Book Reviews

Beating the System: THINK AND GROW RICH Book Review

Book: Think and Grow Rich

Author: Napoleon Hill, revised by Arthur Pell

Rating: 8.5

Comment: Highly recommended


The past two days have offered me the scarce opportunity for me to audit my life and learn from the very decorated Napoleon Hill. Specifically, his book Think and Grow Rich kept me busy as I got to know the fundamental principles of success that he compiled after studying 200 and more individuals of his era who had risen to the heights of affluence.

As the founder of Napoleon Hill Foundation, Napoleon Hill worked hard to ensure that he imparted in people the ideals of being a success and most importantly, the secret to having riches. He died in 1970 having done what he could do best.

Generally, I have a repulsive attitude towards inspirational books since most of the authors write objectively and very few give a touch of subjectivity to their writing. In other words, they quote instead of writing from first-hand personal events from which they drew inspiration.

However, in this book, Napoleon opens up to his childhood, his life as a father figure and every great man he met and interviewed. It is a personal memoir of all the great nuggets of advice he picked up that still remain relevant to this day. And for that reason, I immediately got drawn into the book.

Napoleon sheds light into some very pertinent steps that everyone should take if they desire to gain riches and wealth. I will share the strongest points I picked out from the lengthy book.


1.It takes the power of thought.

He stresses that our thoughts are the most powerful forms of energy in the universe. They have the ability to shape our lives, whether positively or negatively. With great mastery of thought, Napoleon agreed that it made one  “A Master of your Fate, A Captain of your Soul”. (p.14)


Here, we are introduced to the character of Edward Barnes who desired to be the assistant to the great inventor, Thomas Edison. His story of having a burning obsession to work with Edison and that desire finally paying off inspires the great potential a person with desire holds.

The simple formula he offers here is:

Your goal+Definite Purpose+Burning Desire=Success

He also offers a very touching personal story of his younger son who was born with a hearing deformity. Years of resilience and inspiring desire in his young son to hear finally paid off with his son learning to hear, defying any medical beliefs. The son went on to invent electronic hearing aids. (p.33)

His father’s desire to want him to hear and his belief in him were the main reasons he went on to lead a normal life.


The most important step in attaining one’s goals is visualizing the end result and believing that it has already happened. Faith is the head chemist of the mind.

The author urges us to make positive and repeated affirmations to our mind every time in order to induce the emotion of faith. Once we acquire faith and mix it with our thoughts, then we get emotionalized thought which holds superior to ordinary thought.

It goes to show that you can easily convert nothing into something.


For one’s subconscious mind to be influenced positively, we are encouraged to repeat positive affirmations that will eventually shape the course of our thoughts. This is achieved by having a mantra that encourages you and gives you the motivation to go on.

However, we are also warned that mere speaking of mantras and words of encouragement will not yield any outcome unless we mix emotion and feelings in them. (p.71). These type of emotionalized words, when repeated to our minds often, will induce in our minds the drive and energy we need to achieve success.

He gives the example:

Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better – Emil Coue. 


At this point, I pick up a very contentious but worthy point that the author talks about. He gives the examples of Henry Ford and Abraham Lincoln, great men of their time, who achieved wealth and greatness but didn’t have any educational advances to show off. Here, the author draws a fine line between being educated and being schooled.

Ultimately, the author says that knowledge is potential power, (p.79) and great is the man who uses the knowledge he acquires to assist him in the advances of greatness and wealth. Therefore, it doesn’t matter the kind of university degrees one holds or past educational achievements if they haven’t helped in the progression of one’s life.

Knowledge only becomes power if it is used and organized effectively.


It might sound like a bad option, but having an imagination beats having facts. Henry Ford used his imagination (creative thinking) to come up with an engine model which later revolutionized the transport industry.

Without the faculty of imagination, there wouldn’t exist the advent of the famous soft-drink, Coca-Cola, nor would Thomas Edison have discovered a way to manipulate electricity.

Do not go through life hoping that you will get a favorable “break” when it is so easy to use imagination to get yourself up and going.


Throughout the book, Napoleon Hill mentions very famous names and corporations which have used his formula to access wealth and achieve their goals. From the Starbucks Coffee, Intel, Microsoft, IBM to Dominos and Bruce Lee, he draws lessons from their humble beginnings and illustrated how every aspect of being persistent, having faith, desiring greatness and using imagination brought about the rise of great men and women.

The book can come off to others as being intimidating or useless, but one needs to have the right kind of mindset when reading it. Having sold over 15 million copies, the large numbers and influence pretty much speak for themselves.

For a long time, this is one of the best inspirational books I have read. And I have read some very bogus ones, to be honest. There is a level of down-to-earth honesty and transparency with Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich since he personally interviewed some of the names mentioned in them, while others were close friends of his.

I would highly recommend it for college graduates and middle-aged individuals who would want to accumulate wisdom and find out how to use the little they have to earn and get wealth.

It is not the type of book to read quickly. It is meant to be digested slowly, taking note, giving yourself a personal examination with the questions within it and also making affirmations to yourself.

A great and sound read.


2 thoughts on “Beating the System: THINK AND GROW RICH Book Review”

  1. Awesome Owen …I have the book but I didn’t finish reading it due to some commitments but now I know I must complete it..thanks to your compelling review. Simply fantastic!

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