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Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins
File:Tony Robbins.jpg
Tony Robbins in 2009
Born Anthony J. Mahavorick
(1960-02-29) February 29, 1960 (age 55)
North Hollywood, California, U.S.
Occupation Peak performance coach
Finance author
Self-help author
Professional speaker
Years active 1978–present
Spouse(s) Becky Robbins (m. 1982–2001)
Sage Robbins (m. 2001)

Tony Robbins (born Anthony J. Mahavorick; February 29, 1960) is an American motivational speaker,[1] personal finance instructor, life coach and self-help author. He became well known from his popular infomercials and self-help books: Unlimited Power, Unleash the Power Within and Awaken the Giant Within.

In 2007, he was named in Forbes magazine's "Celebrity 100" list.[2] Forbes estimated that Robbins earned approximately $30 million USD in that year.[3]

Early life

Robbins was born Anthony J. Mahavorick in North Hollywood, California, on February 29, 1960. His father was a parking garage attendant.[4] Robbins is the eldest of three children. His parents divorced when he was 7. His mother remarried several times.

Jim Robbins, a former semi-professional baseball player, legally adopted Tony.

Robbins was raised in Azusa and Glendora, California, and attended Glendora High School. He worked as a handyman to help provide for his siblings. He was elected student body president in his senior year, and grew 10 inches in high school, a growth spurt later attributed to a pituitary tumor. He has said his home life was "chaotic" and "abusive", and that his mother chased him out of the house with a knife when he was 17, and he never returned.[4] Robbins worked as a janitor and did not attend college.[4]


Robbins began his career promoting seminars for Jim Rohn. According to Robbins, Rohn taught him that “happiness and success in life are not the result of what we have, but rather of how we live. What we do with the things we have makes the biggest difference in the quality of life.”[5]

Later Robbins began his own work as a self-help coach. He taught neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and Ericksonian Hypnosis after training with NLP co-founder John Grinder. In 1983, Robbins learned to firewalk from Tolly Burkan[6] and began to incorporate it into his seminars.[7][8]

Robbins promoted his services as a "peak performance coach" through his books and TV infomercials, gaining strong public recognition and lucrative sales. He gained wide exposure through infomercials advertising his Personal Power series of self-help audiotapes.

In 1997, Robbins began the Leadership Academy seminar, in which he said participants learn to "[c]reate an identity for them self as someone who can help 'anyone', no matter what his/her challenge may be."[9] Robbins is a featured speaker on the seminar circuit sponsored by Learning Annex. Robbins appeared as a featured speaker at the 2007 Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference. As of August 2012, his talk was the 6th most popular TED talk.[10]

Robbins is involved with the Robbins-Madanes Center for Strategic Intervention, which focuses on personal, family and organizational psychology, and claims to help people "find breakthrough strategies and solutions for overcoming the problems that confront us all."[11]


Robbins has published three best-selling books, Unlimited Power, Awaken the Giant Within and MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom.

Unlimited Power, published in 1987, discusses the topics of health and energy, overcoming fears, persuasive communication, and enhancing relationships.[12] It has been said to have some ideological similarities with Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking, Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, and Maxwell Maltz's Psycho-Cybernetics.

Awaken the Giant Within, published in 1991, was an expansion of his personal development techniques and strategies taught through a motivational self-help type approach.

In addition, in 1994 he published the daily instruction book, Giant Steps, in a small pocket size.

In November 2014 he released a new book. MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom is based primarily on research from practitioners including Nobel Laureates and self-made billionaires. It is intended to demystify money. It addresses money's benefits, limits, acquisition, and stewardship.

Robbins does not attempt to reinvent the wheel. He explains "creative fund accounting." For example, how exorbitant fees are often hidden in a fund's return rate. He has released a series of short videos as well, that the average layperson can understand.

MONEY Master the Game received mixed responses from critics.[13]

Robbins states that his objective is to simplify and systematize the most useful work of others, adding original material only where possible and appropriate.


Throughout his writings, seminars and speeches Robbins espouses viewpoints, techniques and other practices he asserts can help adherents improve their lives. Among these are methods he calls the "controlling state" and "neuro-associative conditioning". He also speaks a great deal about various "human needs, influences that affect people, the power of making decisions" and the need to achieve "emotional mastery". He espouses a concept he calls "Life's Two Master Lessons", which he claims are (1) "The science of achievement" and (2) "The art of fulfillment".[14]

Teachings on health and energy

One chapter of Unlimited Power, called "Energy: The Fuel of Excellence", is dedicated to a discussion of health and energy. It endorses the Fit For Life program of Harvey and Marilyn Diamond, food combining, and deep breathing. Robbins refers to Harvey and Marilyn Diamond as his "former partners".[15] The National Council Against Health Fraud wrote a highly critical review of the chapter.[16][17]

Later in his career, in his audio product Living Health, Robbins changed his teachings on health slightly. He attributes this change to the influence of Robert O. Young. In Living Health, he endorses natural hygiene, the alkaline diet, live blood analysis, and the works of Peter Duesberg and Antoine Béchamp.

Anthony Robbins Foundation

In 1991, Robbins launched a charity, the Anthony Robbins Foundation.[18] It is dedicated to empowering students and prisoners through food drives and learning programs based on his teachings.[19] According to the official website, the foundation has "products and programs in more than 2,000 schools, 700 prisons, and 100,000 health and human service organizations".[20] These programs have been written about and featured in many dozens of articles. They have appeared on various websites, like Cherish Our Children International[21] and Harmony With No Limits.[22] The independent charity watchdog, Charity Navigator, gives the foundation a rating of three out of four stars.[23] The official website says that "the Foundation is committed to make a difference in the quality of life for children, the homeless, the prison population, and the elderly through its various programs". The foundation has subsequently led to the forming of "Basket Brigades" across the world that occur each Thanksgiving. Individuals and groups have joined together to assemble and deliver dinner baskets to needy families.[18]


Lawsuits, Reversals and Retractions

Federal Trade Commission: In May 1995, Robbins Research International (RRI) responded to Federal Trade Commission charges of misrepresentation of potential earnings to franchise investors. RRI and the FTC entered into a stipulated settlement agreement, in which RRI agreed to pay US$221,260 in consumer redress. RRI did not admit guilt under the settlement.[24]

Wade Cook: Financial seminar guru Wade Cook also sued Robbins for copyright infringement and plagiarism, alleging that Robbins used proprietary terms in his seminars and from Cook's book Wall Street Money Machine. In 1998, a Tacoma, Washington jury ordered Robbins to pay Cook US$650,900 in damages. The order to pay damages was temporarily withdrawn[25] until 2000, when the 9th Circuit Court ruled that the trial judge had misinterpreted the statutes.

The verdict and damages were reinstated with a statement that "The Court found that U.S. District Court Judge, Jack Tanner, erred in "finding a conclusion contrary to the jury award" and sent instructions to reinstate the award. Cook's lead attorney said "This is a landmark decision by the 9th Circuit Court because of the high profile players and issues at stake. The Court is telling individuals that, no matter who you are, the protection of copyrightable material will be preserved." Robbins was forced to pay the entire amount.[26][27]

In 2001, Robbins filed a lawsuit against The Vancouver Sun newspaper, alleging defamation and libel. The judge determined the Vancouver Sun defamed Robbins when it called him a "adulterous, wife-stealing hypocrite". Awarding Robbins US$20,000 in damages, the judge wrote "While damages are presumed, the plaintiff's failure to take the witness stand and to testify about his feelings and the impact of the defamation upon his reputation leaves the court somewhat in the dark about these matters". The court awarded Robbins his attorneys' fees and costs in addition to damages.[28][29]

In July 2012, the San Jose Mercury News published a story reporting that multiple people had been burned and hospitalized during one of Robbins' firewalking events on July 19, 2012. This story was picked up by other media outlets including Fox News. These reports were later retracted as inaccurate. On August 8, 2012, Fox News' program Fox & Friends issued an on-air retraction and correction to the inaccurate report.[30] A similar corrective article was published by The Huffington Post.[31][32]

Celebrity status

Television and film

Robbins has had cameo roles in the 1996 movie The Cable Guy, the 2001 movie Shallow Hal, the 1994 movie Reality Bites, three episodes of The Roseanne Show, and an episode of The Sopranos.[33] He plays himself in the 2010 film The Singularity Is Near: A True Story about The Future.

He was lampooned in episode 22 of season 3 of Family Guy.[34] In Men In Black, there is an array of screens in the headquarters monitoring aliens masquerading as humans. One of these screens shows Robbins.

In July 2010 NBC debuted Breakthrough with Tony Robbins, a reality show that followed Robbins as he helped the show’s participants face their personal challenges.[35][36] NBC canceled the show, after airing two of the planned six episodes, due to low viewership of 2.8 million.[37] In March 2012 the OWN Network picked the show up for another season beginning with the original first season set to re-run and thereafter leading directly into the new 2012 season.[38]

In April 2012 Robbins began co-hosting Oprah's Lifeclass on the OWN Network.[39]

Personal life

Marriages and relationships

Robbins was married to Becky Jenkins from 1982–2001. Jenkins had three children from two former marriages.[40] In 1984, while married to his first wife, Robbins and girlfriend Liz Acosta had a son, Jairek Robbins, who is also a personal empowerment trainer.[41] Robbins and his first wife were divorced in June 2001. Later that same year he married aspiring actress Bonnie Humphrey, now known as Sage Robbins.[42]

Spiritual beliefs

Robbins alluded to his personal belief in a higher power in Unlimited Power, giving the grand complexity of life as evidence of an intelligent designer.[43] His spiritual beliefs are also reflected in his personal life purpose: "To humbly serve the Lord by being a loving, playful, powerful, and passionate example of the absolute joy that is available to us the moment we rejoice in God's gifts and sincerely love and serve all of his creations."[44]

Health issues

Robbins has stated that he has acromegaly, a condition in which the anterior pituitary gland produces excess growth hormone (GH) after epiphyseal plate closure at puberty,[45] As is often the case, this appears to have been linked to a tumor in his pituitary gland; doctors recommended surgery for the brain tumor at age 31, but Robbins did not go through with the procedure. He has incorporated his personal experiences related to this ordeal into his public speaking.[46]

Los Angeles Football Club

Robbins is a part of the ownership group of Major League Soccer expansion franchise Los Angeles Football Club.[47] Additional investors include Magic Johnson and Chad Hurley, among others.[48] The team is slated to launch in 2017.

See also


  1. ^ O'Keefe, Brian (30 October 2014). "Tony Robbins, The CEO Whisperer". FORTUNE. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "Tony Robbins". Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  3. ^ "#62 Anthony Robbins". Forbes. June 14, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c O'Keefe, Brian (October 31, 2014). "Tony Robbins, The CEO Whisperer". Fortune. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  5. ^ "My first mentor was a man named Jim Rohn. He taught me that happiness and success in life are not the result of what we have, but rather of how we live. What we do with the things we have makes the biggest difference in the quality of life." (Robbins 1987, p.409)Rolando Ponce de Leon. "Anthony Robbins: A true motivation life". MotivationLife. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 
  6. ^ Sternfield, Jonathan (1992). Firewalk. Stockbridge: Berkshire House. ISBN 978-0-936399-04-1. 
  7. ^ “I’m picking up new skills and new technologies from a variety of sciences. I continue to use many of the NLP and Ericksonian techniques that I began my career with; some of them are the finest available.” (Robbins 1992, p. 108)
  8. ^ Robbins, A., 1992 Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny; ISBN 0-671-79154-0
  9. ^ Robbins, Anthony (2005). Leadership Academy Manual. San Diego, California: Robbins Research International, Inc. p. 3. 
  10. ^ "The 20 most-watched TED Talks as of August 2012 | TED Blog". Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  11. ^ "Robbins-Madanes Center for Strategic Intervention Products". Robbins-Madanes Center. Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  12. ^ Robbins, A (1987) Unlimited Power Publisher: Fawcett Columbine (Ballantine Books) ISBN 0-449-90280-3
  13. ^ "Trade Against a Self-Help Genius". 
  14. ^ TED2006. "Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do | Video on". Retrieved 2013-11-19. 
  15. ^ "An excellent source for a thorough treatment of the subject of food combining is Herbert Shepherd's Food Combining Made Easy. Also, my former partners, Harvey and Marilyn Diamond have written an excellent book called Fit for Life..." (Robbins, 1987. Unlimited Power. p. 177)
  16. ^ "Fit For Life: Some Notes on the Book and Its Roots". Quackwatch. 1999. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 
  17. ^ "A critique of Mr. Clinton's self-help guru." National Council for Reliable Health Information. (Printed Jan/Feb 1995 NCAHF Newsletter. Vol. 18 Issue 1, pgs 1,2.)
  18. ^ a b "Anthony Robbins Foundation Official Webpage". 
  19. ^ Anthony Robbins Foundation (2006). "Anthony Robbins Foundation Programs". Anthony Robbins Foundation. Retrieved September 20, 2007. 
  20. ^ "Anthony Robbins Foundation Programs". 
  21. ^ "Cherish Our Children International". Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Our Supporters". Harmony With No Limits. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  23. ^ Charity Navigator (2013). "Anthony Robbins Foundation". Charity Navigator Ratings. Retrieved January 4, 2014. 
  24. ^ Federal Trade Commission (1995). "Anthony Robbins Agrees to Pay More than $220,000 in Consumer Redress to Settle Alleged Franchise Rule Violations". Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved September 20, 2007. 
  25. ^ "All Business web site, October 6, 1998, Anthony Robbins Cos". Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  26. ^ [1][dead link]
  27. ^ "Wade Cook Jury Award vs. Tony Robbins Upheld by 9th Circuit Court.". 
  28. ^ "News > News Item". Stockwatch. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  29. ^ "2005 BCSC 1634 Robbins v. Pacific Newspaper Group Inc. et al". Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  30. ^ Doocy, Steve (August 8, 2012). "Fox News". 
  31. ^ Schnall, Marianne (July 31, 2012). "Tony Robbins Sets the Record Straight About Fire Walk 'Controversy'". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
  32. ^ Kurhi, Eric; Gomez, Mark (July 21, 2012). "San Jose: 21 people treated for burns after firewalk at Tony Robbins appearance". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved July 22, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Anthony Robbins". IMDb. 
  34. ^ "Tony Robbins Hungry". YouTube. 2012-06-13. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  35. ^ Schneider, Michael (February 9, 2009). "''Variety'': "NBC Picks Up ''Breakthrough with Tony Robbins''"". Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  36. ^ "Breakthrough with Tony Robbins to Debut July 27". 
  37. ^ "Tony Robbins' series pulled from NBC schedule". 
  38. ^ "Tony Robbins, Parts 1 and 2". 2012-02-19. 
  39. ^ Gallo, Carmine (February 24, 2012). "How Tony Robbins Gets in Peak State for Presentations". 
  40. ^ "About - Tony Robbins". Tony Robbins. 
  41. ^ "My Interview with Jairek Robbins". Susan Sly. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  42. ^ "Imdb bio for Sage Bonnie Robbins". Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  43. ^ name="Unlimited Power" by Tony Robbins 1987 p.392"
  44. ^ Canfield, Jack (with Janet Switzer) (2007). The Success Principle: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. William Morrow, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-06-059489-3. 
  45. ^ Plaskin, Glenn (13 August 2013). "Playboy Interview: Tony Robbins". Playboy. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  46. ^ Schnall, Marianne. "An In-depth Interview With Life Coach Tony Robbins". Huffington Post. 
  47. ^
  48. ^

External links

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