An advisor to Andrew Carnegie and two presidents, Napoleon Hill was a journalist who studied success, interviewed the greatest entrepreneurs of his time and delivered the 15 laws of success that would form the foundation of his legacy work “Think and Grow Rich”. Published at the height of the depression in 1937, Think and Grow rich has sold over 30 million copies
Today…with the full cooperation of the Napoleon Hill foundation two successful authors in their own right have partnered to take Hill’s age old wisdom and bring it to life in the modern day stories of entrepreneurs such as Evander Holyfield, Debbi Fields, the leaders of NASCAR, Mailboxes Etc., Chick-fil-A and more.
It’s with great pleasure that I welcome Sharon Lechter, a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, co-author of Rich Dad Poor Dad and 14 other books in that series and her co-author Greg S. Reid. Greg has been a successful CEO, and is an in-demand speaker and author of several books including The Millionaire Mentor.
Greg and Sharon, welcome to SmartPlanet.com. Why has Think and Grow Rich continued to sell so well for over 70 years?
(GR) The principles for success from Think and Grow Rich have inspired generations of people to change their own lives. Although the approach one uses toward creating a life of sustainable abundance may vary, the ‘core values’ remain the same.
(SL) Think and Grow Rich was originally published during the Great Depression and became the foundational book behind the personal development movement we have today. It was the right message at the right time, a message of taking personal responsibility and creating the life you want. This message rings as true today as it did during the Great Depression and many of today’s successful people give credit to reading Think and Grow Rich for giving them the motivation to succeed.
Why the need to update the book?
(GR) Don Green, (CEO- Napoleon Hill Foundation) thought it was time to incorporate some ‘modern’ examples of success. While Rockefeller and Woolworth were tremendous leaders of their era, Don suggested that we shine light on today’s great figures so the audience could relate to the messages in a more understandable manner.
(SL) The current economic troubles are the worst since the Great Depression. We wanted to emphasize Napoleon Hill’s core principles of success through today’s successful people. Not only do they share their successes, but more importantly they share how they dealt with their failures and what kept them going through difficult times and motivated them to achieve their greatest successes.
Is the last three feet from gold the hardest? What do you mean by that title?
(GR) It’s easy to quit! There are so many people who throw in the towel right before hitting success! For example, how many people give up one class short from their degree? As Hill stated, “All great achievement comes one step from their greatest failure.” We discovered the difference between those who champion their field and those who do not: they simply stayed the course especially through their most challenging moments.
(SL) The title Three Feet From Gold is from an actual story from the first chapter of Think and Grow Rich where a young man, R.U. Darby goes west to discover his fortune in gold. After an early strike of gold, he quickly became impatient and gave up on the mine after his initial finding of gold ran out and he found only dirt. He sold his mine to the junkman in town who had been studying gold mining for years and knew the right experts to ask for help. The gold-mining engineer told the junkman that Darby had simply punched right through the vein of gold…if he went back to where Darby started and went three feet in the other direction he would tap back into the vein of gold. And that is exactly what the junkman did and he went on to discover a huge fortune in gold. Darby heard about the junkman’s success and promised himself to never ever again…give up three feet from gold He went on the build a huge insurance business and to teach others the power of persistence, never giving up, and seeking the right advisors.
We have all become impatient and quit at times in our lives. Three Feet From Gold gives you the encouragement and motivation to keep going…you are just Three Feet From Gold.
Rich isn’t the endgame for everyone. What if the reader is more interested in social good?
(GR) Great question. One of the discoveries from doing this project is that each of us holds our own ‘personal success equation’. The personal success equation looks different for everyone. It can yield the path for social good for one person , then business success for the next. It depends on the unique factors within each individual.
(SL) In Three Feet From Gold we interview several leaders whose success is measured not in dollars but in how many people they serve. Rich can be a measure of service as much as it is a measure of dollars.
Tell us about the entrepreneurs you chose to profile and why?
(GR) They are all examples of success despite very tough circumstances they were in. There is a variety of walks of life included in the book, the reader would be able to relate to at least one if not a few of them. That is what this project is all about. The reader.
(SL) You may not recognize all of their names, but you will recognize their company names because they put their customers, employees and their brands before themselves. They cover social services, the sciences, business leaders in many different fields. Over 35 leaders shared their experiences and their wisdom. Greg and I were incredibly moved and inspired by them and we are thrilled to share their stories.
What surprised you?
(GR) The ease and willingness of so many folks who were willing to help us with this quest. One of my favorite epiphanies was learning that the most successful people, were also the most accessible people.
(SL) How every one of the people we interviewed truly lived the Personal Success Equation that we share in Three Feet From Gold. They combined their passion with their talent, found the right associations and then took the right actions…but above all they had faith in themselves and their missions. It was universal and validates that the Personal Success Equation can work for all of us.
What are your top tips for someone pursuing their dream?
(GR) If you are not where you want to be in life, change the people you are hanging out with. As Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones once said, “You are the same today as you will be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.” In short, it’s the people you are associating with and what you put in your head that makes up your character as human. Change that input, and your life will change in unison.
(SL) Napoleon Hill said it best, “Are you waiting for success to arrive, or are you going out to find where it is hiding?” It is the people who take action today when the economy is depressed, and find the opportunities waiting for them who will create the greatest success stories of tomorrow. Study and apply the Personal Success Equation…you are just three feet from gold.
Thanks Greg and Sharon
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