In uncertain times it is wise to look up to and follow the guidelines of the greates minds of the era. That is why we will introduce you to the profile of one the greatest authors and motivational speakers who won the hearts of people assiociated with the Network Marketing industry. Napoleon Hill, the legendary author of the bestseller of all time “Think and grow rich” and the equally famous maxim “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
The unusual life of Napoleon Hill
The life of Napoleon Hill is somewhat reminiscent of the journey of the mythical Sisyphus. Every time he succeeded, something happened that caused him to lose everything. In result, once again he had to start from the scratch. During his long, 87-year-old life, Hill got married three times, went bankrupt several times and changed his place of residence 10 times, and he avoided death by the hands of mafia gangsters. In the meantime, inspired by Andrew Carnegie, he interviewed hundreds of successful people, uncovering the secret of their success and published several books on the philosophy of success, which almost immediately became bestsellers. Hill’s life story is also a story about the great impact on our lives of people we meet along the way.
Six-shooter and Martha
Napoleon Hill was born in 1883 in the small town of Wise County, Virginia. The town was poor and its inhabitants, mostly illiterate, superstitious and backward. At the age of 10 he met his first tragedy – his mother died. Teen Nap, his nickname at the time, spent the next days wandering around and terrorizing the inhabitants with his six-shooter. Fortunately, his father remarried and his stepmother Martha took care of young Napoleon. It was she who noticed the boy’s intelligence and lush imagination and persuaded him to take up writing. Martha, a well-educated woman, became a teacher and authority for him. When she offered him to buy a typewriter in exchange for getting rid of the gun, he agreed.
Napoleon Hill meets Andrew Carnagie
At the age of 15, Hill began working with local newspapers. Soon he managed to got a job in Bob Taylor’s Magazine, a popular magazine about wealth and success. One of the young reporter’s first tasks was to interview an American industrialist, one of the richest people in the world – Andrew Carnegie, 73 at the time. It may sound banal, but this meeting changed Napoleon’s life.
Philosophy of success
During the conversation, Carnegie noticed that every generation must rediscover the path to success through trial and error, while the rules that govern it are clear and unchanging. He also suggested that the world needs a philosophy of success. Then he set a young challenge for young Hill – meeting people who had real success and wealth (understood not only as money), and writing down their personal theory of success. For his part, Carnegie was to introduce Napoleon to the greatest personalities of his time, Hill in turn undertook to devote the next 20 years to this work, without taking a penny for it.
Carnegie convinced Napoleon Hill that if a man really knows what he wants, nothing can interrupt him. Napoleon also implemented this principle in his own life, although it often gave him a hard time. Over the years, he met, among others, with Thomas Edison, Theodor Roosevelt, John Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Alexander Bell and many, many others.
“For mutual friendship with the possibility of leading to matrimony”
In 1908, then living in Washington, D.C., Hill placed a personal ad in the paper seeking a young lady “for mutual friendship with the possibility of leading to matrimony”. In this way he met his first wife, Florence, whom he married in 1910. Over the next eight years, three sons were born to him: James, Napoleon Blair and David.
And although he loved his family, he couldn’t sit still. Already two years after the wedding, he moved to Chicago in search of new opportunities, and for the next 17 years he saw his wife and children occasionally. In Chicago, he worked as a copywriter, owner of a candy store, and sales correspondence teacher. When the United States entered World War I, Napoleon wrote to President Wilson, offering him his services, and he hired him to create propaganda materials.
After the war
After the war, Hill knew he wanted to write. In Chicago, he created a magazine dedicated to the philosophy of success, which quickly turned out to be a hit. His articles were a mixture of biblical psalms and Gospel teachings (Hill was a zealous Protestant) and thoughts shared with him by the richest successful people. Unfortunately, in 1920 Hill came into conflict with the magazine’s publisher. As a result, he moved to New York to start all over again. He managed to attract sponsors and publish another magazine, which turned out to be even more successful. The name Hill was becoming more and more recognizable.
Unfortunately, his journalists were running suspicious business and the authorities started an invistigation. Advertisers withdrew, magazine publication stopped, and Napoleon remained in debt. He had to start over again. This time he moved to Ohio, where he ran a business school, offering various types of courses. And then he met Don Mellet, another important person in his life. This publisher persuaded Hill to write a book about the rules of success, summarizing his research to date.
Unfortunately, at about the same time, Mellet discovered the activities of gangsters who traded in alcohol and drugs despite the prohibition at the time with the silent permission of the police and described it in his newspaper, and Hill went to the governor asking for clarification. Soon somebody killed Meellet and Napoleon survived only because on the way home (where the killers were waiting) his car broke down. When he found out about the death of his friend, he packed up and flew to West Virginia.
The wheel of fortune
This time it was not easy for him to get on his feet. Hill suffered from depression. It took him over a year to overcome. As he wrote himself, he was disappointed in himself and the fact that he could not afford Christmas gifts for his own children. He decided, however, to keep Carnegie’s word and finish the book. After many unsuccessful attempts, he also managed to find a publisher and the work “The Law of Success” saw the light of day in 1928. Finally, Napoleon, who became rich, was also successful. He could afford to buy a palace with a huge garden, where, after years of separation, his whole family lived. He planned to create a school of success there.
Unfortunately, fortune is rolling – during the year, the Great Depression happened preventing all his dreams from coming true. The cash ran out, the house had to be sold and once again Napoleon was left with nothing. Then came the offer of a job advisor to the President, which Hill decided to accept. His next separation, however, did not endure his marriage, ending in divorce.
Think and grow rich
In 1937, Hill met his second wife, 29-year-old Rose Lee Bleeland. She helped him work on another book that was to be the most important work of Napoleon. They could not find a willing publisher for a long time. In the end, mainly thanks to the persistence of young wife Hill, he succeeded. Interestingly, the publisher wanted the book’s title to be “Use Your Noodle to Win More Boodle” (literally “Use your head to make more money”). Ultimately, however, they decided to title it “Think and get rich”.
The first edition ran out after three weeks. Today, this item is still considered the best book on self-improvement and willingly bought – over 70 million copies have already been sold all over the world.
While readers were realizing their American dream, Hill and his wife were enjoying the well-deserved luxury. Unfortunately, the happiness did not last long. The couple divorced. According to the interpretaise of the rights to the book belonged to Rose. Hill again was without money…
Job well done Napoleon Hill!
And this time he managed to raise. Thanks to the recognition he enjoyed, he taught self-development courses. Wrote more books. In 1943 he married for the third time (with Annie Lou Norman) – and this marriage lasted until his death in 1970. At the age of 69, Napoleon became a partner in Clement Stone, the president of a large insurance company. The company was successful because he provided each of his employees with “Think and get rich”. Together, they published more books and created the Success Unlimited magazine, the precursor to the current Success magazine. In accordance with Napoleon’s wish, after his death, Stone became director of the Napoleon Hill Foundation.
And thousands of people around the world took Hill’s advice in his books and achieved success …