Stars of the Self-Help Movement

ByABC News

N E W  Y O R K, May 16, 2003 -- Forbes' list of the top 10 self-help stars ranks authors according to the sales of their two most popular titles since the start of 2002; sales figures were provided by Nielsen BookScan.

1. Kenneth H. Blanchard / Spencer Johnson

Sound Bite: "You need a fully integrated implementation curriculum for making change really happen from top to bottom. You need an overall experience!" — Kenneth H. Blanchard

Back Story: Blanchard and Johnson published The One Minute Manager more than 20 years ago. The slim (111 pages) volume is geared to CEOs but is written like a children's book. Simplicity sells: 10 million copies have been sold over the last 22 years. More amazing: It is still among the top-selling self-help and business books. With 1998's Who Moved My Cheese? (written by Johnson with a forward by Blanchard), they hit the jackpot again.

What Else He/She Is Selling: Training programs, speakers, seminars, videos and audiotapes

Company/Web Site: The Ken Blanchard Cos.

Doctor of What?: Blanchard: Ph.D. in educational administration and leadership from Cornell University; Johnson: M.D. from Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

On Scene Since: 1982

Signature Book: Who Moved My Cheese? (1988)

Recent Book Sales*: 939,700 *(top two titles since 2002)

Google Hits: 19,500

2. Andrew Weil

Sound Bite: "You know that drinking tea is good for you. Green tea, in particular, helps guard against heart disease and cancer. Taking a break to sip your favorite brew can be a welcome respite, time to catch your breath and gather your thoughts before diving back into your busy day. Put the kettle on and chill."

Back Story: Weil wrote The Marriage of the Sun and Moon in 1980. But the New Age medic came of age around 1984 when he gained notice for teaching yuppies how to walk on hot coals at his home in Tucson, Ariz. — the same way author Anthony Robbins got his start. Weil calls himself a proponent of "integrative medicine," which "seeks to restore the focus of medicine on health and healing rather than disease and treatment." Weil was once a writer for the druggy High Times, and his latest, The Healthy Kitchen: Recipes for a Better Body, Life, and Spirit, has sold 333,000 copies since 2002.

What Else He/She Is Selling: Vitamins, wellness products, health advice; individualized health plans; nonprofit foundation; recipes

Company/Web Site:

Doctor of What?: M.D., Harvard University

On Scene Since: 1984

Signature Book: 8 Weeks to Optimum Health (1997)

Recent Book Sales*: 381,100 *(top two titles since 2002)

Google Hits: 40,400

3. Stephen R. Covey

Sound Bite: "Because [the seven habits] are based on principles, they make the maximum beneficial results possible. They become the basis of a person's character, creating an empowering center of correct maps from which an individual can effectively solve problems, maximize opportunities and continually learn and integrate other principles in an upward spiral of growth."

Back Story:Once an author of books for a religious audience as well as a business professor and consultant, Covey published 7 Habits in 1989, but it wasn't until a couple of years later that people started taking notice. The book took off in the early '90s and has never stopped selling. It is now the basis for Covey's training and speaking empire. His company, now called FranklinCovey, went public in 1992, has more than 2,000 employees and reports sales of $333 million, mostly from consulting services.

What Else He/She Is Selling: Business consulting, training programs, time-management products

Company/Web Site: FranklinCovey

Doctor of What?: Ph.D. in education and organizational studies, Brigham Young University; M.B.A., Harvard

On Scene Since: 1991

Signature Book: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989)

Recent Book Sales*: 299,000 *(top two titles since 2002)

Google Hits: 45,300

4. Suze Orman

Sound Bite: "Your money will work for you and you will always have enough — more than enough — when you give it energy, time and understanding. I have come to think that money is very much like a person, and it will respond when you treat it as a cherished friend — never fearing it, pushing it away, pretending it doesn't exist or turning away from its needs, never clutching so hard it hurts."

Back Story:Orman, a financial planner from Oakland, Calif., made a play for a national audience in 1990 when she entered a partnership with author James Jorgensen to provide personal-finance advice via a 900 telephone number. Since then she has eclipsed her former partner. She masterfully combines the financial with the psychological and, of course, the spiritual. "Financial freedom is when you have power over your fears and anxieties instead of the other way around," Orman says.

What Else He/She Is Selling: Video and audio tapes, insurance plans, protection portfolio, TV show

Company/Web Site:

Doctor of What?: Not a doctor

On Scene Since: 1995

Signature Book: The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom (1997)

Recent Book Sales*: 299,000 *(top two titles since 2002)

Google Hits:16,800

5. Phil McGraw

Sound Bite: "[Live] a life that is more in tune with your 'authentic' self (who you were created to be) [rather than] your 'fictional' self (who the world has told you to be)."

Back Story:McGraw, or Dr. Phil as he is known, is one of the authors touched by Oprah Winfrey. The talk-show queen employed McGraw to help her lawyers with jury selection when she was on trial in Texas for allegedly defaming the beef industry. Though the charges struck many as absurd, Oprah gave McGraw some of the credit for her beating the rap. From there he built an empire, spinning himself off from Winfrey's chat show to star in one of his own. He's so hot that even his 23-year-old son, Jay, has a best seller: Life Strategies for Teens.

What Else He/She Is Selling: TV show, workbooks, seminars, books by his child

Company/Web Site:

Doctor of What?: Ph.D. in psychology, University of North Texas

On Scene Since: 1999

Signature Book: Self Matters (2001)

Recent Book Sales*: 271,000 *(top two titles since 2002)

Google Hits:19,800

6. Marianne Williamson

Sound Bite: "Let us turn the power of our consciousness in the direction of planetary healing, bearing witness with our mind's eye to a great light pouring onto the earth and dissolving the darkness of hatred and fear."

Back Story:Williamson first hit the media in 1991 when she presided over Elizabeth Taylor's eighth wedding, to construction worker Larry Fortensky, at Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch. The marriage is history, but Williamson's star still shines. The ex-nightclub singer was a hit on the lecture circuit in New York and Los Angeles even before A Return to Love was published. After guru kingmaker Oprah Winfrey endorsed the book, it never stopped selling.

What Else He/She Is Selling: Events, miracle cards

Company/Web Site:

Doctor of What?: Not a doctor

On Scene Since: 1991

Signature Book: Return to Love (1992)

Recent Book Sales*: 224,000 *(top two titles since 2002)

Google Hits:27,800

7. Richard Carlson

Sound Bite: "In this book I will share with you very specific strategies — things you can start doing today … When you 'don't sweat the small stuff,' your life won't be perfect, but you will learn what life has to offer with less resistance. As we learn in the Zen philosophy, when you learn to 'let go' of problems instead of resisting with all your might, your life will begin to flow."

Back Story:Though he'd written more than a dozen books before on subjects like love and therapy, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff made Carlson a star. He followed Don't Sweat the Small Stuff … and It's All Small Stuff with titles like Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Women, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff at Work and Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Teens. Whatever works. Most recently Carlson went out on a limb with a new idea: What About the Big Stuff? His message in a nutshell: Don't sweat the small stuff.

What Else He/She Is Selling: Audiotapes, magazine column

Company/Web Site:

Doctor of What?: Ph.D. in psychology, Sierra University

On Scene Since: 1997

Signature Book: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff … and It's All Small Stuff (1997)

Recent Book Sales*: 199,500 *(top two titles since 2002)

Google Hits:8,920

8. John Gray

Sound Bite: "Through understanding the hidden difference of the opposite sex we can more successfully give and receive the love that is in our hearts. By validating and accepting our differences, creative solutions can be discovered whereby we can succeed in getting what we want. And, more important, we can learn how to best love and support the people we care about. Love is magical, and it can last, if we remember our differences."

Back Story:In 1990, Gray published Men, Women, and Relationships: Making Peace With The Opposite Sex. Hardly a best seller. But in the guru biz, it's all in the packaging. Two years later Gray turned himself into an industry by revisiting the theme with Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. In addition to tapes, books and speaking fees, Gray manages his own counseling network and runs personal ads on his Web site.

What Else He/She Is Selling: Telephone relationship coaching, personal ads, a board game, counseling referrals, workshops, audio and video tapes

Company/Web Site:

Doctor of What?:Ph.D. in human sexuality, Columbia Pacific University (correspondence course)

On Scene Since: 1992

Signature Book: Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus (1992)

Recent Book Sales*: 140,200 *(top two titles since 2002)

Google Hits:24,900

9. Anthony Robbins

Sound Bite: "I'll never forget the day it really hit me that I was truly living my dream. I was flying my jet helicopter from a business meeting in Los Angeles, traveling to Orange County on the way to one of my seminars. As I flew over the city of Glendale, I suddenly recognized a large building, and I stopped the helicopter and hovered above it. As I looked down, I realized that this was the building I'd worked in as a janitor 12 years ago! "

Back Story:The movie Men in Black suggested that Robbins is just visiting this planet, but it seems as if he's here to stay. At 25, the 6-foot-7 Robbins was charging Los Angelinos $495 to participate in his "fire-walking" seminars. His Unlimited Power was published that year as well. Robbins says he has "directly impacted the lives of nearly 50 million people from 80 countries." Claimed customers include Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, François Mitterrand, Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. His Web site also notes that he was born on Feb. 29, 1960, a day that exists only in leap years, so Robbins, 43, has celebrated just 10 birthdays. Maybe Men in Black had a point.

What Else He/She Is Selling: Mass events, time planners, nutritional supplements, audio and video tapes, personal coaching

Company/Web Site:

Doctor of What?:Not a doctor

On Scene Since: 1986

Signature Book: Awaken the Giant Within (1991)

Recent Book Sales*: 74,899 *(top two titles since 2002)

Google Hits:41,000

10. Deepak Chopra

Sound Bite: "Some of my first shots sprayed wildly, and others landed surprisingly close to the hole. I was also astonished by the wellspring of emotions that erupted from hidden places inside me. I got frantically excited when a long putt went in … Any claim that 'this is only a game' crumbled like a weak seawall in a hurricane … Since the self is all-important in golf, I propose an approach that is centered there."

Back Story:Is there a more multifaceted guru than Deepak Chopra? The endocrinologist from Boston is a prolific author who owns a spa in La Costa, Calif. (Gandharva therapy: 70 minutes for $165), has a line of teas and spices, sells health products and offers a "profound and mathematically sophisticated form of astrology." His latest book is Golf for Enlightenment. But, you might ask, is there Chopra en español? The answer, of course, is si.

What Else He/She Is Selling: Music, teas and spices; spas and related therapies; wellness products; seminars; golf lessons

Company/Web Site:

Doctor of What?:M.D., All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India

On Scene Since: 1987

Signature Book: The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success (1994)

Recent Book Sales*: 60,300 *(top two titles since 2002)

Google Hits:71,100

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