Charles Francis Haanel
(May 22, 1866 - November 27, 1949)
The Haanel family was of Swedish extraction, but had
lived in Silesia,
Prussia, before emigrating to Canada and thence to the
In St. Louis:
History of the Fourth City, the author Walter B.
Stevens wrote that "Charles F. Haanel was born in Ann
Arbor, Michigan, the son of Hugo and Emeline (Fox)
Haanel." He was the fourth of six children. According
to Stevens, "The family moved to St. Louis, Missouri
when Charles was a child. His first job was as an
office boy for the National Enameling & Stamping
Company in St. Louis,
and he worked for this firm in varying capacities for
fifteen years before
striking out on his own as a writer and businessman."
In 1885 he
married Esther M. Smith. They had one son and two
daughters. In 1891 his wife died. In
1908 he married for the second time, to Margaret
Nicholson of St. Louis,
whose father was W. A. Nicholson.
He was a
member of the Republican Party, a Freemason and
Shriner affiliated with St. Louis Keystone Lodge
No.243, (A.F. & A.M.) and a supporter of the
Missouri Athletic Club. He was a member of Pi Gamma Mu
Fraternity, a Fellow of the London
College of Psychotherapy, a member of the Authors
League of America; a member
of the American Society of Psychical Research; a
member of the Society of
Rosicrucians;a member of the American Suggestive
and a member of the Science League of America.
During his life, Haanel
earned and received several honorary academic degrees,
including hon. Ph.D.,
College National Electronic Institute; Metaphysics,
Psy. D., College of
Divine Metaphysics; and M.D., Universal College of
died on November 27, 1949; he was 83 years old. His
ashes were buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery, St.
Louis, Missouri USA.
financial success writer
The Master Key System, was published in 1912, when he
was 46 years old. It is written in the form of a
course in New Thought, mental development, financial
success, and personal health. The book was heavily
promoted in the pages of Elizabeth Towne's New Thought
magazine The Nautilus. By 1933 it had sold over
200,000 copies worldwide. Haanel practiced the
financial principles he preached
and was a self made success who owned several major
to Stevens, writing in 1909, "He was president of the
Company, president of the Sacramento Valley
Improvement Company, and president
of the Mexico Gold & Silver Mining Company."
Master Key System contained 24 parts or modules of
study. The allegedly "lost" chapters of the Master Key
System, chapters 25-28, which are found in some
editions, are not original, but have been copied from
the chapters 11-14 of A book
about You. Among the key points of Haanel's system are
what he refers to
as the laws of concentration, attraction, and
harmonious thinking and action.
Unique to the Master Key System is a set of exercises
that accompany each
chapter, and which are systematically building upon
each other - they are
what makes the Master Key System a system.
In addition to
the Master Key System, Haanel wrote several other
books including Mental Chemistry
published in 1922, The New Psychology published in
1924, A Book about You
published in 1927, and The Amazing Secrets of the Yogi
published in 1937
(which was co-authored with Victor Simon Perera).
Influence on other writers
Hill wrote Haanel a letter thanking him for The
Master Key System, In the letter Hill stated, "My
present success and the success which has followed my
work as President of the Napoleon Hill
Institute is due largely to the principles laid down
in The Master-Key System."
The Master Key System had sold over 200,000 copies and
then seemingly disappeared. The Master Key System is
one of the finest studies in self-improvement and
higher consciousness ever written. Covering everything
from how to get wealthy to how to get healthy, Mr.
Haanel leaves no stone unturned. With precision, he
elucidates on each topic with logic and rigor that not
only leaves you feeling good, but also thinking good.
The book was banned by the Church in 1933 and has been
hidden away for seventy years!
Rumor has it that while he was attending Harvard
University, Bill Gates
discovered and read The Master Key System by Charles
F. Haanel. It was this
book that inspired Bill Gates to drop out of the
University and pursue his
dream of "a computer on every desktop." You probably
know the results. .