Don’t you love when a book really stays with you, and changes your world-views for the better? Napoleon Hill’s “Outwitting the Devil” is such a book. If you haven’t heard of this work, here’s the gist: it’s a very unusual and provocative self-help book. Unlike any other of its kind… this is written as a classical philosophical dialog between the author and the devil. And what a dialog this is!
Allegedly withheld from publication for almost 80 years for being much too forward-thinking and scandalous, the premise of the books involves Napoleon Hill (the author) cracking a mental code that allows him to grab the devil by the tail and force him to spill out all the secrets. The biggest of those secrets? Devil is not a creature, but a persistent and prolific state of mind.
Devil is nothing more (nothing less) than negative energy which perpetuates itself through habit and rhythm, occupying the minds of men as the fertile ground it needs to grow and rule sovereign. This energy secures as much as 98% of human minds in captivity (at the time of writing), with only 2 out of 100 people achieving the grace of independent thinking through mastery of self. Such outrage! To claim that most of us are captives of our own mind!
Reading this book will help you get your critical thinking in perspective, and it will remind you of the subtle ways in which you may be creating your own, private hell on Earth. In then elaborates on ways that humanity may be freed from its self-imposed shackles. It shows how this could be part of a universal master plan, actually.
I’m not sure I believe in the back-story of how the book remained unpublished for almost a year, by request of the author’s family. But I do know some of the claims therein are quite bold, even for our modern days! Among which are the ideas that most parents unwillingly mess up and subvert their children’s minds, much like it happened to themselves during their formative years. Or the concept of pubic education and institutionalized religion as the cleverest tools of trade of the Devil.
The writing of this book holds no punches, but it doesn’t spare positive and intelligent workarounds to the hellish dominion, either. It makes for a fun, accessible read that really challenges you to question your perceptions of the world. There is much to take away from this writing, especially the concept that we must question everything we see and read. Even what we read in this very book!
I’ve gathered some of my favorite quotes from “Outwitting the Devil” and laid them over some classic illustrations by Goya and other influential artists. I think these go together like salt and pepper. Right?
Here’s to hoping these will inspire some people to go out and read the book, and especially to unshackle their own minds from the corrosive Devil that is repression and fear. Go ahead ahead and share your favorite quotes! Tell everyone about this book… and above all, make sure you read it!