Tony Robbins

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Anthony Jay Robbins
Tony Robbins.jpg
Tony Robbins in 2009
Born Anthony J. Mahavoric
(1960-02-29) February 29, 1960 (age 58)
North Hollywood, California, U.S.
  • Entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker
Years active 1978–present
Known for Motivational speaker
Becky Robbins (m. 1984–1997)

Sage Robbins (m. 2001)
Partner(s) Liz Acosta
Children 4, including Jairek Robbins

Anthony Jay Robbins (born Anthony J. Mahavoric; February 29, 1960) is an American author, entrepreneur, philanthropist and life coach.[1] Robbins is known for his infomercials, seminars, and self-help books including Unlimited Power and Awaken the Giant Within.[2][3]

Robbins is the founder of several companies that earn approximately $6 billion in annual sales. In 2015 and 2016 he was listed on the Worth Magazine Power 100 list.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Robbins was born as Anthony J. Mahavoric in North Hollywood, California, on February 29, 1960.[6] Robbins is the eldest of three children and his parents divorced when he was 7. His mother then had a series of husbands, including Jim Robbins, a former semi-professional baseball player who legally adopted Anthony when he was 12.[7]

Tony Robbins was raised in Glendora, California, and attended Glendora High School. He was elected student body president in his senior year. While growing up, Robbins worked as a handyman to help provide for his siblings.[8]

During high school, Robbins grew ten inches, a growth spurt later attributed to a pituitary tumor.[6] He has said his home life was "chaotic" and "abusive". When he was seventeen years old, he left home and never returned.[6] Robbins later worked as a janitor, and did not attend college.[7]


Robbins began his career promoting seminars for motivational speaker and author Jim Rohn when he was 17 years old.[9][10][11]

In the early 1980s, soon after meeting Neurolinguistic Programming co-founder John Grinder, the two became partners. At this time Robbins taught NLP and Ericksonian Hypnosis.[11] In 1983 Robbins learned to firewalk, and incorporated it into his seminars.[12]

In 1988 Robbins released his first infomercial, Personal Power, produced by Guthy Renker,[13] which helped to promote his services as a "peak performance coach". The infomercial helped Robbins gain wide exposure, selling his Personal Power self-help audiotapes. His early infomercials featured celebrities such as Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton and actor Martin Sheen. By 1991 an estimated 100 million Americans in 200 media markets had seen his infomercials.[14]

In 1997, Robbins began the Leadership Academy seminar.[15][16] He is a speaker on the seminar circuit sponsored by Learning Annex.[17] Robbins was a featured speaker at the 2007 Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference. Approximately 4 million people have attended his live seminars.

Together with Cloé Madanes, Robbins founded the Robbins-Madanes Center for Intervention, an organization that trains life skills coaches to help families and individuals deal with addiction and other issues.[16][18]

In 2014, Robbins, along with a group of investors including Magic Johnson, Mia Hamm, and Peter Guber, acquired rights to launch a Major League Soccer franchise in Los Angeles, California, currently referred to as the Los Angeles Football Club. The soccer team is scheduled to begin competition in 2018.[19][20][21]

In 2016, Robbins partnered with Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber and Washington Wizards co-owner Ted Leonsis to purchase Team Liquid, an esports pro gaming organization.[22] In 2017 Team Liquid won The International 7, a Dota 2 tournament with a prize pool of over $24 million.[23]

Robbins has worked on an individual basis with Bill Clinton,[24] Justin Tuck, Wayne Gretzky,[25] Serena Williams,[26] Hugh Jackman[27] and Pitbull.[28] He has also counseled American businessmen Peter Guber, Steve Wynn and Marc Benioff.[29] He was named one of the "Top 50 Business Intellectuals" by Accenture[30] and one of the "Top 200 Business Gurus" by the Harvard Business Press,[31] and is ranked on the Forbes Celebrity 100.[32]

Robbins was criticized for critical comments made about the Me Too movement at a seminar in San Jose, California on March 15, 2018.[33] According to a video of the event released on social media by NowThisNews,[34] Robbins stated his opinion that, "If you use the #MeToo movement to try to get significance and certainty by attacking and destroying someone else… all you've done is basically use a drug called significance to make yourself feel good." He went on to tell a story about a "very powerful man" who passed on hiring a female candidate even though she was the most qualified because she was too attractive and would be "too big a risk".[33] Following criticism for these comments, Robbins posted an apology on his Facebook page, saying 'I apologize for suggesting anything other than my profound admiration for the #MeToo movement.'[35]

Select bibliography[edit]

As of 2017 Robbins has written five books, four of them best-sellers, including Unlimited Power[36] and Awaken the Giant Within.[37]

In 2014, inspired by the financial crisis that cost many Americans their retirement savings,[38] he published Money: Master the Game, which reached #1 on the New York Times best-selling list in December.[39]


Personal performance[edit]

Throughout his writings, seminars, and speeches, Robbins espouses viewpoints, techniques, and other practices he asserts can help adherents improve their lives.[40] He speaks about various "human needs, influences that affect people, the power of making decisions" and the need to achieve "emotional mastery".[41][42]


Robbins holds multiple seminars annually. These seminars include Unleash the Power Within, Date with Destiny, Life and Wealth Mastery, Business Mastery and Leadership Academy.[43]

Health and energy[edit]

"Energy: The Fuel of Excellence", a chapter in Unlimited Power, 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".[44]


The Tony Robbins Foundation[edit]

In 1991, Robbins founded the Anthony Robbins Foundation,[45] intended to help youth, homeless, hungry, prisoners, elderly and disabled.[46][47] The organization's name was subsequently changed to "The Tony Robbins Foundation."

In 2016 Robbins and his Foundation partnered with Bob Carr and the Give Something Back Foundation on the ROC 'N Robbins Challenge event. Carr matched the $1 million Robbins donated at the event, with the proceeds going to send 100 low-income students to medical school.[48]

Independent charity watchdog Charity Navigator gives the Anthony Robbins Foundation a rating of four out of four stars in 2017.[49]

Feeding America[edit]

In 2014, he donated the profits of his book, Money: Master the Game, along with an additional personal donation, through Feeding America to provide meals to people in need.[50] The combined donation fed 100 million needy people in 2014-15, according to the charity.[51][52] Robbins partnered with the charity again in 2016 to provide 100 million more meals. On February 2, 2017, Feeding America announced that the 100 Million More Meals Challenge, conducted in partnership with Robbins, helped provide more than 101.6 million meals to children, families and seniors through Feeding America's network of 200-member food banks in 2016. Robbins also donated profits from Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook to Feeding America.[53]

Spring Health[edit]

Robbins works with a water company called Spring Health, which provides fresh water to small villages in rural eastern India to prevent waterborne diseases.[54]

Underground Railroad[edit]

Robbins helped raise money for Operation Underground Railroad, a non-profit organization that fights against child trafficking and slavery with the assistance of former CIA, Navy SEALs, and Special Ops operatives.[55]

Legal issues[edit]

In May 1995, Robbins Research International (R.R.I.) settled with the Federal Trade Commission over alleged violations of the agency's Franchise Rule. Under the settlement, R.R.I. was not found to have violated any law and agreed to pay $221,260 in consumer redress.[56]

Wade Cook sued Robbins for allegedly using copyrighted terms from Cook's book Wall Street Money Machine in Robbins' seminars. In 2000, a jury awarded Cook $655,900 judgement, which was appealed.[57][58] Cook and Robbins settled for an undisclosed amount.[59][60]

In 2001, the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that The Vancouver Sun had defamed Robbins when it called him an "adulterous, wife-stealing hypocrite." The court awarded Robbins $20,000 in damages and his legal costs.[61][62]

In July 2012, the San Jose Mercury News published a story reporting that multiple people had been burned and hospitalized during one of Robbins' fire-walking events on July 19, 2012. This story was picked up by other media outlets, including Fox News. These reports were later retracted as inaccurate.[63] A corrective article was published by The Huffington Post.[64][65]

On June 24, 2016, it was reported that "dozens were burned and required medical attention after attempting to walk on hot coals during a fire-walking event at a Tony Robbins seminar in Dallas, Texas".[66] Several attendees were transported to medical facilities to treat burns, and a bus was used as a staging-area for between 30 and 40 people who were less seriously hurt.[67] A spokeswoman for the Robbins organization stated, "Someone unfamiliar with the process of the fire-walk called 911 reporting the need for emergency services vehicles […] there was no need for emergency personnel […] only 5 of 7,000 participants requested an examination beyond what was readily available on site."[68]

Television and film[edit]

Robbins has played cameo roles in the films Reality Bites, The Cable Guy[69] and the 2001 film Shallow Hal; the performances were generally poorly received.[70] He also appeared in The Roseanne Show and an episode of The Sopranos.[71] He plays himself in the 2010 documentary film The Singularity Is Near: A True Story about The Future.[72]

He was lampooned in the Family Guy episode "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein"[73] and the Beavis and Butt-head episode "The Miracle That is Beavis".

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.[74][75] NBC canceled the show after airing two of the planned six episodes due to low viewership of 2.8 million.[76] In March 2012, the OWN Network picked up the show for another season beginning with the original first season set to re-run and thereafter leading directly into the new 2012 season.[77][78] In April 2012, Robbins began cohosting Oprah's Lifeclass on the OWN Network.[79]

In 2015, film maker Joe Berlinger directed and produced the documentary "Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru", about the Tony Robbins event "Date with Destiny" after filming it in Boca Raton, Florida, in December 2014.[80] It premiered at the South by Southwest film festival in March 2016[81] and opened the American Documentary Film Festival (AmDocs) in Palm Springs in February 2016.[82] The documentary was translated into languages for 190 countries and released by Netflix on July 15, 2016.[80][83]

Personal life[edit]

In 1984, Robbins married Rebecca "Becky" Jenkins after meeting her at a seminar.[84][85][86] Jenkins had three children from two former marriages, whom Robbins adopted. Robbins and Jenkins filed for divorce in 1998.[86]

In 1984, Robbins fathered a child with former girlfriend Liz Acosta. The son, Jairek Robbins, is also a personal empowerment trainer.[87]

In October 2001, Robbins married Bonnie "Sage" Robbins (née Humphrey).[88]

Tony Robbins and his wife live in Palm Beach, Florida.[89]

Associated people[edit]


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External links[edit]