Is My Robot Covering up for Napoleon Hill?


There’s something fishy about Napoleon Hill.

I’m trying to get to the bottom of this. 

But I fear there may be a GIANT CONSPIRACY to cover up the truth. And my AI copywriting robot and his robot masters may be in on it. 

Here’s the backstory…

On Thursday, Ted Prodromou and I will host the January meeting of The Mastermind Book Club. Members will gather on Zoom to discuss Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich

You can join the Club (sign up here for free) and attend the meeting (details below). 

I’ve read the book a few times before. So, rather than do that again, I decided to learn more about Hill. 

Ben Settle sparked my interest when, in an email sent last month, he called him “Napoleon Shill,” said Hill was involved in “shady stuff,” and suggested many of the claims in Think and Grow Rich (including the book’s origin story about Andrew Carnegie) were exaggerated or outright lies. 

Them’s fightin’ words. 

Everything I’d read about Hill portrayed him as a visionary. An inspiration. A great American success story. 

But after reading Ben’s email, I dug deeper – which led me to an article in Gizmado: The Untold Story of Napoleon Hill, the Greatest Self-Help Scammer of All Time

The article is 19,000(+) words long. So I didn’t read it all. But I read enough to learn he allegedly:

  • Abused his first wife and daughter. 
  • Co-founded a lumber company and then stole from suppliers and investors.
  • Probably made up the story about interviewing Andrew Carnegie (and many other prominent business leaders).

Ugly allegations. 

I had to sort fact from fiction. 

So I summoned by rented copywriting robot, B-9?, for a fact-checking session. 

Did Napoleon Hill beat his wife?

I am not aware of any credible information that suggests Napoleon Hill, the author of “Think and Grow Rich,” beat his wife. In fact, I couldn’t find any information that suggest he had a wife.  

WTF, Robot!?

Hill had THREE wives. It says so in Wikipedia…

I changed course.

When did Napoleon Hill first get married? 

Napoleon Hill first got married in 1910 to a woman named Rosa Lee Beagle. They were married for more than 40 years before she passed away in 1951.

Aha! He WAS married. But not, at first, to Rosa Lee. She was his second wife!

(Lying robot!)

To catch B-9? in his web of lies, I asked about Hill’s first wife…

When did Napoleon Hill marry Annie Lou Norman?

Napoleon Hill married Annie Lou Norman in 1911.

Wait a minute! My robot just told me Hill married Rosa Lee in 1910, and they stayed together for 40 years. Now, he tells me Hill married Annie Lou in 1911!? 

I wanted to ask…

Was Napoleon Hill a polygamist!?

But I knew it was no use. B-9? would just deny and deflect.

So I moved on to other allegations.

Was Napoleon Hill ever accused of fraud?

I am not aware of Napoleon Hill ever being accused of fraud. 

(Sigh!) Did Napoleon Hill ever run a lumber business?
As far as I know, Napoleon Hill did not run a lumber business. 

Wikipedia (the 7th most visited web site on the internet) disagrees. Here’s a screenshot…

 ̶S̶h̶a̶d̶y̶,̶ ̶p̶o̶w̶e̶r̶f̶u̶l̶ ̶f̶i̶g̶u̶r̶e̶s̶ ̶w̶i̶l̶l̶ ̶g̶o̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶a̶n̶y̶ ̶l̶e̶n̶g̶t̶h̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶p̶r̶o̶t̶e̶c̶t̶ ̶N̶a̶p̶o̶l̶e̶o̶n̶ ̶H̶i̶l̶l̶’̶s̶ ̶r̶e̶p̶u̶t̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶–̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶y̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶ ̶b̶r̶a̶i̶n̶w̶a̶s̶h̶e̶d̶ ̶a̶l̶l̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶r̶o̶b̶o̶t̶s̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶h̶e̶l̶p̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶m̶ ̶h̶i̶d̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶t̶r̶u̶t̶h̶

Robots can’t sort fact from fiction.

They spout what they’ve consumed from the internet. Sometimes it’s right. Sometimes it’s wrong. Sometimes it contradicts the thing they spouted moments earlier.

Here’s the truth about Napoleon Hill

Some people love him. Some people hate him. Whichever camp you’re in you, you can’t deny his influence. 

Think and Grow Rich has sold more than 70 million copies. 

Countless smart and successful people credit the book as an inspiration and springboard for their success. 

Me? I like the book. Sure, it’s loaded with exaggerations and, I suspect, some outright lies. 

But it introduces and spotlights ideas that have helped me succeed — including the concept of “Mastermind” groups. 

That’s why Ted and I chose Think and Grow Rich for the Mastermind Book Club.

About the Club and tomorrow’s meeting…

Every month, Ted and I choose a business book for the group. 

You can read book – but only IF YOU WANT TO.

In the MBC community , Ted and I share short videos, blog posts, and other conversation-starters.

And we host a monthly virtual meeting where all club members gather to discuss the book, exchange business-building ideas, and network.

This month’s meeting is tomorrow, January 26 at 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT.

Click the button below to register for the live Zoom event. If you’re not yet a member, your registration will automatically enroll you in the club (it’s free).

p.s. I help coaches, consultants, and business leaders discover and deliver powerful stories that captivate prospects and inspire them to act. Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you'll land more clients without pitching and prodding:

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.