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The Making of Dr. Phil: The Straight-Talking True Story of Everyone's Favorite Therapist Hardcover – November 3, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Although he was virtually unknown just a few short years ago, Dr. Phil McGraw has become a media sensation. Since his first appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1998, Dr. Phil has made himself into the man people turn to for help in solving the problems of their lives.

But Dr. Phil is more than just the world’s most famous pop psychologist. He’s also a gifted businessman whose empire includes a blockbuster television show, bestselling books, and sold-out live seminars. In fact, the rise of Dr. Phil–and his ever-expanding media and self-help operation–is one of the most fascinating success stories in recent years.

The Making of Dr. Phil takes you inside the world of this global phenomenon. Both an engaging biography and business success story, this comprehensive portrait introduces you to the real Dr. Phil, from his early days as a young athlete and student pilot, to his failed first marriage, decision to study psychology, chance meeting with Oprah, and other big breaks along the way that set the stage for his incredible career. Authors Sophia Dembling and Lisa Gutierrez dig deep to uncover Dr. Phil’s motivations, inner drive, and the full dimension of a personality more complex than the "down-home doc" portrayed in his books and on television.

This fascinating book reveals:

  • What Dr. Phil’s childhood and young adult years were like, including exclusive interviews with his friends and former classmates
  • How Dr. Phil’s win-at-all-costs attitude has enabled him to build a multimillion-dollar business and media empire
  • What Dr. Phil’s relationship with Oprah is really like, and what goes on behind the scenes of his hit TV show
  • Why some say Dr. Phil’s brand of pop psychology is harmful, and how he responds to these charges
  • What rules Dr. Phil lives by that have led him to achieve such amazing success

Complete with interviews from his family, childhood friends, former business associates, and many others, The Making of Dr. Phil offers a rare glimpse into the life of one of today’s most fascinating celebrities. It provides an up-close look at how he worked his way to the top, and is must reading for every Dr. Phil fan or anyone wanting to uncover his secrets for achieving their wildest dreams.

From the Back Cover

Essential Reading for Every Dr. Phil Fan…and Anyone Hoping to Learn the Secrets of His Incredible Success

The story of Dr. Phil’s rise to the top is not one of a well-thought- out and carefully executed plan, nor is it entirely a tale about the rewards of hard work–although McGraw is clearly driven by his own success. Rather, it is the story of a brilliant opportunist with powerful survival instincts and a gift for quickly analyzing and sizing up any situation.

You’ve no doubt heard the legend about the man who was blessed by Oprah’s golden touch. But the real story of the making of Dr. Phil encompasses both embarrassing failures and promising opportunities that have been brilliantly capitalized on by someone with the brains–and nerves–to do what it takes to succeed.
–From the Preface

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (November 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047146726X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471467267
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,360,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I came to Texas from NYC to seek my fortune. OK, I didn't find a fortune but I did find a new career as a writer, a husband, an antique dog, and a weird new accent.

Look for my travel column, Wandering Mind, in the Dallas Morning News and the Chicago Tribune and my articles and essays in newspapers and magazines nationwide. (You can read samples on my website).

And look, too, for a link on my website to a Mediabistro article about my experience writing The Making of Dr. Phil. That was one tough project! I'll never look at the man the same way again...

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 71 people found the following review helpful By JW on November 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this book, "The Making Of Dr. Phil" which is an excellent book, and I recommend it to everyone who wants to see what the Wizard Of Oz looks like behind curtain.

It paints a clear picture of the kind of person Dr. Phil really is, a hypocrite! What is interesting is that this book did not receive much publicity, as there is an alleged campaign against the book by Phil, and most media outlets refused to interview the writers for fear of retaliation from Phil. It also shows that Phil is really just an expert psychological manipulator and a very aggressive entrepreneur. Here are some random bullet points I picked out of the book, it's a worthwhile read...pick it up now!

· Phil is not a therapist, and never really was. He hated doing therapy. He went into psychology as a way to make money. He is an expert negotiator, businessman. He is no longer even a licensed psychologist. Phil just uses psychology as a way to make money. He quit practice and went into the Court business, as that was a way he could use psychology as a weapon, and as a way to make a lot of money, and not have to deal with all these dumb people with their problems!

· Phil has quite a sordid past. His first Gym business went bankrupt, and there is lots of evidence that he was still selling to people, when they knew it was going under. They were just spending all the money that came in, and were not putting the money into the health club. They had people buy long-term contracts, and then sold these contracts to 3rd parties, and even after the gym went under, those folks STILL has to keep paying for it! This was based on a tricky contract Phil designed.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Bob Godefe on November 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
All right: No, I'm not a huge Dr. Phil fan. My wife can't get enough of him though. But as a businessman, I'm amazed at all he has been able to accomplish in such a short time. I really read this book hoping to learn how he was able to build such an incredible empire of books, self-help tapes, seminars, TV show, diet products, and so forth. After reading this book, which was very entertaining, it's clear his success is a mix of intelligence, persistence, and luck. He apparently has been an entrepreneur since childhood, always looking for ways to make money. But he has failed at these endeavours as much as he has succeeded. Although it seems like everything he touches these days turns to gold, that wasn't always the case. So, while I still won't be watching his show, I have come to admire him more as a businessman from reading this book and hope to start using some of his success strategies to grow my own business. It's quite an inspirational read.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Grant Naylor on January 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I would rate this book as only four stars but I gave it five to make up for some of the ridiculous negative reviews that have been posted about it!

If you can't believe that Dr Phil is human and can make mistakes, then DON'T read this book!

If you are truly interested in all aspects of his life and can handle reading the truth, then by all means go ahead and buy it.

Some reviewers must have been reading a different book to me because I didn't get an anti Dr Phil bias from this book at all.

When talking to past patients, only one patient claimed disatisfaction with their therapy, compared to several who claimed that he made a huge difference to their lives. How can that be seen as anti Dr Phil?

After finishing this book I still couldn't tell you whether the authors liked or disliked Dr Phil - and that is how a biography should be.

I haven't read tabloid reports about Dr Phil so I couldn't tell you how much of this information is new, but overall this is a really readable book and very enjoyable.

The criticism that McGraws' previous marriage shouldn't have been included is just pathetic! His first wife was part of his life, part of his past, so why shouldn't she be mentioned?

This is a story of Dr Phil from childhood to present day and if you have an interest in Dr Phil or in psychotherapy then I would definitely recommend it.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a compelling read about how Dr. Phil went from literally nowhere to becoming a world famous shrink with his own TV show. While it does offer some of his self-help advice, it's really his life story, from boyhood to present. The authors offer a very objective look at his eventful life. They also provide a glimpse into how he talked his way into the fame and fortune he enjoys today. I'm really convinced that some of the other reviewers haven't even read the book and are just guessing it's a negative look at Dr. Phil. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it's an overall positive picture of a man who is indeed a very shrewd businessperson. The writing is clear, concise, and quite entertaining. I believe it will be of interest to readers of all types, whether you're a Dr. Phil fan or not.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Wanda Wroblewski on December 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a very entertaining read on one of today's leading celebrities. It tells Dr. Phil's true life story, from his start as a poor boy in Oklahoma, to his first business ventures, on through his college years studying psychology. It then talks about how he transitioned from private practice with his father to the speaking circuit and trial consulting, before being touched by the magic of Oprah and shooting into super-stardom. I found the insights from Dr. Phil, his friends, and family to be most interesting. I had no idea he had accomplished so much and managed to rise from failure so many times. I really think everyone even remotely interested in Dr. Phil will enjoy reading this interesting book.
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