Old Book Tells the Truth

“Think and grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill is still used by many people today as the definitive guide to getting rich.  It is not about telling you how to make money or where to make money; it is the result of Napoleon Hill studying many successful people for over 25 years. I enjoyed every page, once I started reading I could not put it down. It makes perfect sense.

In the chapter “Organised Planning” (chapter 7), Napoleon Hill outlines six different areas of leadership which needed a change from the previous ways. When you read each one, keep in mind that this book was written nearly 100 years ago.

1. “In the field of politics there is a most insistent demand for new leaders; a demand which indicates nothing less than an emergency. The majority of politicians have, seemingly, become high-grade, legalized racketeers. They have increased taxes and debauched the machinery of industry and business until the people can no longer stand the burden.”

Sound familiar? Or does the perception of what politicians do at least sound familiar? Personally I believe politicians are their own worst enemies; they promise change to get into power then quickly realise they cannot do as much as they promised, because any major change faces too much resistance. (Bear this in mind when reading the sixth quote.)

2. “The banking business is undergoing a reform. The leaders in this field have almost entirely lost the confidence of the public. Already the bankers have sensed the need of reform, and they have begun it.”

Wow, even 100 years later, that couldn’t be any more true. Regarding reform, I suspect they have begun it, but it remains to be seen in whose favour the reforms go!

3. “Industry calls for new leaders. The old type of leaders thought and moved in terms of dividends instead of thinking and moving in terms of human equations! The future leader in industry, to endure, 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. Exploitation of working men is a thing of the past. Let the man who aspires to leadership in the field of business, industry, and labor remember this.”

I am under no illusion that any industry that employs many people is better today than it was back then. However, nearly 100 years on there are still too many businesses that see their employees as commodities rather than humans with massive potential. If companies allow their employees to grow, embrace their ideas and not silence them, and allow them to enjoy their accomplishments, their business will without a doubt grow and improve.

4. “The religious leader of the future will be forced to give more attention to the temporal needs of his followers, in the solution of their economic and personal problems of the present, and less attention to the dead past, and the yet unborn future.”

Whether you are religious or not, religion is not going anywhere any time soon. People will always have something to believe in. Historically, religion has always had to change – normally with extreme reluctance from the very faithful. Eventually religions change with the times or face losing support. This used to take hundreds of years; but scientific discoveries developing the way they do nowadays coupled with changing human beliefs means that religious leaders are facing massive decline in support. Even the more strict religions are facing the same issues, albeit maybe at a slightly reduced pace for one reason or another.

5. “In the professions of law, medicine, and education, a new brand of leadership, and to some extent, new leaders will become a necessity. This is especially true in the field of education. The leader in that field must, in the future, find ways and means of teaching people HOW TO APPLY the knowledge they receive in school. He must deal more with PRACTICE and less with THEORY.”

It is a shame that especially in education there is still too much focus on the purely academic, rather than more time being spent on teaching practical life skills. I believe there needs to be room for both. We need to stop the culture of ‘who is better at maths and English’ and look at who is most capable of achieving success, and how to equip all students to achieve their full potential.

6. New leaders will be required in the field of Journalism. Newspapers of the future, to be conducted successfully, must be divorced from “special privilege” and relieved from the subsidy of advertising. They must cease to be organs of propaganda for the interests which patronize their advertising columns. The type of newspaper which publishes scandal and lewd pictures will eventually go the way of all forces which debauch the human mind.

Again, wow! It would be easy for me not to comment on that one, because it speaks for itself in the light of recent UK events – but I can’t simply leave it at that. Although advertising is not something that can ever be removed from the media, it should be controlled. Just read the Daily Mail when a new Apple product hits the market!

They must cease to be organs of propaganda…’ – So many people are not in a state of consciousness when it comes to filtering information these days. Very few ask what the newspapers gain from printing something, or the TV get from showing a particular program. They mainly want to make you angry. When you have this emotion, the message they are sending out sticks with you and you repeat it to anybody that will listen. You don’t even check whether it had been spun in a particular way to suit an agenda, or worse whether it was even fully true. Like that old saying: ‘A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth can get out the door.’ This is because anything emotional will spur most people into action, whether it is gossip, good news, complaining or just something you disagree with.

‘The type of newspaper which publishes scandal and lewd pictures will eventually go the way of all forces which debauch the human mind.’ Well, that didn’t happen. Maybe it should.

So do things actually change?

Yes, of course they do. I could list a new item every 5 seconds and the list would never be finished; but the fundamentals don’t change. Humans evolve very slowly in comparison to the rate of technological and world changes nowadays. So over the past 80 years, despite all our advances, humans have not changed at all. We are still controlled by emotion: everybody from an 8 week old baby to the most powerful business leader uses emotion as a tool, and the only defence against it is understanding it. Luckily for those who want to benefit from emotional manipulation, the majority of people are not conscious of how it works. Educate yourself: the next time you read something that makes you mad or makes you feel good, try to at least understand why it is written.  Understand how it is engineered to cause an emotional reaction, to make you turn the page, or to make you want to tell your friends.  After all, even the most powerful people can be finished by emotion; just like in the words of the Johnny Cash song ‘A Thing Called Love’ – “But I saw that giant of a man brought down to his knees by love.”

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One Response

  1. You have covered a lot of ground here and I like what you say. We are emotional. That will not change and I'm glad for that. My hope is that we learn how to harness the good that can come from it instead of the not so good. I think the danger is that the media does not want us to reason for ourselves so they can continue to manipulate us.

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