The Law of Success
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The Law of Success is a 1925 book – actually in the form of a set of 15 separate booklets – by Napoleon Hill. It was released as a limited edition of 118 copies and was given to many of Americas most successful individuals, all of whom had contributed to the book's content. One of those copies was used by Orne Publishing to reprint it in 2010.
The Law of Success in 16 Lessons is an edited version of Napoleon Hill’s first manuscripts which was reworked under advisement of some the contributors and first published in 1928. This version was initially published as a multi-volume correspondence course. Later editions gathered the material into a single hardcover book. The most current version available is through Wilder Publishing.
The work was originally commissioned at the request of Andrew Carnegie at the conclusion of a multi-day interview with Hill, and was based upon interviews of over 100 American millionaires across nearly 20 years, including such self-made industrial giants as Henry Ford, J. P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Alexander Graham Bell, and Thomas Edison. The Law of Success was first presented as a lecture, and was delivered by its author in practically every major city and in many smaller localities throughout the United States over a period of more than seven years.
The following outline is from the original 1925 edition.
A Definite Purpose
Lesson 1 A Definite Purpose will teach you how to save the wasted effort which the majority of people expend in trying to find their life-work. This lesson will show you how to do away forever with aimlessness and fix your heart and hand upon some definite, well-conceived purpose as a life-work.
Lesson 2 Self-Confidence will help you master the six basic fears with which every person is cursed: the fear of Poverty, the fear of Ill Health, the fear of Old Age, the fear of Criticism, the fear of Loss of Love of Someone, and the fear of Death. It will teach you the difference between egotism and real self-confidence which is based upon definite, usable knowledge.
Initiative and Leadership
Lesson 3. Initiative and leadership will show you how to become a leader instead of a follower in your chosen field of endeavor. It will develop in you the instinct for leadership which will cause you gradually to gravitate to the top in all undertakings in which you participate.
V. IMAGINATION will stimulate your mind so that you will conceive new ideas and develop new plans which will help you in attaining the object of your Definite Chief Aim. This lesson will teach you how to "build new homes out of old stones", so to speak. It will show you how to create new ideas out of old, well known concepts, and how to put old ideas to new uses. This one lesson, alone, is the equivalent of a very practical course in salesmanship, and it is sure to prove a veritable gold mine of knowledge to the person who is in earnest.
Lesson 5 Action - requires further contribution
Lesson 6 Enthusiasm will enable you to "saturate" all with whom you come in contact with interest in you and in your ideas. Enthusiasm is the foundation of a Pleasing Personality, and you must have such a personality in order to influence others to co-operate with you.
Lesson 7 Self-control is the "balance wheel" with which you control your enthusiasm and direct it where you wish it to carry you. This lesson will teach you, in a most practical manner, to become "the master of your fate, the Captain of your Soul."
The Habit Of Doing More Than Paid For
Lesson 8 The Habit Of Doing More Than Paid For, is one of the most important lessons of the Law of Success course. It will teach you how to take advantage of the Law of Increasing Returns, which will eventually insure you a return in money far out of proportion to the service you render. No one may become a real leader in any walk of life without practicing the habit of doing more work and better work than that for which he is paid.
Lesson 9 Pleasing Personality is the "fulcrum" on which you must place the "crow-bar" of your efforts, and when so placed, with intelligence, it will enable you to remove mountains of obstacles. This one lesson, alone, has made scores of Master Salesmen. It has developed leaders over night. It will teach you how to transform your personality so that you may adapt yourself to any environment, or to any other personality, in such a manner that you may easily dominate.
Lesson 10 Accurate Thought is one of the important foundation stones of all enduring success. This lesson teaches you how to separate "facts" from mere "information." It teaches you how to organize known facts into two classes: the "important" and the "unimportant." It teaches you how to determine what is an "important" fact. It teaches you how to build definite working plans, in the pursuit of any calling, out of FACTS.
Lesson 11 Concentration teaches you how to focus your attention upon one subject at a time until you have found a way to master that subject and have put that knowledge into operation. He gives you techniques on how to insure that your goal is concentrated on until you have completed that goal.
Lesson 12 Toleration will teach you how to avoid the disastrous effects of racial and religious prejudices which mean defeat for millions of people who permit themselves to become entangled into foolish argument over these subjects, thereby poisoning their own minds and closing the door to reason and investigation. This lesson is the twin sister of the one on ACCURATE THOUGHT, for the reason that no one may become an Accurate Thinker without practicing tolerance. Intolerance closes the book of knowledge and writes on the cover, "Finished, I have learned it all!" Intolerance makes enemies of those who should be friends. It destroys opportunity and fills the mind with doubt, mistrust and prejudice.
Lesson 13 Failure will teach you how to make stepping stones out of all of your past and future mistakes and failures. It will teach you the difference between "failures" and "temporary defeat," a difference which is very great and important. It will teach you how to profit by your own failures and by the failures of other people.
Lesson 14 CO-OPERATION will teach you the value of team-work in all you do. In this lesson you will be taught how to apply the law of the "Master Mind" described in this Introduction and in Lesson Two of this course. This lesson will show you how to co-ordinate your own efforts with those of others, in such a manner that friction, jealousy, strife, envy and cupidity will be eliminated. You will learn how to make use of all that other people have learned about the work in which you are engaged.
Lesson 15 The Golden Rule will teach you how to make use of the great universal law of human conduct in such a manner that you may easily get harmonious co-operation from any individual or group of individuals. Lack of understanding of the law upon which the Golden Rule philosophy is based, is one of the major causes of failure of millions of people who remain in misery, poverty and want all their lives. This lesson has nothing whatsoever to do with religion in any form, nor with sectarianism, nor have any of the other lessons of this course on the Law of Success.
- "The Law of Success in 16 Lessons" Online edition
- Napoleon Hill Yesterday and Today Issue 162 - How To Hurdle Temptation On the real "origins" of the 1925 edition of Law of Success.