Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill — Book Summary and Notes

Our thoughts create our reality. If we know what we want, desire, and pursue it persistently, we can think it into being. If we become success-conscious, we can achieve riches; if we allow ourselves to become failure-conscious instead, failure is what we will get

🎯 The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. Our Thoughts Create Our Reality
  2. Have an All-Consuming Desire and Unwavering Faith
  3. Specialize

Napoleon Hill

Our thoughts create our reality. If we know what we want, desire, and pursue it persistently, we can think it into being. If we become success-conscious, we can achieve riches; if we allow ourselves to become failure-conscious instead, failure is what we will get.

Think and Grow Rich

By Napoleon Hill

Principle 1: Think Success by Default

Thoughts are powerful: What you think becomes a reality. We all have the power to control our thoughts, but often people let their thoughts control them.

The way to achieve riches is to become success-conscious, rather than failure-conscious:

  1. Start by focusing your mind on a single, clearly defined purpose. Ask yourself, "What is your purpose in life?"
  2. Make achieving this goal your all-consuming desire, to the point where you devote all your time and energy to achieving it.
  3. Finally, be persistent in pursuing your purpose. You will encounter setbacks but have faith in your ability to achieve it.

Principle 2: Have an All-Consuming Desire

“The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.”

To succeed, you must go all-in; your desire to reach your goal must be equivalent to the level of difficulty of your destination.

People who are driven by a definite purpose are dreamers. They're open to big ideas and pursue them relentlessly, without fear of failure.

The six steps to turn your desire for riches into reality

  1. Define the exact amount of money you want
  2. Decide what you are willing to sacrifice to get the money. Nothing comes without a price.
  3. Set a specific date for when. you'll have the money in hand
  4. Create a clear plan for getting the money, and start on it right away.
  5. Write the above on paper.
  6. Read your statement out loud twice a day. See, feel, and believe that you already have the money.

Principle 3/4: Have Unwavering Faith


Autosuggestion is the act of envisioning yourself succeeding. By consciously visualizing your success, you trigger your subconscious imagination to deliver the plans that get you to your goal. For autosuggestion to work effectively, you must believe in what you're saying. Don't speak empty words devoid of feeling. "Emotionalize" your words with faith for what you're saying to sink in.

Principle 5/6: Specialized Knowledge and the Master Mind

Knowledge is critical to making better decisions and achieving your goals.

There are two types of knowledge: general and specialized.

Formal education provides general knowledge, but this type of knowledge lacks practical applications. To make progress toward your goal, you have to figure out what specialized knowledge you need in your chosen field and why you need it.

  • Never stop gaining specialized knowledge related to your goal. Don't make the mistake of thinking your learning ends when you graduate from school.

Master Mind

Despite the importance of specialized knowledge, no one has enough experience, education, and ability in every single field. Instead, you need to form a Master Mind group — a group of people who share your goal and have the knowledge, advice, and expertise in the areas you don't.

Principle 7: Imagination

Your imagination can spark both ideas and plans for achieving them.

There are two types of imagination: synthetic and creative

  • Synthetic vision rearranges existing ideas and concepts in new ways
  • Creative imagination generates new ideas and produces the plan you need to follow to achieve your goal through hunches and inspiration.

Principle 8: Decisiveness

Successful people reach decisions quickly and amend them slowly as they progress.

  • Keep your most important thoughts to yourself.
  • Gather the facts and information you need quietly—people who know little talk the most to impress others. When you talk rather than listen, you miss the chance to learn something yourself, and you give people outside your Master Mind group the opportunity to shoot down your ideas.
  • Show the world what you plan to do by doing it rather than talking about it.
  • Don't be swayed by negative opinions from close friends and relatives
  • If you know what you want and plan to achieve it, no one can stop you.

Principle 9: Persistence

“Set your mind on a definite goal and observe how quickly the world stands aside to let you pass.”

Knowledge only becomes actual power if it can be put to use as part of an organized plan. Many people fail because they lack the persistence to develop a better plan when an earlier one fails

Sign you lack persistence:


  • You're indifferent: you back down on your goals as soon as someone fires back at you.
  • Your desire is weak because you lack a motive that drives you to act
  • You're self-satisfied

Specificity of Goal

  • Your goal is too broad; it creates too much friction that stops you from taking action.

Work Habits

  • You procrastinate, using excuses to justify not taking action
  • You have no interest in obtaining the specialized knowledge necessary to succeed in your field
  • Your search for shortcuts and 'get-rich-quick' schemes


  • You're indecisive, always letting someone else make decisions for you
  • You blame others for your mistakes and accept mistakes as unavoidable
  • You're always wishing for things instead of applying willpower to turn them into reality
  • You worry about what others think and fail due to fear of social rejection

In A Nutshell

You can either control your thoughts or they control you — there's no middle ground. Your control your mind by occupying it with a definite purpose, which is your all-consuming desire, and a plan for achieving it.

The master key is powerful. If you don't use it you'll fail. But the reward for controlling your mind is mastery of yourself and your destiny.