Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich (pdf) and book changed my life. But was he a fraud?

*Note: At the end of this article you can download the Think and Grow Rich pdf for free with no email required!

When I first started Eventual Millionaire, I lived in a small town in the middle of the Maine woods. No one around me had any interest in business, so I turned my attention to books, blogs, and eventually podcasts.

One of the first books I read was Think and Grow Rich, a 1937 book by Napoleon Hill. In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill teaches what called the thirteen steps to riches. Those thirteen steps, he claimed, were the secret to building wealth.

Needless to say, I was intrigued. Some of my favorite business quotes come straight from Napoleon Hill. I’ve included many of them in this post for you to see, too.

Hill claimed he learned the thirteen steps to riches from Andrew Carnegie whom he worked with for two decades. Carnegie was the wealthiest man in the world at the time. According to Hill, Carnegie shared his success secrets with him and connected him with over 500 of the most successful people in the world to learn their secrets, too. Those people included Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Theodore Roosevelt, and Alexander Graham Bell.

Twenty years later, Napoleon Hill turned the lessons he learned after connecting with those 500+ into the thirteen steps to riches, which he outlined in Think and Grow Rich. The thirteen steps included well-known principles, like desire and persistence, as well as unconventional principles like the power of the mastermind (he called it “master mind” at the time; today it’s just one word) and the mystery of sex transmutation.

Not very many people talk about the sex transmutation part of the book, but it’s a pretty interesting chapter. Basically, Napoleon Hill claims that the most successful people had strong sex drives and the ability, discipline, and self-control to react to their sexual urges by engaging in non-sexual, productive actions, like exercising, eating better, and working harder to impress the object of their desire. Unsuccessful people, on the other hand, had little self-control and reacted to sexual urges with destructive physical expressions.

There’s much more data (and talk) about the other twelve steps to riches from Think and Grow Rich.

80 Years Later: Millions of Lives Changed

When Think and Grow Rich first hit stores in 1937, only 5,000 copies were released, and you could get a copy for $1.50. It even came with a sheet to order more copies.

Here’s a pic of the order sheet it came with.

The book flew off the shelves. To date, millions of copies have sold, and millions of people’s lives have been changed for the better because of it.

The book is such an important piece of literary history that an original 1937 first-printing copy of the book now sells for between $2,500 and $4,500.

I paid considerably less for my copy, and you can, too, unless of course, you want to grab one of the original 5,000. In fact, keep reading because I’m going to give you an exact copy of the original Think and Grow Rich pdf for free at the end of this post.

A friend of mine paid more than $3,000 for this first-run a couple of years ago. 

It says a lot about how important the book has been to successful people when people pay up to $4,500 for an original Think and Grow Rich book when you can get a free Think and Grow Rich pdf right here, doesn’t it?

How Think and Grow Rich Changed My Life

Although Think and Grow Rich changed my life in many ways, two things stick out above all.

The first way it changed my life was by my applying Napoleon Hill’s steps to riches. Although I can’t say I’ve applied all thirteen of them, the power of the mastermind had a particularly strong impact on my life.

A mastermind is a group of two or more people working together to help each other reach a goal. In a mastermind group, each person benefits from the education, experience, influence, and perspective of the others. That helps everyone accomplish more, and faster, than they ever could alone.

This principle changed my life. In fact, it’s probably the most impactful of the thirteen steps in the past 80 years, as more and more people experience the power of being in a mastermind group.

My problem with the mastermind principle was that, although I had run masterminds as a coach with my mentor, I had never started my own and had nobody in my life who would want to start one with me. Ideally, you want to find members that are MORE successful than you, and when I looked around to my immediate network, I didn’t have anyone I could ask.

I decided to send a few cold emails to some bloggers I followed and asked if they wanted to start a mastermind group with me. One of the first people to say yes was an unknown blogger name Pat Flynn of A few others joined us. We began meeting virtually every week to help each other grow our online businesses. More than six years later, each of us has achieved more success than we could have ever dreamed. We still meet regularly and I can say without any hesitation that being in this group was one of the best decisions I’ve made in business. Here’s a worksheet on starting your own mastermind if you’d like to start your own.

The second way Think and Grow Rich changed my life was more directly related to my business. I really connected with how Napoleon Hill learned from successful people of the early 1900s. Because of that, I decided to model Eventual Millionaire after Think and Grow Rich, interviewing the most successful people in the world to discover the secrets to their success.

To date, I’ve interviewed almost 400 millionaires and billionaires. (and most are my friends now- pretty good considering I had no really successful friends before!)The lessons I learned from those interviews further shaped my business and personal life, and helped countless readers, listeners, and clients of mine, too. I’ll continue to interview the most successful people in the world to help each of us build our businesses by learning from those who have done it before us. It’s amazing to me that I’m slowly but surely closing in on the number Napoleon Hill claimed to have learned from, and that I’ll soon surpass that number, with videos, transcripts, and podcasts to preserve and document each of the lessons learned from those interviews.

Needless to say, Think and Grow Rich was a big influence on me.

But Was Napoleon Hill a Fraud?

I’ve touted Think and Grow Rich for years and had never heard anything negative about it until a friend sent me an article recently that called Napoleon Hill “The Greatest Self-Help Scammer of All Time.”

From a personal perspective, the article suggests he was an abusive father, violent husband, a polygamist, and broke. Professionally, it says he was a fraud, and con-artist, and suggests almost everything he claimed he did was a lie. It also says there’s no record of him meeting any of the successful people he claimed to have met except when he gave an award to Thomas Edison (who later returned the award). Wow.

Even after all the growth I experienced since I read Think and Grow Rich and started my mastermind, I started wondering whether I had been scammed because it was a well-researched article on a reputable site. I decided to share the article with some friends and asked for their thoughts.

So, is it True? And Does it Matter?

I have no idea whether any of that’s true. I was surprised when I read the article, to say the least. My friends were surprised, too. None of them had heard any of this before either.

At the end of the day, Think and Grow Rich changed the lives of a lot of people. Whether the principles came from actual interviews, relationships, study, or theory, they worked, even if the author wasn’t the best example of putting the thirteen steps to riches to good use.

And if Napoleon Hill’s claims about his connections weren’t true, something like that doesn’t always have to “be true” in order for the message to hold truth, and a person can be a poor example of something and still be correct in his assertions regarding it—that’s every parent in the world, on one thing or another!

So, while I’d hate to support someone who did all the things the article suggests Napoleon Hill did, in this case, it’s had eighty years of life-changing impact and is one of the most recommended books by the millionaires I’ve interviewed. Because of that, I’ll continue to recommend it to anyone looking to build a successful business. I’ll also continue to build my own data by interviewing the most successful people in business today (although I’m not sure I’ll ask very many people about their sex drives….should I??).

To date, my data supports many of the thirteen steps to riches, especially the power of using a mastermind in business, which has been proven by others time and time again, as well.

It’s Your Turn

Have you read Think and Grow Rich? How has it changed your life? Do you think it’s a scam?

If not, here’s a Think and Grow Rich pdf you can download for free.

The Ralston Society
Electronic Edition



Hi I’m Jaime. Each and every week I bring you the top business advice from the people who know best.

Learn More

100 responses


  • Hi Jaime, regarding the legitimacy of Napoleon Hill’s research & interviews, I listened to an interview with Andrew Carnegie, and Mr Carnegie stated that he commissioned Mr Hill to pursue this endeavor. And, Mr Carnegie stated that he asked Mr Hill to continue in his research for twenty plus years. I hope this helps – resource:

    • Thank you for this information. This really helps clarifying things about Napoleon Hill.

      • Glad I was able to help.

    • This does help!! THANK YOU!!

      • It does. Thank you for this great help! I read several books about Napoleon Hill before, but when I read your comments make me feel to come back to read them again. Your comments are very helpful. Keep it up Jaime!

      • i was assigned a book reading assignment for my coursework and i found it interesting reading this book, so thanks for clearing the air about hill’s book

    • The audio you mention is NOT an interview between Hill and Carnegie, just a re-enactment by two voice actors Mr. Greg Eschmeyer and a Mr. Dude Walker. It offers no support that this interview ever took place.

      At (this is clearly stated), it is further stated that the actual dialogue was written by NAPOLEON HILL alone. (shouldn’t Mr. Carnegie have been given credit as an author? )

      • Regardless, the principles that Hill endorses to each of us are based on eternal laws that promote a quality life, empowering, life-enhancing …. I feel pity for those who ignore these laws because they do improve our lives more than we can IMAGINE!. I cannot judge Mr Hill for anything because I cannot step into his shoes. And I haven’t even looked at the evidence for any of the claims. He wrote a doozy of a book though.

    • Hey, guys. I give thanks to all, who has contributed tremendous encouragement toward this good news of this book. I have had learnt a lot of principles how to get successful in business. Therefore, les cooperate as cooperation increases the chances of success in life.

  • Books

  • wow amazing quotes.

  • it’s a really nice book…

  • All of those incidents occured in early 90’s.No internet at the time and its quite long ago now.There is quite a competition in self help genre.Nepoleon hill is one of the big fishes.Thus,just because an article was written on a reputable website does not mean it was with right intentions.I have nit read the boom but his books have created many successors.Something surely is missing from those claims.

    • I appreciate it! Yeah I’m inclined to think that everyone is good – so valid point about thinking about the intentions of the article. 🙂 I want to reread the book again!

  • Changed my business life

  • Thank you for the blue print

  • Yeah ! I am 18 year old I am reading it now, but the main problem I am facing is that there is no people around me who is interested in business ! I have no Internet services around me , only a crap phone with limited uses

    • So where are you ? you can email me on [email protected]

    • As far as iam concerned, I think you ought to read alot and make reading a best friend for you !! 🙂

    • Desire for your “Master Mind Group”
      Helps a lot Mr. Nair…..

    • Bharat my friend for you,

      The sun is on the rise just before the darkest time of Night!!! The success comes for sure if you in the worst situation and still hanging on!!!

      So in this age if you do not have any of this and till manage to leave your footprint here you have desire drive determination to do something so plz convert it into action…

  • I started reading this book two months ago and my sales performance has more than doubled. The man was and is truly inspirational. As for that sex drive. I have cut back on the love making and my mind is more focused on building wealth.

  • Such a fabulous book I have ever read……this gives a lot to
    tackle the hardships leading to success..thank u sir

  • There was a version before 1937: 1928 published and also free available online:
    It contained the spiritual part, which some people wanted not to share to the public.

    • Thanks for sharing. Will definitely look into this. Read a couple of article about the controversial”spiritual side” of his book…much of what he wrote really are helpful..

  • Great and interesting ideas..

  • i have read this book to the extend i desire to live the thirteen principles. as to whether napoleon hill was fraudulent or not; that i can not delve into. the quotes from some of these principles have made me a community leader and i feel respected by multitudes though i am not a perfect being myself. i still need to live the book and admonish the principles to my community since the same principles are a challenge to all of us, more-especially those who did not acquire proper parental guidance from the on-set.

  • I just came by this article. I’ve downloaded the pdf.
    will get back to you when I’m through with it.

  • Hi, am Gisiri Maroa from Kenya. Am one of the few people who would be open. I have read many of the inspirational books out there. I found one aspect that has been factual.
    Before one applies the 13steps described in the “Think and grow rich” I strongly suggest someone to research “The wolf of Wallstreet”
    One helpful aspect in Jordan Belfort is_the state of the mind_
    Am re-reading the book and soon I’ll share my experience.
    COULD you please add me to your master mind group. I could use a hand in the force.
    In Kenya and Maybe Africa as a whole, successful people don’t want to talk and when they do they don’t give details.
    Someone just tells you I worked hard. Without showing you the steps.
    One last thing. Capital has been a problem to many great minds some of us posses so would someone recommend a book that help one create capital to start and implement ideas….
    Email encouraged: [email protected]

    • hi,
      am Christopher from Ghana.
      i just came across this book’ and having read your comments, will like to add you as afriend

  • Great Book

  • Anyone who would call Hill a fraud is probably a fraud themselves. Another book that he wrote that would have had a dramatic impact to our society was Outwitting the Devil. Hill wrote this after Think and grow Rich in 1937, but it didn’t get published until 2011. Much of his story is in there.

  • Regardless of what Hill was like in real life, the amount of positive things people have taken from Think And Grow Rich far surpasses any of the negative chatter. I really enjoyed your blog post and especially liked this video cliff notes of the book by author Jake Ducey

  • Thanks so much for this great information about the GREAT Napoleon Hill. For me, what matter most is the knowledge in this THINK AND GROW RICH; but I don’t care whether he was a Scam or it’s a Scam. Practicing these 13 steps into my life is what I care about.


  • There is a lot of fake news out there and many haters full of jealously. Take it for what it is worth.

  • Thank you for the free link. I had this book a few years ago but didn’t read it and got into Abraham Hicks. I have read many Abraham Hicks books and one Seth Speaks. From what I have researched, Napoleon Hill was channelling entities like Abraham & Seth but was unable to reveal through fear of how it would be perceived.

  • Hi!

    Yes, I was reccommended to read this book by a very successsful business man, I met on an plane. I think it has what you need to focus on the objective. My issue is deciding the best areas to achieve.

    Patrick Jennings

  • My life change. Good book!

  • This is good to read.It helps one to build a strong financial stand.

  • Can you please email me the pdf of “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill as although I could read the book online I could not download the pdf.
    Please email me the pdf to [email protected]
    Thank you,
    Bob Ferguson

    • Hi Bob,

      I emailed you the pdf.

      • Hi..can you please email “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill…[email protected]..thank you

      • Can you please email me the pdf of “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. I could read part of the book online I could not download the pdf.
        Please email me the pdf to .
        Best Regards.

    • I used own the book however my brother’s friend lost it. Kindly email me the PDF.copy [email protected]

  • I have started reading the book, thank you for the link. I think it is quite wise, not at all a sham.
    It seems to me that Mr. Hill, Dr. Richard Bandler, Tony Robbins, Dr. Maxwell Maltz among others nd even the Bible all say about the same thing.
    Mark 11:23-25
    23“Truly I tell you that if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and has no doubt in his heart but believes that it will happen, it will be done for him. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25And when you stand to pray, if you hold anything against another, forgive it, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your trespasses as well.”…

  • very interesting really

  • Please email a copy to [email protected]
    Thank you very much

  • Think and grow rich is the one book anyone who seeks success MUST read at least twice a year. It will change you each time you read it and gradually propel you to the top.

  • Thank god that I have getting this book, I long been searching for it.

  • this steps by napoleon hill have really changed my life and anyone who has not read this book am encouraging him to read
    2. faith
    4.specialized knowledge
    6.organised planning
    9.mastermind alliance
    10.sexual transmutation
    12.subconscious mind
    13.sixth sense

  • This book is really a wonder, It is How You should design your life, Best book ever read love You Napolean Hill.

  • please i need a copy to ma adress please as soon as possible

  • Pls send more of such books so we can download

  • Its very wonderfull book

  • Great opportunity

  • 🙂 i’ve enjoy reading this articles and very happy because finally i got the pdf copy of think and grow rich which very hard to find im always listening with the audio book but very eager to have a written copy thanks a lot finally i can read it all now onboard a ship…

  • Thanks a million,you review was very helpful.I just downloaded it

  • I have enjoyed reading important articles and very happy because finally, I got the pdf book

  • Thank you so much for this! I can’t wait to dive in and see how this book can change my life!

  • I’m interested. Can I have the PDF of the book please? Thank you so much

  • Could I have the PDF file please. Thank you so much.

  • As for now, being a Graduate student my journey begins. Thank you Jaime for the Book.

  • Whether the story of Napoleon Hill is true, fact or fiction is purely down to what we choose to believe. Thats is the whole point. Thoughts become things.

    The philosophy of this book allowed me to:

    – overcome physical paralysis,
    – find my wife
    – win a trip to drive a Ferrari through France to Monte Carlo
    – win big sales deals and earn large commissions
    – acquire property and
    – make great friends – and have a great fun life at the same time.

    And I still read the book and listen to a modern version (The Secret) regularly.

    What have you got to lose?

  • Once again even the writer of this blog claims all this “success” in her life. And once again all she has done is “interview people” ?
    Uhhggg; let me know when someone who has started a business from scratch and WORKS at something is around.

    • Contact me at [email protected]

      I guarantee, what I have will change the way you think.


  • The negative article mentioned in this article about Sir Napoleon Hill is well researched. Truly, it’s a result of patience, persistence and perspiration and the author deserves all credit. However, the author has subconsciously revealed how he ended up applying the same principles which Mr. Hill has taught for years to enable himself to write against all his teachings.

    The truth stands clear. Whatever we focus upon, expands. I have personally experienced this multiple times in my life, both positively and negatively. In the most difficult times of my life, Sir Napoleon Hill’s teachings have been the guiding light. His book ‘The Law of Success’ used to lie beside me 24 hours at one time. I had reached the point where if I had any issue or challenge at all, I knew that somewhere I would find a solution in the book itself. I always did. Never failed to do so.

    Mr. Hill’s work is excellent and is the foundation of all personal development (well, may be not all, but mostly it is). The principles works, and that’s all what matter at the end of the day.

  • Interested! Email me a copy please. [email protected]

    • I will like to read this book

  • Am interested in copy. Kindly email to me and thanks for the good work

  • Hi Jaime! Nice article, and thanks for the pdf! Having only heard of a brief summary of the book, which is narrated by Earl Nightingale and found on YouTube, I believe it’s a life-changing book.

    Now to start reading!

  • Hi I am a fan of this author. Please send me a copy of PDF for this book.

  • Looking forward to getting the PDF. Thank you!

  • Hey looking forward to getting the pdf.

  • I haven’t read the book, bt with all this testimonies about the book, i could read it some day.
    If you can, email me the pdf of Think and Grow Rich

  • Hi could you please email me a PDF of the book. I could open the link but not download it.

  • thanks a lot

  • Interested send me a copy please of pdf ,
    Think rich grow rich

  • Thanks

  • Thanks
    Great book indeed

  • wow I think the book is a great piece for every soul to read it because we all dream of becoming rich one day in life

  • Great book, thank u

  • Some interesting comments being posted. However “most” are so far off the mark and not even close, to what the actual secret is, that Napolean Hill refers too. The secret, is written in full, on one page and it’s explained in full detail, for all too see.

    Perhaps, it might be beneficial, for those people, to read, “The Instant Millionaire” by Mark Fisher, then, when they understand that book, come back and read, “Think and Grow Rich”. Then, they might understand what the actual secret is.

    So here’s a hint, go sit in a room (any room in the house, motel, hotel or pub) and look at everthing that is around you, the windows, doors, wallpaper, carpets, furnishings and electrics. Look at what you are wearing, your clothes, shoes, socks, even the shoe laces.

    Everything, I have mentioned above, has to do with this secret.

  • Thanks the information was very helpful.

  • Can you send me a copy of the pdf.

  • Interested send me a copy please of pdf ,

  • Thanks for the great insight, very interesting book indeed, could i have the pdf copy sent to my email.

  • Good day! The book makes an interesting piece and would like to have a PDF version of it. Thanks!

  • A simple commonsense: A best-seller book, especially in the thirties and forties – containing all the names of famous rich people who made a contribution to its existence, would have been sentenced to numerous lawsuits by those well known and wealthy people – if it was a lie. The book very quickly would have become a nation/worldwide scandal and died a natural death or remained as a scandalous curiosity. I have no doubt about Napoleon Hill’s integrity. In contrast, the article you mentioned is full of question marks. There are plenty of people who want to be built on the glory of others, by slandering them
    Thank you very much for the fascinating article and sharing your wonderful story!

  • I need that book , desperately please send me a copy

  • Could I have a pdf copy of this book sent to my email.

  • This is a very interesting concept, that I truly believe. Please send me a pdf copy to my email. Thank you!

  • Can you please email me the PDF of “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.
    Please email me to: [email protected]

  • Hi Jaime,

    I have just read past the first chapter of this book and found it really helpful and working.



  • Could please email the PDF copy of think and grow rich by Napoleon Hill to [email protected]

  • nice book can you email the book at [email protected], thanks

  • I think the books of Napoleon Hill are a very good starting point to do your own research about success.
    In my opinion his books are not a scam.
    If you are open to try them, I think everyone can learn a lot !

  • Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts and also the book with us! God Bless!

  • Amazng article

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