Specialized education is one of Napoleon Hill's eight steps to success.
Specialized knowledge is one of Napoleon Hill's eight steps to success.

(Part 5 of 10)

Napoleon Hill, author of "Think and Grow Rich," the best-selling business book of all time, interviewed many of the richest and most successful people of the early 20th century for commonalities in their beliefs and behaviors. From his 20-year study, Hill offers these eight steps to success:

1. Desire
2. Faith
3. Autosuggestion
4. Specialized knowledge
5. Imagination
6. Organized planning
7. Decision
8. Persistence

Step 4, specialized knowledge, in Hill's own words, is personal experiences or observations.

Hill distinguishes between two kinds of knowledge, general and specialized. The only one that is of use in the accumulation of money is specialized knowledge that is organized and used toward that accumulation. In other words, you can know about a lot of things, but to make money, it takes a plan of action to use that knowledge toward a definite goal.

Part of that plan will also include "specialized knowledge of the service, merchandise or profession you intend to offer in return for fortune." You, as the person accumulating money, do not always have to be the one possessing the knowledge, but you have to have access to it in the form of one or more of these areas:
•  Personal experience and education.
•  Experience and education of others.
•  Formal educational institutions.
•  Public libraries and books from other sources.
•  Private training courses.

Hill believed in 1937 that specialists are the most sought-after employees, and that remains true today, especially in larger, corporate environments. At the same time, Hill said, and this is still true as well, that hiring managers are most likely to be looking for candidates who have proven themselves active in campus and/or community life, and who get along with a wide diversity of people.

Now, many candidates emphasize their participation in lifelong learning. Hill was also a great advocate of professional and personal development. Ironically, he found one weakness in the public education system, that it was free! "One of the strange things about human beings is that they value only that which has a price," he wrote.

Career marketing
Hill tells of an entrepreneur who could be the earliest professional resume writer. The woman prepared a "Marketing Plan for Personal Services" for her son who had just finished college and had as yet found no market for his talents. The portfolio contained an outline of the candidate's:

•  native ability.
•  education.
•  experience.
•  the plan he would use in filling the position.
•  six suggestions for the use and benefit of the prospective employer.

The young man landed a job at his first interview and was not required to start at the bottom, but as a junior executive, positioning him for opportunity and success. (His mother carried her marketing skills on to other clients.)

The habit of acquaintance
Finally, Hill says in no uncertain terms that success and failure are the results of habit. One of those habits he proposes to develop is that of surrounding oneself with respected and successful people.

Hill's own son was offered a job by a man he respected highly, but the salary was about half of what he could have earned at a competing company. Hill influenced his son to work with this man because, "I believe that close association with one who refuses to compromise with circumstances he does not like is an asset that can never be measured in terms of money."

Next in Think and Grow Rich 6: Visualize your career success.

Author's Bio: 

Jeri Hird Dutcher, Workwrite, inspires executives and professionals to envision, attract, and achieve their biggest dreams. She is certified as a Professional Career Coach, Resume Writer, and Employment Interview Professional. Jeri provides career / job search coaching and targeted resumes for clients in the United States and Canada. She welcomes inquiries at Workwrite.net