Stars of the Self-Help Movement

ByABC News
May 15, 2003, 1:26 PM

N E W  Y O R K, May 16 -- 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.