Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Earl Nightingale - The Strangest Secret

The first motivational speaker I ever heard was Earl Nightingale. I listened to him on audiotape, mesmerized by his deep voice, compelling logic, and clear insights. He helped me change the way I looked at the world. And not just me. He affected millions.

Nightingale grew up during the depression in Southern California. Hungry for knowledge as a kid, he hung out in the Long Beach library studying success. He was compelled to solve the riddle of why some people succeeded while others did not.

If you think he was a wimpy kid because he liked to hang out in the library, you would be wrong. Nightingale enlisted in the Marines and was one of the survivors of the U.S.S. Arizona during Pearl Harbor. After Pearl Harbor, he continued in the Marines for five years.

Following the war, Nightingale eventually moved to Chicago, where he secured a job with the legendary radio station, WGN. At WGN, Nightingale hosted a daily commentary program and also sold advertising. He negotiated a commission on his advertising sales and earned enough to retire at age 35. Clearly, Nightingale was one of the best salespeople in the nation.

Around the time he retired from WGN, Nightingale bought an insurance agency. He would provide regular motivational speeches to the sales force. His speeches were so effective that the sales manager begged him to record them before Nightingale left on an extended vacation. So he did.

Nightingale recorded what he discovered many years earlier in the Long Beach Library. He recorded what separates the successful from the unsuccessful, which Nightingale called The Strangest Secret.

His recording, in the late 1950s was on vinyl. This was eventually released to the public and became the first recording of the spoken word to go gold.

Here is Nightingale's recording. It's voice only, with a still image of Nightingale, and lasts 30 minutes. Listen to it when you can shut out distractions and give it its due. It's as powerful today as it was 50 years ago.

The Original Recording (Audio Over Still Picture)

Nightingale also made a short film on The Strangest Secret. Here it is, broken into three parts and recorded from a VHS dub. I think I prefer the fuller recording from above.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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