Earl Nightingale’s life began simply. He grew up in Long Beach, California. His parents had little money, and his father disappeared when he was 12. But even as a boy, Earl was always asking questions, always reading in his local public library, trying to understand the way life works.
On December 7, 1941, Earl was at Pearl Harbor … in a lookout tower on the Battleship Arizona. A thousand men died on the Arizona … Earl was one of only a hundred who survived. He was literally blown off the ship, unconscious, and another sailor pulled him to safety.
Earl said that he felt that he had been spared for some reason. After the war Earl became obsessed with why everyone in his neighborhood was poor and confused. He wondered why one person was able to create wealth and happiness for his family, while another with a similar background stayed ignorant and penniless. Answering these questions became Earl’s life work.
Earl worked in radio in Phoenix and later in Chicago. He also owned his own insurance agency.
In 1956, he was about to take a trip but wanted to leave a message for his sales force. He got up in the middle of the night inspired to write a message that he recorded the next morning. That message became one of the most important and famous motivational recordings ever made.