Prompted by legendary businessman Andrew Carnegie, who turned a few nickels and dimes into a fortune, journalist Napoleon Hill researched more than 500 self-made millionaires over 20 years before releasing his 1937 best-seller, “Think and Grow Rich.”

In addition to boiling down the “secret” to building wealth in 13 principles, he revealed 30 “major causes of failure” that hold many of us back from getting rich.

Here are 17 that are still relevant today.


Sticking with the job you hate.

Sticking with the job you hate.

Flickr / Omar Gurnah

It’s OK to call it quits.

“No man can succeed in a line of endeavor which he does not like,” Hill writes. “The most essential step in the marketing of personal services is that of selecting an occupation into which you can throw yourself wholeheartedly.”

Don’t toil away at a job that leaves you stressed out and dissatisfied with life. Quitting your job, if the circumstances are right, can be incredibly rewarding and pay off in the future.

If you’re not sure how to have this conversation with your boss, check out advice from Richard Branson, Robert Herjavec, and six other super successful people.


Not narrowing your focus.

Not narrowing your focus.

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Focus on building wealth, and don’t let distractions derail you.

“The ‘jack-of-all-trades’ seldom is good at any,” Hill writes. “Concentrate all of your efforts on one definite chief aim.”

If you want to get rich, you need to become obsessed with this desire, Hill says: “Wishing will not bring riches. But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches.”


Lack of passion.

Lack of passion.

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Enthusiasm is crucial to success.

“Without enthusiasm one cannot be convincing,” Hill writes. “Moreover, enthusiasm is contagious, and the person who has it, under control, is generally welcome in any group of people.”

The wealthiest people do not find success on their own; rather, they use their passion and energy to inspire others and push forward.

“Without passion, you don’t have energy; without energy, you have nothing. Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion!” billionaire Donald Trump said.


Being closed-minded.

Being closed-minded.


Be open to collaboration and new ideas.

“The person with a ‘closed’ mind on any subject seldom get ahead,” Hill says.

You must be willing to continually collaborate with others, imagine new ideas, and innovate. The wealthiest and most successful people think differently.

To start thinking differently, do different things, expose yourself to different people, and value other ideas, says John C. Maxwell in his New York Times best-seller “How Successful People Think.”


Lack of soft skills and inability to cooperate with others.

Lack of soft skills and inability to cooperate with others.

AP Photo/Mike Fuentes,

Mark Cuban doesn’t like jerks.

“Most people lose their positions and their big opportunities in life because of this fault than for all other reasons combined,” warns Hill.

Building an empire takes people skills and charm just as much as it does strategy.

Mark Cuban put it bluntly in an Entrepreneur article about the keys to being successful in business: “People hate dealing with people who are jerks. It’s always easier to be nice than to be a jerk. Don’t be a jerk.”


Source: Business Insider