Napoleon Hill wrote this book in 1938, just after publication of his all-time bestseller, Think and Grow Rich. This powerful tale has never been published, considered too controversial by his family and friends.
Using his legendary ability to get to the root of human potential, Napoleon Hill digs deep to identify the greatest obstacles we face in reaching personal goals: fear, procrastination, anger, and jealousy, as tools of the Devil. These hidden methods of control can lead us to ruin, and Hill reveals the seven principles of good that will allow us to triumph over them and succeed.
The book starts out with Napoleon Hill giving an abridged biography detailing his meeting with Andrew Carnegie, his various defeats, and how he overcame them. This abridged biography is to set the stage for his interview with the Devil. The rest of the book is written in a question and answer formate, with Hill as the interviewer and the Devil as the reluctant subject. Through out the book Hill forces the Prince of Darkness to reveal how he holds countless people in bondage to fear, superstition, greed, avarice, lust, revenge, anger, vanity, and laziness. He then forces the Devil to reveal the seven principles that can help overcome the before mentioned obstacles. These principles will not be revealed here, because I don’t want to deprive anyone of the pleasure of reading this book for themselves.
Beginning with chapter three and continuing to the end of the book, Napoleon Hill conducted an interview or discussion with the Devil. In this interview, he learned how the devil is able to control so many people. More importantly, he learned what to do to stay out of the devil’s control and lead a successful life.
Napoleon interviews the Devil in full dialog. The Devil says he exists as the “negative part of the atom”. This means he has to exist and is part of the human condition. Regardless of the religious connotations here, one thing is for certain – with success comes failure and failure success. Understanding that positive and negative exists in every facet of life is empowering once you free your mind from limitation and accept it as part of the ground rules for living. Being conscious of this fact is the first step to master it. In rudimentary terms, you cannot play football with a hockey stick. You have to understand the ground rules.
The Devil reveals that he controls negative thought while GOD controls positive thought. In his own words – “One of my cleverest devices for mind control is fear, the fear of poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of love, old age and death.” Remember – this book was written in the early 1930’s. Do any of these fears sound familiar? These fears fall right into Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which are; physiological, safety, love/belonging, Esteem and Self-actualization. The Devil’s fears hammer right at the foundation of these needs.
The greatest trick of the devil plays is convincing people he does not exit. The clever move here is that school teachers, religious leaders and parents use fear as a tool to educate about the devil. The problem is that this inhibits accurate thinking. The devil uses this to his advantage because fear is what paralyzes people into the habit of drifting. The greatest of all fears implanted into children is the fear of “hell”.
Devil – “Accurate thought is the death of me……” Thus we can combat drifting with accurate thought.
Paraphrasing the Devil, “I cause people to allow me to do their thinking for them because they are too lazy and too indifferent to think for themselves.” “Laziness + Indifference = Procrastination = Drifting”
The good news is that there is a prescription to avoid all of this. In the book, Hill discussed seven principles for gaining freedom from the devil. The principles begin with definiteness of purpose. It is important to know what your intent is and then start controlling your actions to meet this intent. This means having a plan as opposed to walking around aimlessly. Surround yourself with good people who can help you control your environment. As Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Also, everything takes time to develop, you must wait patiently and keep putting the work in.
In the book, Hill discussed seven principles for gaining freedom from the devil. These principles are:
1. Definiteness of purpose
2. Mastery over self
3. Learning from adversity
4. Controlling environmental influence
The point of the book is self reflection and improvement. If you approach this work with that in mind then I believe you are in a position to glean some useful inspiration and information from this intriguing work. This book is a must read and will open your eyes. The key is to control your thoughts and your habits. Be aware of what is happening and stop sleep walking through life. It’s good to celebrate like Homer Simpson every once in a while but make it a habit and life falls apart.