich that was written by Napoleon Hill and published in 1937.

In chapter 5 we are confronted with a dilemma of what specific knowledge is necessary to the entrepreneurial mind. Hill goes very far to say that book intelligence is general intelligence and is not necessarily what is needed when looking to start a business or begin an entrepreneurial venture. When dealing directly with those who teach in universities and colleges, Hill had this to say:

“Most of the professors have but little or no money. They specialize on teaching knowledge but they do not specialize on the organization, or the use of knowledge.”1

The knowledge that you need to be an effective businessman or woman in this particular day and age is not all that different from what you needed in 1937. Robert Kiyosaki is the modern-day business maven who also calls for a revision of what is taught in schools and universities. Children need to be taught about money, about credit, about assets, and about liabilities and how all of these financial tools are used to build wealth.

Ford’s Got A Better Idea

Napoleon Hill used as an example Henry Ford. Hill relates the story that during the First World War, Henry Ford was labeled an “Ignorant Pacifist.” We are not told directly if Ford was more upset about being be called ignorant or a pacifist but he decided to take the Chicago paper that labeled him to court for libel. During the course of the trial it was brought out that although Ford did not possess a large amount of classical education, he was a man who knew how to put together the teams of specialists who could get to the desired result he envisioned. In some respects this is a much greater gift than having all the book smarts of every library in the world. He could use his ability to set goals, integrate teams of specialists and get his cars off the production line as he saw fit. Ford also answered one question that particularly made him angry. When asked one particularly offensive question, Ford’s response was:

“If I should really want to answer the foolish question you have just asked or any of the other questions you have been asking me let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons on my desk and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid men who can answer any question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts.”2

Others who were mentioned in this particular chapter were Thomas Edison, who did not have a formal education, and Andrew Carnegie, who knew nothing about the steel industry but was another who knew exactly what specialists to speak to when he needed to get things accomplished.

The MasterMind

Everything revolves around how you can get your knowledge, but not just any knowledge. Everyone who aspires to be an Entrepreneur needs to find a mentor and a group of those who are on a higher level in the particular field to become a Mastermind group. The Mastermind group can completely transform the abilities of one individual by utilizing the specialized knowledge of the many for a desired outcome. Hill was very specific on how this knowledge was to be attained. He was also very specific about the leadership qualities of those who sought out this particular type of knowledge. The main avenue of knowledge that was proposed in 1937 was the Home Study Course. The amount of writing that Hill gave to this avenue of study leads me to believe that he was a firm devotee of home-study as a way to rise to the top of one’s profession. In this day and age an online degree or specialized courses in whatever an individual’s field of employment would seem to be the closest relation to the Home Study Courses in 2014.

In this chapter Hill specifically points out that lack of ambition is a killer in today’s workplace. You have to be driven, you have to use your specialized knowledge, and you have to use all of the first chapters in this particular book to achieve your final goal of riches. You can also use the ability to purchase specialized knowledge as well, and knowing where to purchase the specialized knowledge is also a well-respected trait for any businessman or businesswoman.

Success through Imagination and Application

Finally in this chapter, Hill has two specific examples where people use their knowledge and ideas to build a business that was outside the realm of the everyday individual. The first example he gave was of a Mr. Wier who had been let go from his previous employer where he was a Construction Engineer. Mr. Wier took this time to go back to law school and complete his degree in a much accelerated fashion. Now Mr. Wier was over 40 years old when he made this change, but he decided that his prospects were better if he took this step and applied himself to becoming a lawyer. Once his law firm was up and running, he was hugely successful and even had to turn clients away at certain points in time.

The other example was of the woman who put together the marketing packets in book form for her son. He was just out of school and did not have a large array of experiences in the workplace to draw from, but his mother put together a booklet that allowed him to highlight various points in his life that could show experiences that would cross over into the workplace. He ended up getting a position where he started as a junior executive instead of at the bottom of the corporate ladder.

This chapter is all about cultivating your desire, seeking an opportunity, and applying your imagination to come up with an idea that sets you apart from all other businessmen. The ability to solve a problem in a unique and innovative way is paramount to setting you apart as an individual.  

1 and 2  Hill, Napoleon:  Think and Grow Rich, 1937

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Think and Grow Rich Book Review: Chapter 4- Autosuggestion

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In chapter 4 we learn all the nuances of Autosuggestion.

What are the things that hold us back from attaining what we want in life?

In some respects we are held back by a system that makes us into employees as soon as we are old enough to go to school. Autosuggestion can be a tool that helps us to break the cycle of continuous training for a cubicle world. In 1937 Napoleon Hill was not looking at a culture of cubicles, but was staring down the barrel of a factory populace who trudged off to work every day at the car plant, or the steel mill, or the defense plant, or the Tennessee Valley Authority. They needed Autosuggestion as badly then as we need it now.

What is Autosuggestion?

Our mental capabilities are composed of the conscious day-to-day world which is fed by all of our senses. The underlying drive for who we are and what we can become is contained more in the subconscious then in the conscious narrative. To get to a point where we are bringing success and riches into our lives, we have to focus on building dreams and goals and voicing them repetitively every single day. You have to get to the point where you are repetitively speaking with emotion about your goals and your dreams. Over time, the consistent repetition of voicing your dreams will begin to make them move from only a thought into the concrete world of reality.

Voice your Desires

The example that I gave in my YouTube video was if you know you want to make $30,000 a month by March 2015, then you must repetitively speak to the universe and give voice to the stream constantly. If you can continue to give voice to the stream of consciousness on a consistent daily basis, then this dream will move from dream state to a reality state.

Chapter 4 was the shortest chapter of the book so far, but if length were a measure of importance, then this chapter would not even rank on the list of most influential chapters of this book. But length is not a measure of importance in Think and Grow Rich, and this is probably one of the most important chapters Hill wrote. The central theme of this book, to think and grow rich, cannot occur unless the individual has already established a mindset that attracts and visualizes long-term success. Without a background of fervent desire and an indomitable spirit that fosters a given result, the other tenets contained in the book will not be able to produce results. The dreams and desires that are obsessively believed are the foundation of success in an entrepreneurial venture.

To give a Short summary:

Autosuggestion is the act of continually and repetitively voicing your inner-most dreams and desires. Once these are continually voiced and thought about, the garden of your subconscious will begin to germinate these ideas. Once they have taken root in the fertile ground of the subconscious through constant invoking, the reality will begin to merge with the mind-set to forge a phalanx of success.

Let your DREAMS live and voice them loudly DAILY!

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Think and Grow Rich: Book Review Chapter 3

New Photo w Logos There is nothing more fervent than the devotion of someone who believes. The belief pattern

is something that is forged and cultivated with extreme care. In my review of the classic

book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, I have been delving into all nuances of this

title to give a 360 degree view of what the author was trying to accomplish with this

groundbreaking book. Keep in mind that this book was written in 1937 and the reader

must be prepared for cultural changes that exist between that time period and the present.

Chapter 3: FAITH

Chapter 3 revolves around an idea. That idea is to have Faith. Now Hill

propounded that faith was part of a Trinity that also included love and sex.

“Love and faith are psychic; related to the spiritual side of man. Sex is purely

biological, and related only to the physical. The mixing, or blending, of these

three emotions has the effect of opening a direct line of communication between

the finite, thinking mind of man, and Infinite Intelligence. “1

What is the highest order of faith? One of the precepts that Hill recognizes is the

strong portion of faith within Christianity. Without faith, there is no religion of this

particular type. He sees the intricate mesh of faith in a Supreme Being and also faith

in an idea that can be the basis for a long-term financial windfall. One of the most

successful historical figures that Hill uses as an example was Mahatma Gandhi.

Gandhi had nothing but an idea that swayed the popular opinion of 200 million of his

countrymen. This idea did not depend on whether he had a home, suit of clothes, or

a $10 bill in his pocket. It was faith and his force of Will and ideas that shaped

the destiny of the Indian people.

US Steel

Another example of an idea having omnipotent power had to do with Charles Schwab

and the formation of United States Steel in the early 1900s. Schwab had developed an

idea based on the interactions of various competing steel mills to unite them all under a

Trust of one unified corporate structure. To make this opportunity work correctly, there

needed to be a massive influx of capital investment and unification of all the other steel

mills with Jay Pierpont Morgan as the titular head of this corporate behemoth. Schwab was able

to take this idea, have faith in this idea, and present this idea for final input and buy-in. His

ultimate faith in his idea and himself would be the basis for one of the largest corporate

mergers in American history. He was also able to secure for Andrew Carnegie, his boss and

benefactor, the retirement sum of $400 million. Now even in 1900, $400 million was a huge

sum. How do we get to this arena of faith? What is it that drives our psyche to believe in where

we want to go and what we want to do? The answer revolves around Autosuggestion.

Autosuggestion is the continuous repeating of ideas and wants that may be out of reach in the

present, but highly attainable in a prescribed amount of time. Autosuggestion can change someone’s

life if they implement this tenet and continue to do so for as long as it takes to change their thought patterns.

Don’t Do The Crime…

A criminologist was consulted who gave testimony that someone who is law-abiding will see an illegal

act as abhorrent when initially confronted with it. If continuously put in a situation where this act is committed

and witnessed by the same test subject, little by little the just man will turn. Continuously confronted with

illegal actions will eventually turn a righteous man into a criminal. By the same token, continuously reinforcing

an idea of faith with positive information through autosuggestion will turn that idea into a reality.

Highly negative thoughts can only produce a negative effect. Highly positive thoughts can be the foundation

of a future that is well-financed and shaped by whatever vision the seer views and expounds.

1.  Think and Grow Rich:  Napoleon Hill


Always have ideas and dreams and use autosuggestion to build and maintain your faith. The results will be a successful conclusion to whatever you desire.

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Think and Grow Rich Book Review: Chapter 2

New Photo w Logos A Focused Mind-Set?

What is it in the psyche that makes someone persevere and overcome obstacles?

What talents do you need to have to be successful and get to a point where you are accepting riches into your life?


In the second chapter of Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill gives us a snapshot of just what is necessary to get to your final destination. The first story that he

relayed had to do with the Chicago fire in the late 1800s. After the fire all of the merchants had two different paths that they could follow. They could either stay

and rebuild and make a new Chicago, or they could leave the city completely and go somewhere else to begin business anew. All of the merchants and shopkeepers

decided to leave except for one. Marshall Fields decided to stay in Chicago and rebuild. He even told his fellow business owners that he was prepared to rebuild on

the ashes where his store had once stood. This is exactly what he did, and he fulfilled his promise of making the biggest store in the area once he had completed his rebuild.

Burning Desire

Hill also comments about other people who overcame obstacles because they had what he termed a “burning desire” to succeed. Among those that he named were

Helen Keller, Booker T. Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford. Taking them one at a time: Keller overcame incredible obstacles in terms of lacking sight

and hearing, while Booker T. Washington overcame racism and intolerance in the post-Civil War South. Abraham Lincoln was completely obsessed and fixated on freeing

the slaves, while Thomas Edison used 10,000 tries to get to a successful electric light. Henry Ford used those around him to build an automobile giant based on the simplicity of interchangeable

parts and an affordable model. What do all of these people have in common? They had a dream and they did not let anything dissuade them from attaining a successful resolution. They used their

obsessions to focus their talents to a laser-light point and complete the journey that they themselves knew was their destiny.

Blair Hill: A Profile in Burning Desire

Another story that Hill told was that of his son Blair. Now Blair Hill was born without ears and also without the auditory structures to enable him to hear. Napoleon Hill and his wife never actually let

Blair know or feel that he was different from anyone else. Even at an early age when he could not hear, Napoleon Hill never treated them any differently and spoke to him with the knowledge that one day his

son would be able to hear. Blair Hill successfully completed his school work and went on to college where he eventually was given a hearing aid that did allow him to hear clearly for the first time. He then

approached the company that made the hearing aid and they were so impressed with the young Blair Hill that he was brought on board the company to be an intermediary with those in the community who

were deaf.

Dream Big and Make Those Dreams Your Reality

Dreams are what we need to keep us whole, and the dreams that we have are the basis for thinking and growing rich. If people who have overcome such great obstacles can succeed in life and in business, then

using your dreams as a touchstone  for successful future is the only way to systematically build wealth. You must have a dream and focus on that dream with laser-like precision.

Our dreams are what keep us alive, and without them life is a barren desert.

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Think and Grow Rich: Chapter 1

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The Classic

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

fault line.

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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The Power of Staying Positive

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What, Me Worry?

I have often said that working in the publishing field is one of the most gratifying and exhilarating endeavors that anyone can imagine.  The feeling of triumph when a book project finally comes out and hits the consuming marketplace is indescribable.  Along with these feelings of triumph are the points in the publishing career when you are pitted against the feelings of inescapable defeat.  These feelings are most prevalent in the period after a job dismissal or lay-off.  As I have stated in previous blog posts, the publishing industry is one where you will get laid-off through no fault of your own.  How do you deal with this mental conflict?

Through personal experiences I can tell you that the feeling of elation you will receive once you have started a new business venture or secured a new position that is at a higher level than your previous position will be well worth the wait.  Since I was laid-off in February, I have constantly and consistently stayed positive in my outlook and I have continued to write on publishing topics and build a digital reference business based on my experience and academic credentials.  There are always times when self-doubt will intrude upon my point of reference, but I think back to other times that I was laid-off in the past and remember that you cannot appreciate the good times in your life or in your experiences at work unless you have walked through the valley of the shadow.  If all we had were good work experiences our emotions of well-being would always be at the same point and never change.  This can be a good outlook if the work experience is happy and rewarding, or just the opposite if it is not.

Praying Can be Very Helpful…

Spiritual well-being can always be a help in this regard.  If you have a religious/spiritual background returning to your church, synagogue, or mosque is always a good way to keep your positivity centered.  Since we are talking about publishing careers, books that enhance and extol the positivity of the spirit are plentiful and easily acquired through the public library.  Also, the time between jobs and business ventures can be used to increase one’s knowledge by reading voraciously about what is happening within the publishing industry or many business books that will give you better keys for future success.  Some of the business books I recommend are:   Stephen R. Covey:  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Robert Kiyosaki: Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale:  The Power of Positive Thinking and Napoleon Hill: The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons.  These books can have a transformative impact on your career and keep you focused on the goals and successes yet to come.

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Change Your Story

The power of positive thinking can be an incredible tool but you must continually stay on target to keep your mind thinking of the next prize rather than lamenting some past that was lost.  If you do not like your present circumstances, dream big, and work to change your situation as quickly as you can.  A setback is not a definitive ending but could be the beginning of a success that was undreamed of previously.  The story is always yours to write and your mind is the eraser.  If the plot goes in a direction that you do not want, use your mental eraser to reprogram the story.  As human beings we have the ability to dream and work towards our dreams, but sometimes you have to be persistent in your thought patterns to overcome the adversities that block your path.  I know staying positive is not easy, and I do have my times when I question whether success will ever be mine again, but whenever I get those feelings I fight hard to expel them from my thought patterns and remember who I am and what I have accomplished in my career.

Always envision the end result, and every day do something that gets you a little closer to that dream realization.  Stay strong and stay positive!

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