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”.
Hill is, in modern times, a controversial figure. Accused of fraud, modern historians also doubt many of his claims, such as that he met Andrew Carnegie and that he was an attorney. Gizmodo has called him “the most famous conman you’ve probably never heard of”.[
The Law of Success
During 1928, Hill relocated to Philadelphia and convinced a Connecticut-based publisher to publish his eight-volume work The Law of Success. The book was Hill’s first major success, allowing Hill to adopt an opulent lifestyle. By 1929, he had already bought a Rolls-Royce and a six-hundred acre property in the Catskill Mountains, with the aid of some lenders.
However, the beginning of the Great Depression affected Hill’s finances adversely, forcing his Catskills property into foreclosure before the end of 1929. Hill’s next published work, The Magic Ladder To Success, proved to be a commercial failure. During the next few years, Hill traveled through the country, returning to his habits from the prior decade of initiating various short-lived business ventures.
During 1935, Hill’s wife Florence filed for a divorce in Florida.
Think and Grow Rich
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 biographers would later say this book sold 20 million copies during 50 years, although as Richard Lingeman remarks in his brief biography, “Alice Payne Hackett’s ’70 Years of Best Sellers’ suggests the amount was considerably less.”
Wealthy once more, Hill re-initiated his lavish lifestyle and purchased a new estate in Mount Dora, Florida. After a few years, the couple divorced around 1940, with much of the wealth from the book going to his wife Rosa Lee Hill, leaving Napoleon Hill to start his pursuit of success once again.