Thinking and Growing Rich

The second ‘financial’ related book I’ve read this year has been described as “one of the most important financial books ever written“.  I can’t really comment on this, since I haven’t read many financial books but I can see why it would have made such a powerful impact when it was first published.
Think and Grow Rich‘ by Napoleon Hill was written especially for those who lost pretty much everything in the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
There is an updated version which covers the likes of more modern successful businessmen such as Bill Gates but the version I read was the 1937 version, so the successful people described in the books were the likes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.  Hill apparently researched more than forty millionaires to find out what made them successful.
The book is basically a self help/personal development book that – if you understand all the principles and its messages and follow them – can help you become successful and (if you want to be) rich.
As it was written in 1937, the book was obviously very dated, referring constantly to the Wall Street Crash and the US Depression in the 1930s, and of course, references to technology and information available was limited to what was around at the time, ie no computers or internet! Also, as expected, it was occasionally somewhat politically incorrect.


One particular observation made me laugh: “If a woman permits her husband to lose interest in her, and become more interested in other women, it is usually because of her ignorance, or indifference toward the subjects of sex, love, and romance“.  Hmmm…yes, well haha!

However, there was still quite a lot of relevant stuff – how you sell yourself back in the 1930s is not very different from how you sell yourself today!

I’m not a great non-fiction reader (being a fiction-lover) so I found this book pretty hard-going.
Some chapters were very interesting but even these had a lot of ‘waffle’. A few chapters I ended up skipping, in particular where Hill vouches for clairvoyance and extra-sensory perception (ESP) or when the American history detail just got a bit too much for me!
Stuff that stuck in my Mind
I’m glad I read the book as there is stuff I can take away, I found some of it pretty motivational and there are tips and suggestions that I intend to  put into practice. Certainly there are some chapters that I will return to again.
For example, the book determines that there are various steps to success/riches – I won’t list them all but they include Desire, Organised Planning, Decision and Persistence. These I readily identified with as they are steps towards FI and retiring early!
I’ll finish off with some quotes/verses which stuck in my mind:


“Our only limitations are those we set up in our own minds”
If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t
If you like to win, but you think you can’t
It is almost certain you won’t.
(by Walter D Wintle)
“A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.”
Procrastination is one of the most common causes of failure.”

Stop worrying and conquer the fears which can stop you from being successful in what you do.

Stop using alibis/excuses that are used by people who are not successful, eg

…if only I had money…
…if only I had a good education…
…if only I had time….
…if I now had a chance…
…if only I could save some money…
…if I only knew how…
(there are lots more in the book)

Hill states that you will only be successful if you follow all the principles laid out in his book.
I only intend to follow some of them, but if it means I achieve my goals, that’s all the success I need – I’m not aiming to be a millionaire/billionaire!
Incidentally, I’ve highlighted the procrastination tip as this was mentioned recently by Huw in his YouTube video, and it’s something that I suffer from (at times) quite badly, but more so at home, rather than at work.
After reading the book (and then being prompted by Huw), I set about doing a task that I’ve been putting off (and putting off) for the best part of a year – that of transferring my stakeholder pension into one of my SIPPs.
I’ll do a post on this at some point to let you know how I get on but the deed is done!
Weenie 1 Procrastination 0!


Of course, there’s other stuff that I’ve been putting off that needs doing, but one step at a time, eh!

18 thoughts on “Thinking and Growing Rich

  1. You should read the millionaire next door by thomas stanley and american professor who started researching the habits of wealthy (as opposed to acting wealthy) americans in the 1980s

    It was written in the 1990s but its the daddy of early retirement blogs really

  2. Thanks for the recommendation Weenie. That's another one to add to my growing list of books to read. I'm the same as you as I mainly read fiction but I think it's time to expand my horizons a bit! I was a bit disappointed that my local library didn't have too many of the typical FI books you see banded around, especially since it was the main city public library! I'll have to see if I can put some requests in.

  3. Hi weenie, congratulations on following one of the rules of success with this book – persistence.

    I think I'd have given up reading as soon as I came across Mr Hill's "words of wisdom" regarding marriage 🙂

  4. Thanks for this write up, it's one which had been on my radar for a long time. Really like this quote you put in:

    "A quitter never wins and a winner never quits"

    Too true.

  5. Congrats on getting through the book, I couldn't! There is some great non-fiction out there on financial matters. Almost anything by Michael Lewis, from "Liar's Poker" to "Flashboys" is worth reading. Felix Dennis on "How to be Rich" is very funny and not what you'd think. Po Bronson, "The First Twenty Million is Always the Hardest" might appeal to your heavily suppressed billionaire ambitions. There must be some fiction ones too. Tom Wolfe, of course, with "Bonfire of the Vanities" (although "A Man in Full" is better IMHO)….look forward to seeing some more suggestions posted here.

  6. Millionaire Next Door is a great book. For some reason I've not read Thinking and Growing Rich yet… sounds like a good I should pick up and read one of these days.

  7. Hi Neverland
    This is on my list to read, so am likely to read it early next year.
    Have heard a lot of good reviews so thanks for adding another thumbs up!

  8. Hi Jim
    Well, it was a struggle at times and as I said, I did skip some parts that I really couldn't make myself read! I've head of those Michael Lewis books so may check those out.
    Thanks for the suggestions.

  9. Hi M
    If anything, I will go back to the book as it was full of such quotes, many of them worth noting.
    Cheers for stopping by.

  10. Hi Cerridwen
    Thanks. I glossed over that bit of 'advice' since the book wasn't about marriage/relationships and at the time the book was published, men were the main breadwinners and women were nearly all stay-at-home-mothers/wives.

  11. Hi FIb
    There are a few FI books in my local library, but not that many. I'm going to have to buy a second hand version of "The Millionaire Next Door" as it's not available to lend.

    This book isn't a financial book though, it's a self-help book that will help you achieve your goals and of course, in the case of PF/FI bloggers, it's to improve our finances! 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by!

  12. This sounds like a common theme. "Stop moaning and get on with it…" It is true, if you stop thinking negatively about things you can achieve. My old circuit training coach was like this, it was surprising how having a positive thought on achieving the exercise would get you through to the other side.
    I have been thinking about reading the Millionaire next door – as others have mentioned.
    Po Bronson does a good book too which is self-help. I am trying to change my mind to look positively at things. I have also decided to just jump and go for things rather than keep saying I cannot do it because of "X" or "Y".
    There are times in life when you just have to take the risk. One book I am reading at the moment has the saying: "Jump and the net will appear to catch you".

  13. Hi weenie,

    It was good to read a review of a finance book that hasn't already been talked about ad nauseum on other PF blogs, nice one! I can imagine it was hard going. I read a few really old books when Kindle free books first came out and found them very hard going as well. One was PF related but can't remember what it was now. It was fun to pick the gems out of all the baffling terminology of the time though.

    I really liked the quotes section, some of which were inspiring and it's kind of nice in a way that to get ahead nowadays compared to back then hasn't really changed all that much.

    I've been procrastinating over setting up a business bank account for all of this year as well so I need to follow your lead! In all fairness I have tried and the process has stalled a few times not solely down to my own fault. I also just read an article saying that I don't need a business bank account by law anyway so I might just open up another normal current account (and take advantage of an open account offer or some decent interest) and just use that. What's the point in complicating things if I don't have to?!


  14. Hi sparklebee
    "Stop moaning and get on with it" is blunt but a very good piece of advice. I'm generally a positive person, although I have a feeling that I moaned a lot in the past before I realised that I needed to do something about what I was moaning about (especially when I was in debt). These days, with the work situation, my positivity is being sorely tested but I look around and I see people really down in the dumps and am glad that I am able to lift myself and get on with my job.

    I've just picked up my copy of Millionaire Next Door (used from Amazon) but probably unlikely to read it til next year.

    'Jump and the net will appear to catch you' – leap of faith and all that!

    Thanks for stopping by and all the best with your job hunting.

  15. Hi TFS

    Thanks. Yes, there are plenty of quotes in there, many of which are just common sense but others quite inspiring. I might print some of those out, or have them as a screensaver!

    Re business bank accounts, you're right, there's no need to complicate things. I think you would need a business account if say you started charging invoices for "TheFireStarter Ltd", rather than in your own name. The main thing would be to just have an account separate from your personal/joint account, which will make it a lot easier for you to track business income, expenses and also to complete your tax form.

    Before I bought my BTL, the first thing I did was to open another current account so that anything related to the property would be dealt with from that account, separate from my own bank account.

    Also, you now have the pick of good current accounts paying decent interest – good luck!

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