I was an avid reader during my childhood. However, the pressures of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education put the reader in me into deep hibernation. During a visit to my friend Dr. Devan’s house in Kerala, I found an old book which claimed to be the first motivational book ever published. What attracted me even more was the quote on the back page, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” I was not a speed reader then, and I made use of my three-day stay with Dr. Devan to read that book completely. That day, the book thawed me out completely and reawakened the reader in me. On the way back home, I picked up the book from my now favorite bookshop on MG Road, Bangalore, “Higginbothams.” I have since read this book several times, recommended it, and gifted it to many. That unique book is “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.

This book, first published during the Great Depression in 1937, has sold more than 100 million copies and has undergone several revisions to remain contemporary. According to Hill, the book is the result of inspiration and guidance from business tycoon and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. It remains the sixth best-selling business book even after 70 years of its publication, according to BusinessWeek magazine’s Best-Seller List. And it’s on the “Lifetime Must Read” Books list in all other book rankings.

Even though the book’s title and content seem to focus on financial riches, it guides us to succeed in every aspect of life. Without any hesitation, I attribute all my success in most aspects of my life to this book. Most importantly, it rekindled my reading habits. Most other personality development and motivational books I have read since then appear to have drawn inspiration from this book.

The book outlines “13 steps” or principles as a Philosophy of Achievement. They are: 1. Desire, 2. Faith, 3. Autosuggestion, 4. Specialized Knowledge, 5. Imagination, 6. Organized Planning, 7. Decision, 8. Persistence, 9. Power of the Master Mind, 10. The Mystery of Sex Transmutation, 11. The Subconscious Mind, 12. The Brain, and 13. The Sixth Sense. It’s a time-tested principle that if we have the desire (goals), faith (self-belief), focus, and persistence, and if we can suppress our negative thoughts, we can achieve anything. Napoleon Hill says, “The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.”

The famous quote that must have been re-quoted countless times, “A quitter never wins and a winner never quits,” is from this book. There are at least a hundred life-changing quotes in this book. My favorite ones are:

  1. “You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct, and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.”
  2. “The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.”
  3. “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

For me, this is definitely the ultimate personality development and motivational book of all time. Hence, it goes without saying that this book is for all goal-oriented individuals.

Prof. Dr. Prahlada N. B
4 March 2019

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