Napoleon Hill’s classic, “Think and Grow Rich,” is far more than a self-help guide to financial prosperity. It’s a detailed analysis based on Hill’s 25-year study of successful individuals. Reading it is like entering into a conversation with the best minds of past generations, and once you begin, you can’t help but keep turning the pages. Why? Because it still speaks to the core issues we face today.
In the chapter titled “Organised Planning” (Chapter 7), Hill lays out six different areas of leadership that required a shift in perspective from what was conventional at the time. And what’s striking? Despite being penned nearly a century ago, the observations are astonishingly relevant today.
Hill writes, “In the field of politics there is a most insistent demand for new leaders; a demand which indicates nothing less than an emergency.” Does this sound like the present climate? Of course, it does. We’re in a mess. Politicians promise us the moon and the stars to gain power, only to reveal their limitations soon after. Why? Because transformative change is easier said than done, met with a labyrinth of resistance at every turn.
Hill observes, “The banking business is undergoing a reform. The leaders in this field have almost entirely lost the confidence of the public.” Echoes of 2008, anyone? The road to reform is perpetually under construction, and the detours often lead us to question: for whose benefit is this reform, really?
Our industrial leaders, Hill argues, must “regard himself as a quasi-public official whose duty it is to manage his trust in such a way that it will work hardship on no individual, or group of individuals.” We’ve made some progress, but let’s face it—too many companies still treat employees like expendable assets rather than the beating hearts that fuel innovation and progress.
Hill calls for religious leaders to focus on the “temporal needs of his followers” and less on abstract ideals. This shift is inevitable if religion wants to stay relevant. With the advancement of science and a move towards secularism, religious institutions are grappling with dwindling numbers. Change isn’t just a choice; it’s a necessity.
When it comes to law, medicine, and especially education, Hill argues that the focus should be on application over theory. Our education systems are still steeped in academic drills, often neglecting the essential life skills necessary for a rounded human experience. What’s the point of knowing trigonometry if you can’t handle your emotions?
Finally, Hill foresees a need for a new kind of journalism, devoid of “special privilege” and independent from the stronghold of advertising. Does this hit close to home? Just take a look at the tabloid culture we’re entrenched in.
Hill had his finger on the pulse of society’s ills, many of which stem from our inability to discern the manipulation of our emotions. From media outlets to your friendly neighbourhood gossip, emotional manipulation is everywhere. Are you conscious enough to spot it?
In an ever-changing world, the essence of human nature remains stubbornly static. We’re still enslaved by our emotions, unaware of how they’re manipulated by outside forces. The antidote? Education and awareness. Next time something riles you up or makes you ecstatic, pause. Understand why it triggers you, how it’s designed to elicit that response. Even the strongest are vulnerable to the whims of their emotions. Remember Johnny Cash’s words— “But I saw that giant of a man brought down to his knees by love.”
Updated for 2023