Earl Nightingale

Earl Nightingale was an American radio speaker and author specializing in personal development, character building and motivation. He published several renowned books such as Lead the Field and The Strangest Secret.

As a Marine, he served aboard the USS Arizona in Hawaii during the Pearl Harbor attack, where his experience led him to dedicate his life to improving the wellbeing of people worldwide.

Humble Beginnings

Earl Nightingale was born and raised during the Great Depression in Long Beach California’s Tent City slum. His father left when he was still young, leaving his mother struggling alone to raise three children. 

Earl was exposed to knowledge from an early age, thanks to his Mother.  Despite her low socioeconomic status, she recognized the importance of knowledge.  She instilled this in her children, by encouraging them to visit their local library regularly.  This prompted Earl on an educational quest which would last the rest of his life. 

He wanted to understand why some people were poor, while others were wealthy.  His curiosity led him to search across religions and philosophies for answers and solutions. Finally, enlightenment came at ag 29, when he read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

Earl Nightingale launched his radio career shortly after retiring from the Marines. First as host of WGN’s daily commentary program, then as voice actor in Sky King action adventure series. Over his lengthy career he created over 7000 radio programs, 250 audio recordings, as well as television programs.

Earl Nightingale became best-known during his radio and TV broadcasts for writing several books, most notably The Strangest Secret in 1956, which has become one of the greatest motivational books ever published. Aside from writing and broadcasting career, Nightingale also was an accomplished public speaker and lecturer whose radio and TV work led him to tremendous financial success.  In 1985 he was honored by being inducted into National Broadcasters Radio Hall of Fame.

Pearl Harbor Survivor

He joined the Marines at the age of 17.  He was onboard the USS Arizona during the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.  He was one of the few survivors from that fateful day!

As part of his service in the Marines, he had an opportunity to work at a local radio station as a broadcaster. This experience inspired his desire to return to radio after leaving military duty. Following that opportunity he and his wife relocated first to Phoenix, then Chicago where he established himself professionally in radio.

He believed that success was not determined by chance or circumstance alone, but by making conscious choices. To achieve his own success he began studying the habits of successful people, before making changes in his own life, and sharing these insights with others to help create their own success stories.

Broadcast Industry

Earl Nightingale began radio shortly after leaving the Marines and quickly made his mark as Sky King in an adventure series broadcast out of Phoenix. Later he relocated to Chicago in order to build on this success and build on it further.

Starting his own insurance agency, where he would often give motivational speeches to his insurance salespeople, he began asking himself why some people were able to create wealth and happiness while others struggled. 

At one point, he found himself awake in the middle of the night with an idea to write a message for his salesmen. Recorded on a 10-inch record player, it became an instantaneous success and sold over one million copies.  It further established him as a motivational speaker.

After this experience, he started contributing regularly to various magazines, sharing his understandings on how people could transform their lives. His influence could be found among prominent speakers and writers of his time, including Tony Robbins and Zig Ziglar.

Nightingale also published several books on personal development, with his most celebrated being “The Strangest Secret”, an exploration of hopefulness and goal setting. As an inspiring and captivating speaker, he gained the title “Dean of Personal Development”, becoming widely respected today. His works continue to impact lives across generations while their lessons remain just as pertinent today.


Earl Nightingale was one of the most accomplished individuals ever, attaining unbelievable success because he knew the secret to it all, thinking creates your reality! He was adept at translating the ideas of Napoleon Hill, Wallace Wattles, and other self-help authors into simple messages that anyone could understand.

Additionally, he excelled at building successful businesses. Nightingale Conant Corporation was one of the top self-help publishers, and at his death from cancer at age 68 he was estimated to be worth an estimated $38 Million! An astonishing achievement.


He experienced first-hand the trauma of Pearl Harbor while serving on board the USS Arizona during its attack, an experience which profoundly altered his outlook and awareness of human mortality.  This was a primary reason for dedicating his life to finding ways to extend and enhance the lives of others.

After World War II, he began working in radio, and quickly established an impressive career for himself. Known for his inspiring speeches and books and recordings that inspired others towards success in life. Still widely recognized today for his works and influence with his philosophy of living, his impact still lives on today.

He was a disciple of Napoleon Hill, and his book Earl Nightingale’s Greatest Discovery received the Gold Medal for Literary Excellency from The Napoleon Hill Foundation. A huge advocate of personal development, even after his death his works continue to be played worldwide. ¬†Indeed he remains one of the most revered motivational speakers ever.

He pioneered a unique format for his book, The Winner’s Notebook, that combined text and illustrations, as well as space for personal journal entries. Additionally, he published numerous other titles like ‘Lead the Field’ and ‘The Essence of Success’ that reached millions. These recordings and broadcasts continue to motivate others along their path to success today.

Nightingale Conat Corporation

During World War II, Lloyd Conant was called upon to serve his country as a glider pilot in Europe. His experience gave him a deep sense of purpose that propelled his reading on success and personal development topics.  

These readings eventually led him to Earl Nightingale, whose powerful message of You Are What You Think About, became the cornerstone of Nightingale-Conant’s mission statement.

The two men decided to ‘join forces’ and the Nightingale-Conat corporation was formed in February 1960.

Nightingale-Conant expanded rapidly through audio sales to mail order customers, business seminars and resellers. As its audio tape market grew larger, Nightingale-Conant began publishing and marketing new authors.  The first being Denis Waitley’s recording titled” The Psychology of Winning.”

Nightingale-Conant has quickly become one of the world’s premier producers of personal development audio products, known for their superior quality and outstanding customer service. Their people feel pride that their work makes a positive impact in so many lives around the globe.

The Strangest Secret

Earl Nightingale coined the term “The Strangest Secret” in his groundbreaking recording released in the 1950s. This secret, as Nightingale reveals, is not truly a secret at all, but rather a profound realization that can transform lives. It revolves around the idea that individuals become what they think about most of the time. 

Nightingale emphasizes that our thoughts have an incredible influence on our actions, behaviors, and ultimately our outcomes in life. If we constantly dwell on negative thoughts or worry excessively, we are likely to attract more negativity into our lives. On the other hand, by cultivating positive thoughts and focusing on our goals and aspirations, we can manifest success and happiness. 

Nightingale highlights the importance of taking control of our minds and consciously directing our thoughts towards what we desire. He suggests that we become the masters of our thoughts, rather than being controlled by external circumstances or negative influences. By doing so, we can shape our reality and create the life we truly desire.

Another crucial aspect of Nightingale’s “The Strangest Secret” is the significance of setting clear and meaningful goals. He believes that individuals who have specific goals are more likely to achieve them compared to those who drift through life without a clear purpose. 

“The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale serves as a timeless reminder that our thoughts shape our reality. By understanding and applying the core concepts of this influential work, we can harness the power of our minds to manifest success, happiness, and fulfillment in our lives. Remember, you hold the key to unlocking your true potential through the power of your thoughts. 

Lead The Field

Nightingale emphasizes that leadership is not limited to a position or title. It is a mindset and a set of skills that anyone can develop. True leadership begins with taking charge of one’s own life, making conscious choices, and taking responsibility for the outcomes. By understanding this fundamental concept, individuals can pave the way for leading others effectively.

Before leading others, one must learn to lead oneself. Nightingale encourages individuals to become self-aware, set clear goals, and develop self-discipline. By mastering self-leadership, individuals can effectively manage their time, prioritize tasks, and stay focused on their objectives, ultimately becoming more productive and successful in their endeavors.

One of the most powerful ways to lead others is by setting a positive example. Nightingale emphasizes the importance of integrity, honesty, and authenticity in leadership. When individuals lead by example, they inspire trust, motivate others, and create a positive work or personal environment. By consistently demonstrating the qualities they expect from others, leaders can influence and guide their team members or peers towards achieving common goals.

Nightingale stresses the significance of effective communication in leadership. Leaders must possess strong communication skills to articulate their vision, provide clear instructions, and actively listen to others. By fostering open and honest communication, leaders can build strong relationships, resolve conflicts, and create a collaborative environment where everyone’s ideas and contributions are valued.

According to Nightingale, great leaders are lifelong learners. They constantly seek knowledge, stay updated with industry trends, and invest in personal and professional development. By continuously expanding their knowledge and skills, leaders can adapt to changing circumstances, make informed decisions, and inspire their team members to grow alongside them.

In “Lead the Field,” Earl Nightingale provides invaluable insights into the art of leadership. By grasping the essence of leadership, prioritizing self-leadership, leading by example, fostering effective communication, and embracing continuous learning, individuals can unlock their leadership potential, both in their personal and professional lives. As Nightingale aptly puts it, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”

Similar Posts