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Book Review: Outwitting the Devil -- The last self-help/success book you'll ever read

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Joined: 03/03/2013

Recently I re-committed to success. 

I was inspired by MW's coaching, Jabronavich's Success Mindset and Structured Thinking threads, as well as various books on the subject.  I decided once-and-for-all to solve my issues with unconsciousness, lack of mindfulness, and passiveness in life.  


I read and re-read my notes from training with MW, J's threads, and set out to read books and think on it until it clicked.  I checked out the list of books that were recommended and decided on reading a few of them. 


In the last two weeks I've read (or listened to the audiobook of):


Awaken the Giant Within - Tony Robbins

The Kinslow System - Dr Frank Kinslow

You Were Born Rich - Bob Proctor

Practicing the Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle

Gorilla Mindset - Mike Cernovich




Outwitting the Devil - Napolean Hill


Its that last book that I will be writing about later in this post.


In the past I've read (or listened to on audiobook or seen the DVDs):


The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle

Stillness Speaks -- Eckhart Tolle

Awaken the Giant Within - Tony Robbins

Personal Power - Tony Robbins

Ultimate Goals Program - Brian Tracy

Think and Grow Rich - Napolean Hill

Rich Dad Poor Dad - Guy Kawasaki

How to Get Rich - Felix Dennis

Personal Development for Smart People - Steve Pavlina

Spiritual Enlightenment - Jed McKenna

Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment - Jed McKenna

Spiritual Warfare - Jed McKenna

Theory of Everything - Jed McKenna

The Book of Not Knowing - Peter Ralston

The Presence Process - Michael Brown

48 Laws of Power - Robert Greene

Instant Enlightenment - David Deida

The Blueprint Decoded - Owen Cook RSD

Shape Shifter - Geoff Thompson

The Education of Millionaires - Michael Ellsberg

Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life - Dr Stephen Hayes

Warrior of the Light - Paulo Coelho

The Teachings of Don Juan - Carlos Casteneda

Wake Up Productive - Eben Pagan

Self-Made Wealth - Eben Pagan

How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie


I'm sure there are some I've forgotten.  Outwitting the Devil will be the last general self-help book I ever read.  The others are outstanding resources and each gave me a push in the right direction, but it wasn't until this last one that the lessons contained in the others finally *clicked.*


Think and Grow Rich is the granddaddy of all self-help books.  Napolean Hill is the godfather of self-help, and most of the other authors in this category are merely helping him spread the good word.  Even though Think and Grow Rich is the book that launched an industry, Outwitting the Devil is its more powerful offspring.


Outwitting the Devil was a follow-up to Think and Grow Rich because in his 25 years of studying success Hill saw that some people failed to achieve it even after they applied the principles in Think and Grow Rich to their lives.  He looked at his research from the perspective of finding out what causes people to give up in life, to end up unhappy and in poverty, and what's going on in the minds of people who do not live up to their potential.  


Hill finished the manuscript for Outwitting the Devil in 1938, but it was considered too controversial to publish at the time and his wife cautioned him to wait.  (The claim is that because it involved the a discussion with "The Devil" but its fairly clear that they sat on it because of its unflattering portrayal of the public education system and organized religion.)  So it wasn't officially published until 2011.  


For me personally, Outwitting the Devil succeeded in getting through to me because of its question and answer format, the exhaustive coverage and depth of explanation, and the repetitive nature.


The book is organized as a series of questions posed by Napolean Hill to the Devil himself, and then the Devil's answers underneath.  Hill asks question after question, and multiple follow-up questions for each original question on his path to uncover why people fail.  I feel like many of the other authors breeze through this part, as if by reading about why other people fail then you will focus on failing and therefore fail yourself.  


Napolean Hill asks the Devil so many questions that, over the course of the book, he leaves no stone unturned and no issues neglected.  Hill lays the foundation for what you must do to succeed and what you must avoid -- thoughts, behaviors, and habits.  That's the most powerful part of this book is that it gives you the tools to play defense against giving up and accepting defeat.  By knowing where most people go wrong, you can structure your life and build your mindset to fight off those negative thoughts and unhelpful behaviors.  Hill was so far ahead of his time its astonishing.  


Here are a few quotes from the book:

Seven Principles of Success

1.  Definiteness of Purpose 

2.  Mastery Over Self

3.  Learning from Adversity

4. Controlling Environmental Influence (i.e., who you choose to associate with)

5. Time (through which you build and reinforce positive thoughts and habits, and develop wisdom)

6.  Harmony (aligning your thoughts and actions and habits with the positive vibration in the universe)

7.  Caution (being thorough and careful about your thoughts, habits, and actions -- not being reckless)


The person who thinks in terms of power, success, opulence, sets up a rhythm which attracts these desirable possessions.


The person who thinks in terms of misery, failure,

defeat, discouragement, and poverty attracts these undesirable



This explains why both success and failure are the

result of habit. Habit establishes one's rhythm of thought, and

that rhythm attracts the object of one's dominating thoughts.


In other words, if I know what I want from life, demand it and back my demand by a willingness to pay life's price for what I want, and refuse to accept any substitutes, the law of hypnotic rhythm takes over my desire and helps, by natural and logical means, to transmute it into its physical counterpart.


Q WHAT PREPARATION MUST ONE UNDERGO before being able to move with definiteness of purpose at all times?


A One must gain mastery over self. This is the second of the seven principles. The person who is not master of himself can never be master of others. Lack of self-mastery is, of itself, the most destructive form of indefiniteness.


Q Where should one begin when making a start at control over self?


A By mastering the three appetites responsible for most of one's lack of self-discipline. The three appetites are (1) the desire for food, (2) the desire for expression of sex, (3) the desire to express loosely organized opinions.


Q What is faith?

A Faith is the absence of all forms of negative thought.


Q What is wisdom?


A Wisdom is the ability to relate yourself to nature's laws so as to make them serve you, and the ability to relate yourself to other people so as to gain their harmonious, willing cooperation in helping you to make life yield whatever you demand of it.


And finally, the central *take-away* message, 250 pages powerfully summarized as:



One's dominating desires can be crystallized into their physical equivalents through definiteness of purpose backed by definiteness of plans, with the aid of nature's law of hypnotic rhythm and time!


Read the book as quickly or as slowly as you want to, but go back and make sure you understand everything.  The repetition will help to slowly overcome any resistance you feel towards mindfulness, success, or inner peace.  Let the words wash over you over and over again..

Joined: 02/27/2012
Excellent review.  I'm going

Excellent review.  I'm going back and re-listening to this book this week.  Don't be a drifter!

Joined: 03/03/2013
I'll do super short reviews

I'll do super short reviews or summaries of the other books/products that I remember clearly.  Highlights only.

The Kinslow System by Dr. Frank Kinslow

The strength of this book is in its positive language and repetition.  Objectively the information content of this book might fill 10 pages, but that's not the point.  He writes in the language of the Super Woo and his writing is so uplifting and visual that it makes you feel better.  Couple that with the repetition and the exercises and it tenderizes your resistance. 

Each time you read basically the same concept over again in a slightly different happy way, your brain gives in to feeling just a little bit better until he wears you down completely.  He named the abiding good feeling that comes over you while you're present Eufeeling (combination of euphoric and feeling), and its a powerful way to describe what we're looking for. 

Joined: 03/03/2013
Awaken the Giant Within --

Awaken the Giant Within -- Tony Robbins

Everyone knows who he is.  Get the audiobook so you can listen to his voice.  He is the best at motivating people from a distance through his unparalleled ability to project emotions through his tone, pacing, rhythm and volume.