Napoleon Hill – The Ultimate Con-Artist

napoleon_hillI read with great interest this long piece by Matt Novak on the back-story of Napoleon Hill, a man who gets credit as the father of the self-help genre. When I started doing financial book reviews, a number of people (and lists) recommended Hill’s 1937 classic, Think and Grow Rich. I  reviewed his book, and while much of it was cheesy, I tried to keep an open mind.

Hill employs the patter of a carnival barker throughout his book, which should probably be the first clue.  But Novak did the research on the man Napoleon Hill himself.

As it turns out, his life was a complete lie. His original claim to have learned the secrets of business from Andrew Carnegie: false. His business biography: A cover-up of his scam-artist background.

One lesson of Novak’s piece: If it seems like the guy is selling snake-oil, he’s probably selling snake oil. We’re in a new era, in which the ability to spot a scam artist is particularly important. One of my rules has always been, if he’s willing to lie and cheat about some things, he’s probably willing to do it about anything.

Passing bad checks, lying about the ‘source’ of his business knowledge, running from the law…You have to consider the messenger when evaluating the message. Anyway, if you’ve been tricked into reading this kind of book, or worse, going to ‘real estate seminars‘ with the same approach, you’ll be sure to enjoy Novak’s piece on Napoleon Hill.

Please see related posts

All Bankers Anonymous Reviews In One Place!

Review of con artists:

Book Review: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Book Review: The Wealth Dragon Way, by John Lee and Vincent Wong

Book Review: Secrets of The Millionaire Mind, by T. Harv Eker

Donald Trump – The Greatest Con Artist That Ever Lived

 

 

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2 Replies to “Napoleon Hill – The Ultimate Con-Artist”

  1. Agreed, he was a con artist, just like Tony Robbins and all of the other “gurus.” Here’s a clue, none of these people ever built a legit business. They are famous for being preachers. There is no difference between the “self help” creeps and the TV evangelists!

  2. Thank you for this helpful post acknowledging Matt Novak’s brilliant article.

    The true formula for wealth & success will always be Wallace D. Wattles’ 1910 masterpiece, ‘The Science of Getting Rich’:
    https://www.amazon.com/Science-Getting-Rich-Original-Retro/dp/1945717424

    The desire to become a multi-millionaire comes from the scarce, greedy, competitive, insecure mindset, and is a guarantee of failure or at the very least, unhappiness.

    Page 132: “Beware of the insidious temptation to seek for power over other men.”

    TRUE wealth and success begins with the understanding of the connection each of us has with everyone and every thing in the universe.

    It’s all in the book!

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I founded Bankers Anonymous because, as a recovering banker, I believe that the gap between the financial world as I know it and the public discourse about finance is more than just a problem for a family trying to balance their checkbook, or politicians trying to score points over next year’s budget – it is a weakness of our civil society. For reals. It’s also really fun for me.

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