Oliver Napoleon Hill went through more setbacks than most, yet he persevered.
Napoleon Hill was born into poverty, illiteracy and superstition in Virginia in October 26, 1883. He was only eight when his mother died. Little Hill who was nicknamed Nap, wanted to be like Jessie James, the outlaw and I’m sure he and his brother were a hand full. So, his dad got married right away.
Hill’s father married a woman named Martha who became a major influence in young Oliver’s life. She encouraged him to give up the cap gun and pick up a pen. She told him, that he needed to go in another direction, and needed to use his overactive imagination to become a writer. She told him that if he got as good with the pen, he would be more famous than Jessie James.
Before he was twenty, Hill landed a job with Bob Taylor’s Magazine where his first assignment was to interview the richest man in America at that time, Andrew Carnegie, the 73-year-old steel magnate. It’s at this initial meeting that the wise and wealthy older man said, “It’s a shame that each generation must go through so much trial and error to find success in life”.
He also said, “Wouldn’t it be nice, if someone documented and recorded the success principles, that anyone could follow?” He paused then he gave the challenge, that forever changed Napoleon Hill’s life. He asked if Hill if he was willing to commit the next twenty years to complete the work (without compensation). Since Andrew Carnegie knew most of the powerful people, he would introduce Hill to them.
Hill took on the life time mission, but he wanted to have a life at the same time, so he took out a personal ad in the newspaper for a woman seeking marriage. When he went to the woman’s house to meet her, her cousin caught his eye. So, he married Florence Elizabeth Horner and they had three sons. But Hill was so determined to succeed that he left the family and went to Chicago to seek his fortune.
Hill held several jobs, but ended up working for President Woodrow Wilson, writing propaganda, during the “Great War”. After the war, he pitched his idea for a magazine, to a printer named George Williams. He called it “Hill’s Golden Rules”. Unfortunately, a rife developed between Hill and Williams and the magazine folded. (a minor misfortune)
He then moved to Ohio where he met Don Mellet, publisher of the Canton Daily News. Don was involved in trying to publish articles about prohibition, and he was gunned down by gangsters. The only reason Hill was not killed was because his car broke down. This time he went to Virginia. (major crisis and misfortune)
Hill struggled for about a year with depression, but finally found a publisher willing to publish his book. His Law of Success was a smashing success and he finally called for his wife and sons to join him, now that he had lots of money. When the Great Depression came, the royalty checks stopped coming in and he became broke again. This time when the current President called for his services, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, his wife filed for divorce this time. (crisis and misfortune again)
So he got married again: This time to Rosa Lee Beeland. She was 29 and he was 54. She labored with him on the “Thirteen Steps to Riches” manuscript, but the publisher thought it sounded too much like his first book, so Hill changed the name to Think and Grow Rich. By 1940 Hill was a millionaire again, and they were spending the money as fast as it came in. But when the divorce came, the wife got most of the money.
Hill then met and married a highly educated woman, who worked for Jacobs Press., Annie Lou Norman was 47 and Hill was 60. She was his final companion who stuck with him until the end of his days. To me that is another lesson; on persistence. It’s never to late to find a good mate.
Upon Hill’s death, she appointed the first executive director to the Napoleon Hill Foundation, so Napoleon Hill’s work would go on. Before the end, Hill went to Chicago again, where he met W. Clement Stone who had been struggling, but was now wealthy because he read the book Think and Grow Rich. They formed a partnership which lead to Success Unlimited which later turned into Success Magazine.
Napoleon Hill never accumulated the wealth that Andrew Carnegie had, but he will forever be remembered, for the books he wrote, and the influence he left to the world. He lived his message, that you can do anything you want, if you believe and put forth the effort. What is your destiny? If you don’t write your story, who will? This has been straight talk, beast mode. Blogging for me was about telling my story. Don’t you think it’s time, to write yours?
Really enjoyed the post and the videos. Napoleon Hill is one of my favorite authors and a source of inspiration.
Thank you Shahidah for your comments.
Glad I had the opportunity to finally meet you in person at one of the events. Most people who get comments over the internet never get to meet the other person on the other end. That was the “personal part ” of being in the Empire Network. Everybody does not make a lot of money but everyone can build relationships; syndication and events did that.
If you are reading this in book form it means I persevered to write about my adventures. This is my way of saying thanks to Napoleon Hill, who has helped so many over the years. Still it’s hard to believe that he wrote the Law of Success in 1928 after 20 years of studying the riches people on planet earth at that time.
What you see, didn’t take 20 years of study but two years+ of blogging almost every day coupled with life skills as a two-time military veteran, plus 40 + years of life, grinding to make something of myself. I think my mom would be proud. Pop also.
It’s better to be late, than not at all! Now it’s, your turn, and the rest of the crew!