Tony Robbins

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Tony Robbins

Born February 29, 1960 (1960-02-29) (age 49)
Glendora, California
Occupation Author, Professional speaker
Salary $30 million (2007)[1]
Spouse(s) Becky Robbins (m. 1986–2001) «start: (1986)–end+1: (2002)»"Marriage: Becky Robbins to Tony Robbins" Location: (linkback:
Sage Robbins (m. 2001–present) «start: (2001)»"Marriage: Sage Robbins to Tony Robbins" Location: (linkback:

Anthony Robbins (born Anthony J. Mahavick February 29, 1960) is an American self-help writer and professional speaker for over 30 years. He became well known through his infomercials and bestselling self-help books, Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement and Awaken The Giant Within. The first edition of Unlimited Power was published by Fawcett Columbine (Ballantine Books) in 1987.[2] Robbins writes about subjects such as health and energy, overcoming fears, persuasive communication, and enhancing relationships. He also became well known in America and internationally through infomercials promoting personal development audio programs and motivational seminars. His audio programs, seminars and self-help products featured Neuro-linguistic programming and Ericksonian hypnosis which he studied at the start of his career.[3][4] Robbins seminars also used firewalking as a metaphor for overcoming fears and limiting beliefs. Later, Robbins combined his skills and techniques with other methods claimed to effect personal change.


[edit] Biography

[edit] Personal life

Robbins was born in North Hollywood, California. He was raised in Azusa, California and attended Glendora High School. His parents divorced when he was seven years old, and his mother later remarried twice and was quoted as saying "tony could never shut up even as a child" and that "he drove my husbands away with his big mouth". Tony took on the surname of Jim Robbins, his first stepfather.

In 1994, a routine medical check revealed a tumor in Robbins' pituitary gland. Robbins explains in Personal Power that the tumor was actually an adenoma that had infarcted several years earlier. Due to the pressure of the adenoma on his pituitary gland, he had circulating levels of growth hormone several times higher than what would be normal for an adult his age. This had resulted in a subclinical manifestation of the disease known as acromegaly, which doctors told Robbins was responsible for his remarkable growth spurts as a teenager, as well as his large hands and feet. (He is 6 feet 7 inches tall(201 cm)). After consulting with multiple physicians, Robbins decided not to have the adenoma resected, as it was not causing any clinical manifestations.

Robbins was married to his first wife, Becky, who is 12 years his senior, for 15 years. The marriage ended in divorce in 2001. In a 2001 CNN interview, Robbins said it was difficult to end his marriage to Becky Robbins, saying it was the toughest decision of his life. He said that he also knew if he stayed with her, he'd be ruining her life and his but mostly hers.[5] Robbins makes similar comments about his first marriage in his recent Ultimate Relationship Program.

In June of the same year, he married Bonnie Humphrey (now known as Sage Robbins) who is 12 years his junior.[6] Robbins met both of his wives at seminars he was hosting. Robbins and Bonnie Humphrey were still married at the time.

[edit] Career and ideas

Robbins started his career promoting seminars for Jim Rohn, and then started teaching neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) after learning it from NLP co-founder John Grinder.

Grinder encouraged Anthony Robbins to look into the firewalking experience. In 1983, Robbins located Tolly Burkan and learned how to firewalk from him.[7] Robbins then added firewalking to his seminars, which enabled him to gain media coverage and launch his celebrity status. Robbins later began to teach Neuro-Associative Conditioning (NAC) and "Human exploitation Psychology".

In his Awaken the Giant Within book, Robbins says that the difference between NAC and NLP lies in the use of the word 'conditioning' instead of the word 'programming'.[8] The word 'conditioning' implies that the subject has greater responsibility for his or her own change, as opposed to being programmed by someone else.

At the start of his success, Tony Robbins lived paycheck to paycheck in the self development business and struggled to pay his $15,000 a month mortgage on his castle home (mentioned in Unleash the Power Within).

Anthony Robbins calls himself a peak performance coach rather than a motivational speaker. He tries to find out what people do when they are at their peak and then help them access that peak state whenever necessary. He believes what he does is more effective than providing temporary motivation.[9]

[edit] Seminars

Robbins also conducts seminars, including his four-day Unleash the Power Within (UPW) seminar (Of the four days, Tony is only there Friday, Saturday, and Sunday Live, and Monday is video based.), and his Mastery University, which includes Life Mastery, (which is now also a video based presentation with a Robbins Facilitator, although Tony still conducts this program live as well), Date With Destiny, and Wealth Mastery.

The UPW is also known as his firewalk seminar, during which the participants walk barefoot over hot coals at the end of the first evening. The aim of the seminar, demonstrated in the firewalk, is to illustrate that the main quality shared by those who achieve greatness is the ability to take action ('Personal Power').[citation needed] Robbins' philosophy asserts that fear often holds people back from achieving what they want with their life, and that fear is a more powerful motivator than desire or attraction. Walking safely on burning coals (with the correct preparation of the coals, and instruction of the participants) requires no special physical skills, you simply have to have the courage to brave it. Applying that same principle to other aspects of life can empower the individual to attempt tasks he or she would previously (erroneously) have considered impossible.

Mastery University is promoted at the UPW seminar. Life Mastery, espouses Robbins' ideas about what makes for a healthy lifestyle, and has in the past featured guest lecturers including Deepak Chopra and John Gray. Date With Destiny, the only Mastery event at which Robbins is present for the entire event, is said to be designed to help participants align their values so that they are not in conflict, but rather are aligned with the participant's individual goals. Wealth Mastery teaches concepts which believers feel can facilitate financial wealth.

In 1997, Robbins initiated his Leadership Academy seminar, in which he invites participants to learn the skills he uses, with the stated goal of the program to enable the participant to "create an identity for yourself as someone who can help anyone, no matter what his/her challenge may be."[10]

Beginning in 2006, Robbins has appeared at several The Learning Annex Real Estate Wealth Expos as a headline speaker. He also appeared as a featured speaker at the 2007 Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference.His talk is among the TOP TEN TED TALKS. [11]

Robbins promotes a mainly vegetarian and vegan lifestyle and endorses the views of Robert Young and Natural Hygiene practices regarding the need for an alkaline diet, in which proteins and carbohydrates are consumed separately. In recent events, he has included fish into his diet plan, citing the need for omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids in a complete diet. He has also praised John Robbins' book Diet for a New America.

[edit] Lawsuits

In May 1995, Robbins and his company, RRI (Robbins Research International), agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they misrepresented the potential earnings of franchises for his motivational seminars, agreeing to refund $221,260 (USD) in redress.[12]

Financial seminar guru Wade Cook also sued Robbins for copyright infringement, claiming that Robbins lifted concepts and terms from his seminars and his book, Wall Street Money Machine, during the creation of a competing financial course. In 1998, a Tacoma, Washington jury ordered Robbins to pay Cook over $650,000 in damages.

[edit] Criticism

In a 2002 newsletter for the James Randi Educational Foundation, Randi comments on some experiences recounted by a participant at a 2002 "Unleash the Power Within" seminar.[13] The participant recalled some experiences that had him question the credibility of Robbins. For instance, the participant questions the basis for some of the assertions made about Robbins' healthy diet system.

There was also a demonstration at the seminar by one of Robbins' associates that was intended to show that the Electromagnetic field from a mobile phone can weaken an arm as part of the marketing of an EMF reduction device. James Randi calls the applied kinesiology used in the EMF demonstration a "scam."[13]

The participant was also strongly encouraged to sign up for the next seminar, and then found that, for him, the period of time that the Robbins organization is required by law to provide him with the opportunity to cancel and obtain a refund was too short.[13]

Freelance writer Steve Salerno in his book Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless, states "NLP has shown up in many settings inside and outside SHAM" (his acronym for the Self-Help and Actualization Movement) but he particularly criticizes Anthony (Tony) Robbins, who he claims "made NLP his own, refining it and personalizing it into what he christened "neuroassociative conditioning" ".

Salerno criticizes proponents of self-help, including Tony Robbins, stating it "actually fans the fires of discontent (whilst discontent is a strong thing used in Tony Robbins' philosophy i.e. applied leverage), making people feel impaired or somehow deficient as a prelude to (supposedly) curing them." Salerno opines that there are contradictions in Richard Bandler and John Grinder (the co-founders of NLP) ending up in court over who owned the rights to NLP given NLP's promotion in business for negotiations and conflict resolution and also in Tony Robbins having become divorced while marketing products for the "perfect marriage".[14]

William T. Jarvis identifies what he believes are several flaws and misconceptions in the ideas, in particular about health and diet, in Robbins' US national best seller, Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement. Robbins believes that deep breathing activates the lymphatic system, and likens the lymphatic system to the sewage system of the body. Jarvis states that there is no evidence that different breathing makes long-lasting changes in the lymphatic system, but that any effects are temporary. Jarvis agrees with Robbins' encouraging participants to eat more fruit, but criticizes the way it is presented. According to Jarvis, Robbins incorrectly argues that fruit is the perfect food. In contrast Jarvis argues that milk is the closest to being the most complete food. Jarvis states that some of the information about drinking distilled water gives an inaccurate view of how the body metabolic wastes system functions. Jarvis believes that there are misconceptions about health benefits of food combining, which are supposedly based on Herbert Shelton's ideas, and that Robbins' evidence of a positive effect of undereating is flawed. Jarvis also writes that Robbins makes inaccurate claims about dietary protein requirements.[15]

Robbins also recycles an oft-cited but unsubstantiated reference to the "Yale Study of Goals" in Unlimited Power as scientific evidence of the power of positive thought. The anecdote claims that a survey was taken of the 1953 graduating class at Yale, and only 3% of the class had written goals regarding their financial situations. Twenty years later the class was interviewed again, and the 3% of the class who had written goals were worth more than the other 97% of the students combined. This was considered strong evidence of the power of written goal setting at the time Robbins wrote Unlimited Power, in 1986. Ten years after publication, however, in 1996, the alleged Yale study was shown to be an urban legend.[16][17]

[edit] Celebrity meetings and endorsements

In his book Awaken the Giant Within, Robbins recounts meetings with public figures such as Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, François Mitterrand, and Princess Diana.[18]

In his Personal Power and Get the Edge informercials, designed to sell audio programs through 30 minute television advertisements, celebrities who are reported to have appeared without compensation to endorse his work have included Fran Tarkenton, Pamela Anderson, Quincy Jones, Erin Brockovich and Anthony Hopkins.[19]

It was reported in the New York Times that in December 1994 President Bill Clinton invited Robbins, along with Marianne Williamson and Dr. Steven R. Covey, to Camp David, though "all refuse to divulge the substance of their meeting with the Clintons. Mr. Covey said only that it was 'marvelous.'"[20] Sports figures and teams that Robbins has mentally coached to improve their performance include Greg Norman,[21] Andre Agassi,[22] the Los Angeles Kings hockey team,[23] and Mike Tyson.[24]

[edit] Acting and TV

In Shallow Hal Robbins appears in a scene with Jack Black's character in an elevator where Robbins hypnotizes Black's character in order to change Black's mental state. Black's character can now see people's outward appearance based on their inner personality. The scene is pivotal to the plot. In this scene, Black's character riffs on Robbins's large hands calling them "banana hands". Robbins also appears later in the movie and shares dialog with Jason Alexander.

Robbins also appears in the upcoming movie The Singularity Is Near: A True Story About The Future, which is based on the book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (2005) by Ray Kurzweil. In the movie, an AI hires Robbins to help her become more human. The movie is scheduled for 2009 release.[25][26]

Early February 2009, it was announced that NBC has picked up eight episodes of a new reality series called "Breakthrough with Tony Robbins" that will star Tony Robbins. The show will follow Robbins as he takes participants and helps them face personal challenges. The show is produced by the same company that also produces the TV show The Biggest Loser.[27]

[edit] Anthony Robbins Foundation

Robbins is the founder of the Anthony Robbins Foundation, which proclaims its mission is to empower students, help prisoners to improve their lives, organize food drives, and fund Robbins' summer "Discovery Camp".[28] According to the website, it has "products and programs in more than 2,000 schools, 700 prisons, and 100,000 health and human service organizations. 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." Charity Navigator gives the foundation an overall rating of four out of four stars.[29]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Anthony Robbins,,, retrieved on 2008-05-08 
  2. ^ Robbins, A (1987) 'Unlimited Power' Publisher: Fawcett Columbine (Ballantine Books) ISBN 0-449-90280-3
  3. ^ "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)
  4. ^ Robbins, A., 1992 'Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny' ISBN 0671791540
  5. ^ Beverly Schuch, Interviewer (2001). "Transcript: Tony Robbins: Practicing What He Preaches". CNN News. Retrieved on September 20 2007. 
  6. ^ Stockwatch (2005). "CanWest's Sun opponent Robbins thanks supporters". Stockwatch. Retrieved on September 20 2007. 
  7. ^ Sternfield, Jonathan (1992). Firewalk. Stockbridge: Berkshire House. ISBN 9780936399041. 
  8. ^ "After all, I had been teaching something called Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Think about the word "programming." It suggests that you could come to me, I would program you, and then everything would be fine. You wouldn't have to do anything!"(Robbins 1992 p.111)
  9. ^ You Tube video
  10. ^ Robbins, Tony (2005). Leadership Academy Manual. San Diego, California: Robbins Research International, Inc.. 
  11. ^ {{Cite web|url=
  12. ^ 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 on September 20 2007. 
  13. ^ a b c James Randi (2002). ""The bobbins Matter, Edward Again, Astrology in Entourage, Surviving Without Magic, Deadly UK Cat, Kyborg Pyramids, Allah in a Tomato, Magnetized Water, and Roe in the UK......" in JREF online newsletter of the JREF". James Randi Educational Foundation. Retrieved on September 20 2007. 
  14. ^ Salerno, Steve (2005). Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless. New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 1400054109. 
  15. ^ William T. Jarvis, Ph.D. (1996) Anthony Robbins National Council Against Health Fraud. Posted on NCAHF web site in 2003.
  16. ^ Self-Help Snake Oil and Self-Improvement Urban Legends by Stephen Kraus, Ph.D.
  17. ^ [1]If Your Goal Is Success, Don't Consult These Gurus
  18. ^ Robbins, Anthony (1992). Awaken the Giant Within. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9780671791544. 
  19. ^ Personal Power (1989)(1992, 1995) and Get the Edge (1997) (2000)
  20. ^ Dewitt, Karen (1995-02-05), "Dial 1-800-MY-GURU" (w), New York Times, 
  21. ^ Greg Norman and Tony Robbins
  22. ^ Andre Agassi and Tony Robbins (video 03:04-03:36)
  23. ^ Los Angeles Kings and Tony Robbins (video 02:10-02:16)
  24. ^ Mike Tyson and Tony Robbins (video 09:46-10:42)
  25. ^ Coming Soon to a Theater Near You: The Singularity
  26. ^ Release date
  27. ^ Variety: NBC Picks up "Breakthrough with Tony Robbins"
  28. ^ Anthony Robbins Foundation (2006). "Anthony Robbins Foundation Programs". Anthony Robbins Foundation. Retrieved on September 20 2007. 
  29. ^ Charity Navigator (2006). "Anthony Robbins Foundation". Charity Navigator Ratings. Retrieved on September 20 2007. 

[edit] Publications

[edit] Books

  • Robbins, Anthony (1986). Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 448 pages. ISBN 0-684-84577-6. 
  • Robbins, Anthony (1992). Awaken the Giant Within. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 544 pages. ISBN 0-671-79154-0. 
  • Robbins, Anthony (1994). Giant Steps. New York: Fireside. pp. 416 pages. ISBN 0671891049. 
  • Robbins, Anthony (1995). Notes from a Friend: A Quick and Simple Guide to Taking Control of Your Life. New York: Fireside. pp. 112 pages. ISBN 068480056X. 
  • Robbins, Anthony (2010). Inner Strength: Harnessing the Power of Your Six Primal Needs. New York: Free Press. pp. 480 pages. ISBN 0-684-80903-6. 

[edit] CD/DVDs

  • Robbins, Anthony (2006). The Edge: The Power to Change Your Life Now. Megaforce / Nightingale-Con. pp. DVD. 
  • Anthony Robbins. (1998). Lessons in Mastery. Simon & Schuster Audio / Nightingale-Con. ISBN 0-7435-2515-9. 
  • Robbins, Anthony (2002). Live with Passion!: Stategies for Creating a Compelling Future. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7435-2521-3. 
  • Living Health
  • The Time of Your Life
  • Get The Edge
  • Mastering Influence
  • The Ultimate Relationship Program (Robbins-Madanes)
  • Leadership In Times of Crisis (Robbins-Madanes)
  • Reclaiming Your True Identity (Robbins-Madanes)
  • Conquering Overwhelming Loss (Robbins-Madanes)
  • Personal Training System
  • Unleash The Power Within

[edit] External links

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