Oliver Napoleon Hill (born October 26, 1883 – November 8, 1970) was an American self-help author. He is known best for his book Think and Grow Rich (1937) which is among the 10 best selling self-help books of all time. Hill's works insisted that fervid expectations are essential to improving one's life.Most of his books were promoted as expounding principles to achieve "success". During 1937, Hill published the best-selling book Think and Grow Rich, which became Hill's best-known work. Hill's new wife Rosa Lee Beeland contributed substantially to the authoring and editing of Think and Grow Rich.
Hill's "Philosophy of Achievement" was offered as a formula for rags-to-riches success, published initially during 1928 in the multi-volume study course The Law of Success, a re-write of a 1925 manuscript. Hill identified freedom, democracy, capitalism, and harmony among the foundations of his "Philosophy of Achievement". He asserted that without these foundations, great personal achievements would not be possible.
A "secret" of achievement was discussed in Think and Grow Rich, but Hill insisted readers would benefit most if they discovered it for themselves. Although he did not explicitly identify this secret in the book, he offered, 20 pages into the book: "If you truly desire money so keenly that your desire is an obsession, you will have no difficulty in convincing yourself that you will acquire it. The object is to want money, and to be so determined to have it that you convince yourself that you will have it... You may as well know, right here, that you can never have riches in great quantities unless you work yourself into a white heat of desire for money, and actually believe you will possess it."
He presented the notion of a "Definite Major Purpose" as a challenge to his readers to ask themselves, "In what do I truly believe?" According to Hill, "98%" of people had few or no strong beliefs, which made success unlikely.
From 1952 to 1962, Hill taught his Philosophy of Personal Achievement – Lectures on Science of Success in association with W. Clement Stone. During 1960, Hill and Stone co-authored the book Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude. Norman Vincent Peale is quoted saying "These two men [Hill and Stone] have the rare gift of inspiring and helping people... In fact, I owe them both a personal debt of gratitude for the helpful guidance I have received from their writings."
Hill claimed insight into racism, slavery, oppression, failure, revolution, war and poverty, saying that overcoming these difficulties using his "Philosophy of Achievement" was the responsibility of every human.
Later in life, Hill claimed that the turning point of his life had been a 1908 assignment to interview the industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (d. 1919). During 1908, Carnegie was among the most powerful men in the world. Hill wrote, after Carnegie's death, that Carnegie had actually met with him at that time and challenged him to interview wealthy people to discover a simple formula for success, and that he had then interviewed many successful people of the time.
The acknowledgments in his 1928 multi-volume work The Law of Success, listed 45 of those he had studied, "the majority of these men at close range, in person", like those to whom the book set was dedicated, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Edwin C. Barnes (an associate of Thomas Edison). Hill reported that Carnegie had given him a letter of introduction to Ford, who Hill said had then introduced him to Alexander Graham Bell, Elmer R. Gates, Thomas Edison, and Luther Burbank.
According to the publishers, Ralston University Press (Meriden, Conn.), endorsements for The Law of Success were sent in by William H. Taft, Cyrus H. K. Curtis, Thomas Edison, Luther Burbank, E.M. Statler, Edward W. Bok, and John D. Rockefeller. The list in the acknowledgments includes, among those Hill wrote that he had personally interviewed.