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Book Summary – Outwitting the Devil

Outwitting the Devil

by Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill is most commonly known for his book Think and Grow Rich.  This text is in my top three of “must read books”.   However, his book Outwitting the Devil is a quicker, easier read and teaches many of the same lessons.  It’s also one of the most fascinating books you can read for two reasons.

First, the book is structured as a dialogue between the protagonist and the devil — that’s a unique conversation without a doubt!  The protagonist gets the devil to agree to share with him all the various ways that he leads persons astray.  Rather than lecturing the reader on the right way to behave, Hill highlights the many ways that you can drift off course.

Second, while the book was written in 1938, it was not published until 2011!  That’s because Hill’s wife worked as an administrative assistant to the president of a religious based university.  Hill was worried that his wife’s boss would not be enamoured with the concept that the spouse of his assistant was having fictitious conversations with Lucifer!

It’s an incredibly easy, incredibly fast, and incredibly captivating read.  As the book goes through story after story, it would take too long to highlight all of the stories.  However, there are seven key principles that Hill highlights in the book:

Seven principles to attain spiritual, mental and physical freedom

  1. Definiteness of purpose
  2. Mastery over self
  3. Learning from adversity
  4. Controlling the environmental influence (association)
  5. Time (giving permanency to positive, rather than negative thought-habits and developing wisdom)
  6. Harmony (acting with definiteness of purpose to become the dominating influence in your own mental, spiritual and physical environment)
  7. Caution (thinking through your plan before you act)

One concept that Hill highlights that is worth taking note of is Ralph Waldow Emerson’s “The Law of Compensation:

  • “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something else.” Also – “The whole of what we know is a system of compensations.  Every defect in one manner is made up in another.  Every suffering is rewarded; every sacrifice is made up; and debt is paid.”

Finally, Hill does a great job of highlighting the key aspects of Faith in a manner that spans all religious traditions.

On Faith

  • “The power of independent thought backed by definiteness of purpose.”
  • “A state of mind wherein one recognizes and uses the power of positive thought as a medium by which one contacts and draws upon the universal store of Infinite Intelligence at will.”
  • “Faith is definiteness of purpose backed by belief in the attainment of the object of that purpose.”

If you are looking for a fast, fun read with a message that you can put in place, Outwitting the Devil would be a great choice.

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Curt Stowers

Curt Stowers

Curtis Stowers helps individuals and families across the United States grow their financial assets, particularly in the Naperville, IL region. He is a Certified Financial Planner, holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois, and is the founder of F5 Financial.