In his Introduction, Artie McFerrin declares his intention to update the principles in Napoleon Hill’s 1937 classic Think and Grow Rich. That successful book was based on over 500 interviews with tycoons who went from poverty to great wealth and included 13 clearly defined principles for success.
A business owner and engineer with over 40 years experience in specialty chemical and petroleum manufacturing, McFerrin divides his book into three sections: “Building Yourself,” “A Winning Strategy” and “Team Excellence.” He leavens his text with plenty of encouragement and highlights salient points in bold and in end-of-chapter “roundups.”
Readers will find some useful advice here, particularly the self-evaluation exercises for goal setting in Chapter Three and techniques on developing what the author describes as “rivers of profit” in Chapter Eight. Unfortunately, many of the book’s nuggets are buried in narrative that wanders, lacks concrete instruction and is highly repetitive.
Chapter Two, for example, recounts a key foundation of McFerrin’s philosophy: the 80/20 (Pareto) principle. This instructs CEOs to focus on “the 20 percent of whatever is most important and produces 80 percent of [the] desirable results.” The chapter states —and restates— this theory in various iterations (as does the rest of the book). But while McFerrin notes that most professional managers “don’t have the slightest clue as to what’s most important and what’s unimportant,” he never explains how managers can differentiate between the two.
Throughout the book, McFerrin favors vague exhortations over tangible advice, offering slogans (“We are CEOS of ourselves”) and platitudes (“we need to rely on our success muscles”) rather than step-by-step guidance. The author’s promise to update Hill’s book seems quickly forgotten, as Hill’s work is rarely mentioned.
In sum, while readers will certainly glean encouragement and broad directives from McFerrin, his book’s subtitle proves prophetic: The success principles offered here are both intangible and elusive. Those looking for actionable steps to achieve in business will want to look elsewhere.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.