Outwitting the Devil

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Reviewed by Angela Mutiso

Author: Napoleon Hill; edited and annotated by Sharon Letcher

Category: Self-Help

Publishers: Sterling Publishing Company

 Outwitting the Devil is presented as an interview between Napoleon Hill and a personified Devil, symbolizing the negative factors and thoughts that can hold us back.

In her note to readers, Sharon Lechter, the editor and annotator of “Outwitting the Devil” and co-author of the bestseller “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” explains that Napoleon Hill had initially written this book on a manual typewriter in 1938. Hill’s family, however, kept it hidden for seventy-two years, fearing the controversial reactions it might provoke. She says Hill’s boldness in exposing the Devil’s influence in everyday life—within our churches, schools, and politics—challenged the fundamental aspects of society at that time.

Lechter narrates that after consulting with stakeholders, she realized that the book, despite being written in 1938, was destined for publication in the present day. She believes its release is timely, answering difficult questions during this uncertain spiritual and economic time.

The book, published posthumously in 2011, is a sobering examination of the complications that prevent individuals from achieving their personal and professional goals. 

An exciting aspect of the book is when the author says that two similar entities occupy the body of each living person on Earth. One is inspired by and responds to the impulse of fear, while the other is motivated by and responds to the impulse of faith. It states; For more than a year, you have been driven like a slave by the fear entity. Before then, the faith entity gained control of your physical body, and you are now motivated by that entity. That is your other self, which knows no limitations, has no fears, and recognizes no such word as “impossible.”

The book has 12 chapters. These sections cover my first meeting with Andrew Carnegiea world revealed to me, and a strange interview with the Devil.

 Another topic is Drifting with the Devil. Drifting signifies being aimless and without purpose, making people vulnerable to negative influences and habits.

Then there is- hypnotic rhythm and seeds of fear; The Devil explains that fear is one of his most powerful tools. Fear of poverty, criticism, sickness, loss of love, ageing, and death are highlighted as the main fears that hold people back from realizing their full potential. 

Hypnotic rhythm focuses on the patterns and habits that individuals fall into. These can be positive or negative. Eliminating negative rhythms and establishing positive ones is essential for personal growth.

The author also states that having a clear and definite purpose in life is critical to overcoming the influence of the Devil. He says individuals can avoid dilly-dallying and achieve success by setting specific goals and upholding a strong sense of direction.

One of the book’s chapters discusses how one’s environment and education can either boost or hamper one’s success; Hill tells us that positive influences and continuous learning are crucial for personal growth and accomplishment.

We note the power of faith and resilience in overcoming obstacles and that belief in oneself and persistence in adversity are critical to outwitting the Devil.

When you explore these chapters, you discover a brand-new world. Hill stresses the importance of self-discipline in outwitting the Devil. Discipline includes controlling one’s thoughts, emotions, and actions to stay focused on goals and resist temptations. Another piece of advice is forming bonds with those with similar values and visions. This augments the strength of the individual and creates a strong force capable of achieving greatness. 

 This narrative is not just about overcoming external adversaries but a guide to conquering the demons within. It inspires us to take control of our lives, face our fears, and realize our utmost potential in an uncertain world. 

The preface explains how the author attained physical and financial freedom. It is quoted thus; “The boldest and the most inspiring of the self-help books by America’s number one success philosopher who, after thirty years of diligent snooping, found the Devil and wrung from him an astounding confession disclosing where he lives, why he exists, and how he gains control over the minds of people, and how anyone can outwit him. The book is a generous course in psychology, making clear the working principles of the human mind. When you finish this story of the Devil, you will know much more about God.”

The book’s unique style and winning dialogue make it enlightening and inspiring.

This book can be found in leading bookshops, online, and from some street vendors.

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