Napoleon Hill Miscellany

From a 1914 issue of the Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office:


I have not been able to find a patent associated with that. The application might not have been granted.

From a 1915 issue of The International Confectioner:


From a 1922 issue of System magazine:


From a 1939 issue of The Rotarian:


From a 1949 issue of Popular Mechanics:


From a 1951 issue of Popular Science:


From a 1951 issue of Popular Science:


From a 1952 issue of Popular Science:


I wonder which ad pulled the most?

And the strangest bedfellows ever, Napoleon Hill and Werner Erhard of est! From the 2011 book The Skeptic’s Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions:

Where did Erhard got his training? Mostly, he is self-taught. His study was undirected and accidental. In 1960 he was John Rosenberg, 25 years old, married with children. Apparently dissatisfied with his life but with no Large Group Awareness Training available to him, he did what many unhappy men have done: he abandoned his family. He left Philadelphia and went to St. Louis, changed his name, and sold cars. Some might find it interesting that a Christianìzed Jew (his parents had him baptized in the Episcopal Church) would come to identify himself with a German name. Of more interest to his transformation, however, are the books that influenced him.

Erhard was “profoundly dissatisfied with the competitive and meaningless status quo” and was deeply affected by Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich (Bartley 1978). Hill’s three basic principles are: Every achievement begins with an idea; plans call for their implementation; and what you think is what you do. Think positive, you will do positive deeds. Hill also advised visualizing and selecting similar-minded friends. Hill gives good advice, but it is vague and not systematic. It doesn’t offer much to people who haven’t got a clue what their objectives are or should be. Some of his ideas can even be harmful, if not properly applied. For example, some people are taught that they should always talk positive, even if this means lying. Even if you haven’t made a sale in two years, you must put on a positive front and tell everyone that business couldn’t be better. Even if you know nothing about the product you are selling, you must praise it beyond belief. Even if you are experiencing one failure after another, you must lie to yourself and tell yourself that you are doing great. You must never blame the product for not selling. You must try harder, have more faith, and be more positive. Maybe you need to take advanced courses to help you succeed. By the time you wake up, you are bankrupt and those who were cheering you on (your sponsors) are nowhere to be found.

Original image:


Bonus! An article by W. Clement Stone, who virtually resurrected Hill, from a 1973 issue of Scouting (this can’t be OCRed due to clipped text, click to enlarge):



What’s odd about that article is that I didn’t know Stone was ever a Boy Scout. I had understood that he grew up poor, so how could he afford it? But I will take him at his word.

Double bonus. Bruce Lee read Napoleon Hill (and others). From a 1998 issue of Black Belt, the key passage:

One of the factors that contributed to Lee’s success was the way he drew inspiration and knowledge from a variety of people and sources. He was influenced by the work of philosophers Krishnamurti, Kahlil Gibran and Alan Watts. He was also influenced by the works of Norman Vincent Peale (author of Power of Positive Thinking), Napoleon Hill, Dr. Maxwell Maltz, W. Clement Stone, and Gyula Denes.

Click to enlarge the full article:



Previously here:

1921: Napoleon Hill: Not His Finest Hour
Napoleon Hill: Two Photos
Is This Napoleon Hill Book Extinct?
Rare Napoleon Hill Writings: November 1921
Rare Napoleon Hill Writings: January 1917
Rare Napoleon Hill Writings: February 1918
Rare Napoleon Hill Writings: June-July 1918
Rare Napoleon Hill Writings: August-September 1915
Rare Napoleon Hill Writings: January 1920
Rare Napoleon Hill Writings: January 1921


Filed under Napoleon Hill

3 responses to “Napoleon Hill Miscellany

  1. Slim Jim Shreeve

    Totally brilliant, well done for pulling this stuff!

    Napoleon Hill out of the slammer on bail! And Bruce Lee influenced by Hill!

    If you read Napoleon Hill very carefully there’s some odd stuff in there too. I’d have to root out my copy of THINK & GROW RICH, but I recall elements about us having a “double” and how this can be harness….nowadays there’d be talk of higher self, all that, but double was a lot better. Hill was the real deal in my view, unlike the shallow modern blaggers who copy him.

    Hill also had this thing about harnessing sexual energy, which he hinted at (modern blaggers ignore his weirder elements)…I’d say he was partly influenced by some obscure Oriental mind/body systems…I think he delved into territories you wouldn’t expect.

    • mikecane

      I’m very skeptical about Hill. His bio is filled with failure in his life. And much of T&GR has material that appeared previously in Haanel’s The Master Key to Riches.

      • Slim Jim Shreeve

        You’re right about Haanel’s book, Hill was right on it… and you do wonder whether Hill ever met that Carnegie guy. Hill also lifted from The Magic Story, think that’s where he got the “double” idea from.

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