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Tony Robbins in 2009
|Born||Anthony J. Mahavoric
February 29, 1960
North Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Life Performance coach
|Spouse(s)||Becky Robbins (m. 1982–2001)
Sage Robbins (m. 2001)
Tony Robbins (born Anthony J. Mahavoric; February 29, 1960) is an American motivational speaker, personal finance instructor, and self-help author. He became well known from his infomercials and self-help books: Unlimited Power, Unleash the Power Within and Awaken the Giant Within.
Robbins was born Anthony J. Mahavoric in North Hollywood, California, on February 29, 1960. His surname was originally spelled 'Mohorović' and is of Croatian origin. 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 semiprofessional baseball player who legally adopted Anthony when he was 12.
His father could not provide for their family, so he left them. His mother started abusing alcohol and prescription drugs sometime after. While growing up, Robbins was a primary care-giver, and helped provide for his siblings. Robbins was raised in Azusa and Glendora, California. He was elected student body president in his senior year and grew 10 inches in high school, a growth spurt later attributed to a pituitary tumor. He has said his home life was "chaotic" and "abusive". When he was 17 years old, Robbins' mother chased him out of the house with a knife, and he never returned. Robbins later worked as a janitor, and did not attend college.
Later, without any educational background in psychology, Robbins began his own work as a self-help coach. He taught neurolinguistic programming (NLP) and Ericksonian hypnosis after training with NLP co-founder John Grinder. In 1983, Robbins learned to firewalk and began to incorporate it into his seminars. Robbins' use of board breaking, skydiving, and later firewalking in his seminars is intended to help participants learn to push through their fears.
Robbins promoted his services as a "peak performance coach" through his books and TV infomercials. His first infomercial, Personal Power, was released in 1988 and produced by Guthy Renker. 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 viewed his informercials.
In 1997, Robbins began the Leadership Academy seminar. Robbins is a featured speaker on the seminar circuit sponsored by Learning Annex. Robbins appeared as a featured speaker at the 2006 Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference. As of May 2016, his talk was the seventh-most viewed TED talk.
Robbins is involved with the Robbins-Madanes Center for Strategic Intervention, which focuses on personal, family, and organizational psychology, and claims to help people "find breakthrough strategies and solutions for overcoming the problems that confront us all."
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. The team is scheduled to begin competition in 2017.
Robbins has written three best-selling books: Unlimited Power, Awaken the Giant Within, and Money: Master the Game.
Unlimited Power, published in 1986, discusses the topics of health and energy, overcoming fears, persuasive communication, and enhancing relationships. In the book, Robbins argues that by using neuro-linguistic programming "anyone can become successful at almost anything." According to Magill Book Reviews, Robbins develops "a systematic framework for directing our own brain."
Awaken the Giant Within, published in 1991, according to The New York Times, the book contains "ways to take control of your emotional, physical and financial destiny." In 1994, Robbins published Giant Steps, a daily instructional book, in a pocket size. His third best-seller, Money: Master the Game, was published in 2014, reached number one on the New York Times' "Advice, How-To, & Miscellaneous" bestseller list in December 2014, and went on to sell a million copies in its first year. The book contains information stemming from his interviews with over 50 financial experts.
In 1991, Robbins founded the Anthony Robbins Foundation, a charity dedicated to empowering individuals and organizations. According to the foundation, it has products and programs in more than 2,000 schools, 700 prisons, and 100,000 health and human service organizations. Independent charity watchdog Charity Navigator gives the Anthony Robbins Foundation a rating of four out of four stars.
One of his foundation's programs is the International Basket Brigade, in which groups of volunteers across the world assemble and deliver baskets of food and household items to needy families. Robbins said The International Basket Brigade gives baskets of food and household items to about two million people each year. In 2014, his foundation spent $6,087 on the International Basket Brigade program.
In May 1995, Robbins Research International (RRI) responded to Federal Trade Commission charges of misrepresentation of potential earnings to franchise investors. RRI and the FTC entered into a stipulated settlement agreement, in which RRI agreed to pay US$221,260 in consumer redress. RRI did not admit guilt under the settlement.
Financial seminar guru Wade Cook also sued Robbins for copyright infringement and plagiarism, alleging that Robbins used proprietary terms in his seminars and from Cook's book Wall Street Money Machine. In 1998, a Tacoma, Washington, jury ordered Robbins to pay Cook $650,900 in damages. The order to pay damages was temporarily withdrawn until 2000, when the 9th Circuit Court ruled that the trial judge had misinterpreted the statutes. The verdict and damages were reinstated with a statement that "The Court found that U.S. District Court Judge, Jack Tanner, erred in "finding a conclusion contrary to the jury award" and sent instructions to reinstate the award. Robbins was forced to pay the entire amount.
One chapter of Unlimited Power, called "Energy: The Fuel of Excellence", is dedicated to a discussion of health and energy. The National Council Against Health Fraud wrote a highly critical review of the chapter.
In 2001, Robbins filed a lawsuit against The Vancouver Sun newspaper, alleging defamation and libel. The judge determined the Vancouver Sun defamed Robbins when it called him an "adulterous, wife-stealing hypocrite". Awarding Robbins $20,000 in damages, the judge wrote "While damages are presumed, the plaintiff's failure to take the witness stand and to testify about his feelings and the effect of the defamation upon his reputation leaves the court somewhat in the dark about these matters".
In July 2012, the San Jose Mercury News published a story reporting that multiple people had been burned and hospitalized during one of Robbins' firewalking events on July 19, 2012. This story was picked up by other media outlets, including Fox News. These reports were later retracted as inaccurate. A similar corrective article was published by The Huffington Post.
On June 24, 2016 dozens were burned and required medical attention after attempting to walk on hot coals during a fire walking event at a Tony Robbins motivational seminar in Dallas, TX. Several attendees required hospitalization and were transported to medical facilities to treat burns while a bus was required by emergency services to handle the triage of burn victims.
According to Robbins' website, the "fire walk" is intended to help people conquer their fears by walking across hot coals. It takes place during the "Turn Fear Into Power" portion of the event.
"Walking over those hot coals is a symbolic experience that proves if you can make it through the fire, you can make it through anything," his website says.
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. NBC canceled the show, after airing two of the planned six episodes, due to low viewership of 2.8 million. In March 2012, the OWN Network picked the show up for another season beginning with the original first season set to rerun and thereafter leading directly into the new 2012 season.
In 1985, he married Rebecca "Becky" Jenkins, after meeting her at a seminar. Jenkins had three children from two former marriages whom Robbins adopted. Robbins and Jenkins filed for divorce 14 years later.
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