The Hill in the title is Napoleon Hill a famous author of the 1930s whose most famous work is entitled Think And Grow Rich. Hill was a journalist before he wrote his very successful books and as a journalist he interviewed the self made industrialist Andrew Carnegie; he of Carnegie Hall and Carnegie Libraries fame and much more besides.
Hill doubtless asked Carnegie about the secrets of his success and was challenged by the great man to go and interview all the successful men and women of his generation, distil out the secrets which differentiate those men and women and discover the philosophies and thought processes which help them succeed, and then share those secrets with all those who might benefit.
This challenge became the driving mission of Hill’s life. His number one book makes some assumptions and he backs up some of his findings with science which has been discredited or replaced in today’s world, however, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, much of what he learned and shared is very pertinent to success in our day and age too.
In his lifetime Hill studied some five hundred successful entrepreneurs, industrialists, politicians, scientists, inventors and pioneers. Some one hundred and fifty of his subjects are named in Think And Grow Rich and his contemporary readers would have known these men and women well, as their lives overlapped with theirs. In the same way that we know about Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher and others of our time so Hill’s readers knew the likes of Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and Robert Dollar, to name just a few, from the newspapers and magazines of that era.
Today’s readers of Think And Grow Rich may well know of Henry Ford and The Wright Brothers to single out a couple of famous names, but they probably won’t be intimate with their life stories. Other notable characters of the 1920s and 1930s such as Robert Dollar for example are barely known today. Yet Robert Dollar pioneered America’s trade with China, something which very much affects our lives today. As does Thomas Edison’s invention of the electric light bulb, for without the light bulb there would have been no need of an electricity generating industry sending power to homes and by extension no radio, television, electric cooker, microwave, hair dryer… the list is almost endless.
We take affordable cars, air travel, medicine and much more for granted today but the roots of our modern world lie greatly in the fertile soil of the twenties and thirties, and so for me the Hill’s Heroes project (two more volumes are to follow, at the time of setting up this website Hill’s Heroes Volume 1 – the first fifty is already published as an e-book and paperback) is fascinating and exciting. I started writing the Hill’s Heroes books to put Think And Grow Rich into context for modern readers, yes, it’s still very widely read by people looking to discover the thought processes and actions needed to succeed in all sorts of arenas from sport to business and the arts, in fact in any field of human endeavour.
What I discovered was that as well as putting Think And Grow Rich into context, for myself and others I was also learning so much about recent history and the world I and you inhabit today. It’s not blowing my own trumpet to say it’s fascinating, it’s the people that is to say Napoleon Hill’s heroes themselves, they are truly fascinating.