Napoleon Hill - A Flawed Character
  • He did not publish "The Laws of Success" until he hit rock bottom in his mid-forties. Before this, he experienced very little success and seldom had a steady source of income. 
  • Much of his hardship was self-inflicted due to a habit of jumping from one ill-advised venture to the next with little forethought or planning. 
  • The very success principles so many benefit from today, were of little use to Hill throughout most of his life.

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Napoleon Hill - A Lifetime of Tragedy

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Short lived success
  • A combination of the stock market crash, royalty checks that ended, overextending himself while owing creditors left Hill worse off than before. 
  • He attempted many business ventures related to inspirational writing and publishing projects but to no avail.
  • Hill's wife divorced him during this time, grown tired of his poor decisions and failure to care for his family.

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Think and Grow Rich

Just after the great depression, Napoleon Hill married again and also wrote and published "Think and Grow Rich", with the support and persistence of his wife.

This was an enormous success, but Hill and his young wife wasted no time spending more than they earned (a clear violation of Hill's own principles). Not long after, his wife duped him out of all the royalties of all of his works and left him penniless.

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  • Hill was recruited by William Jacobs and successfully developed a new self-help course and series of lectures for students and to attract investment from prosperous companies in the north. 
  • America's entry into World War II made Hill's success short-lived as students went off to war and because of paper rations.
  • However, RG LeTourneau credited his success with what he learned from "Think and Grow Rich". Hill was recruited to train LeTourneau's plant managers which led to the companies turnaround success.

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Hill Finds His Rock
Napoleaon Hill learned about the popularity of "Think and Grow Rich" in Los Angeles and used his work and started with regular lectures to eager students. 
This was enormously successful and Hill was even given an honorary doctorate from Pacific International University. He also started a weekly radio program which helped spread his message. 
His success made him able to live off his name and the popularity of his books.

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The Curse of Brilliance
  • Despite Napoleon Hill's brilliance and principles for success, he barely eked out a living for most of his life.
  • While he preached the gospel of saving a percentage of earnings, he spent frivolously.
  • While he spoke of having a pleasing personality as a key to success, he was known to be abrasive.
  • Hill finally achieved his definite chief aim, but not before going through a lifetime of tragedy.

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  • Saving earnings to prepare for eventual rainy days
  • Consideration for those closest to you
  • Vetting associates and partners
  • The necessity for adequate planning
  • The importance of testing ideas before launch

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