The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons by Napoleon Hill - Summary

Below you find my notes about "The Law of Success in 16 Lessons" by Napoleon Hill. The book was an interesting read and definitely food for thought.

Law of sucess by Napoleon Hill

Some parts are directly taken from the book as excerpts below. This book is the basis for Hill's later book called Think and grow rich which I have also read and summarized.


Lesson 1 - Master Mind

The authors says that the following personality weaknesses thwart your success:

Success can not be achieved without being able to influence other people to cooperate with you in a spirit of harmony.

Henry Ford during a trial between the Tribune and himself:

If I should really wish to answer the foolish question you have just asked, or any of the others you have been asking, let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons hanging over my desk and by placing my finger on the right button I could call in men who could give me the correct answer to all the questions you have asked and to many that you have not the intelligence either to ask or answer. Now, will you kindly tell me why I should bother about filling my mind with a lot of useless details in order to answer every fool question that anyone may ask, when I have able men all about me who can supply me with all the facts I want when I call for them?

It proved (to all who had the intelligence to accept the proof) that true education means mind development; not merely the gathering and classifying of knowledge.

Education consists of the power with which to get everything one needs when he needs it, without violating the rights of his fellow men.

The man who can intelligently use the knowledge possessed by another is as much or more a man of education as the person who merely has the knowledge but does not know what to do with it.

The six most dangerous enemies

Ignorance and fear are twin sisters. They are generally found together. A discovered enemy can be fought with organized knowledge.

Lesson 2 - A Definite Chief Aim


Something in human nature makes us resent the impact of new ideas.

The road of the truth-teller has always been rocky. Socrates sipping the hemlock, Christ crucified, Stephen stoned, Bruno burned at the stake, Galileo terrified into retraction of his starry truths - forever could one follow that bloodily trail through the pages of history.

Success is the development of the power with which to get whatever one wants in life without interfering with the rights of others.

A Definite chief aim

Instructions for applying the principles

Lesson 3 - Self Confidence

Re-read chapter

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Regardless how many times you failed.

Lesson 4 - The Habit of Saving

If you are in business and have formed the habit of talking and thinking about "business being bad" business will be bad. One pessimist, providing he is permitted to continue his destructive influence long enough, can destroy the work of half a dozen competent men, and he will do it by setting adrift in the minds of his associates the thought of poverty and failure.

Who told you it couldn't be done? And, what great achievement has he to his credit that entitles him to use the word "impossible" so freely?

Lesson 5 - Initiative and Leadership

Remember that your only limitation is the one that you set up in your own mind.

He who lives by the sword will die by the sword.

Make light of your troubles, belittle your trials and you will help vitally to build up within your organization an esprit whose value in time of stress cannot be measured.

The man who always takes and never gives is not a leader. He is a parasite.

Every time you change your orders without obvious reason you weaken your authority and impair the confidence of your men. Have the moral courage to stand by your order and see it through.

Know your men, know your business, know yourself!

Lesson 6 - Imagination

The reason most people do not like to hear the story of your troubles is that they have a big flock of their own.

Perhaps there is no field of endeavor in which imagination plays such an important part as it does in salesmanship. The master salesman sees the merits of the goods he sells or the service he is rendering, in his own imagination, and if he fails to do so he will not make the sale.

Men will grant favors that you request for the benefit of a third person when they would not grant them if requested for your benefit.

If your imagination leads you to understand how quickly people grant your requests when those requests appeal to their self-interest, you can have practically anything you go after.

Lesson 7 - Enthusiasm

It is not so much what you say as it is the TONE and MANNER in which you say it that makes. a lasting impression.

You cannot afford to suggest to another person, by word of mouth or by an act of yours, that which you do not believe.

If you compromise with your own conscience, it will not be long before you will have no conscience; for your conscience will fail to guide you, just as an alarm clock will fail to awaken you if you do not heed it.

Developing enthusiasm:

Stimuli which produce enthusiasm:

The psychology of good clothes:

It may be true, as a well known poet has said, that "clothes do not make the man," but no one can deny the fact that good clothes go a very long way toward giving him a favorable start.

The seven deadly horsemen


The authors says that intolerance results in:

Revenge & Greed

Egotism & Suspicion



Lesson 8 - Self Control

Men who control themselves usually boss the job, no matter what it may be.

A person with well-developed self-control does not indulge in hatred, envy, jealousy, fear, revenge, or any similar destructive emotions.

No one has any right to form an opinion that is not based either upon that which he believes to be facts, or upon a reasonable hypothesis; yet, if you will observe yourself carefully, you will catch yourself forming opinions on nothing more substantial than your desire for a thing to be or not to be.

You have a tremendous advantage over the man who does you an injury: you have it within your power to forgive him, while he has no such advantage over you.

The world soon forgets its destroyers. It builds its monuments to and bestows its honors upon none but its builders. Keep this fact in mind and you will more easily reconcile yourself to the policy of refusing to waste your energies by "striking back" at those who offend you.

You have the power to control your thoughts and make them do your bidding!

Self-control is solely a matter of thought-control!

A master salesman is one who takes the offensive, and never the defensive side of an argument, if argument arises.

The ability to negotiate with other people without friction and argument is the outstanding quality of all successful people.

"I wish to be of service to my fellow men as I journey through life. To do this I have adopted this creed as a guide to be followed in dealing with my fellow-beings:

"To train myself so that never, under any circumstances, will I find fault with any person, no matter how much I may disagree with him or how inferior his work may be, as long as I know he is sincerely trying to do his best. "To respect my country, my profession and myself. To be honest and fair with my fellow men, as I expect them to be honest and fair with me. To be a loyal citizen of my country. To speak of it with praise, and act always as a worthy custodian of its good name. To be a person whose name carries weight wherever it goes. "To base my expectations of reward on a solid foundation of service rendered. To be willing to pay the price of success in honest effort. To look upon my work as an opportunity to be seized with joy and made the most of, and not as a painful drudgery to be reluctantly endured. "To remember that success lies within myself - in my own brain. To expect difficulties and to force my way through them. "To avoid procrastination in all its forms, and never, under any circumstances, put off until tomorrow any duty that should be performed today. "Finally, to take a good grip on the joys of life, so I may be courteous to men, faithful to friends, true to God - a fragrance in the path I tread."

"Taking the conversation away from another person" is a common form of lack of self-control which is not only discourteous, but it deprives those who do it of many valuable opportunities to learn from others.

The evolution of transportation

Know yourself and you know the entire human race


Lesson 9 - Habit of Doing more than paid for

A man is most efficient and will more quickly and easily succeed when engaged in work that he loves, or work that he performs in behalf of some person whom he loves.

a man's wife may either "make" or "break" him

The author recommends to read: Observation; Every Man His Own University by Russel H. Conwell

The law of increasing returns

Follow experiment: render useful service to at least one person every day without any monetary pay

Read essay: Compensation by Emerson ("A great man is always willing to be little.")

Let me show you the color of my service so that I may take a look at the color of your money if you like my service.

We court flattery more than we do the truth.

Give the people the best product at the lowest price possible.

Read: sermons of Matthew (bible)


Notes from Napoleon Hill's video on success on the topic of doing more than paid for

QQA Formula: Quality of service, quantity of service plus mental attitude always at a maximum

Lesson 10 - Pleasing Personality

Taking a keen heart-interest in the other fellow's "game” in life.

Lesson 11 - Accurate Thought

The power to think as you wish to think is the only power over which you have absolute control.

Re-read every week for 4 times


Lesson 12 - Concentration

Concentration is the act of focusing the mind upon a given desire until ways and means for its realization have been worked out and successfully put into operation.

Re-read - a little complicated to understand his message

Lesson 13 - Co-operation

Instructions for fighting procrastination taken from the book:

Lesson 14 - Failure

poverty is the richest experience that can come to a man; an experience which one to get away from as quickly as possible

I am reminded, O king, and take this lesson to heart, that there is a wheel on which the affairs of men revolve and its mechanism is such that it prevents any man from being always fortunate.

Lesson 15 - Tolerance

A: I see that you are a very staunch Democrat, and I wonder if you know why you are? B: I am a Democrat because my father was one, of course! A: Just as I thought! Now wouldn't you be in a bad fix if your father had been a horse-thief?

Lesson 16 - The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule means, substantially, to do unto others as you would wish them to do unto you if your positions were reversed. think of others as you wish them to think of you no man can attain success in its highest form without the aid of earnest prayer

'According to your faith be it unto you,' says the Old Testament. The entire book is nothing but one continuous statement of the creative power of Thought.

Your character is but the sum total of your thoughts and deeds!

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.

We are influenced by the regard and devotion of others to our interests.

Indecision is the devil's favorite tool.

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