On many levels, I enjoyed and learned very much from the reading of this book. Despite the book's age, there are many relevant lessons that apply today just as much as when the book was written. There are many applicable lessons to be learned from Think and Grow Rich. I loved the style of writing from the era, and even certain words that are not commonly used as much these days. There is a good chance that I will be reading this again one day.
I am particularly pleased that I read the unedited original version. I can't fathom someone who would want to read the newer "politically correct version." Part of the learning benefit from this book comes from reading it as it was originally intended, so as to compare the great and profound ways that we have changed as a society and as people on so many levels. In contrast, there are ways of humanity that have endured consistently with the human experience overall.
This book is not without aspects that I disagree with though, one for instance has Napoleon stating a most preposterous reason for why men become bald:
"Baldheaded men, for example, are bald for no other reason than their fear of criticism. Heads become bald because of the tight fitting bands of hats which cut off the circulation from the roots of the hair."
Despite such a silly statement, I appreciated reading it for the main reason that he, as we all do in our respective era, have imperfections that we cannot help. This era no doubt predated the discovery that male pattern baldness is in fact genetic. He goes on to say that men also lose their hair because their hats are "too tight."
A passage shortly after boasts a huge stereotype about women by saying:
"But it must not be supposed that women are free from the fear of criticism. If any woman claims to be superior to man with reference to this fear, ask her to walk down the street wearing a hat of the vintage of 1890."
I am certainly not offended by this, but in fact appreciated reading it in the unedited version because we get a real sense of where people and society were at in this day. On one hand, many women of today still care very much about fashion, on the other, some would be repulsed by what here is a massive generalization, as if women only would care about fashion and nothing else. Furthermore that women evidently couldn't be imagined as fearing criticism of things more commonly known to men in the day like differing politics, or equality in the workplace etc. just as a few examples.
It's obvious that Napoleon intended to be speaking predominantly to men with this book even though the lessons are surely potentially relevant and empowering to women for all the same reasons that they are good for men. It's also for sure that some women will not be able to get through this book because of it, but as I said, such social distinctions and observations are riveting for me to realize, and I would suggest that enlightened women read it and appreciate it for the same reasons.
Despite these two silly aspects that stood out like sore thumbs, I really did get very much profound meaning out of this reading. It is certainly catered more to men than women, and the sexism is readily apparent in this way. However, this is not a reason not to read this book. It could be seen as a reason to read it indeed because I get a strong sense that we have progressed as a society. This philosophy book of success shouldn't merely be about success, but we should also be able to measure our own progress as a society by reflecting upon some of the obviously sillier things that are written here, of which there are few to be sure.
I otherwise loved so much of the writing. There were many inspirational stories and ideas about how to succeed that are as valid today as they were in 1936.
I'm not going to summarize the whole book, except to reiterate once more that there are many insightful and powerful life lessons within that can help both men and women succeed.
If I thought this book were boring or inherently for the most part dogmatic, I would not be able to finish it. It easily sparked and kept my interest which made it easy to get through. No problem. It was well worth the money. I wouldn't spend a penny on the edited version.
4.5 Stars might be just about right, but nonetheless, this was different, special and memorable for me to read.