The Superior Value of Specialized Knowledge!

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Can hardly believe that we are already on Chapter 5 of the Think and Grow Rich Book Study Project!

This chapter is all about specialized knowledge and how it does more to propel us forward compared to generalized knowledge.

Specialized knowledge can be directly used to solve problems. General knowledge cannot. This brings up the saying Jack of All Trades, Master of None. Napoleon Hill has deemed specialized knowledge as the fourth step towards riches.

The other three covered in previous chapters are: Thought, Desire and Autosuggestion.

Time Is Precious

It is very hard to be good at everything. Time is precious. Why dilute it by spreading it over too many things?

There is nothing wrong with general knowledge. But don't expect to get rich by it. Here is a quote from the very first paragraph, "The faculties of the great universities possess, in the aggregate, practically every form of general knowledge known to civilization. Most professors have but little money. They specialize on the teaching of knowledge, but they do not specialize on the organization, or the use of knowledge."

The Magic Of Using Specialized Knowledge

Entrepreneurs who are successful either learn the specialized knowledge they need, know where and how to get that knowledge, or do a bit of both. Napoleon Hill gives several examples of how individuals used specialized knowledge to take years of moving up the ranks compared to those who started at the bottom. Like magic!

When an organization knows an applicant has specific expertise they badly need, they start them off at a higher level compared to someone who joins a company with the idea they will learn the ropes as they go along.

My Specilized Knowledge Story

Let me give you a personal example. I graduated in Electrical Engineering and Electronics in the year man went to the moon. I was not a very good student. It was hard for me to design electronic circuits. Instead, I focused on a little thing called Light Emitting Diodes. I was fascinated how a piece of semiconductor could emit light. My graduating project was based on opto-electronics. This was a very specialized area of electronics. I was bad at everything else. But very good at this.

Remember this was a time when LED's were only available in red, green or yellow. And they were extremely inefficient and expensive. Hence, the only applications they were good for were in the military. Since these devices were so small they could be connected in a matrix and programmed to display information. And in very small spaces. Like in cameras to embed coded data in the margin of reconnaissance film. Top secret at the time.

After working for a company in England I got dissatisfied with the company because I felt I was not earning enough. My pay at the time was under $5000 a year!

I Took My Knowledge To Canada

I packed it in and went to Canada. With only about $500 to my name. I went there on blind faith that I would find a job. Fortunately I had friends there who put me up while I was looking. I went to so many employment agencies and contacted companies with no success. In England a university degree takes only 3 years. While in Canada and the US it is 4.

Everyone concluded that my 3 year degree was not good enough. Fancy that, It was fine for England but not for Canada. I was about to give up and return to England. My friends told me to look at the job opening pages one more time.

The Magic Ad In The Sunday Paper

One ad caught my eye. I had to do a double take. The words read like my resume! They were looking for an engineer with experience in LEDs! This was in 1975. When I went for my interview, it was I who did most of the interviewing. I landed a job to develop high performance LED displays for the US Air Force. The project was sponsored by the Canadian Government and the USAF. The work was going to be done at there sister division in Los Angeles!

Not only did I get paid my regular salary, I also got an extra living and transportation allowance of $1000 a month. Remember this was back in 1975. In today s dollars that would be about $5000! But this didn't end there.

After the project was over and In returned to Canada, I received an offer from a US company who had heard about me.

They Made Me An Offer I Refused!

They made me an offer that I rejected. I countered with a number 25% higher. They accepted. The deal was not done yet. They had to prove to the US Government that they coudn't find an engineer in the US who was available with my qualifications. That is not to say there weren't others who had my specialized knowledge. But they were few and far between and not looking for a job. Because the company who wanted me had to place ads everywhere for my position. Nobody responded.

Fortunately for me they succeeded in getting me approved. I got my working permit and moved to LA. And they paid all my travel and moving expenses. Including moving a Steinway Grand Piano that I owned.

In the world of electronics there were so many other engineers much smarter than I. It was my specialized knowledge in a very small segment of the electronics field that propelled me into a dream career. I traveled all over the world for business and took my wife on many trips that we extended for a vacation.

And the compensation wasn't shabby either!

Every one of us in Wealthy Affiliate is positioned where we have the option to choose a very specialized niche that allows us to write our own ticket.

We All Possess Specialized Knowledge

It may not seem that way while we are in learning mode. Just think, the skills we are developing are very specialized. And we narrow that down further.


So that we can become experts in that area to help solve problems for others.

Our challenge is to connect with people who need our expertise. And that is what we are trained to do at Wealthy Affiliate. It just takes a bit of time. And focused work.

Get The Habit - It Better Be Good!

I want to leave you with a final thought from Chapter 5. It says that success and failure are largely the result of habit! Following the lessons taught in Think and Grow Rich will help us change our habits to those conducive to success rather than failure.

Please share any experience you may have where specialized knowledge worked in your favor. And how you can use the idea of specialized knowledge in your affiliate marketing business.

I wish you much success in your affiliate marketing journey.



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Recent Comments


As much as I enjoyed this chapter, I have to say your story, Edwin, is as much, if mot more, entertaining and informative!

This chapter however, was quite an eye opener - especially in it's ability to illustrate how the Great Depression parallels the economic atmosphere we are experiencing today.

“…Economic conditions…have made it necessary for thousands of people to find additional or new sources of income. For the majority of these, the solution to their problem may be found only by acquiring specialized knowledge”.

Many of us today are faced with the same challenges – some out of financial necessity and others as a personal growth and mental health necessity. In any event, specialized knowledge will be a key element to building the bridge that leads to success.

I had a meeting with my supervisor a couple of months ago. Among other things she wanted to talk about feedback she had received from co-workers regarding my work. (This is something we all do every year).

She told me that one statement kept showing up: “Susan has lot of experience and knowledge, but she doesn’t talk about it…she needs to speak up more and share what she knows more often”.
My response, “I know a little bit about of lot things but not that much about any one thing”.

In reality, I do have specialized knowledge in a few areas: 1) shoulder and hand injuries and rehab; 2) NDT (Neuro-Developmental Treatment) – techniques to treat people who have a stroke or head injury and my main specialty – 3) the treatment of people who have had spinal cord injuries.

However, in the current hospital environment where I work, not much of those particular skill sets are needed or required. My knowledge and experience isn’t completely useless, but my current patient population primarily consists of those with hip, knee and shoulder replacements who are only in the hospital overnight – occasionally, a few stay up to three overnights. The service I provide with 36 years’ experience is basically the same as a new graduate.

The entire healthcare model has changed so drastically. Thirty years ago, if you wanted to work in a specialty rehab hospital you were required to be NDT certified. Today, advanced degrees and certifications can actually be a liability as this translates into a higher salary for the employee = less profit for the hospital. Insurance companies are going to pay the same rate for therapy provided by a therapist who has a doctorate degree as a new graduate with only a BS and they do not want to pay extra for knowledge, skills or services (NDT treatment for example) that are time consuming and expensive.

About 10 years ago I decided to return to college to obtain a degree in interior design and it was during a project that focused on adaptive reuse that I discovered universal design. I resisted the whole concept at first after all, the whole reason for returning to school was to get as far away from healthcare as possible.
At the urging of a couple of instructors I explored the subject a bit further and decided to at least keep this option simmering on a distant back burner. Home modifications and home safety is another area I hold a certain level of specialized knowledge so it would seem the field of universal design / aging in place to be a logical extension from a career as an occupational therapist.

Ten years later however, I am still in healthcare (it does pay the bills) and continue with this on-again / off-again process of obtaining certification as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS).

Yes, I could do it…probably should do it…but do I want to?

On the surface the idea sounds like a no brainer however…there are s-o-o-o- many considerations. This service is only feasible to those with money and a desire to remain in their own home. Retrofitting modifications in a 30 – 50 years old home is, for the most part, not a wise investment. It is a safe investment with regard to personal health but not financial health. Retirement communities are popping up everywhere with an accompanying philosophy, “Where you plan your next vacation and not the next home repair”.

Should I pursue this I envision hours drafting (either by hand or in ACAD) floor plans, elevations, space plans with FF&E specs only to be rejected by the client or a city/municipal inspector or both. The list of “considerations” continues ad infinitum.
The bottom line, these considerations or obstacles can be overcome for the person with the imagination and desire to be successful in this area and a willingness to embrace all the stress that accompanies such an endeavor.

At this point in my life, I do not.

Back to the subject of specialized knowledge. The relevancy of specialized knowledge is only as valuable as the need and demand for that knowledge.

My stepson is autistic and possesses highly specialized knowledge. He can tell you the title and release date of EVERY Disney movie EVER made. He can sketch and draw from memory EVERY Nintendo game cover and tell you the year each game was released. It’s all fine and good but does this knowledge carry monetary value? True, if you ever had a question about either topic and he was available, you would save a few seconds time looking up that information.

The lesson – given the time and opportunity, each of us can state we are good at something, but in a capitalist society, the monetary value given a particular talent or skill lies in the demand it generates and its ability to solve a problem.

When it comes to specialized knowledge I feel I am still in the learning stage.
I have never been one to “follow the crowd” and I do not like doing the same thing over and over. I’m wired to learn new things – completely new things.

Although not specifically stated as “specialized knowledge”, throughout the training here at WA, Kyle emphasizes the need to become an “authority” in your chosen niche. In other words, develop the specialized knowledge that attracts readers to your articles or website.

I am hoping there is enough sand in my hourglass of life to allow me time to discover or develop the specialized knowledge needed to create a product or service I am happy to provide while solving a problem for many people. When that happens, as a member of WA I am uniquely poised to organize and use that knowledge in either my existing website or create a completely new one.

Watch this space...

Susan, You are such an amazing writer! I enjoy reading your posts. I admire you for your specialized knowledge. I will be "watching" your space to see where you go!

Thank you for reading and for your kind words!
Time hasn't been on my side...I got this posted right under the wire only hours before Edwin posts the next chapter 😂

Hello Sue,

When I started to write a post for my website to direct visitors to this blog post on WA I thought it would be helpful to see what I wrote. I forget things easily and do not remember most of the things I write.

I was so gratified to see you had written this eloquent piece on specialized knowledge using your personal experiences. I wish I had returned to this post at that time. As you noticed, I had moved on to the next and incorrectly assumed that there would be no new posts here. How wrong was I.

In fact, I will be returning to all my TAGR posts to see if I had missed contribution by other members.

Unlike serving customers where we live, for example as an employee, in Affiliate Marketing we have different dynamics at play. There are small but significant groups of people in target markets that are not served well. There is less competition. This provides an ideal opportunity for affiliate marketers like us.

Sure, one needs to know the target market is large enough to provide the volume of traffic we need to generate the income we desire.

Hence, the real life skills you have that are now in two different niches, can be used for profit online The strategy will be different of course.

Instead of providing a personal care or design service, you will be finding and sharing products and services provided by others who happen to have an affiliate program. You can use your specialized knowledge to help those looking for what you are promoting and who happen to land on your website, an informed decision.

Go for it Sue. I wish you much success in leveraging your specialized knowledge for success in your own business rather than in someone else's.

By the way, I enjoyed reading your response. You did a great job.




I had a plan... I wanted to be successful in affiliate marketing. It was not some thingie that popped up out of the blue or some blog post that enticed me into this trade. Although I did my research if it was something that would be a fit for me.
With the internet these days you can't find all the information you want, get overloaded by, or even mislead by it.
I knew if I wanted to succeed; I needed to purchase specialized knowledge.
That brought me to WA, again I did not jump into it, I followed the OEC course and by reaching level 10 I knew this platform was the one that will lead me to my success.
While Kyle & Carson and his team are no specialists of all aspects of this trade, nor do they claim it to be, they allowed a community to help one another, even allow them to create specialized knowledge courses. As Hill would say: their "Master Mind" group.
I call that smart business, don't you?
Each his own.. so buying more specialized knowledge was needed.
Two examples :
To build an email list , you need an autoresponder and learn how to use it. So I purchased a plan ,but not just any but one that also provided good training.
Same goes for creating content. Since that is a big part of my business I had to invest in that too.
When I buy I look at two things (besides the price) , is there a good training and service accompanied with, then I know it is go for me ,because I know then they care about their product they offer.
Purchasing specialized knowledge is a smart thing to do ,but only when you have a plan.

I wish you well,

Hi Luc,

When I started to write a post for my website to direct visitors to this blog post on WA I thought it would be helpful to see what I wrote. I forget things easily and do not remember most of the things I write.

I was so gratified to see you had written this informative piece on specialized knowledge using your personal experiences. I wish I had returned to this post at that time. As you noticed, I had moved on to the next chapter and incorrectly assumed that there would be no new posts here. How wrong was I.

In fact, I will be returning to all my TAGR posts to see if I had missed contribution by other members.

Your points are in sync with the teachings of Napoleon Hill in this chapter. I wish I had read your response at that time. Better late than never.

Specialized knowledge doesn't always have to be learned. As you stated, it can be purchased. One can also employ others who have the specialized knowledge one needs as so many successful entrepreneurs do.

The key is to know what specialized knowledge is necessary and then take the most efficient steps to get it and use it to solve problems and make a profit doing so.

Thanks so much for your insights Luc.


My pleasure ,yes, I know I am still behind ,have not finished the book yet, changed job and rescheduling my time between job, business and reading ,was harder than I thought :-)

A wonderful real-life story, Edwin. I congratulate you on your determination to never give up. You knew your ability in a specialized subject and you fought your way until eventually, your expertise was recognized.

I don't have a history anywhere near as great as yours. I have had several interests I could have developed further, particularly music and/or art. However, those didn't fit well with family life. I persevered with administration skills which I enjoyed greatly. In saying greatly, it was the positions I held which extended beyond just the 'hands-on'. Then, after the usual age of retirement, I started and succeed with my own company, being virtual secretarial services. Eventually, I had to give that up due to illness. But, not being ready, or imagining life without cause to activate my computer keyboard, I moved forward with affiliate marketing, eventually finding Wealthy Affiliate.

It is incredible the paths available to those who have the desire and determination to succeed.


Hi Valerie,

You have a very engaging story. The important factor is you found something to do that you enjoyed. That is half the battle.

Sorry to hear about illness playing a role in your career development. I feel much more free in retirement where I can pursue new challenges like affiliate marketing.

Finding WA was a Godsend. I am enjoying my experience here. Especially meeting wonderful members like you.

Thanks for your comments here.


Thank you for your kind words, Edwin.

I am pleased you are enjoying your WA experience. And, not only are you getting enjoyment, you are passing so much pleasure on to those who have chosen to follow and join in the challenge you've set for us.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.


You're most kind Valerie. Watch out for my Monday post on this book study. It's been a while since I sent out PM's reminding members. Since I am reminding you now I won't send you this PM.



Hello Edwin,

You had as a professional experience a mixture of specialized knowledge, perseverance, dedication and I can even say luck. A motivating story that emphasizes an important thing: give yourself value, if you want to be valued.

Personally, I have always been passionate about specialized knowledge, which I was lucky enough to practice. But this fact made me realize that behind this process are two very important things. The first is the reason why you do a specialization, and the second is how it makes you feel when you practice it.

When I first read the book "Think & Grow Rich", many years ago, I was still a student at the University of Management. I can't condemn the fact that it attracted me to study all the time, but something in this chapter stuck in my mind: "The man who can organize and direct a Master Mind group of men who possess knowledge useful in the accumulation of money, is just as much a man of education as any man in the group."

The fact that I was still a student and not finished my specialization, forced me at that time to start my professional career from the very bottom. It was for a German company and I started as a simple sales agent. After almost two years, I had finished the University, and in the meantime I had also specialized in Management Psychology, and I was promoted as a Manager.

Due to the family and financial situation of course I aimed to make money from the beginning. I formed a strong team, giving each member the right to bring a valuable contribution. For six years I brought value and profit to myself and to the company, but I also sacrificed my status as a parent, health, relationship with family, working 15-16 hours a day, to have money but especially to enrich others.

I had the money but I lost myself. I had reach the crossroads both in terms of health, but as well emotionally and mentally. I was at the point where I needed to help myself, rehabilitate my life, find my balance and then be able to help others. That is why my professional career took a completely different path and gave "birth" on WA platform to what is today my online business, having as a basic idea the organization of a "Master Mind" group to help others.

Have a great week-end.

Thanks for sharing. That family/work/life balance is always a challenge. Best to you.

Hi Diana,

Thanks for sharing details of your reparte with knowledge I like the notion of the mastermind compensating for knowledge we do not have. We still need to know enough about our project to decide what information we really need.

Life is a balance. It can be a challenge to find that balance as you found out. This is especially tough when you have kids at home.

I am glad you figured it out eventually. WA is a breath of fresh air where we can let our imaginations be exercised to the fullest.

Thanks for your candid comments Diana. I always enjoy reading them.

All the best to you.


Hello Edwin,

"Balance is the key to everything: what we do, think, say, eat, feel. They all require awareness, and through this awareness we can grow." Koi Fresco.

Thank you for your appreciation. I wish you a great week ahead.

Best Regards,

Best wishes for you too, Barb. Have a great week.


I have to confess, I feel I am in the company of giants. All of you have such rich experiences. If I would compare my life to yours I would feel so small. But I must not go there. Instead, I am counting on all of you to be my "mastermind group" and learn from you. I strive to read every message every week to learn from you. Mainly I look for your interpretation of the topic. That way it becomes rooted in my mind and I understand it better.

We are all gaining specialized knowledge through our membership in WA. It is our "home study" program, isn't it? We have invested our money and our time to pursue specialized knowledge! And then we build our websites based on our other specialized knowledge (niche).

Hill wrote that "knowledge only has value when applied for some worthy end"(paraphrasing). This was sparked my fire because that is my intention; to provide worthy information to my audience.

Thanks all of you and Edwin for this group and all the wisdom you are sharing.
I love it.

Hi Barbara,

Thanks for your candid comments. I understand your sentiments about comparing oneself to other members who are more advanced than oneself. I feel that way too.

Never shortchange yourself because we all have room for improvement. We just happen to be at different levels. Often based on how long we have been in this business.

Most of the members who are making significant income have been involved in affiliate marketing for many years. Even some of those who are new members have done this before.

That is good news for us. Meaning if we do the right things right, we will also arrive at the promised land.

I am happy that you are finding this group study helpful. I wrote a blog for my website with the message we need to change our habits in order to do the right things at a pace to give us what we seek in a timely manner.

You are on the right track Barbara. Keep up the good work.


Thank you Edwin! You are an encouragement. I appreciate you very much.

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