Rodney Ohebsion

Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) is consider among the greatest writers in the history of “success literature.”


Napoleon diligently devoted much of his life to studying and analyzing hundreds of notable achievers such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. From the observation of these people—many of whom he interviewed first hand—as well as from lessons he based on his own personal experiences, Napoleon produced volumes of success literature that has a tremendous influence on millions of readers.

Most notable among them was Think and Grow Rich, which was published in its first original edition in 1937. He also published many other related works throughout his life, including a mammoth eight volume 1200+ page series released in 1928 titled The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons.


Napoleon is considered among the most influential American writers of all time. The ideas presented in his works have been hugely influential on American business philosophy. This business philosophy is often accredited with being an important part in taking America from its severe economic depression beginning in the late 1920s, all the way to becoming by far and away the premiere economic power in the world.


Napoleon’s writings are based on gaining general and economic success, but also go beyond that and describe principles of mind control, psychology, philosophy, human nature, spirituality, and self-discovery.


One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. Every person is guilty of this mistake at one time or another.

An uncle of RU Darby was caught by the “gold fever” in the gold-rush days, and went west to dig and grow rich. He had never heard that more gold has been mined from the brains of people than has ever been taken from the earth. He staked a claim and went to work with pick and shovel. The going was hard, but his lust for gold was definite.

After weeks of labor, he was rewarded by the discovery of the shining ore. He needed machinery to bring the ore to the surface. Quietly, he covered up the mine, retraced his footsteps to his home in Williamsburg, Maryland, and told his relatives and a few neighbors of the “strike.” They got together money for the needed machinery, had it shipped.

The uncle and Darby went back to work the mine.

The first car of ore was mined, and shipped to a smelter. The returns proved they had one of the richest mines in Colorado! A few more cars of that ore would clear the debts. Then would come the big killing in profits.

Down went the drills! Up went the hopes of Darby and Uncle! Then something happened. The vein of gold ore disappeared! They had come to the end of the rainbow, and the pot of gold was no longer there! They drilled on, desperately trying to pick up the vein again—all to no avail.

Finally, they decided to QUIT. They sold the machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars, and took the train back home. Some “junk” men are dumb, but not this one! He called in a mining engineer to look at the mine and do a little calculating. The engineer advised that the project had failed, because the owners were not familiar with “fault lines.” His calculations showed that the vein would be found JUST THREE FEET FROM WHERE THE DARBYS HAD STOPPED DRILLING!

That is exactly where it was found! The “Junk” man took millions of dollars in ore from the mine, because he knew enough to seek expert counsel before giving up.

Most of the money which went into the machinery was procured through the efforts of R. U. Darby, who was then a very young man. The money came from his relatives and neighbors, because of their faith in him. He paid back every dollar of it, although he was years in doing so.

Long afterward, Mr. Darby recouped his loss many times over, when he made the discovery that desire can be transmuted into gold. The discovery came after he went into the business of selling life insurance.

Remembering that he lost a huge fortune, because he STOPPED three feet from gold, Darby profited by the experience in his chosen work, by the simple method of saying to himself, “I stopped three feet from gold, but I will never stop because men say ‘no’ when I ask them to buy insurance.”

Darby is one of a small group of fewer than fifty men who sell more than a million dollars in life insurance annually. [Editor’s note: Keep in mind that this passage was written in 1937]. He owes his “stickability” to the lesson he learned from his “quitability” in the gold mining business.

Before success comes in any person’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a person, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to QUIT. That is exactly what the majority of people do.

More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them. Failure is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning.

It takes great delight in tripping one when success is almost within reach.

Shortly after Mr. Darby received his degree from the “University of Hard Knocks” and had decided to profit by his experience in the gold mining business, he had the good fortune to be present on an occasion that proved to him that “No” does not necessarily mean no.

One afternoon he was helping his uncle grind wheat in an old fashioned mill. The uncle operated a large farm on which a number of black sharecrop farmers lived. Quietly, the door was opened, and a small child, the daughter of a tenant, walked in and took her place near the door.

The uncle looked up, saw the child, and barked at her roughly, “What do you want?”

Meekly, the child replied, “My mammy say send her fifty cents.”

“I'll not do it,” the uncle retorted, “Now you run on home.”

“Yas sah,” the child replied. But she did not move. The uncle went ahead with his work, so busily engaged that he did not pay enough attention to the child to observe that she did not leave. When he looked up and saw her still standing there, he yelled at her, “I told you to go on home! Now go, or I'll take a switch to you.”

The little girl said “yas sah,” but she did not budge an inch. The uncle dropped a sack of grain he was about to pour into the mill hopper, picked up a barrel stave, and started toward the child with an expression on his face that indicated trouble.

Darby held his breath. He was certain he was about to witness a murder. He knew his uncle had a fierce temper. He knew that black children were not supposed to defy white people in that part of the country.

When the uncle reached the spot where the child was standing, she quickly stepped forward one step, looked up into his eyes, and screamed at the top of her shrill voice, “MY MAMMY’S GOTTA HAVE THAT FIFTY CENTS!”

The uncle stopped, looked at her for a minute, then slowly laid the barrel stave on the floor, put his hand in his pocket, took out half a dollar, and gave it to her. The child took the money and slowly backed toward the door, never taking her eyes off the man whom she had just conquered.

After she had gone, the uncle sat down on a box and looked out the window into space for more than ten minutes. He was pondering, with awe, over the whipping he had just taken. Mr. Darby, too, was doing some thinking. That was the first time in all his experience that he had seen a black child deliberately master a white adult.

How did she do it? What happened to his uncle that caused him to lose his fierceness and become as docile as a lamb? What strange power did this child use that made her master over her superior? ...

Strangely, the story of this unusual experience was told to me in the old mill, on the very spot where the uncle took his whipping. Strangely, too, I had devoted nearly a quarter of a century to the study of the power which enabled an ignorant, illiterate child to conquer an intelligent man.

As we stood there in that musty old mill, Mr. Darby repeated the story of the unusual conquest.

… [Moments later, he] retraced his thirty years of experience as a life insurance salesman, and frankly acknowledged that his success in that field was due, in no small degree, to the lesson he had learned from the child. Mr. Darby pointed out:

“Every time a prospect tried to bow me out, without buying, I saw that child standing there in the old mill, her big eyes glaring in defiance, and I said to myself, ‘I’ve gotta make this sale.’ The better portion of all sales I have made, were made after people had said ‘NO’.”

He recalled, too, his mistake in having stopped only three feet from gold; “but,” he said, “that experience was a blessing in disguise. It taught me to keep on keeping on, no matter how hard the going may be, a lesson I needed to learn before I could succeed in anything.”

This story of Mr. Darby and his uncle, the child and the gold mine, doubtless will be read by hundreds of people who make their living by selling life insurance, and to all of these, I wish to offer the suggestion that Darby owes to these two experiences his ability to sell more than a million dollars of life insurance every year.

[Fannie Hurst] came to New York in 1915, to convert writing into riches. The conversion did not come quickly, BUT IT CAME. For four years Miss Hurst learned about “The Sidewalks of New York” from first hand experience. She spent her days laboring, and her nights HOPING. When hope grew dim, she did not say, “Alright Broadway, you win!” She said, “Very well, Broadway, you may whip some, but not me. I’m going to force you to give up.”

One publisher (The Saturday Evening Post) sent her thirty-six rejection slips, before she “broke the ice” and got a story across. The average writer, like the “average” in other walks of life, would have given up the job when the first rejection slip came. She pounded the pavements for four years to the tune of the publisher’s “NO,” because she was determined to win.

Then came the “payoff.” The spell had been broken, the unseen Guide had tested Fannie Hurst, and she could take it. From that time on publishers made a beaten path to her door. Money came so fast she hardly had time to count it. Then the moving picture [motion picture] men discovered her, and money came not in small change, but in floods. The moving picture rights to her latest novel, “Great Laughter,” brought $100,000.00, said to be the highest price ever paid for a story before publication. Her royalties from the sale of the book probably will run much more.

Briefly, you have a description of what PERSISTENCE is capable of achieving. Fannie Hurst is no exception. Wherever men and women accumulate great riches, you may be sure they first acquired PERSISTENCE. Broadway will give any beggar a cup of coffee and a sandwich, but it demands PERSISTENCE of those who go after the big stakes.

Kate Smith will say “amen” when she reads this. [Kate Smith (1909-1986) was a famous singer and media personality. He career catapulted even further after this passage was written]. For years she sang, without money, and without price, before any microphone she could reach. Broadway said to her, “Come and get it, if you can take it.” She did take it until one happy day Broadway got tired and said, “Aw, what’s the use? You don’t know when you’re whipped, so name your price, and go to work in earnest.” Miss Smith named her price!

It was plenty. Away up in figures so high that one week’s salary is far more than most people make in a whole year.

Verily it pays to be PERSISTENT!

The ease with which lack of persistence may be conquered will depend entirely upon the INTENSITY OF ONE'S DESIRE.

The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat. If you find yourself lacking in persistence, this weakness may be remedied by building a stronger fire under your desires.

Persistence is the direct result of habit. The mind absorbs and becomes a part of the daily experiences upon which it feeds. Fear, the worst of all enemies, can be effectively cured by forced repetition of acts of courage. Everyone who has seen active service in war knows this.

Several years ago, one of my business associates became ill. He became worse as time went on, and finally was taken to the hospital for an operation. Just before he was wheeled into the operating room, I took a look at him, and wondered how anyone as thin and emaciated as he, could possibly go through a major operation successfully. The doctor warned me that there was little if any chance of my ever seeing him alive again.

But that was the DOCTOR’S OPINION. It was not the opinion of the patient. Just before he was wheeled away, he whispered feebly, “Do not be disturbed, Chief, I will be out of here in a few days.” The attending nurse looked at me with pity. But the patient did come through safely.

After it was all over, his physician said, “Nothing but his own desire to live saved him. He never would have pulled through if he had not refused to accept the possibility of death.”

Success comes to those who become SUCCESS CONSCIOUS. Failure comes to those who indifferently allow themselves to become FAILURE CONSCIOUS.

…Both success and failure are largely the results of HABIT!

It is no disgrace to be a follower. On the other hand, it is no credit to remain a follower. Most great leaders began in the capacity of followers. They became great leaders because they were INTELLIGENT FOLLOWERS. With few exceptions, the person who cannot follow a leader intelligently cannot become an efficient leader.

If a person repeats a lie over and over, he will eventually accept the lie as truth. Moreover, he will BELIEVE it to be the truth.

Repetition of affirmation of orders to your subconscious mind is the only known method of voluntary development of the emotion of faith.

Plain, unemotional words do not influence the subconscious mind. You will get no appreciable results until you learn to reach your subconscious mind with thoughts, or spoken words which have been well emotionalized with BELIEF.

… The subconscious mind takes any orders given it in a spirit of absolute FAITH, and acts upon those orders, although the orders often have to be presented over and over again, through repetition, before they are interpreted by the subconscious mind.

Thoughts which a person deliberately places in his own mind, and encourages with sympathy, and with which he mixes any one or more of the emotions, constitute the motivating forces, which direct and control his every movement, act, and deed!

All thoughts which have been emotionalized (given feeling) and mixed with faith begin immediately to translate themselves into their physical equivalent or counterpart.

Thoughts which are mixed with any of the feelings of emotions constitute a “magnetic” force which attracts… other similar or related thoughts. …

Gandhi has accomplished, through the influence of FAITH, that which the strongest military power on earth could not, and never will accomplish through soldiers and military equipment. He has accomplished the astounding feat of INFLUENCING two hundred million minds to coalesce and move in unison, as a single mind.

The man who cannot control himself can never control others. Self-control sets a mighty example for one's followers, which the more intelligent will emulate.

You have not only the power to think but, what is a thousand times more important still, you have the power to control your thoughts and direct them to do your bidding!

You have within your control the power to select the material that constitutes the dominating thoughts of your mind, and just as surely as you are reading these lines, those thoughts which dominate your mind will bring you success or failure, according to their nature. …

When you deliberately choose the thoughts that dominate your mind and firmly refuse admittance tooutside suggestion, you are exercising self-control in its highest and most efficient form.

The battle for achievement of success is half won when one knows definitely what is wanted. ... The man who actually knows just what he wants in life has already gone a long way toward attaining it.

There is no hope of success for the person who does not have a central purpose, or definite goal at which to aim. Ninety-eight out of every hundred of those whom I have analyzed, had no such aim.

Some people are successful as long as someone else stands back of them and encourages them, and some are successful in spite of Hell! Take your choice.

If a person has built a sound character, it makes but little difference what people say about him, because he will win in the end.

To love praise, but not worship it, and fear condemnation, but not go down under it, is evidence of a well balanced personality.

Before you can be sure of your ability to transmute DESIRE into its monetary equivalent, you will require SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE of the service, merchandise, or profession which you intend to offer in return for fortune. Perhaps you may need much more specialized knowledge than you have the ability or the inclination to acquire, and if this should be true, you may bridge your weakness through the aid of your “Master Mind” group. …

The accumulation of great fortunes calls for POWER, and power is acquired through highly organized and intelligently directed specialized knowledge, but that knowledge does not, necessarily, have to be in the possession of the man who accumulates the fortune.

The successful leader must understand, and apply the principle of cooperative effort and be able to induce his followers to do the same. Leadership calls for POWER, and power calls for COOPERATION. There are two forms of Leadership. The first, and by far the most effective, is LEADERSHIP BY CONSENT of, and with the sympathy of the followers. The second is LEADERSHIP BY FORCE, without the consent and sympathy of the followers.

Andrew Carnegie easily dominated the steel business during his active connection with that industry, for the reason that he took advantage of the principle of organized, cooperative effort by surrounding himself with highly specialized financial men, buyers of raw materials, transportation experts, and others whose services were essential to that industry. He organized this group of “co-operators” into what he called a “Master Mind.”

You can do it if you believe you can!

Lawyer’s Trick

In the practice of law I have observed a very clever trick that trial lawyers use when they wish to get a statement of facts from a belligerent witness who answers questions with the proverbial “I do not remember” or “I do not know.” When everything else fails, they manage to make such a witness angry; and in this state of mind they cause him to lose his self control and make statements that he would not have made had he kept a “cool” head.

Self-Controlled “Spy”

Once I was traveling from Albany to New York City. On the way down, the “Smoking Car Club” started a conversation about the late Richard Croker, who was then chief of Tammany Hall. The discussion became loud and bitter. Everyone became angry except one old gentleman who was agitating the argument and taking a lively interest in it. He remained calm and seemed to enjoy all the mean things the others said about the “Tiger” of Tammany Hall.

Of course, I supposed that he was an enemy of the Tammany Chief, but he wasn't! He was Richard Croker, himself! This was one of his clever tricks through which he found out what people thought of him and what his enemies’ plans were. Whatever else Richard Croker might have been, he was a man of self-control. Perhaps that is one reason why he remained undisputed boss of Tammany Hall as long as he did. People who control themselves usually boss the job, no matter what it may be.

Please read, again, the last sentence of the preceding paragraph, for it carries a subtle suggestion that might be of profit to you. This is a commonplace incident, but it is in just such incidents that the great truths of life are hidden-hidden because the settings are ordinary and commonplace.

Ask the next ten people whom you meet why they have not accomplished more in their respective lines of endeavor, and at least nine of them will tell you that opportunity does not seem to come around their way. Go a step further and analyze each of these nine accurately by observing their actions for one single day, and the chances are that you will find that every one of them is turning away the finest sort of opportunities every hour of the day.

Somewhere between the miser who hoards every penny he gets his hands on, in an old sock, and the person who spends every cent he can earn or borrow, there is a “happy medium,” and if you enjoy life with reasonable assurance of average freedom and contentment, you must find this half-way point and adopt it as a part of your self-control program.

The art of successful negotiation grows out of patient and painstaking self-control. Notice how easily the successful salesman exercises self-control when he is handling a customer who is impatient. In his heart such a salesman may be boiling over, but you will see no evidence of it in his face or manner or words.

He has acquired the art of tactful negotiation. A single frown of disapproval or a single word denoting impatience will often spoil a sale, and no one knows this better than the successful salesman. He makes it his business to control his feelings, and as a reward he sets his own salary mark and chooses his own position.

[John D. Rockefeller] has one quality that stands out, like a shining star, above all of his other qualities; it is his habit of dealing only with the relevant facts pertaining to his life-work. As a very young man (and a very poor young man, at that) Mr. Rockefeller adopted, as his definite chief aim, the accumulation of great wealth. It is not my purpose, nor is it of any particular advantage, to enter into Mr. Rockefeller’s method of accumulating his fortune other than to observe that his most pronounced quality was that of insisting on facts as the basis of his business philosophy.

Some there are who say that Mr. Rockefeller was not always fair with his competitors. That may or may not be true (as accurate thinkers we will leave the point undisturbed), but no one (not even his competitors) ever accused Mr. Rockefeller of forming “snap-judgments” or of underestimating the strength of his competitors. He not only recognized facts that affected his business, wherever and whenever he found them, but he made it his business to search for them until he was sure he had found them.

In searching for facts it is often necessary to gather them through the sole source of knowledge and experience of others. It then becomes necessary to examine carefully both the evidence submitted and the person from whom the evidence comes; and when the evidence is of such nature that it affects the interest of the witness who is giving it, there will be reason to scrutinize it all the more carefully, as witnesses who have an interest in the evidence that they are submitting often yield to the temptation to color and pervert it to protect that interest.

The Importance of the Customer

It is well worth remembering that the customer is the most important factor in any business. If you don’t think so, try to get along without him for a while.

Can I Take Your Order?

We have found that any idea or thought that is held in the mind, through repetition, has a tendency to direct the physical body to transform such thought or idea into its material equivalent.

We have found that any order that is properly given to the subconscious section of the mind…will be carried out unless it is sidetracked or countermanded by another and stronger order.

Selecting the Proper Environment

The mind feeds upon that which we supply it, or that which is forced upon it, through our environment; therefore, let us select our environment, as far as possible, with the object of supplying the mind with suitable materials out of which to carry on its work of attaining out definite chief aim in life.

Chaplin’s Uniqueness

Charles Chaplin makes a million dollars a year out of a funny, shuffling walk and a pair of baggy trousers, because he does “something different.”

Take the hint and “individualize” yourself with some distinctive idea.

Mind Power

We do not have to wait for future discoveries in connection with the powers of the human mind for evidence that the mind is the greatest force known to mankind.

We know, now, that any idea, aim or purpose that is fixed in the mind and held there with a will to achieve or attain its physical or material equivalent, puts into motion powers that cannot be conquered.


One of the unanswerable mysteries of God’s work is the fact that this great discovery is always self-discovery.

The truth for which man is eternally searching is wrapped up in his own being; therefore, it is fruitless to search far afield in the wilderness of life or in the hearts of other people to find it. To do so brings you no nearer that which you are seeking, but takes you further away from it.

The Efficiency of James J. Hill

It is generally conceded that James J. Hill was the most efficient railroad builder that America ever produced; but it is equally well known that he was not a civil engineer, nor a bridge builder, nor a locomotive engineer, nor a mechanical engineer, nor a chemist, although these highly specialized classes of talent are essential in railroad building.

Mr. Hill understood the principles of organized effort and co-operation; therefore, he surrounded himself with people who possessed all this necessary ability that he lacked.

The Results of Intolerance

Intolerance is the chief disintegrating force in the organized religions of the world, where it plays havoc with the greatest power for good there is on this earth by breaking up that power into small sects and denominations which spend as much effort opposing each other as they do in destroying the evils of the world

Napoleon Bonaparte’s Personality Power

Soldiers followed Napoleon to certain death without flinching, because of the impelling or attracting nature of his personality, and that personality was nothing more nor less than the chemistry of his mind.

Mind Development

…True education means mind development; not merely the gathering and classifying of knowledge.

The Personalities Back the Business

It is the personalities back of a business that determine the measure of success the business will enjoy. Modify those personalities so they are more pleasing and more attractive to the patrons of the business, and the business will thrive.

In any of the great cities of the United States one may purchase merchandise of similar nature and price in scores of stores, yet you will find there is always one outstanding store which does more business than any of the others, and the reason for this is that back of that store is a person, or people, who has attended to the personalities of those who come in contact with the public. People buy personalities as much as merchandise, and it is a question if they are not influenced more by the personalities with which they come in contact than they are by the merchandise.

Life insurance has been reduced to such a scientific basis that the cost of insurance does not vary to any great extent, regardless of the company from which one purchases it; yet out of the hundreds of life insurance companies doing business, less than a dozen companies do the bulk of the business of the United States. Why? Personalities!

Ninety-nine people out of every hundred who purchase life insurance policies do not know what is in their policies, and, what seems more startling, do not seem to care. What they really purchase is the pleasing personality of some man or woman who knows the value of cultivating such a personality.

Ford’s Greatest Asset

An interesting experiment was conducted by this author, in collaboration with the students of a well known college. Each student was requested to write an essay on “How and Why Henry Ford Became Wealthy.”

Each student was required to describe, as a part of his or her essay, what was believed to be the nature of Ford’s real assets, of what these assets consisted in detail. The majority of the students gathered financial statements and inventories of the Ford assets and used these as the basis of their estimates of Ford’s wealth.

Included in these “sources of Ford’s wealth” were such as cash in banks, raw and finished materials in stock, real estate and buildings, and goodwill, estimated at from ten to twenty-five per cent of the value of the material assets. One student out of the entire group of several hundred answered as follows:

“Henry Ford’s assets consist, in the main, of two items, viz.:


(1) Working capital and raw and finished materials;

(2) The knowledge, gained from experience, of Henry Ford, himself, and the co-operation of a well trained organization which understands how to apply this knowledge to best advantage from the Ford viewpoint.

It is impossible to estimate, with anything approximating correctness, the actual dollars and cents value of either of these two groups of assets, but it is my opinion that their relative values are:

The organized knowledge of the Ford Organization 75%

The value of cash and physical assets of every nature, including raw arid finished materials 25%”

[Back to Napoleon Hill’s commentary]

Unquestionably the biggest asset that Henry Ford has is his own brain. Next to this would come the brains of his immediate circle of associates, for it has been through coordination of these that the physical assets that he controls were accumulated.

Destroy every plant the Ford Motor Company owns: every piece of machinery; every atom of raw or finished material, every finished automobile, and every dollar on deposit in any bank, and Ford would still be the most powerful person, economically, on earth. The brains that have built the Ford business could duplicate it again in short order. Capital is always available, in unlimited quantities, to such brains as Ford’s.

Ford is the most powerful person on earth (economically) because he had the keenest and most practical conception of the principle of ORGANIZED KNOWLEDGE of any person on earth, as far as this author has the means of knowing.

The Effective Application of Knowledge

The successful lawyer is not necessarily the one who memorizes the greatest number of principles of law. On the contrary, the successful lawyer is the one who knows where to find a principle of law, plus a variety of opinions supporting that principle which fit the immediate needs of a given case. In other words, the successful lawyer is he who knows where to find the law he wants when he needs it.

This principle applies, with equal force, to the affairs of industry and business.

Henry Ford had but little elementary schooling, yet he is one of the best “educated” people in the world because he has acquired the ability so to combine natural and economic laws, to say nothing of the minds of people, that he has the power to get anything of a material nature he wants.

Adaptation to Environment

Success in life, no matter what one mat call success, is very largely a matter of adaptation to environment in such a manner that there is harmony between the individual and his environment.

The Adaptive Leader

The successful leader must possess the ability to change the color of his mind, chameleon-like, to fit every circumstance that arises in connection with the object of his leadership.

Moreover, he must possess the ability to change from one mood to another without showing the slightest signs of anger or lack of self-control.

Confidence Shows

If you have self-confidence, those around you will discover the fact.


Initiative is as essential to success as a hub is essential to a wagon wheel.

Cherish Your Dreams

Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.

A Tale of Two Men

The president of a well-known college inherited a large tract of very poor land. This land had no timber of commercial value, no minerals or other valuable appurtenances; therefore it was nothing but a source of expense to him, for he had to pay taxes on it. The State built a highway through the land. An “uneducated” man who was driving his automobile over this road observed that this poor land was on top of a mountain that commanded a wonderful view for many miles in all directions.

He (the ignorant one) also observed that the land was covered with a growth of small pines and other saplings. He bought fifty acres of the land for $10.00 an acre. [Editor’s Note: Keep in mind that this passage was written in the late 1920s]. Near the public highway he built a unique log house to which he attached a large dining room. Near the house he put in a gasoline filling station. He built a dozen single room log houses along the road, these he rented out to tourists at $3.00 a night, each.

The dining room, gasoline filling station and log houses brought him a net income of $15,000.00 the first year. The next year he extended his plan by adding fifty more log houses, of three rooms each, which he now rents out as summer country homes to people in a nearby city, at a rental of $150.00 each for the season. The building material cost him nothing, for it grew on his land in abundance (that same land which the college president believed to be worthless).

Moreover, the unique and unusual appearance of the Jog bungalows served as an advertisement of the plan, whereas many would have considered it a real calamity had they been compelled to build out of such crude materials.

Less than five miles from the location of these log houses this same man purchased an old worked-out farm of 150 acres, for $25.00 an acre, a price which the seller believed to be extremely high. By building a dam, one hundred feet in length, the purchaser of this old farm turned a stream of water into a lake that covered fifteen acres of the land, stocked the lake with fish, then sold the farm off in building lots to people who wanted summering places around the lake.

The total profit realized from this simple transaction was more than $25,000.00, and the time required for its consummation was one summer. Yet this man of vision and imagination was not “educated” in the orthodox meaning of that term. Let us keep in mind the fact that it is through these simple illustrations of the use of organized knowledge that one may become educated and powerful.

In speaking of the transaction here related, the college president who sold the fifty acres of worthless land for $500.00 said: “Just think of it! That man, whom most of us might call ignorant, mixed his ignorance with fifty acres of worthless land and made the combination yield more yearly than I earn from five years of application of so-called education.”

A Change is as Good as a Rest

Everyone needs a change of mental environment at regular periods, the same as a change and variety of food are essential.

The mind becomes more alert, more elastic and more ready to work with speed and accuracy after it has been bathed in new ideas, outside of one’s own field of daily labor.

What Does Money Cost You?

The person who receives no pay for his services except that which comes in the pay envelope is underpaid, no mater how much money that envelope may contain.

Carnegie’s Answer

Nearly twenty years ago I interviewed Mr. [Andrew] Carnegie for the purpose of writing a story about him. During the interview I asked him to what he attributed his success. With a merry little twinkle in his eyes he said:

“Young man, before I answer your question will you please define your term ‘success’?”

After waiting until he saw that I was somewhat embarrassed by his request he continued: “By success you have reference to my money, have you not?” I assured him that money was the term by which most people measured success, and he then said:

“Oh, well—if you wish to know how I got my money—if that is what you call success—Iwill answer your question by saying that we have a master mind here in our business, and that mind is made up of more than a score of people who constitute my personal staff of superintendents and managers and accountants and chemists and other necessary types. No one person in this group is the master mind of which I speak, but the sum total of the minds in the group, coordinated, organized and directed to a definite end in a spirit of harmonious cooperation is the power that got my money for me.

No two minds in the group are exactly alike, but each person in the group does the thing that he is supposed to do and he does it better than any other person in the world could do it.”

Carnegie’s “Subtle Something

Perhaps no person was ever associated with Mr. [Andrew] Carnegie who knew him better than did Mr. C. M. Schwab. In the following words Mr. Schwab has very accurately described that “subtle something” in Mr. Carnegie’s personality which enabled him to rise to such stupendous heights.

“I never knew a man with so much imagination, lively intelligence and instinctive comprehension. You sensed that he probed your thoughts and took stock of everything that you had ever done or might do. He seemed to catch at your next word before it was spoken. The play of his mind was dazzling and his habit of close observation gave him a store of knowledge about innumerable matters.

“But his outstanding quality, from so rich an endowment, was the power of inspiring other people. Confidence radiated from him. You might be doubtful about something and discuss the matter with Mr. Carnegie. In a flash he would make you see that it was right and then absolutely believe it; or he might settle your doubts by pointing out its weakness. This quality of attracting others, then spurring them on, arose from his own strength.

“The results of his leadership were remarkable. Never before in history of industry, I imagine, was there a person who, without understanding his business in its working details, making no pretense of technical knowledge concerning steel or engineering, was yet able to build up such an enterprise.

“Mr. Carnegie’s ability to inspire people rested on, something deeper than any faculty of judgment.

[Back to Napoleon Hill’s commentary]

It is obvious that his [Carnegie’s] success was due to his understanding of his own mind and the minds of other people, and not to mere knowledge of the steel business itself.


The principle of psychology through which you can impress your definite chief aim upon your subconscious mind is called Auto-suggestion, or suggestion which you repeatedly make to yourself.

It is a degree of self-hypnotism, but do not be afraid of it on that account, for it was this same principle through the aid of which Napoleon lifted himself from the lowly station of poverty-stricken Corsican to the dictatorship of France. It was through the aid of this same principle that Thomas A. Edison has risen from the lowly beginning of a news butcher to where he is accepted as the leading inventor of the world. It was through the aid of this same principle that Lincoln bridged the mighty chasm between his lowly birth, in a log cabin in the mountains of Kentucky, and the presidency of the greatest nation on earth. It was through the aid of this same principle that Theodore Roosevelt became one of the most aggressive leaders that ever reached the presidency of the United States.

You need have no fear of the principle of Auto-suggestion as long as you are sure that the objective for which you are striving is one that will bring you happiness of an enduring nature. Be sure that your definite purpose is constructive; that its attainment will bring hardship and misery to no one; that it will bring you peace and prosperity, then apply, to the limit of your understanding, the principle of self-suggestion for the speedy attainment of this purpose.

Sit Down and Think

On the street comer, just opposite the room in which I am writing, I see a man who stands there all day long and sells peanuts. He is busy every minute. When not actually engaged in making a sale he is roasting and packing the peanuts in little bags.

He is one of that great army constituting the ninety-five per cent who have no definite purpose in life. He is selling peanuts, not because he likes that work better than anything else he might do, but because he never sat down and thought out a definite purpose that would bring him greater returns for his labor. He is selling peanuts because he is a drifter on the sea of life, and one of the tragedies of his work is the fact that the same amount of effort that he puts into it, if directed along other lines, would bring him much greater returns.


In your struggle for success you should keep constantly in mind the necessity of knowing what it is that you want-of knowing precisely what is your definite purpose—and the value of the principle of organized effort in the attainment of that which constitutes your definite purpose.

In answering the question, “What Is Your Definite Purpose In Life,” that appears in the questionnaire which I have used for the analysis of more than 16,000 people, many answered about as follows: “My definite purpose in life is to be of as much service to the world as possible and earn a good living.”

That answer is about as definite as a frog’s conception of the size of the universe is accurate.

Real Wealth

Remember that your real wealth can be measured, not by what you have, but by what you are.

Actually Believing

Whatever you want you may get if you want it with sufficient intensity, and keep on wanting it, providing ACTUALLY BELIEVE YOU WILL GET IT! There is a difference, however, between merely “wishing” for something and ACTUALLY BELIEVING you will get it.

Those who BELIEVE they can achieve the object of their definite chief aim…[do not] acknowledge temporary defeat. They KNOW they are going to succeed, and if one plan fails they quickly replace it with another plan.

Your Only Limitation

Remember that your only limitation is the one that you set up in your own mind.

High Prices

People, generally, do not complain of high prices, providing that the “service” or embellishment of the merchandise is such as to pave the way for high prices. What people do complain of, and rightly so, is high prices and “sloppy” service.

The World’s Leading Salesman

One of the greatest salesmen this country has ever seen was once a clerk in a newspaper office. It will be worth your while to analyze the method through which he gained his title as “the world’s leading salesman.”

He was a timid young man with a more or less retiring sort of nature. He was one of those who believe itbest to slip in by the back door and take a seat at the rear of the stage of life. One evening he heard a lecture on…self-confidence, and that lecture so impressed him that he left the lecture hall with a firm determination to pull himself out of the rut into which he had drifted.

He went to the Business Manager of the paper and asked for a position as solicitor of advertising and was put to work on a commission basis. Everyone in the office expected to see him fail, as this sort of salesmanship calls for the most positive type of sales ability. He went to his room and made out a list of a certain type of merchants on whom he intended to call. One would think that he would naturally have made up his list of the names of those whom he believed he could sell with the least effort, but he did nothing of the sort.

He placed on his list only the names of the merchants on whom other advertising solicitors had called without making a sale. His list consisted of only twelve names. Before he made a single call he went out to the city park, took out his list of twelve names, read it over a hundred times, saying to himself as he did so, “You will purchase advertising space from me before the end of the month.”

Then he began to make his calls. The first day he closed sales with three of the twelve “impossibilities.” During the remainder of the week he made sales to two others. By the end of the month he had opened advertising accounts with all but one of the merchants that he had on the list. For the ensuing month he made no sales, for the reason that he made no calls except on this one obstinate merchant.

Every morning when the store opened he was on hand to interview this merchant and every morning the merchant said “No.” The merchant knew he was not going to buy advertising space, but this young man didn’t know it. When the merchant said No the young man did not hear it, but kept right on coming.

On the last day of the month, after having told this persistent young man No for thirty consecutive times, the merchant said:

“Look here, young man, you have wasted a whole month trying to sell me; now, what I would like to know is this-why have you wasted your time?”

“Wasted my time nothing,” he retorted; “I have been going to school and you have been my teacher. Now I know all the arguments that a merchant can bring up for not buying, and besides that I have been drilling myself in self-confidence.”

Then the merchant said: “I will make a little confession of my own. I, too, have been going to school, and you have been my teacher. You have taught me a lesson in persistence that is worth money to me, and to show you my appreciation I am going to pay my tuition fee by giving you an order for advertising space.”

And that was the way in which the Philadelphia North American’s best advertising account was brought in. Likewise, it marked the beginning of a reputation that has made that same young man a millionaire.

He succeeded because he deliberately charged his own mind with sufficient Self-confidence to make that mind an irresistible force. When he sat down to make up that list of twelve names he did something that ninety-nine people out of a hundred would not have done—he selected the names of those whom he believed it would be hard to sell, because he understood that out of the resistance he would meet with in trying to sell them would come strength and self-confidence.

Insight on Salesmanship

In the field of salesmanship it is a well known fact that no salesman is successful in selling others until he has first made a good job of selling himself. Stated conversely, no salesman can do his best to sell others without sooner or later selling himself that which he is trying to sell to others.

Repetitional Truth

Any statement that a person repeats over and over again for the purpose of inducing others to believe it, he, also, will come to believe, and this holds good whether the statement is false or true.

You Can Get Used to Anything

Unfortunate, indeed, is the person who becomes so used to evil that it no longer appears to be horrible.

Cooperational Power

Cooperation is said to be the most important word in the English language. It plays an important part in the affairs of the home, in the relationship of man and wife, parents and children. It plays an important part in the affairs of state. So important is this principle of cooperation that no leader can become powerful or last long who does not understand and apply it in his leadership.

Lack of cooperation has destroyed more business enterprises than have all other causes combined. In my twenty-five years of active business experience and observation, I have witnessed the destruction of all manner of business enterprises because of dissension and lack of application of this principle of cooperation.

In the practice of law I have observed the destruction of homes and divorce cases without end as a result of the lack of cooperation between man and wife. In the study of the histories of nations it becomes alarmingly obvious that lack of cooperative effort has been a curse to the human race all back down the ages. Turn back the pages of these histories and study them and you will learn a lesson in cooperation that will impress itself indelibly upon your mind

Example Beats Preaching

An officer can be a power for good or a power for evil. Don’t preach to them—that will be worse than useless. Live the kind of life you would have them lead, and you will be surprised to see the number that will imitate you.

A loud-mouthed, profane captain who is careless of his personal appearance will have a loud-mouthed, profane, dirty company. Remember what I tell you. Your company will be the reflection of yourself! If you have a rotten company it will be because you are a rotten captain.

Sunshine of Happiness

When you do not know what to do or which way to turn, smile. This will relax your mind and let the sunshine of happiness into your soul.

A Valuable Tool

One of the most valuable things any person can learn is the art of using the knowledge and experience of others.

Imagination Pays Well

In the city of Chicago the level of a certain boulevard was raised, which spoiled a row of beautiful residences because the sidewalk was raised to the level of the second story windows. While the property owners were bemoaning their ill-fortune, a man of imagination came along, purchased the property for a “song,” converted the second stories into business property, and now enjoys a handsome income from his rentals.

The Amazing Power of Imagination

A few years ago I was invited to speak before the inmates of the Ohio penitentiary. When I stepped upon the platform I saw in the audience before me a man whom I had known as a successful businessman, more than ten years previously. That man was [Mr.] B, whose pardon I later secured, and the story of whose release has been spread upon the front page of practically every newspaper in the United States. Perhaps you will recall it.

After I had completed my address I interviewed Mr. B and found out that he had been sentenced for forgery, for a period of twenty years. After he had told me his story I said:

“I will have you out of here in less than sixty days!”

With a forced smile he replied: “I admire your spirit but question your judgment. Why, do you know that at least twenty influential men have tried every means at their command to get me released, without success? It can't be done!

I suppose it was that last remark—It can't be done—that challenged me to show him that it could be done. I returned to New York City and requested my wife to pack her trunks and get ready for an indefinite stay in the city of Columbus, where the Ohio penitentiary is located.

I had a definite purpose in mind! That purpose was to get B out of the Ohio penitentiary. Not only did I have in mind securing his release, but I intended to do it in such a way that his release would erase from his breast the scarlet letter of “convict,” and at the same time reflect credit upon all who helped to bring about his release.

Not once did I doubt that I would bring about his release, for no salesman can make a sale if he doubts that he can do it. My wife and I returned to Columbus and took up permanent headquarters. The next day I called on the governor of Ohio and stated the object of my visit in about these words:

“Governor, I have come to ask you to release B from the Ohio penitentiary. I have sound reason for asking his release and I hope you will give him his freedom at once, but I have come prepared to stay until he is released, no matter how long that may be.

“During his imprisonment, B has inaugurated a system of correspondence instruction in the Ohio penitentiary, as you of course know. He has influenced 1729 of the 2518 prisoners of the Ohio penitentiary to take up courses of instruction. He has managed to beg sufficient textbooks and lesson materials with which to keep these men at work on their lessons, and has done this without a penny of expense to the state of Ohio.

“The warden and the chaplain of the penitentiary tell me that he has carefully observed the prison rules. Surely a man who can influence 1729 men to turn their efforts toward self-betterment cannot be a very bad sort of fellow.

“I have come to ask you to release B because I wish to place him at the head of a prison school that will give the 160,000 inmates of the other penitentiaries of the United States a chance to profit by his influence. I am prepared to assume full responsibility for his conduct after his release.

“That is my case, but, before you give me your answer, I want you to know that I am not unmindful of the fact that your enemies will probably criticize you if you release him; in fact if you release him it may cost you many votes if you run for office again”

With his fist clinched and his broad jaw set firmly, Governor Vic Donahey of Ohio said:

“If that is what you want with B, I will release him if it costs me five thousand votes. However, before I sign the pardon I want you to see the Clemency Board and secure its favorable recommendation. I want you also to secure the favorable recommendation of the warden and the chaplain of the Ohio penitentiary. You know a governor is amenable to the Court of Public Opinion, and these gentlemen are the representatives of that Court.”

The sale had been made and the whole transaction had required less than five minutes!

The next day I returned to the governor’s office, accompanied by the chaplain of the Ohio penitentiary, and notified the governor that the Clemency Board, the Warden and the Chaplain all joined in recommending the release. Three days later the pardon was signed and B walked through the big iron gates, a free man.

I have cited the details to show you that there was nothing difficult about the transaction. The groundwork for the release had all been prepared before I came upon the scene. B had done that by his good conduct and the service he had rendered those 1729 prisoners. When he created the world’s first prison correspondence school system, he created the key that unlocked the prison doors for himself.

Why, then, had the others who asked for his release failed to secure it?

They failed because they used no imagination!

Perhaps they asked the governor for B’s release on the ground that his parents were prominent people, or on the ground that he was a college graduate and not a bad sort of fellow. They failed to supply the governor of Ohio with a sufficient motive to justify him in granting a pardon, for had this not been so he would undoubtedly have released B long before I came upon the scene and asked for his release.

Before I went to see the governor I went over all the facts and in my own imagination. I saw myself in the governor's place and made up my mind what sort of a presentation would appeal most strongly to me if I were in reality in his place.

When I asked for B’s release, I did so in the name of the 160,000 unfortunate men and women inmates of the prisons of the United States who would enjoy the benefits of the correspondence school system that he had created. I said nothing about his prominent parents. I said nothing about my friendship with him during former years. I said nothing about his being a deserving fellow.

All these matters might have been used as sound reasons for his release, but they seemed insignificant when compared with the bigger and sounder reason that his release would be of help to 160,000 other people who would feel the influence of his correspondence school system after his release.

When the governor of Ohio came to a decision I doubt not that B was of secondary importance as far as his decision was concerned. The governor no doubt saw a possible benefit, not to B alone, but to 160,000 other men and women who needed the influence that B could supply, if released.

And that was imagination!

It was also salesmanship! In speaking of the incident after it was over, one of the men who had worked diligently for more than a year in trying to secure B’s freedom, asked:

“How did you do it?”

And I replied: “It was the easiest task I ever performed, because most of the work had been done before I took hold of it. In fact I didn’t do it—B did it himself.”

This man looked at me in bewilderment. He did not see that which I am here trying to make clear; namely, that practically all difficult tasks are easily performed if one approaches them from the right angle.

There were two important factors entering B’s release. The first was the fact that he had supplied the material for a good case before I took it in charge; and the second was the fact that before I called on the governor of Ohio I so completely convinced myself that I had a right to ask for B’s release that I had no difficulty in presenting my case effectively.

…I did nothing except use my imagination as an assembly room in which to piece together the factors out of which the sale was made. I did nothing except that which any salesman of imagination could have done.

People will grant favors that you request for the benefit of a third person when they would not grant them if requested for your benefit.

Compare this statement with the fact that I asked the governor of Ohio to release B, not as a favor to me, and not as a favor to B, but for the benefit of 160,000 unfortunate inmates of the prisons of America.

Salesmen of imagination always offer their wares in such terminology that the advantages of those wares to the prospective purchaser are obvious. It is seldom that any person makes a purchase of merchandise or renders another a favor just to accommodate the salesman.

It is a prominent trait of human nature that prompts us all to do that which advances our own interests. This is a cold, indisputable fact, claims of the idealist to the contrary notwithstanding.

To be perfectly plain, people are selfish!

To understand the truth is to understand how to present your case, whether you are asking for the release of a man from prison or offering for sale some commodity. Inyour own imagination so plan your presentation of your case that the strongest and most impelling advantages to the buyer are made plain.

This is imagination!

A Lesson in Marketing

A farmer moved to the city, taking with him his well-trained shepherd dog. He soon found that the dog was out of place in the city, so he decided to “get rid of him.” (Note the words in quotation.)

Taking the dog with him, he went out into the country and rapped on the door of a farmhouse. A man came hobbling to the door, on crutches. The man with the dog greeted the man in the house in these words:

“You wouldn’t care to buy a fine shepherd dog, that I wish to get rid of, would you?”

The man on crutches replied, “No/” and closed the door.

The man with the dog called at half a dozen other farmhouses, asking the same question, and received the same answer. He made up his mind that no one wanted the dog, and returned to the city. That evening, he was telling of his misfortune to a man of imagination. The man heard how the owner of the dog had tried in vain to “get rid of him.”

“Let me dispose of the dog for you,” said the man of imagination. The owner was willing. The next morning the man of imagination took the dog out into the country and stopped at the first farmhouse at which the owner of the dog had called the day before.

The same old man hobbled out on crutches and answered the knock at the door.

The man of imagination greeted him in this fashion:

“I see you are all crippled with rheumatism. What you need is a fine dog to run errands for you. I have dog here that has been trained to bring home the crows, drive away wild animals, herd the sheep and perform other useful services. You may have this dog for a hundred dollars.”

“All right,” said the crippled man, “I’ll take him!”

That, too, was imagination!

No one wants a dog that someone else wants to “get rid of,” but most anyone would like to own a dog that would herd sheep and bring home the cows and perform other useful services.

The dog was the same one that the crippled buyer had refused the day before, but the man who sold the dog was not the man who had tried to “get rid of him.” If you use your imagination you will know that no one wants anything that someone else is trying to “get rid of.”


Neglecting to broaden their view has kept some people doing one thing all their lives.

Clever Imagination

A man who had lost a horse posted a reward of five dollars for its return. Several days later a boy who was supposed to have been “weak-minded” came leading the horse home and claimed the reward. The owner was curious to know how the boy found the horse.

“How did you ever think where to look for the horse?” he asked, and the boy replied, “Well, I just thought where I would have gone if I had been a horse and went there, and he had.”

Not so bad for a “weak-minded” fellow. Some who are not accused of being weak-minded go all the way through life without displaying as much evidence of imagination as did this boy.

If you want to know what the other fellow will do, use your imagination, put yourself in his place and find out what you would have done. That’s imagination.

Two Different Stores, Two Different Results

Imagination may be used effectively in the sale of even the smallest articles of merchandise, such as ties, shirts, hosiery, etc. Let us proceed to examine just how this may be done.

I walked into one of the best-known haberdasheries [men’s clothing stores] in the city of Philadelphia, for the purpose of purchasing some shirts and ties. As I approached the tie counter a young man stepped forward and inquired:

“Is there something you want?”

Now if I had been the man behind the counter I would not have asked that question. He ought to have known, by the fact that I had approached the tie counter, that I wanted to look at ties.

I picked up two or three ties from the counter, examined them briefly, then laid down all but one light blue which somewhat appealed to me. Finally I laid his one down, also, and began to look through the remainder of the assortment.

The young man behind the counter then had a happy idea. Picking up a gaudy-looking yellow tie he wound it around his fingers to show how it would look when tied, and asked:

“Isn’t this a beauty?”

Now I hate yellow ties, and the salesman made no particular hit with me by suggesting that a gaudy yellow tie is pretty. If I had been in that salesman’s place I would have picked up the blue tie for which I had shown a decided preference, and I would have wound it around my fingers so as to bring out its appearance after being tied. I would have known what my customer wanted by watching the kinds of ties that he picked up and examined.

Moreover, I would have known the particular tie that he liked best by the time he held it in his hands. A person will not stand by a counter and fondle a piece of merchandise which he does not like. If given the opportunity, any customer will give the alert salesman a clue as to the particular merchandise that should be stressed in an effort to make a sale.

I then moved over to the shirt counter. Here I was met by an elderly gentleman who asked:

“Is there something I can do for you today?”

Well, I thought to myself that if he ever did anything for me it would have to be today, as I might never come back to that particular store again. I told him I wanted to look at shirts, and described the style and color of shirt that I wanted.

The old gentleman made quite a bit with me when he replied by saying:

“I am sorry, sir, but they are not wearing that style this season, so we are not showing it.”

I said I knew “they” were not wearing the style for which I had asked, and for that very reason, among others, I was going to wear it providing I could find it in stock. If there is anything that nettles a person, especially that type of person who knows exactly what he wants and describes it the moment he walks into the store, it is to be told that “they are not wearing it this season.”

Such a statement is an insult to a person’s intelligence, or to what he thinks is his intelligence, and in most cases it is fatal to a sale. If I were selling goods, I might think what I pleased about a customer’s taste, but I surely would not be so lacking in tact and diplomacy as to tell the customer that I thought he didn’t know his business. Rather, I would prefer to manage tactfully to show him what I believed to be more appropriate merchandise than that for which he had called, if what he wanted was not in stock. …

The old gentleman finally pulled down some shirt boxes and began laying out shirts that were not even similar to the shirt for which I had asked. I told him that none of these suited, and as I started to walk out he asked if I would like to look at some nice suspenders.

Imagine it! To begin with I do not wear suspenders, and, furthermore, there was nothing about my manner or bearing to indicate that I might like to look at suspenders.

It is proper for a salesman to try to interest a customer in wares for which he makes no inquiry, but judgment should be used and care taken to offer something which the salesman has reason to believe the customer may want.

I walked out of the store without having bought either shirts or ties, and feeling somewhat resentful because I had been so grossly misjudged as to my tastes for colors and styles.

A little further down the street I went into a small, one-man shop which had shirts and ties on display in the window. Here I was handled differently!

The man behind the counter asked no unnecessary or stereotyped questions. He took one glance at me as I entered the door, sized me up quite accurately, and greeted me with a very pleasant “Good morning, sir!”

He then inquired, “Which shall I show you first, shirts or ties?”

I said I would look at the shirts first. He then glanced at the style of shirt I was wearing, asked my size, and began laying out shirts of the very type and color for which I was searching, without my saying another word. He laid out six different styles and watched to see which I would pick up first. I looked at each shirt, in turn, and laid them all back on the counter, but the salesman observed that I examined one of the shirts a little more closely than the others, and that I held it a little longer

No sooner had I laid this shirt down than the salesman picked it up and began to explain how it was made. He then went to the tie counter and came back with three very beautiful blue ties, of the very type for which I had been looking, tied each and held it in front of the shirt, calling attention to the perfect harmony between the colors of the ties and the shirt.

Before I had been in the store five minutes I had purchased three shirts and three ties, and was on my way with the package under my arm, feeling that here was a store to which I would return when I needed more shirts and ties.

I learned, afterwards, that the merchant who owns the little shop where I made these purchases pays a monthly rental of $500.00 for the small store, and makes a handsome income from the sale of nothing but shirts, ties and collars. [Editor’s note: $500 a month rent was a lot of money back then.]

He would have to go out of business, with a fixed charge of $500.00 a month for rent, if it were not for his knowledge of human nature that enables him to make a very high percentage of sales to all who come into his store.

Knowing and Showing

Salesmanship consists very largely in KNOWING and in SHOWING the prospective buyer the real merits of the goods or services you are trying to sell.

Sales Psychology

It is no overstatement of fact to say that a master of sales psychology could go into the average merchant’s store, where the stock of goods was worth, let us say, $50,000.00, and at very slight additional expense make the stock bring $60,000.00 to $75,000.00.

He would do nothing except coach the salespeople on the proper showing of the merchandise, after having purchased a small amount of more suitable fixtures, perhaps, and repacked the merchandise in more suitable coverings and boxes.

Congruence Between Words and Action

If a salesman of Ford automobiles drives up to his prospective purchaser in a Buick or some other make of car, all the arguments he can present on behalf of the Ford will be without effect. Once I went into one of the offices of the Dictaphone Company to look at a Dictaphone (dictating machine). The salesman in charge presented a logical argument as to the machine’s merits, while the stenographer at his side wastranscribing letters from a shorthand notebook.

His arguments in favor of a dictating machine, as compared with the old method of dictating to a stenographer, did not impress me, because his actions were not in harmony with his words.

The Right Line of Work

One of the outstanding tragedies of this age of struggle and money-madness is the fact that so few people are engaged in the effort which they like best… [Everyone should] find his or her particular niche in the world’s work, where both material prosperity and happinessin abundance may be found.

The Right Line of Work II

There is some one thing that you can do better than anyone else in the world could do it. Search until you find out what this particular line of endeavor is, make it the object of your definite chief aim and then organize all of your forces and attack it with the belief that you are going to win.

In your search for the work for which you are best fitted, it will be well if you bear in mind the fact that you will most likely attain the greatest success by finding out what work you like best, for it is a well known fact that a person generally best succeeds in the particular line of endeavor into which he can throw his whole heart and soul.

There are No Lazy People

There are no lazy people. What may appear to be a lazy person is only an unfortunate person who has not found the work for which he is best suited.

Right Task to the Right Person

Give a person something to do that he likes to do, and keep him busy doing it, and he will not be apt to degenerate into a disorganizing force.

Carnegie Cooperation

Cooperation is the beginning of all organized effort… Andrew Carnegie accumulated a gigantic fortune through the cooperative efforts of a small group of people numbering not more than a score.

Dominating Thoughts

You will resemble, tomorrow, the DOMINATING THOUGHTS that you keep alive in your mind today!

Studying People

Success in life is largely predicated upon our knowing people! The best place to study the man-animal is in your own mind, by taking as accurate an inventory as possible of YOURSELF. When you know yourself thoroughly (if you ever do) you will also know much about others.

To know others, not as they seem to be, but as they really are, study them through:

1: The posture of the body, and the way they walk.

2: The tone of the voice, its quality, pitch, volume.

3: The eyes, whether shifty or direct.

4: The use of words, their trend, nature and quality.

Through these open windows you may literally “walk right into a person’s soul” and take a look at the REAL PERSON!

Going a step further, if you would know people, study them:

When angry

When in love

When money is involved

When eating (alone, and unobserved, as they believe)

When writing

When in trouble

When joyful and triumphant

When downcast and defeated

When facing catastrophe of a hazardous nature

When trying to make a “good impression” on others

When informed of another’s misfortune

When informed of another’s good fortune

When losing in any sort of a game of sport

When winning at sport

When alone, in a meditative mood

Before you can know any person, as he really is, you must observe him in all the foregoing moods, and perhaps more, which is practically the equivalent of saying that you have no right to judge others at sight.

Appearances count, there can be no doubt of that, but appearances are often deceiving.

Studying People II

...If you aspire to leadership, I would urge you to study people.

Get under their skins and find out what is inside. Some people are quite different from what they appear to be on the surface. Determine the workings of their mind.

Much of General Robert E. Lee’s success as a leader may be ascribed to his ability as a psychologist. He knew most of his opponents from West Point days; knew the working of their minds; and he believed that they would do certain things under certain circumstances. In nearly every case he was able anticipate their movements and block the execution.

Leadership Strategies

You cannot treat all people alike! …Study your people as carefully as a surgeon studies a difficult case. And when you are sure of your diagnosis apply the remedy. And remember that you apply the remedy to affect a cure, not merely to see the victim squirm. It may be necessary to cut deep, but when you are satisfied as to your diagnosis don’t be diverted from your purpose by any false sympathy for the patient.

Hand in hand with fairness in awarding punishment walks fairness in giving credit. Everybody hates a human hog. When one of your people has accomplished an especially creditable piece of work see that he gets the proper reward. Turn heaven and earth upside down to get it for him. Don’t try to take it away from him and hog it for yourself. You may do this and get away with it, but you have lost the respect and loyalty of your people. Sooner or later your brother officers will hear of it and shun you like a leper.

In war there is glory enough for all. Give the person under you his due. The person who always takes and never gives is not a leader. He is a parasite.

It Can’t Be Done! … How Did They Do It?

At the east end of the great Brooklyn Bridge, in New York City, an old man conducts a cobbler shop. When the engineers began driving stakes and marking the foundation place for that great steel structure, this man shook his head and said “It can’t be done!”

Now he looks out from his dingy little shoe-repair shop, shakes his head and asks himself: “How did they do it?”

He saw the bridge grow before his very eyes, and he still lacks the imagination to analyze that which he saw. The engineer who planned the bridge saw it a reality long before a single shovel of dirt had been removed for the foundation stones. The bridge became a reality in his imagination because he had trained that imagination to weave new combinations out of old ideas.

A Dreamer and a Doer

Every person should be somewhat of a dreamer. Every business needs the dreamer. Every industry and every profession needs him. But, the dreamer must be, also, a doer; or else he must form an alliance with someone who can and does translate his dreams into reality.

Attracting By Taking an Interest in Others

There is one way in which you can so express the composite of your personality that it will always attract… and this is by— Taking a keen heart-interest in the other fellow’s “game” in life.