Brian Tracy vs Zig Ziglar vs Napoleon Hill
So let’s say you are interested in developing yourself and the idea of reading some of the specialist literature on the topic appeals the big question is;
Who do you read?
It’s a big question and I can’t really answer it for you. What I can do for you however is review three of the most popular authors. It’s less about one vs the other and more about which one is going to be right for you. Although that said I will compare and contrast them a little!
My first introduction to his work was via his sales book Advanced Selling Strategies which I know I mentioned in my sales blog on Wednesday. It’s a great sales book and covers a range of personal development tips – after all if you develop yourself you develop the sales person inside you!
After writing that and a number of other business related books Brian moved more fully into the personal development field. I used to love his material. It was clearly laid out and had lots of ‘golden tips’ and ‘rules’ – such as the ‘rule of attraction’ which pretty much states that whatever you have in your life at the moment you have attracted to yourself. Consequently by aiming to attract better and more positive things into your life your life will improve.
It’s a great principle and a good example of the positive mindset style that Brian has. As one of the first authors to really help me change my life I have a lot of good feelings towards Brian however the more I researched and read in the field of personal development the more I disappointed I became.
What I discovered with his work was that a lot of it had been said before. Now I realise that self development authors are influenced by other authors in the field but over time I found less and less of Brian’s material to be new and fresh. I kept having the feeling that I had read something like it in the earlier authors – W.Clement Stone or Napoleon Hill for example.
Had I not read so much I would have recommended him almost without reservation although he does also have the habit of saying that ‘this is the most important’ or ‘one of the most important’ rules/principles etc quite a lot; until everything seems to be the most important!
PRO’S Lots of ‘rules’ that you can take out and apply immediately; material clearly outlined
CON’S Not as original as he first seems
RECOMMENDED WORKS Advanced Selling Strategies (if you are in sales)
BEST WAY TO ENJOY Reading his material
Ziglar, like Brian Tracy, started out as a sales trainer and moved across to pure personal development. The topics of personal and career development are obviously intertwined and both authors have simply developed their work in a natural way.
Ziglar tells the best stories and the thing I really like about his work is that it’s based on things he’s seen or people he has directly talked to. He speaks about himself and his wife (the red-head) and he speaks from the heart. I know several people who will listen to Zig simply for the entertainment value. He might repeat his stories a few times over his different books and CD’s but you don’t begrudge him that given the quality of the stories.
Where he falls down a little is that his material can cover a wide range of topics and often in a conversation manner. Brian Tracy has a firm structure that he works to whilst Ziglar roams over his topics. When I put a Zig CD on in the car I often don’t know exactly what I’m going to be listening to – other than the broad topic heading and I find it hard to remember on which CD he gives specific advice. Which clearly makes it harder to look up afterwards.
Another challenge that some people have, although not myself personally, is that he has a strong Texan accent and I know some folks in Britain who just can’t get past it. Also his recent work has become very religiously based and, whilst I don’t have an objection to it, I know it can be off-putting to some people. The more personal the work the more you find him referring to religion. His autobiography was particularly strong with religious references. I respect that he feels that way but it won’t work for everyone.
For all that if you were to strand me on a desert island and make me pick an author to listen to I’d pick Zig without a moment hesitation – and if I had to pick only one story it would be his house buying story – although the alligators in the swimming pool story always makes me laugh as well!
PRO’S As entertaining as anyone could possibly be; memorable stories help his points stay with you
CON’S Very religious particularly in his later works; accent bothers some people; not as structured as he could be
RECOMMENDED WORKS See You At The Top; any of his sales CD’s (if you are in sales)
BEST WAY TO ENJOY Listening to his material
Napoleon Hill is most famous for his book Think and Grow Rich which was the first of his books that I read. It is truly worthy of the accolade of a classic (although not my favourite of his works).
Napoleon had the almost unique advantage when he wrote his work of being hired to travel the world and interview successful people to try to identify what attributes or qualities had helped them become successful. As a result his work is full of references to long dead successful business people – some famous, some less so.
I absolutely love Hill’s work and despite its age I feel most of it is relevant to us nowadays. I do accept that some of his ideas and comments have not aged well and the fact that Hill was writing in the 1930’s does show through in places.
I mentioned above that I find Brian Tracy less original now than I first did and largely that’s down to the writings of Napoleon Hill. For me when I read Brian Tracy it is like reading an updated, rewrite of Hill’s work. Not all of it but enough that it makes me want to put Brian down and pick up Napoleon Hill.
The age of Hill’s work doesn’t bother me and that might indeed be the deciding factor for you. If you want something more up-to-date then Brian Tracy would be a better choice for you. If you can live with some almost naive 1930’s comments about business and technology then I’d recommending going with Hill.
PRO’S Original work and thoroughly researched; well structured and laid out
CON’S The material has aged and some appears out of date
RECOMMENDED WORKS Napoleon Hill The Golden Rules, Lost Work; Think and Grow Rich
BEST WAY TO ENJOY Reading his material
Reading any self development author is better than reading none. Each author has their strengths and their weaknesses. My recommendation would be hire a couple of books from the library and see who you click with.
I still read, or listen to, all three of the above authors regularly regardless of any of their flaws. They are wise, dedicated individuals who set out to share their knowledge for the betterment of all. I respect that a lot and would encourage all of you to try them out.
Until next time;