The self-help industry is an $11 billion dollar industry. Regardless of their income, people are willing to shell out money for self-help books, videos, seminars and retreats in hopes it will improve the condition of their lives. In 2011, self-help audio books grossed nearly $3 billion in the U.S. This does not include worldwide revenue generated from printed books, personal coaching, seminars, webinars, retreats and other products and services.
Considered “recession proof,” this industry continues to grow despite being unregulated and marred by public scandal. Many remain skeptical of the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, who changed his name and went from being homeless to famed spiritual teacher and author without credentials. In 2011, ‘The Secret’ self-help guru James Arthur Ray was sentenced to prison after a “sweat lodge” exercise during a spiritual retreat left 3 attendees dead. Though it was not the first time Ray came under fire for his unorthodox methods, this incident was the deadliest. Despite objections from the victims' families, Ray is still a fixture on the self-help scene today.
Who are some of the highest earning self-help gurus?
10 James Arthur Ray - $2.4 Million
9 Les Brown - $10 Million
8 Jay McGraw - $12.5 Million
7 Eckhart Tolle - $15 Million
German self-help author Eckart Tolle went from being homeless to self-made multimillionaire. Tolle is worth a reported $15 million. The well-known spiritual teacher authored two New York Times bestsellers, ‘A New Earth’ and ‘The Power of Now.’ Tolle caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey and went on to appear on 'The Oprah Show' and partner with Winfrey to create a webinar series. Tolle is also a speaker that leads seminars and retreats. In 2009, he launched the web-based video channel, Eckart Tolle TV. According Oprah.com, the spiritual leader has resided in Vancouver, Canada since the mid-90s.
6 Zig Ziglar - $15 Million
Salesman turned motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar amassed a net worth of $15 million. The now deceased Christian Values speaker penned self-help books that addressed a range of social and personal issues. Ziglar traveled for speaking engagements and motivational seminars until his untimely death in 2012 due to pneumonia. His corporation, Ziglar Training Systems, continues to offer personal and professional development to small and large businesses.
5 Jack Canfield - $25 Million
4 Laura Catherine Schlessinger - $40 Million
Former TV talk show and radio show host, Laura Schlessinger has a net worth of $40 million. The former marriage and family counselor also authors self-help books about relationships and personal growth. Her radio show, 'The Dr. Laura Program' was once the second in popularity after 'The Rush Limbaugh Show'. Schlessinger moved to XM Radio after using a racial slur and making offensive comments about interracial marriage cost her sponsors and affiliates. Schlessinger's stint on TV did not end well. Viewers found her impersonal and the Post exposed her for filming with fake guests.
3 Paul McKenna - $55 Million
2 Deepak Chopra - $80 Million
Friend to the stars, Deepak Chopra is worth an estimated $80 million. Chopra has been a personal spiritual guru to many Hollywood celebs, including Michael Jackson, and founded the American Association of Ayurvedic Medicine. The best selling author is a licensed physician and popular leader in the holistic movement. Chopra co-founded the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, CA, which specializes in nutrition, sleep-wake cycles and stress management. He is also a college professor and paid lecturer that often covers metaphysics and philosophy. Chopra has appeared on 'The Oprah Show' and Time magazine named him one of the top icons and heroes of the 20th century.
1 Tony Robbins - $480 Million
Coach, speaker, actor and self-help author Tony Robbins has a reported net worth of $480 million. Robbins may be familiar to most Americans through his infomercials and co-hosting stint on 'Oprah’s Lifeclass'. In 2010, two episodes of 'Breakthrough with Tony Robbins' aired on ABC before the series was cancelled, but it was later picked up by OWN. Robbins has a line of self-help products and programs and authored 'Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement' and 'Awaken the Giant Within'. He has appeared in Forbes magazine “Celebrity 100" list and owns Namale resort in Fiji.
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