Comment 1: Overview: 60% brilliant, 30% obvious, 10% batshit crazy - and 100% worth readingNapoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich" is about more than getting rich: it's about getting what you want. And while his no-bullshit insights come with a liberal dose of craziness and – well – bullshit, his overarching philosophy is spot-on. Hill's recipe boils down to this: to get what you want you must 1) desire, 2) believe, 3) act, and 4) persist.First, the battinessHill's advice is always useful, even if not always completely truthful. For instance, he repeatedly claims that "thoughts can affect mother nature." I don't think this is true, and Hill doesn't provide any evidence to support his claim, but his reader might be better off believing it. Because thoughts do profoundly affect you. And if you think you can affect nature by thought alone, and "think" accordingly, the impact this will have on your beliefs and your actions can be profound."Lack of evidence" is a common theme through "Think and Grow Rich." Some of the claims Hill makes are pretty crazy, though they're presented as if they were glaringly obvious and unquestionably true. He often states that a claim has been "proved" where it's simply been stated. You'll read about the transmutation of the subconscious, about how thought vibrations travel through the ether, and how to plant creativity in your subconscious via communication with the infinite intelligence. The book is heavy on mystical musings and light on facts. That said, I don't think these bits of battiness detract from Hill's core message, and if anything, my occasional outrage kept me engaged.Onto practical matters: The first step towards riches is DESIREOn first glance, this statement might seem banal, or even tautological: if you want riches, the first step is to… want riches. But Hill's advice cuts much deeper than this. It is not enough to want riches, or to wish you had them. Hill means something more radical: you must have a burning desire to be rich. If you fail in this regard, you will fail to achieve your (vaguely) desired goal.Hill gives some concrete advice for nurturing desire. First, you must define your purpose. Only then can you become consumed by it. Hill's recipe for making desire concrete is this: decide exactly how much money you desire; establish a definite date by which you intend to possess it; create a definite plan; write it down; and read your written statement aloud - twice when you wake up, and twice before you go to bed. Become so obsessed with desire that you already see yourself in possession of the moneyBut don't kid yourself into thinking desire will be enough: "wishing will not bring riches... [only] planning definite ways... and backing those plans with persistence" will. Take, then, this burning desire, and put all your effort behind it. I love Hill's emphasis on action: you are instructed to be a practical dreamer. It's not enough to 'decide' you're totally committed: act accordingly. Cut off all sources of retreat, Hill tells us. Burn all bridges behind you, so that you win or perish. The tone here might be a little extreme, but his message carries crisp and clear: don't half-ass it.Include liberal doses of FAITHIt is impossible to translate burning desire into action without belief. You must have faith: you must believe in your plan, and more importantly, believe in yourself. Of course, this is easier said than done. One concrete way to foster faith is through autosuggestion. The idea here is that you can come to believe something by repeating it to yourself sufficiently. Repetition of thought is powerful, and Hill claims it's the best way to influence your subconscious mind – the presumed bastion of belief.This might come off as a little crazy, but Hill elaborates: repetition alone isn't enough. The mere reading of words is of no consequence unless you mix in strong emotions. Desire is one such emotion. Thus, if we've followed Hill's first step and developed a burning desire, it will be that much easier to apply autosuggestion to foster a sense of faith. And believing in yourself, and in your plan, is absolutely crucial. This might all be getting a little speculative, but so far, I'm inclined to agree with Hill.A short aside on transmutation: the mystical powers of sex and the subconsciousIt's only when Hill starts discussing the power of belief that I find myself getting incredulous. Hill claims that belief is "picked up by the subconscious mind and transmuted to its physical equivalent." If by this Hill means 'your beliefs will affect your own actions,' then I agree. If instead he means 'your beliefs themselves can influence physical reality,' then I disagree - or at least I would love to be presented with evidence.And indeed, you soon discover that Hill does mean the latter. He explains that our brains are connected by vibrations of thought, and that these vibrations connect us to the "infinite intelligence" – whatever that is. Hill confidently states that there is an undiscovered organ in the brain that receives 'vibrations of thought' – called hunches – from this infinite intelligence. Once these hunches have been captured, our subconscious mind will hand them over to our conscious mind in a flash of inspiration. And this, he claims, is how to get your plan for riches. As best I could tell, this is what Hill means by "transmutation of thought."It's my opinion that Hill here is liberally dipping into craziness – and he doesn't stop there. "Sex transmutation" comes next. We're told that "sex energy" is "creative energy," and you're implored to "harness and transmute" your desire for sex to lift yourself to a "higher sphere of thought." Harnessing sexual energy, it seems, will help you capture those aforementioned hunches. Here, at least, Hill offers some circumstantial evidence: apparently, many of the highly successfully men he studied were "highly sexed." Again, I'm not quite sure what this means, and I'm not quite sure how he was able to ascertain the sexual nature of so many strangers, but there you have it. There is no substitute for PERSISTENCEBack to practical matters: we've discussed desire and belief, and the need to "act" has been referred to throughout. The final ingredient is persistence. Without persistence, you will fail. Unfortunately, lack of persistence is a "weakness common to the majority of men." Fortunately, it can be overcome, and the ease with which it may be conquered "depends entirely on the intensity of one's desire." Of course, it's hard to 'learn persistence,' since you need to be persistent in the first place to be able to successfully employ a 'persistence enhancing technique.'That said, Hill does give some good 'persistence enhancing' advice, which amounts to restating the advice that’s been given thus far. The key, again, is to have a definite purpose and a burning desire for its fulfillment. You must then transform that purpose into a definite plan, and immediately act. Consciously conquer procrastination and indecision. Throughout, guard your mind against negative and discouraging influences. And finally, form a "master mind alliance" – a coordination of knowledge and effort, for the attainment of a definite purpose – consisting of people who will encourage you to follow through with your plan and your purpose.ConclusiontHill might be a little crazy, and his writing style is a bit over the top. He tends to take on the tone of a late night infomercial ("I have never known anyone who was inspired to use the secret, who did not achieve noteworthy success in his chosen calling") and he has an troll-like propensity to go into all-caps mode ("ALL ACHIEVEMENT, ALL EARNED RICHES, HAVE THEIR BEGINNING IN AN IDEA!"). More critically, some of the particular things he says are at odds with his philosophy as a whole ("these steps call for no hard labor. They call for no sacrifice"). The danger is that these are the statements readers latch on to, and lose the forest for the trees.And this would be a shame, for when all is said and done, "Think and Grow Rich" is terrific book. Hill is passionate, and his advice is refreshingly practical. The above caveat aside, Hill tells it like it is. He decries the "universal weakness of lack of ambition" and our "national pastime of trying to get without giving". He explains that people mistake their wants for their just dues, and is explicit on the fact that you can't get something for nothing: "there is but one dependable method for accumulating, and legally holding riches, and that is by rendering useful service."Mystical musings aside, Hill's philosophy makes sense, and not in the vague "no shit, Sherlock" sense. He believes that "riches begin in the form of thought," and he makes this claim concrete. Desire, believe, act, and persist, he advises. If you do these things, you cannot fail – and never forget that "a quitter never wins-and-a winner never quits."
Comment 1: In 2003, a number of leading self-help authors were asked to list the works that were, to them, most inspirational. The book mentioned most often was James Allen's As a Man Thinketh.Despite the fact that his books have been inspirational for generations, very little is known about the man himself. He was born in Leicester, England. When he was fifteen his father was brutally murdered by a robber, forcing Allen out of school and into the workforce. He eventually worked his way up to the position of executive secretary for a high ranking officer of an English corporation.Then, at the age of 38, he retired with his wife to a small cottage in Ilfracombe, a tiny town on the northernmost coast of England. In 1902 As a Man Thinketh was published - about the same time Allen made this move. He and his wife intentionally pursued a simple life of gardening and contemplation. In the next ten years, Allen wrote more than twenty more books, and then he suddenly died at the age of 48, in 1912.This book is barely 7,800 words long - about thirty pages of a typically printed paperback. And yet it rewards every single reading, no matter how many times you return to it. Each sentence is a pearl of truth and wisdom; each word carries as much meaning as a single word possibly can. If you read it once and underline every statement that strikes you as profoundly true, and then read it again, still underlining, and then again, you will underline the entire book.As with all books like this, the author is careful to acknowledge that everything he is about to say has been said many times before. On the first page he opens with a quote from the The Dhammapada: The Sayings of the Buddha, which is based upon an oral tradition that may be 10,000 years old.The ancient "wisdom" Allen summarizes for us is not really "wisdom" at all. It is fact; accepting it as such can completely rejuvenate your life. The exact same insights are illuminatingly presented Napoleon Hill's classic, Think and Grow Rich.James Allen's words still resonate today because he speaks of the very nature of consciousness. Since our consciousness is entirely under our control -- which Viktor Frankl shows us is the case even in the most horrific of conditions in his heartrending classic Man's Search for Meaning -- then our ultimate responsibility is for us to use our consciousness in the proper way. The essential idea that we can control consciousness is hotly debated by theologians, but if we accept for the moment that we can control our thoughts, the next obvious question is what we ought to do with them. Here is one of Allen's most succinct instructions:A man's mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts. By pursuing this process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life. He also reveals, within himself, the laws of thought, and understands, with ever-increasing accuracy, how the thought-forces and mind-elements operate in the shaping of his character, circumstances, and destiny.Thought and character are one, and as character can only manifest and discover itself through environment and circumstance, the outer conditions of a person's life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state. This does not mean that a man's circumstances at any given time are an indication of his entire character, but that those circumstances are so intimately connected with some vital thought-element within himself that, for the time being, they are indispensable to his development.Every man is where he is by the law of his being; the thoughts which he has built into his character have brought him there, and in the arrangement of his life there is no element of chance, but all is the result of a law which cannot err. This is just as true of those who feel "out of harmony" with their surroundings as of those who are contented with them.As a progressive and evolving being, man is where he is that he may learn that he may grow; and as he learns the spiritual lesson which any circumstance contains for him, it passes away and gives place to other circumstances.Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realizes that he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself.That circumstances grow out of thought every man knows who has for any length of time practiced self-control and self-purification, for he will have noticed that the alteration in his circumstances has been in exact ratio with his altered mental condition. So true is this that when a man earnestly applies himself to remedy the defects in his character, and makes swift and marked progress, he passes rapidly through a succession of vicissitudes.The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors; that which it loves, and also that which it fears; it reaches the height of its cherished aspirations; it falls to the level of its unchastened desires; and circumstances are the means by which the soul receives its own.Every thought-seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstances. Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit.The outer world of circumstance shapes itself to the inner world of thought, and both pleasant and unpleasant external conditions are factors which make for the ultimate good of the individual. As the reaper of his own harvest, man learns both by suffering and bliss.Following the inmost desires, aspirations, thoughts, by which he allows himself to be dominated (pursuing the will-o'-the-wisps of impure imagining or steadfastly walking the highway of strong and high endeavor), a man at last arrives at their fruition and fulfillment in the outer condition of his life.Allen also addresses the anxiety that you might feel the moment you accept this wisdom as truth. You might worry that your negative thoughts are going to manifest themselves around you. You may also worry that you can't control your mind - that it presents "impure imagining" to you whether you want it to or not.This is the human condition; you are not alone. The method for gaining control of your "innermost desires, aspirations, [and] thoughts" is to work at it continuously. Become aware of your mind, and simply do not berate yourself. Learn how to let negativity flow into the past, and how to begin again from the moment. When you scold yourself for having a negative thought, let that, too, flow into the past, and begin again. Focus on what you want, or if you don't know what you want, focus on thoughts that will lead you to know what you want. There is no other way.
Comment 1: This is a short one, but it offers familiar yet indispensable tips on money management. Told in the clunky language of fables, Clason tells 10 tales of men in ancient Babylon and the secrets they (and the city itself) used to acquire great wealth in the ancient world. Some tales and tips are redundant (which also serves to show how little mankind changes over the millenia), so the following are highlights:"Seven Cures for a Lean Purse," my favorite tale, told by Arkad, the Richest Man in Babylon:1. Start thy purse to fattening: In this and other tales, this first tip, saving, takes a prominent place. "For every ten coins thou placest within thy purse take out for use but nine. Thy purse will start to fatten at once and its increasing weight will feel good in thy hand and bring satisfaction to thy soul"(27). Arkad says the same thing in other tales, as do other speakers in the book. A variation: "A part of all you earn is yours to keep"(21). I especially like that Clason, through Arkad, points out that paying oneself first (as I've heard modern financial writes put it) brings "satisfaction to thy soul." Saving, like giving, is more character-building than it is financial. The sense of looking after oneself and one's family, if applicable, gives a person the strength to keep pushing to pay off debt, increase financial security, and work hard to accomplish both.2. Control thy expenditures: "That what each of us calls our 'necessary expenses' will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to the contrary"(29). It's good to know that the truism "I'll never make enough money" was likely as true in ancient Babylon as it is today. The trick is not to develop an attitude of entitlement over the things one cannot afford--and then spend money one does not have. "Budget then thy necessary expenses. Touch not the one-tenth that is fattening thy purse. Let this be thy great desire that is being fulfilled. Keep working with thy budget, keep adjusting it to help thee. Make it thy first assistant in defending thy fattening purse"(30). I LIKE that perspective on a budget, as an ASSISTANT to achieving great wealth.3. Make thy gold multiply: Put one's money to work through investments. Think of the old cliche "when you're poor, you work for your money; when you're rich, your money works for you."4. Guard thy treasures from loss: When investing, make sure to guard the principal and collect a fair return on investment. Consult with those knowledgeable in investing to find such investments.5. Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment. In other words, own one's own home. Not only do properties usually increase in value, this cure, too, offers more psychological benefit than financial--owning one's own home allows one to have a stable place to rear a family and a peaceful place to take respite before continuing one's work of building wealth.6. Insure a future income: "Therefore do I say that it behooves a man to make preparation for a suitable income in the days to come, when he is no longer young, and to make preparations for his family should he be no longer with them to comfort and support them"(37). Save for retirement. Buy life insurance if one has dependents.7. Increase thy ability to earn: "Cultivate thy own powers, to study and become wiser, to become more skillful, to so act as to respect thyself. Thereby shalt thou acquire confidence in thyself to achieve thy carefully considered desires"(42). Another healthy way to look at making money. Increasing one's earning potential by KNOWING MORE of one's craft not only increases earning potential, it increases self-respect.Other tales that jumped out at me:In "Meet the Goddess of Good Luck" (43-58), procrastination comes under attack. Procrastination is as much of an enemy in one's finances as it is in all other areas of life. "The spirit of procrastination is within all men. We desire riches; yet, how often when opportunity doth appear before us, that spirit of procrastination from within doth urge various delays in our acceptance. In listening to it we do become our own worst enemies"(55). That's a good phrase to remember: Procrastination makes us our own worst enemies!!! The other side of the coin is that those who take action (the non-procrastinators) curry the favor of the goddess of good luck.In "The Gold Lender of Babylon" (74-88), a spearmaker who has just received a large sum of money for his work for the king goes to a prominent money lender to ask his advice as to whether or not the spearmaker should lend this sum to his brother-in-law. The money lender helps the spearmaker determine what sorts of investments are sound and which are unwise. The financial need of a friend or family member may cause one to feel pity for that person, but that does not mean a loan or an investment is a wise choice to help that person out. "If you desire to help thy friend, do so in a way that will not bring thy friend's burden upon thyself"(78). Id est, don't co-sign on a loan. As if that didn't hit close enough to home, add to that the statement, "Humans in the throes of great emotions are not safe risks for the gold lender"(80). Lending to those in desperate straits is rarely a good idea, as one must consider the behavior that got them there and/or could keep them there. Seeking advice on sound investments and putting one's money only in those investments guards against loss of wealth and regret."The Luckiest Man in Babylon" (118-137) lauds the virtues of work. "Some men hate [work]. They make it their enemy. Better to treat it like a friend, make thyself like it. Don't mind because it is hard. If thou thinkest about what a good house thou build, then who cares if the beams are heavy and it is far from the well to carry the water for the plaster.... Remember, work, well-done, does good to the man who does it. It makes him a better man"(125-126). Again, finances cannot be divorced from character and well-being. Working, saving, making wise investments, controlling spending, and not procrastinating build wealth, and more importantly, each one also builds character.I would have liked to see the book also address charitable giving. That, too, is an important financial and character-building step.Overall, a good read.
Comment 1: The Millennial Reincarnations is by far one of the most interested psychological theory books I've ever read. As a millennial myself, the concept of this book immediately caught my eye. A reincarnated generation brought fourth by the rapid development of technology? Is that honestly what 'we' could be? Well, according to author Daniel M Harrison that is -exactly- what we are. I was skeptical at first. I'd heard this theory tossed around by a few different people, and although I felt it to be val Comment 2: a simply super read! Very deep. This story is all about the transition of spirituality we as a millennial generation are currently undergoing. Harrison paints his picture in the contrasting and at the same time, strangely comparable settings of Shanghai and New York, with Macau thrown in there too for good measure. It'll keep you guessing right up until the final page, when all becomes spectacularly clear in a way that hasn't been done so effectively since maybe the Sixth Sense. This book is the Comment 3: This has to be the most controversial book I've ever read. It's also extremely disturbing, in a way that I haven't encountered before with other books (you just have to read it and you'll know what I mean). The writer is like an Encyclopedia too, and seems to know just about every fact there is to know about the world. There were some incidents written about here which I strangely identified with. It's like he has gone into parts of various people's brains and extracted nuggets from their memori
International Number 1 bestselling author Daniel M. Harrison portrays the modern millennial psyche like no other author has ever before. In The Millennial Reincarnations, the young minds of today are not just infused by the fast-paced, always-on economy of things, but they themselves are parts of the fabric of our changing environment. Specifically, Harrison imagines today's young millennials as the reincarnated technology that drives our spiritual goals, needs, wants, aspirations and desires. The author expounds upon this theme in 70,000 words of fiction to explore the effect of technology upon the spiritual core of us all. The Millennial Reincarnations is Daniel M. Harrison's latest masterpiece, construed as a novel in 3 parts: Body, Face and Soul. The narrative arc spans the years 1990-2014, taking in almost the entire Millennial era, during which the previously gradual adoption of artificially-orchestrated and influenced values and the associated technologically-infused processes of thinking has been rising at its steepest incline ever. Harrison considers in compelling and jaw-dropping prose some of the furthest-reaching effects on society as a whole of this trend. The Millennial Reincarnations is the composition of what amount to an inter-related series of stories that take place from within this 14 year period in New York City and in Shanghai, China. When two young girls are killed in a violent car accident, they have no idea that, unbeknownst to them, the reaction of a child star in the car in front who dies on the operating table in the hospital will set in motion events that bring about the next twenty years of economic upheaval and prosperity and define their individual and collective destinies. For the rapid reincarnation of their young souls is the direct result of the high-tech advancements society is making at the time they die, which, in speeding up cognitive function, in theory will allow less rested minds to adapt to their new bodies much more quickly. However, when formed inside bodies the young girls' souls appear at times partial and fragmented, as if hardly able to remain complete in the one body they inhabit. Although materially rich and socially popular, their minds suffer from chemical addictions and emotional dependencies as a result of their spiritual afflictions, which had no time to rest before returning to relive under the weight of the earth. Ultimately, the author uses this premise to set in motion a series of catalytic events that chime with the real world in which we live as well as to explore in greater depth the psychological ramifications of a whole generation raised on excess material wealth, social agendas, individualistic points of view commingled with greater societal ideals and views on money as an object to be mastered and used - not needed - which permeates so many juvenile Millennial societies today. In The Millennial Reincarnations, Harrison returns to the big picture issues of wealth and poverty, life and death, money and war, with more powerful prose and stylistic twists than ever before. The author packs every one of the 12 chapters in the book with a moving and thrilling series of events and a twist right at the very end that you won't see coming. This is an incredible, eye-opening, and moving read - cinematic in the execution Harrison delivers in capturing the whole world within 300 pages. Already being muttered about in the elite literary circles of London and New York as a potential candidate for the Great Millennial Novel, The Millennial Reincarnations will stay with you long after you have turned the last page. A tremendous work of fiction by a masterful author who has been described as "brilliant" by Jeffrey Robinson and "easily the best" by the Huffington Post's Azeem Khan.
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