The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill: A Quick Overview

Updated on November 12, 2016
The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill, Penguin Group (USA), Inc.
The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill, Penguin Group (USA), Inc.

If you search his name on YouTube, you will find a few interesting videos of an endearing elderly man who explains some very gutsy ideas. The steadiness of his voice, combined with his trustworthy demeanor make you want to believe him very much. In fact, you might feel compelled to pinch his cheeks.

Many people know that Napoleon Hill was chosen by Andrew Carnegie to study the habits of the most wealthy and successful men of their era, and to document his findings so that future generations would be able to use this information as tools to reach their own endeavors. What you may not have heard is that The Law of Success was the original text written by Hill, and published in 1928. Think and Grow Rich, which is currently his most widely read book, was not published until 1937. Both books relay similar information, although The Law of Success is truly a more in-depth version, which acts as multiple courses of a class on achievement and prosperity. Think and Grow Rich, though, is about half as many pages and can be carried around more easily for quick reference. You must understand that these are books that you can read over and over, and always learn from.

The Law of Success is organized into sixteen original principles, or lessons. All of them are listed below:

  1. The Master Mind: Telepathy, ether, vibration, and how it all is the basis for how the world functions. A master mind is the alliance of two minds joining in a harmonious way. The power that is formed from two or more minds coming together is more powerful than one alone. This is strictly for minds who trust each other and are interested in the good success of all parties involved.
  2. Your Definite Chief Aim: Do not underestimate the value of this due to its simplicity. You need to set an objective before you can achieve it. Not having a solid aim to focus on can not possibly get you to it. You have to know what you want so that you can start receiving it.
  3. Self Confidence: Believe that you are worthy of success and that you can attain it. Without this simple understanding- truly understanding it- you will probably get nowhere with most of your goals. If you are not confident, then you cannot sell yourself in life.
  4. The Habit of Saving: Stop trying to get a Cadillac if you feel more comfortable paying for a Ford. You are on the path to easily affording a Cadillac.
  5. Initiative and Leadership: Addresses the importance of leadership skills (yes, they can be habituated and you don't have to be a born leader). Here, Hill acknowledges the penalties of leadership. Leaders are not always spoken of sweetly. This should not deter you from becoming a leader. It is only "genius" that attracts the attention of critics. Nobody bothers slandering a person who isn't somewhere near the upper rings of the ladder of success.
  6. Imagination: Dream, and use your imagination to help lead you to the attainment of your goals. The making good decisions comes with use, and your intuition will always lead you toward your dream. Dreams and actions are closely related.
  7. Enthusiasm: Compels you to act. Mix enthusiasm with your work- do something you are enthusiastic about- and you will not get tired nearly as quickly. Hill explains the things that can contribute to enthusiasm, one being to wear nice clothes. Basically, if you look like a million bucks, you'll feel like a million bucks, and you will likely find yourself around a million bucks. The opposite is also true, and this is to be avoided. Feel good about your appearance, because it also affects the first impression of you on others who can be instrumental in your path to success.
  8. Self Control: Auto suggestion is like reprogramming your subconscious mind to believe what you want it to believe- to replace your old beliefs with new ones that will serve you better. This takes self control. Have you ever tried to change a habit? It makes sense. When you take control over the thoughts you are thinking, then you can take control of your success. Make these thoughts the ones you want to believe, and see yourself the way you want to see yourself.
  9. Habit Of Doing More Than Paid For: If you are going to whine about your work, then you are not going anywhere. Do the work you have in front of you, then ask what else you may do. By doing this, you make yourself valuable, and you will surely reach a point where you are being paid handsomely. Valuable employees are... valuable. This is also and especially true when you are working for yourself.
  10. Pleasing Personality: Have one. Don't point things out on people, don't hang your head and say "I'm tired." Mediocrity does not care if you are pleasant or not. Success does.
  11. Accurate Thought: Sort "facts" from "information", and use auto-suggestion in conjunction with focused thoughts.
  12. Concentration: "Concentration is the act of focusing the mind upon a given desire until ways and means for its realization have been worked out and successfully put into operation" (p 438). That about covers it.
  13. Cooperation: The implementing of cooperation between you and others who are going to help you get to your goal (the top of the ladder of success is never lonely, because you can't help but bring others with you). Cooperation must also exist between your conscious and subconscious mind so that they may work harmoniously in your favor.
  14. Failure: Yes! Fail, and be happy that it is bringing you one step closer to success. Failure is inevitable, and it is a great step towards the right direction. Replace "failure" with "temporary defeat".
  15. Tolerance: Don't practice prejudice or racism. It is ignorance, and it is a barrier to success. Just see the best in people and situations, and focus only on your goal and the good for all.
  16. The Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you wish them to do unto you." Also, "Think of others as you wish them to think of you."

Now, although you could probably get much use from this list alone, it is such a small taste of what Hill has to say. His own enthusiasm for all of these principles, his examples, his in-depth explanations, and clarity is fantastic.

Each and every lesson in this book is related to each other, and they are not kept separate except for the sake of organization of the text. All of these ideas are constantly relating to one another. It is impossible to address one lesson without involving another.

Even if you have read and practically memorized Think and Grow Rich, read The Law of Success just once and you will likely be happy you did. Rumor has it that the reason Think and Grow Rich was written is because the "authorities" felt that such an exact guide to success could be a threat to their roles in government and society. So, The Law of Success was taken off the shelves until it was replaced by Think and Grow Rich.

Have you read The Law of Success?

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      • profile image

        Shubham verma 

        8 months ago

        Great job by a great personality... Think and grow rich ' & law of success are the great work of THE NAPOLION HILL

      • profile image

        Rahul Ratnakar 

        11 months ago

        I agree, two minds are better than one and can produce an extraordinary outcome. If work together in harmonious way.

      • profile image

        Simon the Pieman 

        21 months ago

        I really love the story in the lesson "Imagination" wherein Hill explains how he convinced the Governor of Ohio to Pardon one of his friends who was in prison for forgery.

      • profile image

        Jonattan Gamboa 

        22 months ago

        Congratulations for the summary. Thanks for sharing.

      • profile image

        mohammed guled 

        2 years ago

        i havnt read the book but a great summary. some of the lesson allready got me thinking.

      • profile image

        Khrawbor Nonglang 

        2 years ago

        The summary of the law of success by Napoleon hill should be a bit long compared to the vast book it is filled with important ideas,n so that the main ideas are not missed,anyway keep up the good work.

      • profile image

        Khrawbor Nonglang 

        2 years ago

        The summary of the law of success by Napoleon hill should be a bit long compared to the vast book it is filled with important ideas,n so that the main ideas are not missed,anyway keep up the good work.

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        I am the first to comment


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