Napoleon Hill Net Worth at Death: How Did He Make Money?

What is Napoleon Hill’s Net Worth? 

Napoleon Hill’s estimated net worth was $10 million when he passed away. He’s famous as the world’s most well-known author in the self-help and self-improvement genre. He advised U.S. presidents like Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt. His book “Think and Grow Rich” is a best-seller, with 15 million copies sold globally.

Hill spent 20 years interviewing successful men from various backgrounds. He published his findings in several books, which brought him fame and wealth.

In 1937, his then-wife Rosa helped him complete “Think and Grow Rich.” This book, published by Andrew Pelton, became a major self-improvement classic. After their divorce, Rosa received all the royalties from the book.

However, Hill is a controversial figure today. He faces accusations of fraud, and many modern historians question his claims, like knowing Andrew Carnegie or being a lawyer.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Napoleon Hill
Net Worth: $10 Million
Annual Income: $2 Million
Source of Wealth: Author

Early Career

At the young age of seventeen, Hill graduated from high school and ventured to Tazewell, Virginia, to attend business school. In 1901, he landed a job with Rufus A. Ayers, a coal magnate and former Virginia attorney general. It’s worth noting that Hill secured this job by keeping quiet about a tragic incident involving a black bellhop’s accidental shooting by the mine’s previous manager during a drunken episode.

However, Hill didn’t stick with this coal mine job for long. He briefly tried law school but had to drop out due to financial constraints. Although he later used the title “Attorney at Law,” there is no evidence of him providing legal services to anyone.

Failed Ventures and Fraud Charges

In 1907, Hill moved to Mobile, Alabama, and co-founded the Acree-Hill Lumber Company. However, this venture faced bankruptcy and mail fraud charges for selling lumber below cost. Hill’s personal life was tumultuous, marked by allegations of abuse, frequenting prostitutes, and a failed second marriage.

In 1909, Hill founded the Automobile College of Washington, initially focused on car manufacturing. When that failed, the college transformed into a multi-level marketing scheme, prioritizing recruitment over car sales.

During this time, Hill married Florence Elizabeth Horner, and the couple had children. However, the college eventually closed, and Hill moved to Chicago, where he falsely claimed to be a lawyer. His partners ousted him from a candy shop venture, and he left La Salle Extension University within a year.

In 1915, Hill established the George Washington Institute of Advertising but faced legal trouble for fraudulent activities.

The Law of Success

In 1922, Hill started the Intra-Wall Correspondence School, intending to provide education to prisoners in Ohio. However, it was exposed as a scam in 1923.

Hill’s fortune changed in 1928 when he relocated to Philadelphia and published “The Law of Success.” This work brought him financial success, allowing him to live luxuriously. He even bought a Rolls-Royce and a large property in the Catskill Mountains.

But the Great Depression hit Hill hard. His property went into foreclosure by the end of 1929, and he went bankrupt, relying on his wife’s family for support.

Think and Grow Rich

Hill’s next book, “The Magic Ladder to Success” (1930), failed commercially. Over the following years, he attempted various short-lived business ventures and claimed to advise President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1935, his wife filed for divorce, and in 1937, Hill published “Think and Grow Rich,” his most famous work. This book brought him immense wealth and allowed him to enjoy a lavish lifestyle once more.

Hill’s life took another turn when he became involved with a cult, The Royal Fraternity of the Master Metaphysicians, and claimed to be raising a child to be immortal. The child was eventually returned to her biological mother.

Hill divorced his third wife, Rosa Lee, around 1940, and most of the book’s wealth went to her.

Success Courses

In 1941, Hill’s book “Mental Dynamite” didn’t perform well. However, in 1943, he married Annie Lou Norman and moved to California. Hill kept giving lectures and even briefly hosted a radio show in Los Angeles in 1947.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Hill got into the business of selling success courses. He also established the Napoleon Hill Foundation in 1963. His financial career had its ups and downs, but it eventually led to his enduring legacy as a self-help author and motivational speaker.

Napoleon Hill Foundation

The Napoleon Hill Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading Napoleon Hill’s teachings. After Napoleon passed away in 1970, the foundation, along with his widow Annie Lou, got involved in a lengthy legal battle over his estate that extended into the 1980s.

The foundation maintains a private collection of Hill’s writings and presents the annual Napoleon Hill Award, which, in 2014, was given to Organo Gold.

Moreover, the foundation continues to generate income by selling Hill’s books, courses, and leadership certificates, ensuring that his wisdom and insights continue to reach and benefit people today.

Philosophy of Success

Napoleon Hill had a philosophy for achieving success, first introduced in 1928 through “The Law of Success.” He believed in the importance of freedom, democracy, capitalism, and harmony as foundations for success.

Hill hinted at a “secret” of achievement in “Think and Grow Rich,” inspired by Andrew Carnegie. He later revealed it as the belief that anything the mind can conceive, it can achieve.

He challenged readers to find their “Definite Major Purpose” by identifying their core beliefs, emphasizing that strong beliefs are crucial for success.

Hill shared his son Blair’s inspiring story, born without ears but able to hear and speak almost normally, who discovered the secret to success.

He also taught his Philosophy of Personal Achievement with W. Clement Stone and co-authored “Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude.”

Hill’s philosophy addressed societal challenges, urging everyone to use his principles to overcome issues like racism, oppression, and poverty.

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