Here’s the review for latest book to fall off my book list….
My original intention was to read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, but Courtney couldn’t find that one. She ended up grabbing a version released in 2006 by Lionel Sosa that was based on the original. This new book is actually titled the same, but it has an interesting subtitle: A Latino Choice. That’s right, Napoleon Hill for latinos.
I actually debated taking it back to get the original, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to read it, and I’m actually glad I did. This version has some wonderful insights into both the latino population and the anglo population. One chapter is entirely devoted to the cultural baggage of both groups, and the book frequently mentions the different perspectives of each and how those cultural influences effect our thinking, goals, and aspirations. All in all, Sosa does justice to both and paints a picture that is both believable and understandable.
For the actual principles taught in the book (17 in total), two stick in my mind most particularly:
Definiteness of Purpose
More than any other section, this captured my mind for a multitude of reasons. First, one of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Dan Miller:
If nothing changes in the next five years, will you be happy?
The answer, I would hope, is no. You won’t be happy because progression would stop for everything to be the same. So the obvious followup question should be: So what do I do? A definiteness of purpose is that answer. What are we doing today to get where we want to be? If we don’t know what that is, can we ever reach it?
Last night, after I finished this book, I started talking to Courtney. We talked quite late into the night about our own definiteness of purpose and the host of trials and problems we are facing. Decisions about selling the house, about going back to school, about careers, about raising the family, about continually improving our marriage, and so much more. We realized that while we certainly want all those things, we have no definiteness of purpose. We are striving towards goals that are undefined so that we both have no idea when we will arrive or if we are even on the right path.
We also found several examples where we have expressed a definiteness of purpose and how easily those goals were to us. The big one, I think, is getting out of debt. We are both clearly on the same page and working to the same goal. In the past 2.5 years since we started on that road, we’ve paid off literally tens of thousands of dollars, a goal we both thought impossible when we started and are still amazed at how easy it was.
Because of that question, Courtney and I have committed to formulating that definiteness of purpose. We’ve also committed to start following those hints of inspiration that we have been receiving for a while now. Which, I think leads perfectly into the next concept that captured my attention….
To be fair, Sosa and Hill never talk about a principle of fear, but they do talk extensively about how fear is constantly keeping us down. And negativity. I don’t have the book in front of me, but many of the things I would not have considered fearful or negative come up in this book. Thoughts about failure, about worthiness, about deserving, about being able to do something. I find that Courtney and I both often wish things would happen, and how wishing is really a fear of actually trying.
The fear that really hit me though was the concept that change is bad or that “I’m not that type of person so becoming that is bad.” I don’t think I’ve ever recognized that as a fear. Negative yes, but a fear? When we consider that to be Christ-like is to change and that changing (read as “progression”) is Christ-like, to argue for constancy in personality and ability is both foolish and anti-Christ. Courtney pointed out in our late-night conversation that complacency and satisfaction with being mediocre has plagued us. That isn’t to say, of course, that we aren’t better today than we were then, but rather that we’ve been hesitant to enact the big changes that would really move us to higher realms and successes. We’ve been fearful.
Sosa also discusses the common latino phrase “se deus quiser” (that’s Portuguese), which literally translates into “If god wants….” It’s a phrase that we use in our own little ways as anglos and Christians, but it shifts the responsibility from ourselves to God, and I think it is also a type of fear. The fear of responsibility, of growth, of progression, of trying. In another way, it also makes it not our problem if nothing ever happens. If we never go back to school to get that degree, it was obviously God’s will, right? WRONG!!!
Similar to this particular fear is the concept of waiting for the sign. The sure symbol of permission to move. It’s a problem that I, in particular, have. I am always hesitant to take that proverbial step into darkness until I can see a ways up the path, and that kind of hesitancy is both fearful and dangerous. Courtney compared it that Biblical verse of being lukewarm. I don’t quite remember the reference, but the concept is that the Lord will spit you out and He would rather you be hot or cold. Too often do I allow the temperature of my goals and dreams to mellow while waiting for permission to proceed.
And I think I stop here so that I don’t give away the entire book. 🙂
Ah… Read it. I have to wonder what the original looks like, but as a religious person, I found the latino version uplifting, interesting, and entirely applicable. It’s a fast read, too (212 pages).
Of the three books I’ve read off my book list so far, this has been my favorite and also the one that I think applies most readily to me personally, so four out of four stars.
Oh, and just for the record, I always thought that Rich in the title referred to monetary wealth, and it does in part. But the book plainly makes clear that Rich can refer to anything we have in abundance: happiness, family relationships, friendships, money, education, experiences, attitudes, etc.
So go Think and Grow Rich.