Jack Canfield (born August 19, 1944) is an American author, motivational speaker, seminar leader, corporate trainer, and entrepreneur. He is the co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, which has more than 250 titles and 500 million copies in print in over 40 languages. In 2005 Canfield co-authored with Janet Switzer The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.
Early Life and education
Canfield was born in Fort Worth, Texas on August 19, 1944. He spent his teen years in Wheeling, West Virginia and graduated from the Linsly Military Institute in 1962. Canfield received an A.B. in Chinese History from Harvard University in 1966. He received his M.Ed. in 1973 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Canfield received an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Santa Monica in 1981.
Canfield began his career in 1967 when he taught a year of high school in Chicago, Illinois. He worked at the Clinton Job Corps Center in Iowa and the W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation in Chicago. In 1976 Canfield co-authored 100 Ways to Enhance Self-Concept in the Classroom: A Handbook for Teachers and Parents. He ran a residential Gestalt center called the New England Center for Personal and Organizational Development and was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of America (TOYA) by the U.S. Jaycees in 1978.
Canfield is the founder and CEO of The Canfield Training Group in Santa Barbara, California and founder of The Foundation for Self-Esteem in Culver City, California. Canfield hosts a radio program and writes a globally syndicated newspaper column. He holds a Guinness World Record for having seven books on the New York Times best-seller list at the same time. In 2006 Canfield was featured in a self-development film called The Secret. His best known books include: The Power of Focus, The Aladdin Factor, and Dare to Win. In 2005 Canfield co-authored The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. He is a founding member of the Transformational Leadership Council.
Chicken Soup for the Soul
Canfield coauthored Chicken Soup for the Soul with Mark Victor Hansen in 1993. According to USA Today, Chicken Soup for the Soul was the third best-selling book in the United States during the mid-1990s. Canfield later co-authored dozens of additional books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
The Success Principles
In his book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. Jack Canfield has collected what he asserts to be 64 essential lessons for attaining goals and creating a successful life. The book is divided into six sections: The Fundamentals of Success, Transform Yourself for Success, Build Your Success Team, Create Successful Relationships, Success and Money, and Success Starts Now. These principles include the fundamentals, such as "Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life", "Decide What You Want", and "Believe It’s Possible", as well as those aimed at creating better relationships, such as "Keep Your Agreements", and "Speak with impeccability," and "Tell the Truth Faster." Canfield also presents ideas that he claims can create success with money, build a successful team, and how to overcome procrastination and get started.
In the traditions of Napoleon Hill, W. Clement Stone, Earl Nightingale and Maxwell Maltz Canfield emphasizes the importance of focusing on a vision and using visualization, i.e. the act of creating compelling and vivid pictures in one's mind, in order to achieve one's goals.:81–89 Canfield cites neuropsychologists who study expectancy theory to support his view on the significance of visualization:
Scientists used to believe that humans responded to information flowing into the brain from the outside world. But today, they're learning that instead we respond to what the brain, based on previous experience, expects to happen next. In fact, the mind is such a powerful instrument; it can deliver literally everything you want. But you have to believe that what you want is possible... Through a lifetime's worth of events, our brain actually learns what to expect next—whether it eventually happens that way or not. And because our brain expects something will happen a certain way, we often achieve exactly what we anticipate.:35–36
In January 2015 a 10th anniversary, revised and updated, edition of Jack Canfield's Success Principles came out. The new edition is meant to reflect changing times and address challenges and opportunities that define our digital age. The revised edition includes a new section "Success in the Digital Age" that explains how to brand oneself with an online persona, use social media in a way that enhances one's reputation, and how organize crowdfunding to finance projects.:499–539
Teaching & public influence
In July 2009, DoPeace and MaestroConference co-hosted a Social Conferencing Event titled Being a Practical Visionary. Canfield was one of the expert speakers on personal growth.
Canfield married in 1971 and had four children before he divorced in 1976. A few years later he remarried and had a fifth child. He divorced in 1999 and married for a third time in 2001.