Thanks to Sean T. Carter in Comments for pointing me to this.
Napoleon Hill – the Lies about Andrew Carnegie
Had Carnegie wanted a major study of ‘success’, he could employ the best, most authoritative minds in the business, and demand they report within months. He was an old man in 1908 — why invite a nonentity to undertake unpaid research conscious he probably wouldn’t live to see the results twenty years later? Carnegie was decisive. He got things done.
This is a detailed analysis of written statements made by Napoleon Hill that simply don’t reconcile with one another and which contradict the historical record.
There’s only one way to tell if Hill ever met Carnegie: Find Carnegie’s Guest Book.
During that time, I believe it was the custom for people of Carnegie’s social and financial standing to have a Guest Book in their mansions. Visitors would sign their names. Did such a Guest Book exist? And is Napoleon Hill’s signature in it? Someone needs to research where such a Carnegie possession is held in an archive. If it turns out to be in NYC, I’d volunteer my time to pore through it for the final proof. This is an issue that needs to be settled once and for all.
And I advise people to pop over to Sean T. Carter’s site. He has some righteous stuff over there, one of which includes: Say It With me — Fuck The Self-Help Industry [April 7 2016 Update: That site has since been deleted(!) by its author. The only way to see this post is via this general link at Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.]
I’m gonna tell you like this — this new age/self-help/motivational stuff is all bullshit. I’ve met and conversed with many wealthy businessmen and I’ve yet to find one who attributed their success to having read any of the self-help literature. In fact, many of them told me themselves that they’d never heard of even the most popular titles. I’m not talking about people who became wealthy through dream-selling, I’m referring to those who acquired their fortunes through industry. The most common theme I found with these wealthy businessmen is that they had a goal and worked their ass of through the trial and error method in order to get to where they are…period. There is no “formula for success” that is going to save you. You may not wanna hear this, but you’re gonna have to get your hands dirty and find your own path. No more making self-help charlatans rich. I once drunk the kool-aid of this industry heavily and I was getting nowhere as a result. I’ve observed others who still drunk the kool-aid and I’ve yet to meet one who’s actually successful — their mode of thought seems to always center around “I’m gonna be wealthy someday.” To that I say — FUCK THAT!
If I might become Napoleon Hill-like and refer to myself, that’s why I did (and will at some point pick up again) the iPeople blog. Those are accounts of people who accomplished things through their own will and their lives provide examples, not assertions in a book. I still marvel at the struggle of grocer David Pender who eventually got rich despite himself.
And that’s how it often is with people who get rich. They wind up doing something they really don’t want to do, find themselves stuck in it, and wind up “accidental” successes.
And synchronicity has struck this post. I wanted to illustrate that point by linking to a story. But a search revealed I can now embed the video version. It made a huge impression on me ages ago when I saw it on TV and I haven’t seen it since. Now — until it’s been DMCAed away — I can pass it along to illustrate my point. Take the few minutes needed to watch this and you’ll have a better insight into how life works than many people:
When that eventually disappears, there’s W. Somerset Maugham’s original story to turn to.
Same-day update: Carnegie had a Guest Book at his home in Skibo:
Then there must have been one at his New York City mansion too:
Does it still exist and where is it archived?
15 responses to “Napoleon Hill: Did He Ever Meet Andrew Carnegie?”
Re. Carnegie’s guest book(s), I strongly suspect they are archived at the Carnegie University Libraries which “host a number of full text special collections for public access, including the Andrew Carnegie Collection.”
As those libraries were pioneers in digitizing their collections, there is a good chance the guest book(s) are in digital form. So a request to the Chief Librarian ( or whatever term is used in America these days) could either produce copies of the book(s) or at least a confirmation of date(s) of visit(s).
Pittsburgh? I have a query into one in NYC.
There were two Carnegie mansions….one, the older of the two was in Pittsburg. However, Nap said he saw Carnegie in New Your. He probably saw him during November, possibly December as I have him back In Washington in Jan of 1909. Carnegie was in Scotlant the rest of 1908. Now, per the Hill family…all of us, including mt father believed that Nap saw Carnegie but none of us were alive at the time. Even my grandmother would have had no actual knowledge. So, I am interested in what you find out, although the point is moot, since there is esounding truth in what Nap taught. James Blair Hill
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All such articles are being referred from a post on Budge Burgess and that post is an utter crap.
If Napoleon never met Andrew Carniage then how he was able to conduct so many interviews with successful people? who referred Napoleon Hill to Henry Ford and others. Now, if someone say that all the claims of interviews are fake, then why no one denied it at that time. Think and Grow Rich got published in 1937. Henry Ford and many others interviewees were alive at that time. Why they didn’t slam Napoleon Hill for making such claims? Napoleon Hill was personal adviser to two of American presidents. Is it also a lie?
Napoleon Hill published Law of Success in 1928, in which he claimed to have interviewed Rockfeller, Thomas Edison, William Wrigley, Charles M Schwab At that time, all these people were alive. Was Napoleon so insane that he lied during their lives? did these people denied his claim ? If he had interviewed all these people, how he got permission for those interviews?
Budge Burgess has not given any credible source of his claim that Napoleon never met Andrew Carniage.
Where are the alleged interviews? Go search http://books.google.com as I have. There are ZERO interviews published by Hill. If such interviews ever existed, Hill would have sought publication for them, and the current Foundation would damn well have reprinted them to sell today. There were no such interviews. As for why the named subjects never sued Hill, you’d have to ask them. But show me where any of them ever mentioned Napoleon Hill. You can’t. Because they never did.
Mike makes a good point here that can be broken into two pieces which could close the lid on Hill’s authenticity once and for all:
1. Either Hill’s foundation has copies of the interviews or they don’t. If they don’t, then this is a MAJOR blow to Hill’s backstory. It would be incredible to believe that Hill never took handwritten notes which he then would have saved, if nothing else to show the luminaries he had associated with.
2. Either one or more (I would assume ‘many more’) of the big names interviewed by Hill have some evidence that Hill met them. Their family members must also be interviewed to see if they have any memory of the grandparent(s) mentioning Hill.
Hill claimed Carnegie personally sent him to one or more of the interviews. You can see a reference here:
Apologies for the long URL. It says that Carnegie PERSONALLY sent Hill to interview Rockefeller, Edison, Ford, and Eastman. Those are some of the biggest names in American business history so there HAS to be some kind of reference back to Hill in their estates.
This has things I didn’t know:
Great article – thanks, Mike!
Evidence shows these criticisms of Hill can’t be true. Google shows photos of Hill with Carnegie, Hill with Ford, Hill with Edison. Are these fakes, and if so, why can no criticism be found?
Regarding business, he appears to have made bad decisions about partners and lost his shirt repeatedly. That has happened to a number of other successful people. One day they finally wake up. If they don’t wake up then success forever eludes them. One of his books has a statement even addresses dishonesty in times of crisis. In their videos Mr. Hill and his associates seem humble and grateful to God for their lives. They appear to have matured and finally got it all together.
Perhaps that’s what this is all about. Today the founders of our country are held as imperfect and unworthy of our respect by many. They were born into an imperfect world and moved it to the better as much as anyone cold in a lifetime. I’d like to think that Mr. Hill did the same for himself.
A better article would be to ask what case can be made for not following Mr. Hill’s principles of success, and then have a reality show where people who do follow them compete against those who don’t. That would be an education ;)
I doubt that photo is of Napoleon Hill.
It doesn’t look like Hill at all.
I don,t believe and one word from what you wrote!
Napoleon must have a lot of merits to create a Science of Success alone!
Plus to have genial ability to create long time working lies!
Or maybe offices of A.Carnegie,H.Ford and other famouse persons and
co-workers of this successful persons Carnegie died in 1919, Edison died in 1931,Ford-in 1947, Edwin Barnes in 1952.
Napoleon Hill don,t meet W.Wrigley Jr, J.Wanamaker, A. Graham Bel etc.??
Only you / and similar authors as you in 2016/ discovered this facts?
Other,they are still living , don,t understood nothing??
You’re an willfully-ignorant idiot and a gullible sucker, then. Nothing more to be said.
Alright let’s just say everything is true. But is there any plausible money making guide that is proven and authentic. Somebody’s been authentic or not don’t matter, I just wanna get rich.
I recommend Max Gunther’s books:
And Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin (I haven’t done a post about this one yet). Read this one before Gunther’s. Lapin’s book is the groundwork, Gunther’s books are the practical methods.