A fulsome life story of an evangelistic lecturer, a champion of Babbittry, and author of the prototypical self-helper, the late Professor Napoleon Hill, is offered by an interested party. Ritt is executive director, secretary, treasurer, and general factotum of the Napoleon Hill Foundation. With freelance writer Landers he presents, in tones of awe entirely unjustified by the facts provided, the tale of a self-made man. Hill, in case you didn't know, was the author of Think and Grow Rich! and other popular self-starters for the lumpen. It all began in 1908 when, as Hill often said, no less a personage than Andrew Carnegie challenged the young reporter to interview men of the Scottish captain of industry's ilk, discover the secrets of their successes, and report the results to an anxious world. This became Hill's mission over the years, through three marriages, financial Waterloo after Waterloo, and a generally feckless career. Stalwart Nap learned the way to wealth and general good times from the likes of Thomas A. Edison, Henry Ford, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and lots of other high achievers. (Unfortunately, the extensive records of his interviews were lost in a fire, he lamented.) Believing that the only limitations are self-imposed, he billed himself as an attorney-at-law, which he was not. He exaggerated his net worth and fibbed about his age. Over and over, in the sometimes purplish prose of his biographers, ``he mulled over his philosophy, his life's work, his greater purpose in being.'' The hokum finally paid off, particularly because of a symbiotic partnership with W. Clement Stone, the beau ideal of insurance salesmen. A puff piece for fans, on the brink of parody. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen).
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