In many of his books, the positivity guru and author of Think and Grow Rich, said he was an understudy of Andrew Carnegie in which he learned his principles of business and wrote about them in his books. I can't seem to find anywhere that verifies this. Given that Andrew Carnegie was an iconic American titan, you would think it would be in his history somewhere as much as Hill talks about him.

Is this true?

  • Being an "understudy" does not directly imply that there was any friendship involved or, indeed, any social relationship.
    – Steve Bird
    Jun 3, 2016 at 15:47
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    That's true Steve, however in his books Napoleon says that he met with Andrew and he personally challenged Napoleon to interview wealthy people to discover a simple formula for success. Napoleon reported that Carnegie had given him a letter of introduction to Ford, whom Hill said had then introduced him to Alexander Graham Bell, Elmer R. Gates, Thomas Edison, and Luther Burbank. I can't find anything from Carnegie's side that these meetings actually occurred.
    – v15
    Jun 3, 2016 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


A major biographer of Andrew Carnegie who has based his extensive biography on thousands of pieces of personal and business correspondence, written records and other historical materials, claims there is simply no evidence to prove that Napoleon Hill ever met Andrew Carnegie. It seems he simply made the whole thing up after Carnegie's death to sell his books.

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    Can you add some references to the claims you have made here?
    – NSNoob
    Mar 10, 2017 at 6:38
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    Who is that biographer?
    – v15
    Mar 14, 2017 at 16:39
  • I am not sure this has bearing but I heard interviewed on NPR a man who went to MIT being interviewed in person by Edison near the end of Edison's career and also that in the 19th century, Stiles bio of Vanderbilt indicated that CV would lend money (at interest) in person to apparently ordinary people who came by his office. Vanderbilt used to drive his own carriage in NYC when already one of the richest men in the USA. Also, Jackson had an open party at the Whitehouse and even in Lincoln's time, people visited. Maybe the separation between the famous and "regular" folks is a modern thing.
    – Jeff
    Apr 9, 2017 at 6:10

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