He's one of the most respected life and business strategists in the world. But it wasn't always that way. The bestselling self-help author launched his career as the infomercial pitchman.
His insights stem from his own troubled childhood. He has told his story of how he grew up poor and left home at 17 after years of protecting his younger brother, sister and himself from his alcoholic mother who was often abusive.
Rather than wallow in self-pity, Robbins used his less-than-stellar home life as motivation to help others, and over three decades later he is setting an example that anyone has a chance to pursue what they love and nothing should hold you back from achieving your dreams.
He’s estimated to be worth nearly half a billion dollars today and clients pay thousands, even a million dollars a year for his help. Now, he is on a mission to teach everyone from college students to senior citizens how to save and invest their money.
In an interview with ABC News' chief business and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, Robbins talks about his new book “Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom.”
He explains how he spent four years gathering financial strategies from some of the world’s billionaires, from activist investor Carl Icahn, to Ray Dalio, the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund with $150 billion under management, and turned this information into seven simple steps for main street to manage and make a return on their money.
“I grew up dirt poor,” Robbins explained. “So I wanted to do something, and I have a unique gift most people don’t know. I’ve been coaching Paul Tudor Jones, one of the top 10 financial traders in history for 21 years. So every day I know what he’s doing for 21 years and he hasn’t lost money in 21 years.”
America’s financial system “is rigged but you can still win," he told ABC News, noting that his new book documents where the abuse is but then also the solution.
"You've got to learn to use it and not be used by it. You have to know how to protect yourself and take advantage,” Robbins said.
Jarvis also wanted to get to know the man who is credited with being “the father of the coaching industry.” So she did a “Real Biz Rapid Fire,” asking him about his favorite music and if he could coach anyone, who would it be?
Here are 11 things you probably don’t know about Tony Robbins:
1. One Thing Tony Robbins Wishes He Could Change About Himself?
“Make myself smaller so I can fit in cars. And buy clothes,” said Robbins, who is 6-feet-7.
2. What Kind of Car Does Tony Robbins Drive?
3. If Tony Robbins Could Coach Anyone, Who Would It Be?
Robbin’s wouldn’t reveal the person’s name but did confirm it’s not musicians Justin Bieber or Kanye West. He also confirmed it's “a talented person in the sports field who is really struggling right now.”
4. Which Big Sports Star Did Tony Robbins Turn Down?
Alex Rodriguez, a.k.a. A-Rod.
“He reached out a few years ago and I was unable to coach him at the time because my schedule was so crazy unfortunately,” Robbins said. "I feel for him, honestly. He’s an incredibly driven guy who’s made some big mistakes and I think it’s going to be hard for him to get a fair shake but he can make it happen if he performs, is the bottom line as we all know.”
5. Last Thing Tony Robbins Purchased?
6. Robbins’ Favorite Musician?
“I love anything from P. Diddy.”
7. Last Song Robbins Listened to on His Phone?
“I was listening to Tupac, the line is ‘Don’t be a b***h.'"
8. Does Tony Robbins Ever Have a Hard Time Getting Out of Bed in the Morning?
“If my wife is beside me in an amorous mode, yes,” Robbins joked.
“I don’t know if I’m jumping out of bed but I look forward to the day for sure," he added. "I’m not a sleeper. I sleep five, six hours a night. I figure I’ll sleep when I’m dead. My wife does love to sleep so that’s a conflict at times.”
9. Robbins’ Biggest Failure
Too many to count, he said.
“I failed at a million things. I failed to achieve my goals a million times but I don’t look at it as failure and that’s not being positive. I look at everything as an experience to be learned from. Look at success as a result of good judgment and good judgment is the result of experience and experience is often the result of bad judgment,” Robbins said.
10. Robbins' Biggest Fear When Starting Out in 1986?
“Not having the level of impact that I want it to have. You know, dying young,” Robbins said.
11. Robbins' Biggest Fear Today?
Robbins claims he doesn’t have any fears today.
“I’m not BS’ing. I’m not really fear-driven. I’m so fulfilled I don’t know," he said. “Maybe not being able to answer this question effectively for you."