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Napoleon Hill likely never studied any millionaires, but this man actually did and published research.

ChrisV

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Before I get into the work of renowned Psychologist, Edwin Locke I have to state that I'm a notorious critic of Napoleon Hill. The only success he had in life seems to be writing TGR, and before that we know that he was arrested many many many times for various scams. I wrote about it here:

Napoleon Hill Was A Notorious Scam Artist Before Writing Think And Grow Rich, Arrested Many Times.

Napoleon's story that he 'knew' Andrew Carnegie is suspect at best and the Carnegie estate says there's no evidence that the two have never even met, and Carnegie never spoke of Hill. It seems that Hill is the only one who actually recalled this alleged meeting. Also, not sure why Andrew Carnegie, one of the wealthiest men in the world, would pick a random man to go interview the world most wealthy men to find their secret, especially given Hill's criminal record.

The reason I say this is that eminent psychologist and professor Edwin A Locke actually did the research Hill claimed to have done, and wrote a book and several research papers about it. Locke is one of the most cited researchers in the field.

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Get an inside, up-close look at some of the world's richest people--and learn what really motivates them.
The super-rich really aren't like other people. They're a rare breed that inspires awe, envy, admiration--sometimes even hatred. They're idolized, criticized, and demonized. In short, they stand out from the rest of humanity. After all, not everyone can build personal fortunes worth billions or create dominant business empires. It takes a remarkable person, blessed with the "traits of wealth," to accomplish these things.

THE PRIME MOVERS takes a penetrating look at some of these remarkable people--and reveals seven attributes common to all great wealth creators: independent vision, an active mind, competence and confidence, the drive to action, egoistic passion, love of ability in others, and virtue. In the right mix, these traits are what makes someone a Bill Gates, Sam Walton, Mary Kay, or Ross Perot.

Sometimes irreverent, sometimes surprising, but always fascinating, THE PRIME MOVERS sheds welcome light on the powerful personalities and driving forces behind the world's famous (and infamous) ultra-wealthy elite.
 

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MythOfSisyphus

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As someone who's read, enjoyed, and credits TGR with changing my life I have to say I'm intrigued. I had no idea about Hills past or your other claims but I'm interested in digging deeper.

Locke's book seems like a worthwhile read too
 

guy93777

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. Also, not sure why Andrew Carnegie, one of the wealthiest men in the world, would pick a random man to go interview the world most wealthy men to find their secret, especially given Hill's criminal record.
thanks

yes it doesn't make sense indeed.

just imagine Bill Gates picking a random guy in the street and telling him to interview milionaires .

this is silly.

the Carnegie story is a marketing approach. this is the same thing that Robert Kiyosaki ' s " 2 dads story ". this is a copywriting trick to grab attention

people love stories.
 

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Why do you care? The guy is dead and people make claims all the time (even on this forum!) about their creds that aren't true. I actually really enjoyed Hill's "The Laws of Success", there is a ton of good information in there even if he didn't know any millionaires.
 

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Thank you for this, OP. TGR was the first "entrepreneurial self-help" book I read but then after I realized that Hill was a scam artist, it put a lot of my faith in its precepts into question. That said, I still really enjoyed the message but to have something now with actual substance behind it makes me happy. I look forward to buying it soon and checking it off once I'm done with Unscripted and a few other books in the queue. :D
 

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Appreciate the information. But, apples to oranges...
 

guy93777

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Thank you for this, OP. TGR was the first "entrepreneurial self-help" book I read but then after I realized that Hill was a scam artist, it put a lot of my faith in its precepts into question. That said, I still really enjoyed the message but to have something now with actual substance behind it makes me happy. I look forward to buying it soon and checking it off once I'm done with Unscripted and a few other books in the queue. :D

the "Hill secret" is real value. the point is that hill didn't discover it . this was known before him.

Hill was poor and he found the carnegie idea to make a story.


i would have done the same thing.



i would have asked myself :


" wait a minute, how can i use ancient principles of success to make money ?

hmmm.. maybe i should tell a story because people are emotional creatures "




25153







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As someone who's read, enjoyed, and credits TGR with changing my life I have to say I'm intrigued. I had no idea about Hills past or your other claims but I'm interested in digging deeper.

Locke's book seems like a worthwhile read too
Thank you for this, OP. TGR was the first "entrepreneurial self-help" book I read but then after I realized that Hill was a scam artist, it put a lot of my faith in its precepts into question. That said, I still really enjoyed the message but to have something now with actual substance behind it makes me happy. I look forward to buying it soon and checking it off once I'm done with Unscripted and a few other books in the queue. :D
Yes, that's the thing.. just because Hill was a scam artist, does not prove his advice isn't useful. In Philosophy this is considered an Ad Hominem argument. You can't disprove an argument based on what a turd the person making the argument is. I'm on the fence regarding Hill because a lot of really successful people attribute their success to TGR, but I do find some of the advice to be sketchy. For instance the "3 feet to gold" parable. In that imaginary scenario if the person had onlydug a little longer, he would have struck gold! But in real life, there are plenty of scenarios where giving up and taking another course is the best course of action. Persistence can be helpful in some cases, but in others, it's a waste of time. 90% of the time there is NOT gold 3 feet away, and you have to take a different course of action. Persistence is foolish is some scenarios.

But anyway, Locke is legit. Aside from studying the worlds most successful people to find commonalities, he was also instrumental in understanding goal-setting theory (a scientifically validated method of effectively setting goals.)

"Locke is the most published organizational psychologist in the history of the field. His pioneering research has advanced and enriched our understanding of work motivation and job satisfaction. The theory that is synonymous with his name—goal-setting theory—is perhaps the most widely-respected theory in industrial-organizational psychology. His 1976 chapter on job satisfaction continues to be one of the most highly-cited pieces of work in the field."

Another gentleman that took a more rigorous approach to understanding the Millionaire mind was Author Thomas Corley:

 
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ChrisV

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the Carnegie story is a marketing approach. this is the same thing that Robert Kiyosaki ' s " 2 dads story ". this is a copywriting trick to grab attention

people love stories.
I've never looked into Kiyosaki's history.. is that true? That he made up the 2 dads story?

I think that Hill didn't realize what an enormous success that TGR was going to be and put a few mistruths in the text and didn't realize it was going to be arguably the world most popular self-help book of all time making his claims the subject of intense scrutiny.
 
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ChrisV

ChrisV

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Why do you care? The guy is dead and people make claims all the time (even on this forum!) about their creds that aren't true. I actually really enjoyed Hill's "The Laws of Success", there is a ton of good information in there even if he didn't know any millionaires.
Yes, and those who are making things up about their credentials (even on this forum!) need to be exposed.
 

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I’m indifferent toward Hill, for all I know he could’ve been a POS who hated puppies and children or he was an incredible guy, either way, interesting topic. Is there any other source out there besides the Gizmodo post that corroborates this?
 

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I’m indifferent toward Hill, for all I know he could’ve been a POS who hated puppies and children or he was an incredible guy, either way, interesting topic. Is there any other source out there besides the Gizmodo post that corroborates this?
Yea, I know Gizmodo isn't the most reliable source generally, but there are other sources regarding his arrest record:


I generally don't link to Gizmodo, but I think they did a good job in this case.
 

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Funny no one is talking about the 7 traits as those are most important :)

1) Independent vision
2) Active mind
3) Competence and confidence
4) The drive to action
5) Egotistic passion
6) Love of ability in others
7)Virtue

It's interesting because it seems to contradict themselves...

...you must be very selfish with your pursuits.
...on the other, you lean on and are good to others.

Based on my experience, the only thing holding most folks back from doing well/making money is
- The drive to action
- Independent vision
- Competence and confidence

Most people have the other four traits. They stumble on:

- Drive to action ---> actually doing something and 'stop talking'
- Independent vision ---> forget what others think and don't listen to people you shouldn't
- Competence and confidence --> I'd estimate most posts on this forum are around "I'm scared, help." It's funny...if you continue to take action, your confidence goes up.

Bottom line...taking action cures all.
 

guy93777

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I've never looked into Kiyosaki's history.. is that true? That he made up the 2 dads story?

I think that Hill didn't realize what an enormous success that TGR was going to be and put a few mistruths in the text and didn't realize it was going to be arguably the world most popular self-help book of all time making his claims the subject of intense scrutiny.


1) the kiyosaki story : a journalist did an investigation and he said the story was totaly invented and there never was a " rich dad " from Hawai !

this is just a clever copywriting tool. congratulations anyway for the 2 dad story

2) yes Hill didn't think his whole trick would work so well.


bu as i said , telling a story is a very effective marketing tool. this is a weapon of influence.



which sentence is the best ?

A ) i sell cookies . it is just 2 dollars a piece

B) my parents survived WW2 and they promised themselves , they would launch the best cookies shop on earth ( totaly invented story )

it is just 2 dollars a piece


hmmm......
 
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ChrisV

ChrisV

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I’m indifferent toward Hill, for all I know he could’ve been a POS who hated puppies and children or he was an incredible guy, either way, interesting topic. Is there any other source out there besides the Gizmodo post that corroborates this?
Oh yea, there's this:

CNN Money: Seamy Side Of A Self-Help Swami A New Biography Reveals That Napoleon Hill, Author Of Think & Grow Rich, Which Has Sold Ten Million Copies, Knew Failure Well.

No one ever sought success more desperately than Hill. In an attempt to make a living while writing his book, he floated some 30 ventures--all grandiose, almost all doomed. His most inspired? A scheme called the Intra-Wall Institute, which peddled correspondence courses to the incarcerated. Financial security eluded him until he was well into his 60s. All the while, he lectured on success.
But then, he claimed a lot of things.

He claimed to have been an attorney, and wasn't. He claimed to have helped President Wilson negotiate Germany's surrender in the First World War and to have helped F.D.R. pen fireside chats. The proof? Lacking. Charges of fraud hounded Hill at least twice during his career. In light of these facts, it would be nice to say with complete certainty that he really did interview Ford, Bell, Edison, Rockefeller, Luther Burbank, and all the rest. Where are the notes? Nowhere to be found. They were destroyed, said Hill, in a tragic warehouse fire.
Also


Later in life, Hill would use the title of "Attorney of Law," although Hill's official biography notes that "there is no record of his having actually performed legal services for anyone," [10]
 
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I wonder if you looked at your own life the same way you are scrutinizing his what you might find.

Winners focus on winning, losers focus on winners.

The dude is dead. If the book doesn't help you move on.
 
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ChrisV

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I found a great summary of this book:


Recommendation
Instead of presenting you with a laundry list of steps designed to increase your productivity, Edwin A. Locke delves into the psyches and motives of entrepreneurs who actually managed to change their world with their productivity: Bill Gates, Sam Walton, Thomas Edison and others. His rationale? Locke convincingly concludes that highly successful executives possess a number of similar characteristics. In The Prime Movers he tries to identify these traits and illustrate them using biographical detail. The final result is an intriguing profile that probably will entertain more than inform. (Is it any surprise that entrepreneurs are self-confident?) One note: In order to love this book you’ll have to at least like Ayn Rand, whose quotes saturate its pages - an inclusion that should give you some idea of what to expect from Locke. getAbstract recommends this book to executives, entrepreneurs and Steve Jobs wannabes at all levels.
Take-Aways
  • Wealth is created through mental power, not through physical power.
  • Prime Movers are highly successful entrepreneurs who create wealth.
  • Vision, the ability to foresee a future development, is a key trait of Prime Movers.
  • The Prime Mover’s best asset is an active mind, which constantly asks questions, challenges assumptions and generates ideas.
  • Intelligence is part of a Prime Mover’s advantage, but only if he aims his intelligence at achievement.
  • Prime Movers develop two types of self-confidence - that they can perform specific tasks and that they can meet life’s challenges in general.
  • Prime Movers seek ability in others, hire them and reward them for performance.
  • Prime Movers embrace egoism, but egoism that is based on rational behavior.
  • Honesty and integrity are key virtues for Prime Movers, because they know that trust is critical to running a business.
  • Thomas Edison and Bill Gates are examples of Prime Movers.
Summary
The Princes of Capitalism
Vision, free thinking and an ability to act are among the common characteristics shared by history’s great wealth creators. Prime Movers are the visionary and talented entrepreneurs who create great wealth with their own vision, talent and hard work. Naysayers frequently downplay the accomplishments of Prime Movers, saying they achieved their wealth through luck. In reality, Prime Movers truly earn their money through intelligence and savvy. John D. Rockefeller, for instance, made his fortune by becoming the most efficient transporter, refiner and marketer of oil; his success made the U.S. a world power in the oil industry. Steve Jobs recognized the potential of Apple’s personal computer and pushed the project to completion when no one else thought it was worthy.
“The number of small businesses that grow to be dominant is miniscule. It takes a remarkable person to achieve and sustain large-scale, long-term growth.”
Religious figures and communists have criticized wealth creators. But contrary to their belief, earning money is a spiritual achievement - money is earned through virtue, defined as the use of one’s intellect. In the end, wealth creation depends on manipulating ideas, not moving physical materials. The philosophy that drives the Prime Movers can be found in the writings of Ayn Rand, including The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
Vision
Vision is the ability to predict that something will work in the future. Henry Ford foresaw demand for affordable cars; Bill Gates predicted the value of computer software. Forming a vision is a business leader’s most important duty. Accurate visions are difficult to come by, in part because experts and the press often disparage new products. Among the revolutionary products that few predicted: airplanes, electric lights, minivans, microchips, wireless radios, telephones and Federal Express delivery. The naysayers suffered from myopic vision, while wealth creators benefited from independent vision, or foresight unencumbered by current thought.
“All business, contrary to Marx, is fundamentally about brain power, not muscle power.”
Nike head Phil Knight was a visionary who first wanted to sell running shoes on the West Coast. He ultimately expanded his vision to include building the dominant athletic shoe maker in the world. True to form, Knight has been criticized for making his shoes in foreign sweatshops. However, the critics don’t take into account that Nike would lose its competitive advantage by making its shoes in the U.S. After they hatch their plans, business leaders must communicate their visions. This accomplishes two things. First, it creates a sense of common purpose that will clarify employees’ mission. Second, it excites employees. Walt Disney was a visionary whose studio pioneered animation, sound and color techniques and theme parks, but many people initially considered Disney’s ideas to be misguided.
Active Minds
Prime Movers have active minds. An active mind isn’t the same thing as an open mind, and it’s not the same as being a straight-A student. Prime Movers such as Bill Gates were poor students, because they found other things that engaged their minds more than their studies. An active mind constantly seeks information and questions assumptions. In other words, an active mind is always thinking critically. This constant thought is hard work, and it’s done by the thinker’s own volition.
“Man’s most basic choice is the choice to think or not to think, which means to focus on reality or not.”
Active minds receive, evaluate and integrate information. Their thinking is based in reality. A Prime Mover always focuses on the world as it is, rather than as he wishes it would be. Applying thought to self-deception or unrealistic views of the world is a waste of time and effort.
Thomas Edison is a perfect example of an active mind. The inventor of the light bulb, the phonograph and other revolutionary products, he constantly generated ideas and tracked experiments. Active minds such as Edison’s can engage in visionary thought - that is, projecting the future - and small-picture, detail-oriented thought at the same time. For instance, Henry Ford used visionary thought to predict the impact of the automobile. But he didn’t lose focus on details. He was heavily involved in developing the Model T. Active minds constantly ask questions. For instance, Coca-Cola’s Roberto Goizueta and Wal-Mart’s Sam Walton were known for bombarding employees with questions. The result is that Prime Movers don’t just solve problems; they find problems before it’s clear that they exist.
“Brain power is always harder to find than muscle power. Managers can perform unskilled labor, but unskilled laborers cannot manage.”
The opposite of an active mind is a stagnant one. Some executives are too lazy to think critically, or they prefer to create the illusion that they know everything and therefore don’t need to ask questions. This sort of delusional thinking leads to failure. Active minds anticipate, while passive minds react. Active minds focus on the present and future, while passive minds think about the past and the present. Active minds integrate, while passive minds compartmentalize. Active minds seek improvement, while passive minds accept the status quo. Active minds embrace new ideas, while passive minds get by on old ones. Active minds accept reality, while passive minds act based on wishes. Active minds see the big picture and the details, while passive minds see only the details. Active minds look at developments outside their own businesses, while passive minds see only their own industries. Active minds can grasp abstractions, while passive minds think concretely. Active minds ask questions; passive minds don’t.
Intelligence and Confidence
Raw intelligence does not the Prime Mover make. Sure, intelligence - the ability to grasp abstractions and process information - is important. But innate intelligence alone isn’t enough. It’s important to note that about 50% of intelligence is determined genetically, by the intelligence level of parents. But true achievement is accomplished by a person’s own actions. Prime Movers have innate intelligence, but they also are achievers, who through their own choice put their intelligence to work. There are two components of intelligence used by effective thinkers. One is inductive reasoning, or forming general conclusions from specific facts. The other is deductive reasoning, or applying general principles to specific situations.
“The Prime Mover can’t stand to have an idea for a long time and not take some action on it.”
Prime Movers also possess confidence. Confidence is a result of achieving a certain level of skill. Confidence has two components: self-efficacy, and general efficacy. Self-efficacy is the confidence that you can ably perform a given task, given your mastery of that task in the past. General efficacy, part of self-esteem, is the confidence that you can handle challenges and achieve goals. Prime Movers develop both types of confidence. Steve Jobs, for instance, had a sense of general efficacy from an early age because, as an orphan, he became independent earlier than most children.
Masters of Action
Prime Movers are chronically impatient. In business terms, that means that Prime Movers act on an idea soon after forming the idea. Still, Prime Movers evaluate their ideas before acting. The more risk an idea carries, the more analysis they’ll do. Action is inherently risky, even for Prime Movers. At times, they can prove too confident. For instance, Edison lost most of his wealth by pursuing an evasive process involving iron-ore. The opposite of confidence, self-doubt, also is an enemy of action.
“Prime Movers are enormously ambitious. They differ from other people in the scope and intensity of their ambitions, in the fact that they love the work, and in their actions taken to succeed.”
A Prime Mover’s action doesn’t happen by itself; rather, it’s fired by drive. Drive is the combination of four factors:
  1. Ambition. This is the desire to improve your condition and life, and the word has negative connotations. That’s because ambition often is accompanied by envy, pretension and a lack of morals and values. However, ambition is a morally neutral term.
  2. High standards. Prime Movers set lofty goals.
  3. Stamina. This is sustained effort. Many Prime Movers are famous for their stamina; Allied Signal’s Larry Bossidy, for instance, works 12 hours a day.
  4. Tenacity. This is effort in spite of setbacks. Edison, for instance, persevered in the development of the light bulb after failing thousands of times to perfect his creation.
“Ego is the motive power of Prime Movers; above all, they work for themselves.”
Ego Ego drives Prime Movers. Like ambition, ego is a word that carries negative connotations. Many executives indeed suffer from inflated egos. Auto executive John DeLorean, for instance, exaggerated his accomplishments, boosted his own image and ultimately failed. True egoism isn’t narcissistic or grandiose. Instead, true egoism is based on reality and on actions needed to be effective. In this context, egoism leads to honesty and integrity because these qualities in turn lead to business success. A true egoist doesn’t work for money or recognition, but because he loves the work.
Delegation
Prime Movers trust other people because they know they can’t accomplish their goals by themselves. Prime Movers constantly look for creative thinkers, and they’re very picky about hiring employees. After a Prime Mover hires someone, the employee is expected to learn quickly. Prime Movers delegate, and they generously reward employees for their achievements.
Virtue
For the Prime Mover, piety, humility and faith aren’t virtues. Rather, the Prime Mover possesses more practical virtues, such as rationality, independence and productiveness. Virtues are based in values, and a human’s primary value system exists to protect and prolong a man’s life. Virtues also are based in egoism, because this value system aims at self-preservation. Among the Prime Mover’s virtues are:
  1. Rationality. This virtue causes a Prime Mover to accept reality, even if it’s unpleasant. General Electric’s Jack Welch, for instance, includes facing reality as one of his six rules of business. A rational executive admits that he’s not all-knowing and acknowledges his own errors.
  2. Independence. This virtue lets a Prime Mover take responsibility for sustaining his own life. This doesn’t mean that an executive ignores others. In fact, it’s rational to use other people’s knowledge and abilities.
  3. Productiveness. This virtue uses the mind to create material values.
  4. Honesty. This virtue doesn’t simply mean telling the truth. Honesty requires an active mind, one that always admits reality. Honesty means openly acknowledging problems, rather than denying them.
  5. Integrity. This is loyalty to rational beliefs. A member of the Ku Klux Klan isn’t displaying integrity, because his loyalty is to irrational convictions. In business, integrity starts with the CEO.
  6. Justice. This virtue applies rationality to others. There are obstacles to justice. Some people refuse to judge others at all, others judge arbitrarily and some judge hypocritically, without a basis of knowledge.
“Egoists practice the virtues of honesty and integrity because they know that trust is critical for business success.”
The final virtue, justice, isn’t an abstraction for many managers. Mary Kay Ash, head of Mary Kay Cosmetics, based her company’s foundation on justice. Compensation is based solely on sales performance, and high-achieving performers are rewarded with public praise and pink Cadillacs. Irrational criteria such as politics and favoritism don’t come into play when rewards are based completely on performance.
About the Author
Edwin A. Locke holds a doctorate and is a professor of leadership and motivation at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. His previous books include A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance and The Essence of Leadership
 

Frank H.

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Interesting post. Napolean Hill is one of my favorite authors and I took extensive notes on TGR. Disappointing to hear that he was involved in so many outrageous controversies.
 
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Interesting post. Napolean Hill is one of my favorite authors and I took extensive notes on TGR. Disappointing to hear that he was involved in so many outrageous controversies.
Well that's not to necessarily say the information isn't valuable or correct. I just think it's an indication to be a little critical of the suggestions. I do personally agree with many of his suggestions.

Actually the researcher I wrote this post about found many of the same things Napolean Hill said. From Hill's work:

1 Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say, “I want plenty of money”. Be definite as to the amount.
2. Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire.
3. Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.
4. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.
5. Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire. Name the time limit for its acquisition. State what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.
6. Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after rising in the morning. AS YOU READ, SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY.

From Locke's work:

The two key findings of this theory are that setting specific goals (e.g., I want to earn $500 more a month) leads to higher performance than setting easy or "do best" goals (e.g., I want to earn more money), and that goal difficulty is linearly and positively related to performance such that, the harder the goal, the greater the effort, focus, and persistence, which results in higher performance.[6]Goals are proposed to mediate the influence of incentives and feedback on performance. The model has spawned a large body of research, most of which has supported these predictions.[7]
Goals have two characteristics: content, and intensity. Content refers to the chosen achievement (e.g., I want to form a loving relationship). Intensity refers to the quantity of physical and mental resources needed to create or achieve the content. The original model proposed by Locke consisted of five steps: Environmental Stimuli → Cognition → Evaluation → Intentions\ Goal Setting → Performance.[6]
Hill's 11 major attributes of Leadership:

1. UNWAVERING COURAGE
2. SELF-CONTROL.
3. A KEEN SENSE OF JUSTICE.
4. DEFINITENESS OF DECISION.
5. DEFINITENESS OF PLANS.
6. THE HABIT OF DOING MORE THAN PAID FOR.
7. A PLEASING PERSONALITY.
8. SYMPATHY AND UNDERSTANDING.
9. MASTERY OF DETAIL.
10. WILLINGNESS TO ASSUME FULL RESPONSIBILITY.
11. COOPERATION.

Locke's:

Professor Locke also developed a model of successful business people.[8] This model is based on observations of success, such as of Walt Disney, Sam Walton, and Mary Kay. In successful people, seven traits were observed at high levels:
1. Independent vision
2. An active mind
3. Competence and confidence
4. The drive to action
5. Egoistic passion
6. Love of ability in others
7. Virtue

Hill seems to be pretty accurate with a lot of the things he said and found many of the same things that Locke did, so he likely poured over the biographies of ultra successful people, but just needed a fancy story to get people's attention.
 
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Sydney Australia
There are currently about 3,320 results for Napoleon Hill, of which I have no intention of going through all. So, to understand the Book, you first need to understand the man himself, yes he was a fraudster, trickster, conman and a liar.......... That's that out of the way.!!!

Next, the 16 principals in Think and Grow Rich are not the secret or the answer to the secret. Your wasting your time, they are placed in the book, to throw you off the scent. Remember, Hill or Nap to his mates, was a fraudster, trickster, conman and a liar.!!!

The secret is mentioned many times in the first 9 chapters. Hell, he even tells you what the secret is.

As Captain Barbossa of Pirates of the Carribbean said, "For certain, you have to be lost to find a place that cant be found. Elseways, everyone would know where it was."
 

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