Chapter - Index
CHAPTER 1 -
THE MAN WHO "THOUGHT" HIS WAY INTO PARTNERSHIP WITH
THOMAS A. EDISON
TRULY, "thoughts are things," and powerful things at
that, when they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence,
and a BURNING DESIRE for their translation into riches, or other
A little more than thirty years ago, Edwin C. Barnes discovered
how true it is that men really do THINK AND GROW RICH. His discovery
did not come about at one sitting. It came little by little, beginning
with a BURNING DESIRE to become a business associate of the great
One of the chief characteristics of Barnes' Desire was that
it was definite. He wanted to work with Edison, not for him. Observe,
carefully, the description of how he went about translating his
DESIRE into reality, and you will have a better understanding of
the thirteen principles which lead to riches.
When this DESIRE, or impulse of thought, first flashed into his
mind he was in no position to act upon it. Two difficulties stood
in his way. He did not know Mr. Edison, and he did not have enough
money to pay his railroad fare to Orange, New Jersey.
These difficulties were sufficient to have discouraged the majority
of men from making any attempt to carry out the desire. But his
was no ordinary desire! He was so determined to find a way to carry
out his desire that he finally decided to travel by "blind
baggage," rather than be defeated. (To the uninitiated, this
means that he went to East Orange on a freight train).
He presented himself at Mr. Edison's laboratory, and announced
he had come to go into business with the inventor. In speaking of
the first meeting between Barnes and Edison, years later, Mr. Edison
said, "He stood there before me, looking like an ordinary tramp,
but there was something in the expression of his face which conveyed
the impression that he was determined to get what he had come after.
I had learned, from years of experience with men, that when a man
really DESIRES a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his
entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it,
he is sure to win. I gave him the opportunity he asked for, because
I saw he had made up his mind to stand by until he succeeded. Subsequent
events proved that no mistake was made."
Just what young Barnes said to Mr. Edison on that occasion was
far less important than that which he thought. Edison, himself,
said so! It could not have been the young man's appearance which
got him his start in the Edison office, for that was definitely
against him. It was what he THOUGHT that counted.
If the significance of this statement could be conveyed to every
person who reads it, there would be no need for the remainder of
this book. Barnes did not get his partnership with Edison on his
first interview. He did get a chance to work in the Edison offices,
at a very nominal wage, doing work that was unimportant to Edison,
but most important to Barnes, because it gave him an opportunity
to display his "merchandise" where his intended "partner"
could see it.
Months went by. Apparently nothing happened to bring the coveted
goal which Barnes had set up in his mind as his DEFINITE MAJOR PURPOSE.
But something important was happening in Barnes' mind. He was
constantly intensifying his DESIRE to become the business associate
Psychologists have correctly said that "when one is truly
ready for a thing, it puts in its appearance." Barnes was ready
for a business association with Edison, moreover, he was DETERMINED
TO REMAIN READY UNTIL HE GOT THAT WHICH HE WAS SEEKING.
He did not say to himself, "Ah well, what's the use?
I guess I'll change my mind and try for a salesman's job."
But, he did say, "I came here to go into business with Edison,
and I'll accomplish this end if it takes the remainder of my
life." He meant it! What a different story men would have to
tell if only they would adopt a DEFINITE PURPOSE, and stand by that
purpose until it had time to become an all-consuming obsession!
Maybe young Barnes did not know it at the time, but his bulldog
determination, his persistence in standing back of a single DESIRE,
was destined to mow down all opposition, and bring him the opportunity
he was seeking.
When the opportunity came, it appeared in a different form, and
from a different direction than Barnes had expected. That is one
of the tricks of opportunity. It has a sly habit of slipping in
by the back door, and often it comes disguised in the form of misfortune,
or temporary defeat. Perhaps this is why so many fail to recognize
Mr. Edison had just perfected a new office device, known at that
time, as the Edison Dictating Machine (now the Ediphone). His salesmen
were not enthusiastic over the machine. They did not believe it
could be sold without great effort. Barnes saw his opportunity.
It had crawled in quietly, hidden in a queer looking machine which
interested no one but Barnes and the inventor.
Barnes knew he could sell the Edison Dictating Machine. He suggested
this to Edison, and promptly got his chance. He did sell the machine.
In fact, he sold it so successfully that Edison gave him a contract
to distribute and market it all over the nation. Out of that business
association grew the slogan, "Made by Edison and installed
The business alliance has been in operation for more than thirty
years. Out of it Barnes has made himself rich in money, but he has
done something infinitely greater, he has proved that one really
may "Think and Grow Rich."
How much actual cash that original DESIRE of Barnes' has
been worth to him, I have no way of knowing. Perhaps it has brought
him two or three million dollars, but the amount, whatever it is,
becomes insignificant when compared with the greater asset he acquired
in the form of definite knowledge that an intangible impulse of
thought can be transmuted into its physical counterpart by the application
of known principles.
Barnes literally thought himself into a partnership with the
great Edison! He thought himself into a fortune. He had nothing
to start with, except the capacity to KNOW WHAT HE WANTED, AND THE
DETERMINATION TO STAND BY THAT DESIRE UNTIL HE REALIZED IT.
He had no money to begin with. He had but little education. He
had no influence. But he did have initiative, faith, and the will
to win. With these intangible forces he made himself number one
man with the greatest inventor who ever lived.
Now, let us look at a different situation, and study a man who
had plenty of tangible evidence of riches, but lost it, because
he stopped three feet short of the goal he was seeking.
THREE FEET FROM GOLD
One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting
when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. Every person is guilty
of this mistake at one time or another.
An uncle of R. U. Darby was caught by the "gold fever"
in the gold-rush days, and went west to DIG AND GROW RICH. He had
never heard that more gold has been mined from the brains of men
than has ever been taken from the earth. He staked a claim and went
to work with pick and shovel. The going was hard, but his lust for
gold was definite.
After weeks of labor, he was rewarded by the discovery of the
shining ore. He needed machinery to bring the ore to the surface.
Quietly, he covered up the mine, retraced his footsteps to his home
in Williamsburg, Maryland, told his relatives and a few neighbors
of the "strike." They got together money for the needed
machinery, had it shipped. The uncle and Darby went back to work
The first car of ore was mined, and shipped to a smelter. The
returns proved they had one of the richest mines in Colorado! A
few more cars of that ore would clear the debts. Then would come
the big killing in profits.
Down went the drills! Up went the hopes of Darby and Uncle! Then
something happened! The vein of gold ore disappeared! They had come
to the end of the rainbow, and the pot of gold was no longer there!
They drilled on, desperately trying to pick up the vein again--all
to no avail.
Finally, they decided to QUIT.
They sold the machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars,
and took the train back home. Some "junk" men are dumb,
but not this one! He called in a mining engineer to look at the
mine and do a little calculating. The engineer advised that the
project had failed, because the owners were not familiar with "fault
lines." His calculations showed that the vein would be found
JUST THREE FEET FROM WHERE THE DARBYS HAD STOPPED DRILLING! That
is exactly where it was found!
The "Junk" man took millions of dollars in ore from
the mine, because he knew enough to seek expert counsel before giving
Most of the money which went into the machinery was procured
through the efforts of R. U. Darby, who was then a very young man.
The money came from his relatives and neighbors, because of their
faith in him. He paid back every dollar of it, although he was years
in doing so.
Long afterward, Mr. Darby recouped his loss many times over,
when he made the discovery that DESIRE can be transmuted into gold.
The discovery came after he went into the business of selling life
Remembering that he lost a huge fortune, because he STOPPED three
feet from gold, Darby profited by the experience in his chosen work,
by the simple method of saying to himself, "I stopped three
feet from gold, but I will never stop because men say 'no'
when I ask them to buy insurance."
Darby is one of a small group of fewer than fifty men who sell
more than a million dollars in life insurance annually. He owes
his "stickability" to the lesson he learned from his "quitability"
in the gold mining business.
Before success comes in any man's life, he is sure to meet
with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat
overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to
QUIT. That is exactly what the majority of men do.
More than five hundred of the most successful men this country
has ever known, told the author their greatest success came just
one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them. Failure
is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning. It takes
great delight in tripping one when success is almost within reach.
A FIFTY CENT LESSON IN PERSISTENCE
Shortly after Mr. Darby received his degree from the "University
of Hard Knocks," and had decided to profit by his experience
in the gold mining business, he had the good fortune to be present
on an occasion that proved to him that "No" does not necessarily
One afternoon he was helping his uncle grind wheat in an old
fashioned mill. The uncle operated a large farm on which a number
of colored sharecrop farmers lived. Quietly, the door was opened,
and a small colored child, the daughter of a tenant, walked in and
took her place near the door.
The uncle looked up, saw the child, and barked at her roughly, "what
do you want?"
Meekly, the child replied, "My mammy say send her fifty
"I'll not do it," the uncle retorted, "Now
you run on home."
"Yas sah," the child replied. But she did not move.
The uncle went ahead with his work, so busily engaged that he
did not pay enough attention to the child to observe that she did
not leave. When he looked up and saw her still standing there, he
yelled at her, "I told you to go on home! Now go, or I'll
take a switch to you."
The little girl said "yas sah," but she did not budge
The uncle dropped a sack of grain he was about to pour into the
mill hopper, picked up a barrel stave, and started toward the child
with an expression on his face that indicated trouble.
Darby held his breath. He was certain he was about to witness
a murder. He knew his uncle had a fierce temper. He knew that colored
children were not supposed to defy white people in that part of
When the uncle reached the spot where the child was standing,
she quickly stepped forward one step, looked up into his eyes, and
screamed at the top of her shrill voice, "MY MAMMY'S GOTTA
HAVE THAT FIFTY CENTS!"
The uncle stopped, looked at her for a minute, then slowly laid
the barrel stave on the floor, put his hand in his pocket, took
out half a dollar, and gave it to her.
The child took the money and slowly backed toward the door, never
taking her eyes off the man whom she had just conquered. After she
had gone, the uncle sat down on a box and looked out the window
into space for more than ten minutes. He was pondering, with awe,
over the whipping he had just taken.
Mr. Darby, too, was doing some thinking. That was the first time
in all his experience that he had seen a colored child deliberately
master an adult white person. How did she do it. What happened to
his uncle that caused him to lose his fierceness and become as docile
as a lamb? What strange power did this child use that made her master
over her superior? These and other similar questions flashed into
Darby's mind, but he did not find the answer until years later,
when he told me the story.
Strangely, the story of this unusual experience was told to the
author in the old mill, on the very spot where the uncle took his
whipping. Strangely, too, I had devoted nearly a quarter of a century
to the study of the power which enabled an ignorant, illiterate
colored child to conquer an intelligent man.
As we stood there in that musty old mill, Mr. Darby repeated
the story of the unusual conquest, and finished by asking, "What
can you make of it? What strange power did that child use, that
so completely whipped my uncle?"
The answer to his question will be found in the principles described
in this book. The answer is full and complete. It contains details
and instructions sufficient to enable anyone to understand, and
apply the same force which the little child accidentally stumbled
Keep your mind alert, and you will observe exactly what strange
power came to the rescue of the child, you will catch a glimpse
of this power in the next chapter. Somewhere in the book you will
find an idea that will quicken your receptive powers, and place
at your command, for your own benefit, this same irresistible power.
The awareness of this power may come to you in the first chapter,
or it may flash into your mind in some subsequent chapter. It may
come in the form of a single idea. Or, it may come in the nature
of a plan, or a purpose. Again, it may cause you to go back into
your past experiences of failure or defeat, and bring to the surface
some lesson by which you can regain all that you lost through defeat.
After I had described to Mr. Darby the power unwittingly used
by the little colored child, he quickly retraced his thirty years
of experience as a life insurance salesman, and frankly acknowledged
that his success in that field was due, in no small degree, to the
lesson he had learned from the child.
Mr. Darby pointed out: "every time a prospect tried to bow
me out, without buying, I saw that child standing there in the old
mill, her big eyes glaring in defiance, and I said to myself, 'I've
gotta make this sale.' The better portion of all sales I have
made, were made after people had said 'NO'."
He recalled, too, his mistake in having stopped only three feet
from gold, "but," he said, "that experience was a
blessing in disguise. It taught me to keep on keeping on, no matter
how hard the going may be, a lesson I needed to learn before I could
succeed in anything."
This story of Mr. Darby and his uncle, the colored child and
the gold mine, doubtless will be read by hundreds of men who make
their living by selling life insurance, and to all of these, the
author wishes to offer the suggestion that Darby owes to these two
experiences his ability to sell more than a million dollars of life
insurance every year.
Life is strange, and often imponderable! Both the successes and
the failures have their roots in simple experiences. Mr. Darby's
experiences were common-place and simple enough, yet they held the
answer to his destiny in life, therefore they were as important
(to him) as life itself. He profited by these two dramatic experiences,
because he analyzed them, and found the lesson they taught. But
what of the man who has neither the time, nor the inclination to
study failure in search of knowledge that may lead to success? Where,
and how is he to learn the art of converting defeat into stepping
stones to opportunity?
In answer to these questions, this book was written.
The answer called for a description of thirteen principles, but
remember, as you read, the answer you may be seeking, to the questions
which have caused you to ponder over the strangeness of life, may
be found in your own mind, through some idea, plan, or purpose which
may spring into your mind as you read.
One sound idea is all that one needs to achieve success. The
principles described in this book, contain the best, and the most
practical of all that is known, concerning ways and means of creating
Before we go any further in our approach to the description of
these principles, we believe you are entitled to receive this important
suggestion. . . . WHEN RICHES BEGIN TO COME THEY COME SO QUICKLY,
IN SUCH GREAT ABUNDANCE, THAT ONE WONDERS WHERE THEY HAVE BEEN HIDING
DURING ALL THOSE LEAN YEARS. This is an astounding statement, and
all the more so, when we take into consideration the popular belief,
that riches come only to those who work hard and long.
When you begin to THINK AND GROW RICH, you will observe that
riches begin with a state of mind, with definiteness of purpose,
with little or no hard work. You, and every other person, ought
to be interested in knowing how to acquire that state of mind which
will attract riches. I spent twenty-five years in research, analyzing
more than 25,000 people, because I, too, wanted to know "how
wealthy men become that way."
Without that research, this book could not have been written.
Here take notice of a very significant truth, viz: The business
depression started in 1929, and continued on to an all time record
of destruction, until sometime after President Roosevelt entered
office. Then the depression began to fade into nothingness. Just
as an electrician in a theatre raises the lights so gradually that
darkness is transmuted into light before you realize it, so did
the spell of fear in the minds of the people gradually fade away
and become faith.
Observe very closely, as soon as you master the principles of
this philosophy, and begin to follow the instructions for applying
those principles, your financial status will begin to improve, and
everything you touch will begin to transmute itself into an asset
for your benefit. Impossible? Not at all!
One of the main weaknesses of mankind is the average man's
familiarity with the word "impossible." He knows all the
rules which will NOT work. He knows all the things which CANNOT
be done. This book was written for those who seek the rules which
have made others successful, and are willing to stake everything
on those rules.
A great many years ago I purchased a fine dictionary. The first
thing I did with it was to turn to the word "impossible,"
and neatly clip it out of the book. That would not be an unwise
thing for you to do.
Success comes to those who become SUCCESS CONSCIOUS.
Failure comes to those who indifferently allow themselves to
become FAILURE CONSCIOUS.
The object of this book is to help all who seek it, to learn
the art of changing their minds from FAILURE CONSCIOUSNESS to SUCCESS
Another weakness found in altogether too many people, is the
habit of measuring everything, and everyone, by their own impressions
and beliefs. Some who will read this, will believe that no one can
THINK AND GROW RICH. They cannot think in terms of riches, because
their thought habits have been steeped in poverty, want, misery,
failure, and defeat.
These unfortunate people remind me of a prominent Chinese, who
came to America to be educated in American ways. He attended the
University of Chicago. One day President Harper met this young Oriental
on the campus, stopped to chat with him for a few minutes, and asked
what had impressed him as being the most noticeable characteristic
of the American people.
"Why," the Chinaman exclaimed, "the queer slant
of your eyes. Your eyes are off slant!"
What do we say about the Chinese?
We refuse to believe that which we do not understand. We foolishly
believe that our own limitations are the proper measure of limitations.
Sure, the other fellow's eyes are "off slant," BECAUSE
THEY ARE NOT THE SAME AS OUR OWN.
Millions of people look at the achievements of [paragraph continues]
Henry Ford, after he has arrived, and envy him, because of his good
fortune, or luck, or genius, or whatever it is that they credit
for Ford's fortune. Perhaps one person in every hundred thousand
knows the secret of Ford's success, and those who do know are
too modest, or too reluctant, to speak of it, because of its simplicity.
A single transaction will illustrate the "secret" perfectly.
A few years back, Ford decided to produce his now famous V-8
motor. He chose to build an engine with the entire eight cylinders
cast in one block, and instructed his engineers to produce a design
for the engine. The design was placed on paper, but the engineers
agreed, to a man, that it was simply impossible to cast an eight
cylinder gas engine block in one piece.
Ford said, "Produce it anyway."
"But," they replied, "it's impossible!"
"Go ahead," Ford commanded, "and stay on the job
until you succeed no matter how much time is required."
The engineers went ahead. There was nothing else for them to
do, if they were to remain on the Ford staff. Six months went by,
nothing happened. Another six months passed, and still nothing happened.
The engineers tried every conceivable plan to carry out the orders,
but the thing seemed out of the question; "impossible!"
At the end of the year Ford checked with his engineers, and again
they informed him they had found no way to carry out his orders.
"Go right ahead," said Ford, "I want it, and I'll
They went ahead, and then, as if by a stroke of magic, the secret
The Ford DETERMINATION had won once more!
This story may not be described with minute accuracy, but the
sum and substance of it is correct. Deduce from it, you who wish
to THINK AND GROW RICH, the secret of the Ford millions, if you
can. You'll not have to look very far.
Henry Ford is a success, because he understands, and applies
the principles of success. One of these is DESIRE: knowing what
one wants. Remember this Ford story as you read, and pick out the
lines in which the secret of his stupendous achievement have been
described. If you can do this, if you can lay your finger on the
particular group of principles which made Henry Ford rich, you can
equal his achievements in almost any calling for which you are suited.
YOU ARE "THE MASTER OF YOUR FATE, THE CAPTAIN OF YOUR SOUL,"
BECAUSE . . .
When Henley wrote the prophetic lines, "I am the Master
of my Fate, I am the Captain of my Soul," he should have informed
us that we are the Masters of our Fate, the Captains of our Souls,
because we have the power to control our thoughts.
He should have told us that the ether in which this little earth
floats, in which we move and have our being, is a form of energy
moving at an inconceivably high rate of vibration, and that the
ether is filled with a form of universal power which ADAPTS itself
to the nature of the thoughts we hold in our
minds; and INFLUENCES us, in natural ways, to transmute our thoughts
into their physical equivalent.
If the poet had told us of this great truth, we would know WHY
IT IS that we are the Masters of our Fate, the Captains of our Souls.
He should have told us, with great emphasis, that this power makes
no attempt to discriminate between destructive thoughts and constructive
thoughts, that it will urge us to translate into physical reality
thoughts of poverty, just as quickly as it will influence us to
act upon thoughts of riches.
He should have told us, too, that our brains become magnetized
with the dominating thoughts which we hold in our minds, and, by
means with which no man is familiar, these "magnets" attract
to us the forces, the people, the circumstances of life which harmonize
with the nature of our dominating thoughts.
He should have told us, that before we can accumulate riches
in great abundance, we must magnetize our minds with intense DESIRE
for riches, that we must become "money conscious" until
the DESIRE for money drives us to create definite plans for acquiring
But, being a poet, and not a philosopher, Henley contented himself
by stating a great truth in poetic form, leaving those who followed
him to interpret the philosophical meaning of his lines.
Little by little, the truth has unfolded itself, until it now
appears certain that the principles described in this book, hold
the secret of mastery over our economic fate.
We are now ready to examine the first of these principles. Maintain
a spirit of open-mindedness, and remember as you read, they are
the invention of no one man. The principles were gathered from the
life experiences of more than 500 men who actually accumulated riches
in huge amounts; men who began in poverty, with but little education,
without influence. The principles worked for these men. You can
put them to work for your own enduring benefit.
You will find it easy, not hard, to do.
Before you read the next chapter, I want you to know that it
conveys factual information which might easily change your entire
financial destiny, as it has so definitely brought changes of stupendous
proportions to two people described.
I want you to know, also, that the relationship between these
two men and myself, is such that I could have taken no liberties
with the facts, even if I had wished to do so. One of them has been
my closest personal friend for almost twenty-five years, the other
is my own son. The unusual success of these two men, success which
they generously accredit to the principle described in the next
chapter, more than justifies this personal reference as a means
of emphasizing the far-flung power of this principle.
Almost fifteen years ago, I delivered the Commencement Address
at Salem College, Salem, West Virginia. I emphasized the principle
described in the next chapter, with so much intensity that one of
the members of the graduating class definitely appropriated it,
and made it a part of his own philosophy. The young man is now a
Member of Congress, and an important factor in the present administration.
Just before this book went to the publisher, he wrote me a letter
in which he so clearly stated his opinion of the principle outlined
in the next chapter, that I have chosen to publish his letter as
an introduction to that chapter.
It gives you an idea of the rewards to come.
"My dear Napoleon:
"My service as a Member of Congress having given me an insight
into the problems of men and women, I am writing to offer a suggestion
which may become helpful to thousands of worthy people.
"With apologies, I must state that the suggestion, if acted
upon, will mean several years of labor and responsibility for you,
but I am en-heartened to make the suggestion, because I know your
great love for rendering useful service.
"In 1922, you delivered the Commencement address at Salem
College, when I was a member of the graduating class. In that address,
you planted in my mind an idea which has been responsible for the
opportunity I now have to serve the people of my State, and will
be responsible, in a very large measure, for whatever success I
may have in the future.
"The suggestion I have in mind is, that you put into a book
the sum and substance of the address you delivered at Salem College,
and in that way give the people of America an opportunity to profit
by your many years of experience and association with the men who,
by their greatness, have made America the richest nation on earth.
"I recall, as though it were yesterday, the marvelous description
you gave of the method by which Henry Ford, with but little schooling,
without a dollar, with no influential friends, rose to great heights.
I made up my mind then, even before you had finished your speech,
that I would make a place for myself, no matter how many difficulties
I had to surmount.
"Thousands of young people will finish their schooling this
year, and within the next few years. Every one of them will be seeking
just such a message of practical encouragement as the one I received
from you. They will want to know where to turn, what to do, to get
started in life. You can tell them, because you have helped to solve
the problems of so many, many people.
"If there is any possible way that you can afford to render
so great a service, may I offer the suggestion that you include
with every book, one of your Personal Analysis Charts, in order
that the purchaser of the book may have the benefit of a complete
self-inventory, indicating, as you indicated to me years ago, exactly
what is standing in the way of success.
"Such a service as this, providing the readers of your book
with a complete, unbiased picture of their faults and their virtues,
would mean to them the difference between success and failure. The
service would be priceless.
"Millions of people are now facing the problem of staging
a come-back, because of the depression, and I speak from personal
experience when I say, I know these earnest people would welcome
the opportunity to tell you their problems, and to receive your
suggestions for the solution.
"You know the problems of those who face the necessity of
beginning all over again. There are thousands of people in America
today who would like to know how they can convert ideas into money,
people who must start at scratch, without finances, and recoup their
losses. If anyone can help them, you can.
"If you publish the book, I would like to own the first
copy that comes from the press, personally autographed by you.
"With best wishes, believe me,
Attribution: THINK and GROW RICH ©
1938, published 1938, by THE RALSTON SOCIETY, Meriden, Conn.
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