Why a Book from 1937 is Still Relevant to Millennials Today
“Knowledge has no value except that which can be gained from its application towards some worthy end.”
Originally published in 1937, Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich is still one of the bestsellers in business and mindset. Its popularity speaks for itself with over 15 million copies sold worldwide. But can the principles of this nearly 80-year-old book still help us today?
Although our world has changed drastically through technological advances, the mindset principles behind a prosperous life have not. Perhaps that is why this book is still so popular.
The cover of my revised and updated version says, “In your hands is the essential guide to joining the ranks of the world’s most successful people.” Sounds powerful, right?
Success means different things to different people, so allow me to put a disclaimer here that this classic book is not just about money. These success principles can apply to how we think about and understand nature, science, relationships and everything important in our lives. Napoleon Hill interviewed more than 500 of the most affluent people of his time and thus provides massive insight into creative and entrepreneurial minds.
In the original version, there are stories of folks like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison. Now, with Dr. Arthur R. Pell’s updated version, we can grow to understand the same principles but based on recent stories of Bill Gates, Mary Kay Ash, Dave Thomas, and more.
Most millennials are still struggling with those big questions: like identifying our goals, mastering the secrets to lasting success, and combining imagination and visualization with action. We just don’t always know the best way to make those fuzzy dreams a reality. For me, reading about the success stories of other people and hearing their wisdom helped clarify my own career goals. Here’s what I learned.
We will never be able to achieve our lofty goals until we first learn to utilize or work with the fears and doubts that hold us back. We can find mentors and teachers to instruct us in best business practices. We can find peers and colleagues to share in day-to-day tasks and the wonders of life. But until we become masters of our minds, true, lasting success and happiness will not be ours. I’m learning this and it is still a struggle, believe me, but it’s a process.
“It is your responsibility to make sure that positive emotions constitute the dominating influence of your mind.”
No matter where you currently stand on the path of “success,” there are examples of hope…
Bill Gates: We know Gates from Microsoft, but did you know that before he developed the giant software company, Gates was a Harvard University dropout and failed business owner? Gates is the ultimate example of trying, and trying again because his failure didn’t cause him to drop out of the business world. He persevered and ended up revolutionizing culture and technology through his computer software company.
Mary Kay Ash: when a less experienced man that Ash trained got the promotion she felt she deserved, Mary Kay had enough with the inequality for women in business. She started her own beauty company with just five products in a tiny store in Dallas Texas, and Mary Kay now has 3.5 million consultants in her global community.
Dave Thomas: After serving in the US Army, Dave met Col. Sanders, the founder of KFC, and helped him expand the chain. He went on to develop his own fast food chain, Wendy’s, now the world’s third-largest. Thomas is a testament to the fact that you can always reinvent yourself.
Bill Gates, Mary Kay Ash, and Dave Thomas knew what they wanted and formed a definite plan. But, perhaps persistence is the strongest success quality of all. Napoleon Hill once wrote, “Those who reach decisions promptly and definitely, know what they want, and generally get it.”