78 years ago, a journalist who studied 500 millionaires realised something about friendships that’s still relevant today

Wealthy champagne
The rich tend to associate with others who are rich. Stuart C. Wilson / Stringer / Getty Images

Journalist Napoleon Hill made a name for himself 78 years ago when he published “Think and Grow Rich,” a guide to getting rich based on research involving hundreds of self-made millionaires and the strategies they used to achieve success.

In addition to outlining the “secret” to building wealth in 13 principles, he revealed 30 “major causes of failure” that hold many of us back from getting rich, one of them being associating with the wrong crowd.

“Men take on the nature and the habits and the power of thought of those with who they associate,” he wrote. “We emulate those with whom we associate most closely.”

While often overlooked — or dismissed as elitist — your friendships could have a major impact on your financial success, and befriending wealthy people could help you get rich.

“In most cases, your net worth mirrors the level of your closest friends,” explains self-made millionaire and author Steve Siebold.

“Exposure to people who are more successful than you are has the potential to expand your thinking and catapult your income,” writes Siebold. “The reality is, millionaires think differently from the middle class about money, and there’s much to be gained by being in their presence.”

This concept extends outside the realm of friendships. It is also important to surround yourself with talented and driven employers and coworkers.

“One should use great care to select an employer who will be an inspiration, and who is, himself, intelligent and successful,” Hill wrote. “Pick an employer who is worth emulating.”

Additionally, Hill suggested creating a “Master Mind” group, a strategy to which legendary businessman Andrew Carnegie credited his wealth and success. It’s simply surrounding yourself with intelligent, talented, and trustworthy individuals who share your vision.

Carnegie, whose Master Mind group consisted of about 50 men, was not the only one who harnessed the power of great minds working together in order to grow wealthy.

“Analyse the record of any man who has accumulated a great fortune, and many of those who have accumulated modest fortunes, and you will find that they have either consciously, or unconsciously employed the ‘Master Mind’ principle,” he wrote.

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