In the best-selling book Think And Grow Rich, author Napoleon Hill claims that:

This secret was extensively used by President Woodrow Wilson, during the World War. It was passed on to every soldier who fought in the war...

This is one of the first and best selling personal success books, and Napoleon Hill has become very famous within the genre.

I have been looking for some external verification of his claim that the contents of his work were used by president Woodrow Wilson, and so far I have managed to turn up nothing but sources directly quoting his book. Can anyone help me verify this?

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    Wilson died in 1924. Hill's first book was published in 1928. Apr 23, 2013 at 19:56
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    That doesn't necessarily mean that Napoleon Hill could not have provided his methods to Wilson via some other means besides publishing a book. Hill began the research that would lead to his book in about 1908.
    – Tacroy
    Apr 23, 2013 at 20:55
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    Without more context (and I don't know the nature of this 'secret' that was shared with thousands of men) it isn't clear the claim is that Wilson learnt it from Hill.
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 23, 2013 at 23:51

1 Answer 1


Here's what Hill's bio on Success magazine's site, says about Hill's contribution to the war effort:

When the United States entered World War I, he wrote to President Woodrow Wilson offering his services. Hill had interviewed him years earlier as part of his Carnegie research project when Wilson was president of Princeton University. Wilson took him up on the offer, putting Hill to work on a series of propaganda materials.

The bio doesn't reveal the nature of the "secret" but one can easily imagine Hill composing something along the lines of "If we believe the Hun can be beaten, then we have won" or "If we have faith in ourselves and our cause, then we will be victorious"

Success magazine is the successor publication to one begun by Hill and Stone in the 1950s, I think.

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