Outwitting the Devil is a work of non-fiction that was written in 1938 by Napoleon Hill, which was considered too controversial to be published in its era.
Outwitting the Devil Summary
Reaching out from the era of the Great Depression to offer a message of hope through the power of positive thinking, Outwitting the Devil asks you to imagine what you could accomplish if you relinquished fear and self-doubt.
Although it was originally written in 1938, Napoleon Hill’s breakthrough self-help book, Outwitting the Devil was lost to the world until 2011 due to censorship. Outwitting the Devil!
Outlining Hill’s personal views on the toxicity of church and standardized education alike, Outwitting the Devil encourages readers to break free of the fears that may be fostered by education and religion to achieve personal success and embrace the life lessons taught by failure.
What do you consider to be timeless? Maybe it’s something tangible, like the classic taste of Coca-Cola or the vintage beauty of black and white photographs, which we still consider to be classy. But the power of the written word is perhaps one of the most timeless things of all.
An idea can live forever once we write it down. It can transcend time and culture to change the lives of generation after generation. And that’s exactly the case with the ideology of Napoleon Hill. Although his self-help book, Outwitting the Devil, was written in 1938, it wasn’t published until 2011.
That’s because some of Hill’s ideas made folks in his Great Depression-era community a little uncomfortable and because they thought censorship was a good idea.
However, in the interest of promoting free speech and the free circulation of ideas, Hill’s thoughts have now come to light in the modern day and we’re free to read and learn from them, to decide for ourselves whether or not we agree.
And because the advice contained in this summary centers around the power of positive thinking and the importance of surrounding yourself with good influences, most contemporary readers will enjoy what Hill has to say.
What do you consider to be the leading motivation in your life? Are you inspired to push boundaries and discover what you can accomplish? Or are you often gripped by fear, afraid to venture out because of the potential risks? If the latter describes you, you’re not alone; Hill postulates that 98% of people allow themselves to be controlled by fear.
And he also asserts that it’s the most destructive habit you can have. That’s because fear causes us to drift through life, controlled by our worries instead of taking control of our own futures. Fear also stunts intellectual growth because it cuts off our desire for exploration and prevents us from pursuing critical thought. Outwitting the Devil!
Hill also argues that fear is institutionalized and instilled in people from an early age by organizations we associate with having power and authority. Churches, for example, teach children to fear “the Devil” and live conservative lives out of fear of displeasing God. Schools likewise instill fear by teaching students to define their self-worth and intelligence through memorizing a series of formulas and facts.
Because children are afraid of not measuring up to their teachers’ standards or of being considered “wrong” and “stupid,” they come to fear getting the wrong answer. This too inhibits learning and growth, for Hill argues that education should exist to facilitate exploration and knowledge rather than depositing a load of formulas in students’ heads.
We all have fears. Whether they’re introduced by our own self-doubt or the teachings of others, each of us has our own devil to outwit. But we don’t have to let that devil win.
No matter what desolate circumstances characterize our situation, no matter what struggles we face, we are gifted with the ability to be self-determining and we can choose the thoughts and habits we allow to control our lives.
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About the Author
Oliver Napoleon Hill was an American self-help author. He is best known for his book Think and Grow Rich, 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.