Napoleon Hill’s Golden Rules

“Napoleon Hill’s Golden Rules” by Napoleon Hill is a compilation of magazines Hill published, having one central aim and that is the exploration of human potential.

          Every book that has ever tried to help us become a better version of ourselves reveals one crucial idea: we are the central character of our own stories.

We are our problem as well as our solution. If we ever lose our way it’s due to the fact that, at times, we forget that. For those times, and all the others in between, we are grateful to have books like these ones to get us back on track.

Napoleon Hill in short


          He was born in 1883 in the remote mountains of Wise County Virginia. When he was 10 years old, he lost his mother. His father remarried one year later. His stepmother became the inspiration that this young boy needed to make something of himself. He came from nothing, but, just as he underlines, if you are strong, you can beat all the odds against you. You just have to know what you’re up against.

          By the age of thirteen, he would concentrate on a career in writing. After two years of high school, he enrolled in a business school. He discovered later on that he was attracted to the law profession. Hill even convinced his brother to apply with him to Georgetown Law School. Napoleon would work as a writer to pay for both their ways.

Both enrolled at Georgetown Law School. Vivian, his brother, graduated. Napoleon was detoured, obtaining a job at Bob Taylor’s Magazine, a magazine owned by Robert Taylor, a United States Senator from Tennessee. Hill’s assignments were success stories, including a story on the growth of Mobile, Alabama, as a seaport. When we were sent to interview Andrew Carnegie at his 45-room mansion, what was scheduled to be a short interview, lasted three days.

          Andrew Carnegie challenged Hill to interview the successful and develop a philosophy of success, which Hill would then teach to others.

          Hill’s life changed drastically. His lifelong adventure was to interview successful people about the reason for which they were so successful while others were not.

          Hill lived to be 87 years old. During his lifetime, he developed the philosophy of success principles that are as relevant today as the day he wrote about them.

Hill’s Golden Rule

          “Napoleon Hill’s Golden Rules” knows no exception. There is a reason why the book flows as it does. The chapters have no random order. They are organized as such in a way as to prepare us for the final golden rule, one that should be at the heart of not only every society but of every decision we make in life.

          Just as William Wallace in his “The Science of Getting Rich”, Hill points out that there is no deal that is successful unless it involves both parties getting what they want.

          Since great minds think alike, Chris Voss, in his “Never Split the Difference” describes that, at the heart of every negotiation, there should be the premise that every party involved should get what they want. It’s not about who wins what, but about two people getting into a deal and both coming out as feeling they would welcome the chance of doing it again. Chris points out the fact that “the last impression is a lasting impression”, meaning it’s not even about making deals or negotiating. It’s about whether that person would sit again with you a second time, for the sole reason that you are an honorable human being.


One Step toward the Golden Rule

          Every person who doesn’t know success, whatever that means for that person, believes that heredity and environment play a crucial role in determining a person’s fate.

          We as individuals have two types of heredity: one is physical, the other one is social. While there’s nothing we can do about the physical traits we inherit from our family, there’s plenty we can do about our social one.

          Our social heredity revolves around everything that we come into contact with. It involves our family teachings, school teachings, church teachings, newspapers, magazines, and books. For this reason, it’s so important that our children get the right influence during childhood.

          We are the crop of the ideas and teachings planted on the fertile ground of our childhood. An idea planted at the right time can grow into an exceptional human being.

          We are the sum of our heredity and our environment. While young, we cannot have much influence on what we receive from the outside. But as we grow and develop, it’s up to us to decide whether what we inherited is in harmony with who we are.

          Even if, our odds are not the best, we can still change them. It’s true that we are the sum of two factors:

  • Heredity
  • Environment

While we cannot help how we are born, we can build strong suits and overcome the weak ones. We are the ones who can decide to change our thoughts, our environment, our purpose, and our life aim.

And just as Dale Carnegie in his “How to stop worrying and start living” points out: there’s no better time than today. Right now. No matter your age, your station, your conditions in life.

You are the Golden Rule


In order to live an abundant life, there are some principles you have to know. Getting to know those principles is, in fact, a perspective of the choices you can make in any situation.

There are plenty of times when we believe we are out of options, when, in fact, we choose what takes less time and effort. However, it sometimes leads us astray from the path of being a decent human being. In the end, that’s what this book and Napoleon Hill’s teaching are about.

     Just as marketing play on the principle of suggestion, we should understand the principle of autosuggestion.

Give an individual a standard to live up to. Make him believe he can do it and he will rise to the occasion.

It might be difficult, then again, working with people always is, but it doesn’t mean we are capable of deciding the limits of the people around us. It’s not up to us to set boundaries on somebody else’s potential. It’s our job to give them our trust that they can do it until they believe it themselves.

Just as we suggest this to the people around us, we should do the same with us. In fact, we should start with ourselves first.

People who treat other people in an unkind manner are those who are, in reality, frustrated about themselves and their lives. The moment we believe we can change and we hold ourselves accountable for it, it’s the moment we can look upon others with different eyes.


We get what we put out


The law of retaliation teaches us that we get what we invest.

First, we have to understand and practice self-control. If we look back at the “Emotional Intelligence” teachings, we are the first step towards getting along with others. Cultivate self-control.

We must learn to take all sorts of punishment and abuse without retaliating in kind. This self-control is a part of the price we must pay for mastery of the law of retaliation.

When a person picks a fight with you, justly or unjustly, you can choose to retaliate in like a hammer. At that point, you are only drawn down to that person’s mental level, therefore, that person is dominating you.

If you refuse to become angry, if you are self-composed, calm, and serene, you retain all your ordinary faculties through which to reason. You take the other fellow by surprise.

You retaliate with a weapon with the use of which he is not familiar, consequently, you will easily dominate him.

Like attracts like! There is no denying that.

           Every person you come into contact with is a mental looking glass in which you may see a perfect reflection of your own mental attitude.

The rule is simple: we should put in exactly what we want to receive.

Recognize what you are and get what you don’t have from others


Mr. Carnegie accumulated millions. He did it by selecting, combining, and managing other men’s brains. Early in life, he understood that any undertaking such as the steel business required more talent than anyone man possessed.

What he also realized was that most industries and businesses require two types of men:

  1. One the caretaker
  2. The other the promoter

Carnegie then proceeded to selecting the men he wanted, organizing them, directing them, and keeping them enthusiastic and eager to render the greatest amount of service. He got them to cooperate with one another and with him.

His achievements couldn’t have been possible without the use of other people’s brains.

The amount which a single brain can produce, accumulate and own, acting independently of other brains, is comparatively little.

However, the amount that one brain can accumulate and control when acting in harmony with other highly organized minds is practically unlimited.

If you want to become wealthy, learn how to attract to you men and women who have that which you do not possess in the way of the brain capacity.

If you are the promoter type, select your associate so that some of them at least will be of the caretaker type.

A well-rounded-out partnership or organization of men, to be successful, must be made up of men and women who possess all the requisite qualities essential for success.

Some men can acquire but cannot conserve assets. Other men can conserve but cannot acquire. The two types, working in harmony, can both acquire and conserve.

Many a business has grown sickly and finally passed into bankruptcy for no reason other than the fact that it was managed by men who had too much of one sort of talent and too little or none at all of the other necessary sorts.

Business requires something more than capital with which to succeed. It requires well-balanced brains, made up of the various shades and blending of the caretaker and the promoter type.

The final stroke of genius that is the Golden Rule


          In order to be successful, we need the help of the people around us. Nobody has ever succeeded alone, and those who say that have forgotten all those little gestures people did in their way to greatness.

          Most of us are interested in getting some other member or members of the race to do that which we want them to do. We often lie awake at night, thinking about it.

          It has never occurred to us that is an infallible method through which we can get other people to do that which we want them to do.

Seemingly, it has never occurred to us that we can get others to act as we wish them to by simply acting that way toward them first and keeping it up until they respond.

          Once we understand that, we will never complain that anyone failed to do that which we wanted them to do. We will know to get that which we want by first giving the same thing to some other member or group of members of the human race.

          We will never again be guilty of putting into motion a cause that will bring suffering and sorrow and deprivation to any member of the human race.

The moment we do it, we will know beforehand that this same result will eventually come back to hunt us. And we want the best thing for ourselves. This means, that we should want the best thing for others first.

          Dale Carnegie in his “How to win friends and influence people” puts it this way: find out what the other wants and help him get it.

          We need Napoleon Hill’s teachings to close in the circle.

The moment we find out what people want and help them get it, what we want finds its way back to us.


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