A Thought on Think and Grow Rich

A friend asked me for reading recommendations recently. She’s recently returned to the entrepreneur world.

There were two books that immediately came to mind. Seth Godin’s Linchpin, on which I have modeled much of my efforts (one need only read the posts on this blog to see how deeply his philosophy molds mine).

The other was Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. This book also profoundly impacted me. His book is a study of the uber wealthy and the mindset that aided them in achieving this wealth. One takeaway, and the reason for this post, is that the folks he studied all had an intense and sole focus on SUCCESS. They were driven to achieve their goal and would not be stopped.


They were driven to this goal to the detriment of relationships with their children (amongst others). Reading this made me realize that I am not interested in massive success, if that means my children don’t know or resent me.

Frameworks and why are there so many?

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“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”
– André Gide

I was reading my friend Andrew Whitehouse’s blog this morning and came across a post he wrote regarding originalism in thought and work. In addition to the quote above, he said (wrote?) something that jumped out at me, articulating the why of what I do here. That is:

That’s what I’m aiming for here. (The “what is it for?” for this blog.): Looking for patterns in the work others have done, applying my own perspective, writing about it, noticing what’s there, and then iterating.
– Andrew Whitehouse

This all circles back to something I’ve asked myself quite a bit, “Why are there so many different frameworks that say much the same thing when you boil them down to basics?”

I think the answer is that:

1) people weren’t necessarily listening at that moment (that framework X was developed)

or (as if not more likely)

2) it wasn’t said in a way that resonated

To the latter point, Seth Godin’s Linchpin hit me like a hammer. It articulated the principles I’ve tried to live by in such a way that it resonated with me. Further, it allowed me to articulate them in turn to people around me. Colonel John Boyd’s OODA loop also resonates with me. However, it doesn’t resonate with everyone. A particular piece of feedback I’ve received about the OODA loop is, ‘It’s too military a mindset for me with it’s talk of opponents and breaking other loops.’ To this I said to the person, “That’s totally ok. There are a number of other frameworks that may resonate with you!”

What’s the bottom line here?

Don’t give up. Your voice may be – will be – the one that resonates with someone. 

DRAFT: Synthesis / development of a framework

I am working on developing a framework based on the principles in these books. This is the “flow” as it speaks to me currently.

Here are the Amazon (non affiliate) links for these works:

Linchpin by Seth Godin

Finite & Infinite Games by James P. Carse

Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill 

Antifragile by Nassim Taleb

Science, Strategy & War by Frans P.B. Osinga

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

“I begin to speak only when I’m certain what I’ll say isn’t better left unsaid.” – Plutarch

“I begin to speak only when I’m certain what I’ll say isn’t better left unsaid.” – Plutarch

When I was a young NCO, first leading Airmen, I used to practice a framework of sorts. Whenever I heard bad news, I would internally ask myself, “Will this matter in 5 minutes? 5 hours? 5 days?”

Externally, I kept my composure while asking this question, then I would respond as I felt the situation dictated, or not if I felt that was the best response. It had it’s pros (a reputation as unflappable) and cons (one of my Airman observed once – quite angrily) that I was a “damn robot!”

In our social media driven, instant communication world, do you have a framework?

Who are you? What is your purpose?

Today’s meditation, for me, is about clarity of purpose and identity.

Marcus Aurelius is said to have written that “A person who doesn’t know their purpose in life doesn’t know who they are.”

I find merit in that statement. If you don’t know what you want to do or be, who are you?

For me, I want to be three things:

  1. A good dad
  2. A good human being
  3. A good advocate

These are my guiding principles.

Who are you?

Knowledge is freedom – Ryan Holiday

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One of the goals of this blog…one of the goals I have, rather, concerning the blog is to make a daily post part of my battle rhythm. As you can tell scrolling through the history of the posts, I’m not successful in this yet.

To that end, along with wanting to work on the practice of Stoicism, I’m reading The Daily Stoic this year, one page a day. It’s a collection of a year’s worth of “meditations on wisdom, perseverance, and the art of living.” Accordingly, I’m going to TRY to make a daily post in line with my thoughts on the daily mediation.

Today, Holiday writes about education being freedom. Why do we pursue knowledge? Holiday writes that such knowledge – “self knowledge in particular – is freedom.”

What does this mean?

If, in the end, we are simply the stuff of stars, why bother pursuing education?

I do, because it provides me a sense of meaning, in addition to being a father.

Why do you pursue education and knowledge?

10thHuman: What To Do When You Make a Mistake


Make it right, if you can.

Try to forgive yourself.

We all make mistakes. We are but human. When we do, I think the three steps above are the starting point for addressing the mistake and trying to rebuild the damaged trust.

I know that when I make a mistake, for me #3 – forgive yourself – is the hardest. I often cannot move past a mistake mentally unless the person against whom I have transgressed offers forgiveness or at least acknowledgement that I offered an apology.

From a business perspective, I would offer that there is a step 4. Actually, as I type this I realize this is both a personal and business step (given the nature of this blog, I automatically started to step through a business process / checklist). That is: figure out how to prevent such an error as caused the mistake from happening again.

As a businessperson, maybe this evaluating the process you were going through and adding a step to a checklist.  As a human, this is engaging in introspection and perhaps asking yourself, “How did I wrong this person? Is this something I can change about myself or the way I conduct myself?”

I would offer that the very concept that spawned this blog – the 10th man concept – is itself a process aimed at preventing errors. Essentially, the job of the 10th man in an organization is to argue against the boss’ decisions, regardless of how they really feel about it. In this process, the thought is that it enables the boss make better decisions.

I don’t offer definitive answers here, only food for thought from one imperfect human.

Talking and doing consume the same resources

Original image: pixabay

Talking and doing consume the same resources.

I’m listening to “Ego is the Enemy” today on Audible and this nugget jumped out at me (amongst others).

What does this mean?

In the context of the book, the author isn’t saying we should go about our day in silence and just work.

What he’s aiming and elaborates on is that we often fool ourselves into substituting talk for action. If we talk about a thing, our brains are somewhat fooled into thinking we did that thing in part, because the two consume similar resources.

This speaks to me quite profoundly as it mirrors or underscores a question I often ask myself, “Am I doing the busy things or the important things?

What do we owe a toxic leader?

The question I’d ask today is, “When in a followership role, what do we as followers owe a toxic leader?”

Let’s first discuss the definition of leadership. My definition of leadership is the thoughtful and methodical application of a continually studied framework that becomes a mindset which promotes positive culture and ethics. 

I subscribe to a school of thought that believes leadership is a positive trait and should be defined as such. Of course, there exist “leaders” who embrace negative traits to achieve their goals. We tend to refer to these folks as ‘bad’ or ‘toxic’ leaders. I don’t believe they should be honored with the title of “leader” at all. One who is embued with the authority to direct others, but whom lacks the traits to be a good leader (or sees no need to implement the same) is, at best, a manager with the legal authority to direct action by subordinates. All that said, I will keep with the naming convention for the purpose of answering the asked question, “What do we as followers owe a toxic leader?”

What is a toxic leader? I suspect we can all name the traits that make an individual leader toxic. Such people are often arbitrary, negative, insulting, intimidating (or use intimidation), narcissistic and tend to rely on authority in lieu of actual leadership to achieve a goal, which is likely personally driven vs in service to an ideal.

What do we owe such ‘leaders’?


Such individuals are in violation of the social contract, the glue that holds us together in a society.

We do not owe such toxic individuals allegiance or deference.

I would go so far as to suggest we owe one another a duty to speak out against such individuals, as we are able.

What say you?