The Strangest Secret

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The Strangest Secret
The Strangest Secret.jpg
AuthorEarl Nightingale
Original titleThe Strangest Secret
CountryUnited States
Publication date
Media type(Audio, Paperback, E-Book)
Pages44 pages

The Strangest Secret was a 1957 spoken word record by Earl Nightingale which sold over one million copies and received the first Gold Record for the spoken word,[1] which helped launch the fields of business motivation and audio publishing. It was later adapted into print and video forms.[2][3]


In 1950 Earl Nightingale was inspired by the words "we become what we think about" in Napoleon Hill's book Think and Grow Rich around the same time he bought an insurance agency. He provided weekly motivational speeches to the agency's sales staff. In 1956, he recorded a motivational speech to be played while he was on vacation. Nightingale's employees spread word of the speech, and demand for the recording grew so large that he and friend Lloyd Conant formed the Nightingale-Conant Corporation to manage sales.[4][5][6][7]


The audio recording was later adapted into print form as a short 44 page essay. The teachings focus on nonconformity and self-education, and summarizes that "You are now, and you do become, what you think about."[8][9][10]

In other media[edit]

Nightingale's recording has been redistributed in various mediums since its initial release. In 2018 Janice Bryant Howroyd released an updated version with her edits and enhancements, read from a female perspective.[11][12]