Zig Ziglar was a motivational speaker whose "Success Rallies" and "Born to Win" seminars, more than 25 self-help books and countless audiotapes attracted millions of followers with advice on career advancement and moral uplift. He won over crowds with his faith-filled proverbs and earnest metaphors about setting goals and facing adversity. "If you're going to have to swallow a frog," he would say, "you don't want to have to look at that sucker too long!" Or: "You can get everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want!"
The 10th of 12 children born in rural Alabama, he described his mother as his foremost influence, a strict and devout woman whose storehouse of adages remained a cornerstone of his speeches and writings. Working as a door-to-door kitchenware salesman. he became drawn to the power of self-help speakers and began giving talks at church and Rotary Club meetings.
He then worked training employees at a direct-sales company. The business folded, but demand for Ziglar's speaking had intensified. His first book, Biscuits, Fleas, and Pump Handles (1974), urged readers to reevaluate their lives with a "check-up from the neck up". Ziglar spoke often of his religious awakening in 1972 and invoked his faith in book titles such as Confessions of a Happy Christian. Ziglar, who could earn tens of thousands of dollars per speech, and other times waived his fee, kept up a rigorous schedule until retiring in 2010.
Hilary Hinton Ziglar, motivational speaker: born Coffee County, Alabama 6 November 1926; married 1946 Jean Abernathy (two daughters, one son); died Plano, Texas 28 November 28 2012.