Best-selling author Napoleon Hill invokes the power of good and evil in his previously unpublished self-help book, “Outwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and Success.” Written in 1938, this book stayed under wraps due to Hill’s direct tone, which would have been a challenge for many readers of his day. Editor Sharon L. Lechter has dusted this gem off and annotated the text for modern readers to enjoy. Hill uses his personal story of tragedy and triumphs through the Great Depression to kick off his ensuing message.
The renowned author was inspired by his faith in his writing. However, you do not need to believe in the supernatural to appreciate these messages. Hill provokes his audience to take control and actively fight off negative influences, personified as “the Devil.” In fact, Lechter clarifies the author’s call to arms as also being a call to learning. When you falter in any way, the thinking goes, you will do better to learn a lesson from your error than to pretend that it never happened. According to Hill, you do not need to wait for the world to give you a chance; you need to take that chance and make your path, using every failure as a stepping stone.
Hill asserts that most people will keep putting off big decisions to address the many small distractions in their daily lives instead. Fear is behind this procrastination, he explains. You become afraid of others’ judgments and the possibility of failure. Hill has his Devil answer the big questions directly in this work, and certainly, some readers could have taken issue with that style in his day. However, getting these lessons straight from the Devil’s perspective drives the message home. If you heed the Devil’s warnings, your faith in the journey can carry you through to a successful outcome.