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The History of Mastermind Groups

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Mastermind groups have been around since the beginning of time: the founding fathers of the United States were essentially a mastermind group; likewise Jesus and his disciples. The Greek king, Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) had a group of advisors as have most world leaders in history; these groups of advisors can be considered mastermind groups.

You may have heard of Benjamin Franklin’s Junto. (Junto is a Spanish word which means “council.”) Ben Franklin, an individual committed to self-improvement, in 1727 founded a discussion group called the Junto that evolved into the American Philosophical Association and helped establish the first U.S. lending library as well as an academy that evolved into the University of Pennsylvania. The Junto was essentially a mastermind group.

Andrew Carnegie, one of the most famous leaders of industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and a Scottish immigrant who became the richest man in the world, believed participating in a mastermind group to be an essential ingredient for success.

Most often we hear the name of Napoleon Hill associated with mastermind groups. While Hill clearly didn’t invent the idea, he can certainly be given credit for promoting the concept of a mastermind alliance. Napoleon Hill was an American author, one of the first to write on the topic known today as personal development. In 1928, Hill published a study course called The Law of Success, based on his interviews (at the suggestion of Andrew Carnegie) over the course of 20 years with some of the country’s most successful men. One of the lessons contained within The Law of Success is… you guessed it… a mastermind group. Nine years later, Hill continued to expound on the topic of the mastermind alliance in his best-selling classic, Think and Grow Rich.

A Mastermind is a unique concept
that leverages the collective power of the group,
creating a Third Mind.

~Napoleon Hill


One could argue that the modern day Alcoholics Anonymous is a type of mastermind group. AA was founded in 1935 and today has more than 2 million members worldwide. PT Barnum, the great showman, went to a mastermind group; author Tom Peters touts the idea in his book, In Search of Excellence.

Zig Ziglar said “You can get everything in life you want, if you’ll just help others get what they want.”

1 comments:

Sandy Smith said...

thanks for discussing the history of mastermind groups.
mastermind groups

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