Napoleon Hill’s Keys to Positive Thinking by Michael J Ritt Jr – Book Review

Title and author: Napoleon Hill Keys to Positive Thinking by Michael J. Ritt Jr.

Contents synopsis:

Napoleon Hill was one of the most prolific and influential successful writers of the 20th century. When he was very young he interviewed Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie was so impressed by the young Hill that he challenged him to undertake a study of success for 20 years and then publish a book on the subject. Carnegie offered no payment, but introduced Hill to nearly every successful businessman and politician of the first half of the 20th century.

Hill continued to publish newsletters and books and eventually gained fame and fortune through his books. Think and Grow Rich and The law of success. Near retirement age, Hill met insurance mogul W. Clement Stone, and the two published several books and tapes on success, sales, and a positive mental attitude.

The concepts in this book are the work of Napoleon Hill. Ritt brings it together in a somewhat more modern version and removes some of the more controversial parts of Hill’s work.

Ritt reduces Hill’s original 17 principles of success to ten essential principles:

1. Take ownership of your own mind.

2. Focus on what you want and not what you don’t want.

3. Living the golden rule.

4. Eliminate all negative thoughts.

5. Be happy.

6. Form the habit of tolerance.

7. Use positive suggestions from yourself.

8. Use the power of prayer.

9. Set goals.

10. Study, think and plan daily.

Woven throughout all of this is the essential element to do it all with a positive mindset, or what W. Clement Stone called PMA.

At the end of each chapter, Ritt offers some summary material and a suggestion of actions the reader should take to implement the lessons of that chapter in life.

Readability / Writing quality:

This book is very readable. It offers many stories and examples. Pages are divided into logical sections and text boxes are used to highlight key ideas.

Notes on the author:

Michael J. Ritt, Jr. became a Stone and Hill protégé and became executive director of the Napoleon Hill Foundation. He wrote Napoleon Hill Keys to Positive Thinking which he described as Ten Steps to Health, Wealth, and Success. Ritt also wrote a biography of Hill titled A life of riches.

Napoleon Hill’s background is outlined above, however, it should be noted that some critics have cast some doubt on his claims. It appears that Carnegie has not verified his commission and we only have Hill’s word that he once met the great man. Hill had many failed businesses and plans during his life. He may have been involved in some nasty activities and was being hunted by organized crime mobs for some time. Whatever conclusion may be drawn about Hill’s entire life, he engaged in a successful study throughout his life and interviewed many highly accomplished men. He had the photographs and the letters to prove it. Many people have found Hill’s thinking to be largely sound and a good foundation for success.

Three great ideas you can use:

1. Nothing succeeds like success. People are attracted to positive and successful people and not negative ones. Positive attitude allows you to win the friendship and cooperation of others, which is essential for success. Nobody does it alone.

2. We really become what we think about. We direct our own destiny through our thoughts and attitudes. It is not magic. However, philosophers and others have observed this reality for centuries.

3. As many other successful teachers have preached, setting and following goals is the key to success. Hill taught you to apply a goal setting process that involves a determination of what you want to achieve, followed by an assessment of what it will take to achieve it. Then you set your goal, identify a date by which it will be achieved, identify a plan to make it happen, and repeat the steps in writing every day. He called this the Determine, Evaluate, Establish, Identify, Repeat process. It stresses that short-term and long-term goals should be set, reviewed, and implemented on a daily basis.

Publication information:

Napleon Hill Keys to Positive Thinking by Michael J. Ritt, Jr.

Copyright 1998 Napoleon Hill Foundation

Published by Penguin Books

Overall rating: Very good

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