Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book Review: Outwitting the Devil

Believe it or not I read the latest book by Napoleon Hill. He is the author of Think and Grow Rich, which was written in 1937. He wrote the manuscript for his latest book in 1938, although he refused to publish it until 2011. He felt the book, called Outwitting the Devil, would be too much for the public to believe and could tarnish his name. 

Outwitting the Devil (Amazon)

In it, Hill says he interviewed the devil. The devil claimed he was the destroyer of dreams and ambitions. He revealed how he made people give up on life and settle. He said there were 2 types of people: drifters and non-drifters. He stated that 98% of the population are drifters. They are the people he derails with various tricks. The remaining 2% are the people who have a laser focus, and he has no way to deter them from success and happiness.

How can he so easily lure some people away from their dreams while others are immune? Although the devil outlines in detail the many ways of discouraging people, there are two that seem to hit everyone. They are fear and vanity. He said that he uses fear to make people avoid the things they say they want. He makes people fear success because many people do not want to be dominated by the responsibility of success. For some, the expectations accompanied by success appear overwhelming. There is a fear of failure; People are terrified of looking bad if they do not accomplish difficult ambitions, even though it’s their heart’s desire. It’s better to play it safe or small and avoid it than take the risk and look like a failure. People fear the unknown, the uncertainty of risk. Hill made a special point of saying that as long as people fear the devil he uses that fear to control them.

As for vanity, some of the most successful people are consumed by their own pride and selfishness. Vanity is just another self-deluding mindset that people embrace that eventually robs them of their dreams. 

On the other hand, when Hill asked the devil why he was not being controlled, the devil’s response was unbelievably simple and amazing. He told Hill that once he found great love with one woman he could not touch him. The devil said that once you and that woman become one mind he was unable to separate them. Imagine love as the greatest weapon. At the same time, it is one of the treasures in life that people fear. In fact, many people are afraid of being totally open with someone and allowing themselves to become one. People are afraid of losing their identity. People equate losing their identity with being controlled by the other. However, from the book, it is the fear and false sense of security to stand alone that causes the most damage to your identity. From the book, standing along leaves you vulnerable to have some of your most important dreams controlled and taken away from you because you do not share that single minded vision with another.

Perhaps life, success and happiness are much simpler than we imagine. I highly recommend the book. I suggest that you avoid wasting time trying to figure out if Hill is really interviewing the devil or is the entire conversation in his head. The content of the book has tremendous value. Would love to hear your comments.

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