Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Triumvirate of American Self-Help

Wallace Wattles, The Science of Getting Rich;

Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich;

Charles F. Haanel, The Master Key System.

Why are these three authors lauded beyond measure when you mention self-help? How is is that one or more of these books is known by virtually every successful entrepreneur in America today?

Each of these authors laid out a complete system which can be simply applied by anyone to change their lives. Essentially, they gave us a set of new software we could download and install – which would overwrite that system we had been writing for ourselves since birth.

And that is the point of self-help and self-improvement, after all – to enable us to reprogram our own life and to start creating our own world. In a word, Growth. The action is to evolve.

As you study all three of these, you become aware that they repeat each other. They each bring up points covered by the other. While Hill, the most modern of the three, brings up specific points which are more relevant to the modern day and age, his basic principles are still based on the same system which each of these have found.

The method of studying these three is usually in order of simplicity, not according to the date order in which they were written. Haanel wrote his Master Key System as a course in 1909, then published it as a book in 1912. Wattles wrote The Science of Getting Rich in 1910. Hill wrote his Think and Grow Rich in 1937. The simplest of the three is Wattles, followed by Hill and then Haanel. How someone is introduced to any of these three depends on the issues one is facing and whether one is ready to learn (as many texts say, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears”).

Comparing the three lives of these authors comes up with numerous parallels and relations. What is interesting is their interconnections. Wattles is the most mysterious of all three, in that little is known about Wattles' life. He was born in the USA shortly before the civil war, and experienced much failure in his earlier years. After he discovered the truth of New Thought principles and put them into practice in his own life, he began to write books as he practiced the techniques from these principles. He then became wealthy and successful.

More is know about the other two. Hill is the more extensively known of the three. While Hill came from humble backgrounds and went on to write his 30-million-copy bestseller, the bulk of his work came after accepting Carnegie's commission to research 500 millionaires to find a success formula that could be used by the common person. After 20 years (1928), he released his 16-volume work, The Law of Success. In 1937, Hill condensed it to a single volume to shake people out of their financial fears from the Depression.

What is interesting is the connection between Hill and Haanel. In a letter written in 1919, Hill thanked Haanel for his book and wrote, “my present success and the success which has followed my work as President of the Napoleon Hill Institute is due largely to the principles laid down in The Master-Key System.”

Charles F. Haanel found his fame in St. Louis and was known as a brilliant entrepreneur, who was responsible for many successful businesses during his life. Haanel's sources are similar to those of Wattles. What you find in comparing Haanel's writings with the Wattles' sources above is their New Thought roots.

The central study, then, is New Thought and its myriad authors. The success of New Thought is due to its inclusive attitude towards authors. Anything which forwards the effectiveness of the subject has been included, no dogma or fixed idea has been held as more important than the truth.

The core to my own studies has been backwards from the bestsellers these authors have created. Each wrote texts that continue as bestselling (and best downloaded) nearly a century after they were written. While I initially limited my studies to eleven authors which met this criterion, my subsequent studies have narrowed to these three authors. The reason for this is found in a key sentence above:

Each of these authors laid out a complete system
which can be simply applied by anyone to change their lives.

When you read these different authors with their similar works, the similarities nearly leap out at you. They each talk about a complete system of thought, cause and effect. They all tell about re-working your own attitudes and thereby re-creating your world around you.

When you go to the web sites which sponsor forums for these authors, you will find seemingly endless volumes of personal success stories from reading just one of these authors.

And that is the amazing recurring point which prompted this volume. These three authors are singing the same tune and very successfully, even while they've been gone from the scene for many, many years. What this means is that if you learn the tune and learn the score, you can have any sort of success in your life that you want. It's just that simple.

The truly killer point of this is

People find that this stuff works, over and over, person after person.

Nowhere in your public schooling has any of this surfaced. They have taught you about the mechanics of how to manage the physical characteristics of your life. These schools, teachers, books – they tell you nothing about how to really pull it all off. They don't teach you how to become an indomitable success in your own life. They can't tell you how or why some people became rich from the same neighborhoods as others who became poor, even after inheriting wealth.

But these three authors do.

So I tell people to read all three of them. And reread them. And start all over again. Figure out how to instill these principles into your own life. Set yourself on the inevitable path to all the wealth, fame, and happiness you've ever wanted. Keep reviewing these references until the solution to any problem immediately leaps into mind from these authors or their influence. That's your key to a completely new world.

But as they say, over and over, you can't get out what you don't put in. So start today; let this day be the first day of a very bright new world for you.

- - - -

I've edited and re-published the classics by these three authors for your use. Each of these key works (except only Hill's Law of Success) I've also published as blogs: Wattle's Science of Getting Rich, Hill's Think and Grow Rich, and Haanel's Master Key System. In this fashion, you and I can refer people to exact chapters of the text, or link a specific paragraph directly in any paper or blog.

These books are all in the public domain. Others have published them quite before me - and some with better bindings, prices, and so on. The reason for my bookstore is so that you don't have to look all over to find a copy - so that any of my research can be duplicated by anyone, to enable complete transparency.

I give you online versions for your use, and published versions for your offline reference. Any books you buy or donations simply support my continued research.

The above article will appear in the final version of Go Thunk Yourself, Compleat!. This last book will contain the latest research notes - in fact, I've just updated it last week. It runs some 400 pages right now, so it's a real paperweight against those stiff winds running through your office.

All of these books can be previewed online, and many of them can be bought as downloads.

Good Hunting!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that no other book has had such a strong influence in my life as Hill's "Think and Grow Rich!" I had to struggle a long time in my life and when I finally read Hill there were alot of factors (supportive friends, advise, faith and a burning desire) all working together at the same time toward the same end, which was to empower me! Your are right when you tell people that they must take responsibility for their own lives. Unfortunately, for most, it is still easier to keep blaming the world or others for their current state. This way they can go right on being the same comfortable unhappy person that they have always been! This is my first visit at your blog but there will definately be more in the future!

Ted Peterson
Stage Left Magic
"Motivating With MAGIC!"