Personal development, self help or self improvement books abound today, but where
did it all start? Probably the first successful book of the type was Napoleon Hill's 'The
Law Of Success' or its more famous follow-up 'Think And Grow Rich'. Indeed, it
seems to this writer that much of what has been set down in later tomes of the genre
draws heavily upon Napoleon Hill's work.
Hill was a young journalist when an interview with the great industrialist and
philanthropist Andrew Carnegie transformed his life. Carnegie challenged him to
study the most successful men in America and distil the principles and practices
common to them for the benefit of others.
Rising to the challenge Hill spent some twenty five years studying great men such as
Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, Wilbur Wright and his brother Orville,
Theodore Roosevelt and many others. His books are packed with remarkable
anecdotes and personal stories. More importantly, Hill did discover a wide range of
common denominators and went further in offering advice to help people develop
these qualities in themselves.
Having completed the work of study and writing Hill spent many further years
spreading the word and helping others. The principles he espouses, those of desire or
ambition, self belief or faith, planning, taking action and defeating procrastination,
meeting temporary failure with fortitude and the will to carry on and others may seem
obvious, just common sense, and yet not everyone is successful, not everyone is able
to put these ideas to work for themselves.
Hill's books offer techniques for developing ambition, and self belief, they offer
practical advice and inspirational examples. They tell us that even the greatest
amongst us have had to deal with failure, frustration, disappointment and insecurity.
There are many more modern personal development and self help books around and
indeed many are good, very good indeed. It's not for this writer to say the original is
still the best, but it's up there. For anyone looking to motivate themselves, anyone
motivated but struggling, whatever the goal, be it financial, spiritual, sporting,
political or other, books like 'Think And Grow Rich' still cut it!