Maxwell Maltz

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Maxwell Maltz
Born(1889-03-10)10 March 1889
New York City[1]
Died7 April 1975(1975-04-07) (aged 86)
EducationDoctor of Medicine
Alma materColumbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
OccupationAuthor, cosmetic surgeon
Known forPsycho-Cybernetics

Maxwell Maltz (March 10, 1889[1] – April 7, 1975[2]) was an American cosmetic surgeon and author of Psycho-Cybernetics (1960), which was a system of ideas that he claimed could improve one's self-image. In turn, the person would lead a more successful and fulfilling life.[3] He wrote several books, among which Psycho-Cybernetics was a long-time bestseller — influencing many subsequent self-help teachers.[4][5][6] His orientation towards a system of ideas that would provide self-help is considered the forerunner of the now popular self-help books.[7]

In 1923, Maltz graduated with a doctorate in medicine from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He also undertook training under German plastic surgeons who were considered most advanced in cosmetic surgery at that time.[2]

In 1960, Psycho-Cybernetics: A New Way to Get More Living out of Life was first published by Prentice-Hall and appeared in a pocket book edition by 1969. The book introduced Maltz's views where a person must have an accurate and positive view of him- or herself before setting goals; otherwise he or she will get stuck in a continuing pattern of limiting beliefs. His ideas focus on visualizing one's goals and he believes that self-image is the cornerstone of all the changes that take place in a person. According to Maltz, if one's self-image is unhealthy or faulty — all of his or her efforts will end in failure.[3]

Maltz also wrote fiction, including a play called Unseen Scar (1946)[8] and a novel, The Time is Now (1975).[9] His autobiography, Doctor Pygmalion: The Autobiography of a Plastic Surgeon (1953),[10] was popular and influential,[11] being discussed in many subsequent books on body and identity.[12] It was re-titled Doctor Psycho-Cybernetics after his self-help work was published.

Although the book Psycho-Cybernetics was first published in 1960, as of 2008 the book is one of 50 recommended in the book 50 Self-Help Classics.[13]


  1. ^ a b "College of Physicians and Surgeons Obituary Database". Archived from the original on 2007-06-09. Retrieved 2007-09-27.
  2. ^ a b "Welcome to". Archived from the original on 2008-03-08. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
  3. ^ Gray, Michael C. "Psycho-Cybernetics Book Review". Retrieved 2008-03-14.
  4. ^ Manz, Charles. Emotional Discipline. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  5. ^ Joseph L. DeVitis, John Martin Rich. The Success Ethic, Education, and the American Dream. SUNY Press. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  6. ^ Lynn Bridgers, James W. Fowler. Contemporary Varieties of Religious Experience. Rowman & Littlefield. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  7. ^ Maltz, Maxwell (1946). Unseen Scar: A New Play. New York: Hart Stenographic Bureau. OCLC 44450040.
  8. ^ Maltz, Maxwell (1975). The Time is Now. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-21859-X. OCLC 1009493.
  9. ^ Maltz, Maxwell (1953). Doctor Pygmalion: The Autobiography of a Plastic Surgeon. New York: Crowell. OCLC 14656784.
  10. ^ D. H. J. Morgan; et al. Gender, Bodies and Work. Ashgate Publishing. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  11. ^ Davis, Kathy. Dubious Equalities and Embodied Differences. Rowman & Littlefield. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  12. ^ "Welcome to". Retrieved 2008-03-14.

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