Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill
Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill was an American author whose focus was on self-help books. His signature book, Think and Grow Rich, sold more than a record 20 million copies, showcasing how much people thirst for guidance on how to become rich. His proximity to powerful men likes Andrew Carnegie, and Thomas A. Edison inspired much of his writing. Hill believed that humans could achieve success as long as they set it in their mind and work towards its achievement. The key to success, he insisted, is the maintenance of positive thoughts. Failure or success is all in your subconscious, and it’s up to you to decide which one to bring out.

Hill’s personal life

Napoleon Hill was born in 1883 to a very low-income family that resided in a small town of Pound, Southwest Virginia. His father, James Monroe Hill, ran a paper and by the time Hill turned 13 years, he started writing as a mountain reporter for his father. He made some savings in the process of going to a law school. However, the amount wasn’t enough, so he dropped the idea. The realization that he didn’t have enough money must have given Hill a new perspective in life. His focus was now on writing.

Hill lost his mother at the age of 9, and the father remarried to Martha two years later. According to Hill’s confession, the step-mother was a significant influence on him. She was a widower of a school principal and helped civilized a wild Napoleon, ensuring he attends both church and school. Such a push would, later on, help Napoleon in his zeal to establish a successful writing career.


Hard work and luck characterized Napoleon Hill’s professional life. Having failed to pursue a career in law, Hill dedicated a more significant percentage of his time writing for his father’s newspaper. Upon graduating from college at the age of 17, he got an opportunity to work for lawyer Rufus A. Ayers. He had a considerate encounter with the law and seemed to have liked it. Later on in life, Hill referred to himself as “Attorney of Law” although his official biography states that Hill never practiced any law.

Hill started his journey into fame in 1928 when he convinced a Connecticut-based publisher to publish The Law of Success, his first major success. The success allowed him to begin an opulent lifestyle including purchasing a 600-acre property and a Rolls-Royce. He later on foreclosed this property towards the end of 1929 due to the Great Depression that adversely affected his finances.


As the Great Depression was nearing its end, Hill published Think and Grow Rich. The book focused on helping people take control of their thoughts to make it in life. Besides these, Hill had a couple of other works under his name. These included: The Golden Rule, Philosophy of Achievement, and Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude. Philosophy of Achievement was particularly an interesting one as it championed freedom, democracy, capitalism, and harmony. Many publications have taken inspiration from his works.

He at one time also worked as the Dean to a new school in Chicago where he was to teach the principles of success. The school ended when Hill was issued with warrants of arrest concerning violation of blue sky laws for the fraudulent sale of shares. Napoleon Hill died on November 8, 1970, at the age of 87. His legacy lives on through Napoleon Hill Foundation.


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