think and grow rich book summary

Imagine someone spending 20 plus years traveling the world and documenting interviews from hundreds of successful people. That sounds a bit overwhelming, right? That’s what Mr. Napoleon Hill did. He gifted us a priceless all-time classic – ‘Think and Grow Rich’.

Think and Grow Rich is useful to anyone determined to rewrite his destiny and experience Awe in life! It is all about learning from successful people who’ve shared their success formula generously. The book provides us a step-by-step process to manifest anything in life – great health, wealth, relationships, prosperity, growth, and abundance.

Big Ideas From Think and Grow Rich

  1. You are the master of your destiny and captain of your soul.
  2. More gold has been mined from the brains of men than has ever been taken from the earth.
  3. All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an Idea!
  4. Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve. You can manifest anything, you believe!
  5. Set your mind on a definite goal and observe how quickly the world stands aside to let you pass.
  6. Your greatest success will often come just one step beyond the point at which temporary defeat has overtaken you.
  7. When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.

Important Points in the Book

Burning Desire for a definite purpose > all-consuming obsession > imagination > plan of action > persistent efforts with determination and faith > Results (Experience Awe)

“Thoughts are things” — Thoughts are powerful things when mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into riches or other material objects. An intangible impulse of thought can be ‘transmuted’ into its physical counterpart.”

“When a man really desires a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it, he is sure to win.”

“One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.” Remember, you never fail. You just don’t succeed sometimes. Further, defeat is not final until you quit. The book states, “More than 500 of the most successful individuals this country have ever known told Hill that their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.” And, “When riches begin to come, they come so quickly, in such great abundance, that one wonders where they have been hiding all those years.”

“One of the main weaknesses of the human race is the average person’s familiarity with the word ‘impossible.’ Another weakness found in many people is the habit to measure everything and everyone by their own impressions and beliefs.” Remove the word “impossible” from your mental dictionary.

Hill emphasizes on ‘our power to control our thoughts,’ referring to the prophetic lines by poet William Ernest Henley – “I am the Master of my Fate, I am the Captain of my Soul.” Your mind is a fertile ground and your thoughts are the seeds. As fertile ground can’t distinguish between cactus and beautiful flowers, your mind would manifest in life, whatever you sow. Therefore, be careful of the thoughts, you choose to hold.

“Our brains become magnetised with the dominating thoughts we hold in our minds. These magnets attract to us the forces, the people, the circumstances of life which harmonises with the nature of our dominating thoughts.”

“Wishing will not bring riches. But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches.”

“The method by which desire for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent consists of six definite, practical steps:

  1. Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say, ‘I want plenty of money.’ Be definite on the amount.
  2. Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire. (There’s no such reality as ‘something for nothing.’)
  3. Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.
  4. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.
  5. Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.
  6. Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night and once after arising in the morning. As you read, see and feel and believe yourself already in possession of the money.”

“You can never have riches in great quantities unless you can work yourself into a white heat of desire for money and actually believe you will possess it. One must realize that all who have accumulated great fortunes firsts did a certain amount of dreaming, hoping, wishing, desiring and planning before they acquired money.”

“If you do not see great riches in your imagination, you will never see them in your bank balance.”

“If the thing you wish to do is right and you believe in it, go ahead and do it. Put your dream across, and never mind what ‘they’ say if you meet with temporary defeat, for ‘they’ perhaps do not know that every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success. All who succeed in life get off to a bad start and pass through many heart-breaking struggles before they ‘arrive’.”

“There is a difference between wishing for a thing and being ready to receive it. You are never ready for a thing until you believe you can acquire it. Our only limitations are those we set up in our own minds. Nothing is impossible to the person who backs desire with enduring faith.” Life gives you what you ask for.

“Faith is a state of mind that you may develop at will. It may be induced, or created, by affirmations or repeated instructions to the subconscious mind, through the principle of autosuggestion.”

“Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought. All thoughts which have been emotionalized (given feeling) and mixed with faith begin immediately to translate themselves into their physical equivalent or counterpart.” Remember, Faith can move mountains; and, things happen twice – once in the mind and once in realty. You can manifest anything, you believe!

“Each of us is what we are because of the dominating thoughts which we permit to occupy our mind. Mind works with the material we feed it.” Sow the seeds of achievement and nurture the fertile land of mind with faith, determination, commitment and discipline. It would carry you to heights such as you may never have hoped to attain. In a way, your mind is your carrier.

Visualization is key to manifestation. “Visualize (with closed eyes) the amount of money you intend to accumulate, the time limit for its accumulation, and a description of the service or merchandise you intend to give in return for the money. Repeat this program night and morning until you can clearly visualize (in your imagination) the money you intend to accumulate.”

“Knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power when it is organized and intellectually directed through practical plans of action to a definite end.”

You either need knowledge or be part of an eminent group (like a Mastermind) that provides you the knowledge.

“Successful people, in all callings, never stop acquiring specialized knowledge related to their major purpose, business, or profession.” They remain students throughout their lives. They become learning machines. They nourish their mind with continuous learning (reading, thinking and interacting with wonderful people) to be more productive with age.

“The person who stops studying merely because he or she has finished school is forever hopelessly doomed to mediocrity, no matter what that person’s calling.” Actually, your learning starts when schooling stops. “The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.”

“If we are determined to achieve our goals, neither our age nor the scepticism of others can deter us. But, determination is only the first step. It must be followed by hard work, a regime of physical and mental exercise and whatever it takes to bring us to peak performance.”

“We can create anything we can imagine. The impulse, the desire, is given shape, form and action through the aid of the imaginative faculty of the mind. The imagination is literally the workshop wherein are fashioned all plans created by people. Our only limitation, within reason, lies in the development and use of our imagination. The only limitation is that which one sets up in one’s own mind.”

“Ideas can be transmuted into cash through the power of definite purpose, plus definite plans. First you give life, action and guidance to ideas, and then they take on a power of their own and sweep aside all opposition.”

To convert your desire into realty, you need a definite action plan. “No follower of this philosophy can reasonable expect to accumulate a fortune without experiencing temporary defeat. When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.” Remember “A quitter never wins—and a winner never quits. And, every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage. Individuals may unerringly guide themselves in attaining whatever they ask of life.”

Napoleon Hill defines several attributes of leaders—a pleasing personality, unwavering courage, self-control, a keen sense of justice, imagination, definiteness of decision and plans, sympathy and understanding, mastery of detail, and a willingness to assume ownership and responsibility.

Success factors for individuals, as defined in the book are— well-defined purpose, ambition, good education, self-discipline, great health, persistence, do it attitude, positive and constructive mindset, thinking capability, decision making, focus and concentration, enthusiasm in life, faith, tolerance, collaborative approach, and honesty. 

“Genuine wisdom is usually conspicuous through modesty and silence.”

“Riches do not respond to wishes. They respond only to definite plans, backed by definite desires, through constant persistence. Majority of people are ready to give up at the first sign of opposition or misfortune. A few carry on despite all opposition until they attain their goal. Fortunes gravitate to people whose minds have been prepared to ‘attract’ them, just as surely as water gravitates to the ocean”.

“Persistence is a state of mind, so it can be cultivated.”

Thinking is a great capability. When you think with closed eyes, you draw upon a source of superior intelligence.

“The years between 40 and 50 are, as a rule, the most fruitful. Individuals should approach this age not with fear and trembling, but with hope and eager anticipation. One of the blessings of maturity is that it sometimes brings one greater courage to be truthful regardless of what those who do not understand may think or say.”

The author explains that the common fears humans go through are the fear of poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of something/someone, old age, and death. He explains, “Fears are nothing more than states of mind. Fear paralyzes the faculty of reason, destroys the faculty of imagination, kills self-reliance, undermines enthusiasm, discourages initiative, leads to uncertainty of purpose, encourages procrastination, wipes out enthusiasm, and makes self-control an impossibility.

“It takes the charm from one’s personality, destroys the possibility of accurate thinking, diverts concentration of effort; It masters persistence, turns the will power into nothingness, destroys ambition, beclouds the memory and invites failure in every conceivable form; it kills love and assassinates the finer emotions of the heart, discourages friendship and invites disaster in a hundred forms, leads to sleeplessness, misery, and unhappiness.” Little wonder Swami Vivekananda stated, “The greatest sin is Fear.” Chapter six of the Bhagwad Gita also states, “The mind is your best friend and mind is your worst enemy.” Therefore, your state of mind must be created carefully.

“Worry is a state of mind based upon fear. It works slowly but persistently. It is insidious and subtle. Step by step it digs itself in until it paralyses one’s reasoning faculty and destroys self-confidence and initiative.” Spend no time worrying. As worries are about self-created imaginary situations, produced out of negative thought process, they can be replaced with positive imaginations and enthusiasm in life. Let any negative thought let go.

“The subconscious mind consists of a field of consciousness in which every impulse of thought that reaches the objective mind through any of the five senses is classified and recorded. You may voluntarily plant in your subconscious mind any plan, thought or purpose which you desire to translate into its physical or monetary equivalent. The subconscious mind is the connecting link between the finite mind and infinite intelligence. It works day and night.”

Be careful about your thoughts as “the thoughts which go out from one’s mind also imbed themselves deeply in one’s subconscious, where they serve as a magnet, patter or blueprint by which the subconscious mind is influenced while translating them into their physical equivalent. Thoughts are truly things, for the reason that every material thing begins in the form of thought energy.”

Author defines Seven Major Positive Emotions: Desire, Faith, Love, Sex, Enthusiasm, Romance and Hope. He also defines Seven Major Negative Emotions (To be avoided): Fear, Jealousy, Hatred, Revenge, Greed, Superstition and Anger.

Importantly, “The negatives voluntarily inject themselves into the thought impulses but, positives must be injected. Positive and negative emotions cannot occupy the mind at the same time. It is your responsibility to make sure that positive emotions constitute the dominating influence of your mind. Eventually, they will dominate your mind so completely that the negatives cannot enter it.”

Also, remember that “The presence of a single negative in your conscious mind is sufficient to destroy all chances of constructive aid from your subconscious mind.”

Through continuous practice of directions given in the book, “you would find yourself in possession of a power that will enable you to throw off discouragement, master fear, overcome procrastination and draw freely upon your imagination.” Author further states “your business in life is, presumably, to achieve success.

To be successful, you must find peace of mind, acquire the material needs of life and, above all, attain happiness. All of this evidence of success begins in the form of thought impulses. As you choose the thought impulses to feed your mind, you are the master of your own earthly destiny.

You may influence, direct, and eventually control your own environment, making your life what you want it to be. The mind could produce anything the mind could conceive and believe.”

Have you read the book? I would love to hear your views on it.

By Manish Bansal

Manish is the Managing Director of SME Value Advisors, a platform that connects businesses with curated professionals who can deliver solutions. You can connect with him on

One thought on “Think and Grow Rich Book Summary”
  1. Hi. Book Summaries are the gist of the books. I try to capture the main ideas of the book based on my understanding; and, needless to say that they are biased to that extent. They can never replace the book itself. May I request you to read the book for elaboration on each of the topics covered herein… further, if you need me to cover a specific topic in greater detail, would be happy to do so. Wish you a great year 2021!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *