Wayne Dyer

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Wayne Dyer
Dyer in 2009
Born(1940-05-10)May 10, 1940
Detroit, Michigan, US
DiedAugust 29, 2015(2015-08-29) (aged 75)
OccupationAuthor, motivational speaker

Wayne Walter Dyer (May 10, 1940 – August 29, 2015) was an American self-help author and a motivational speaker. His first book, Your Erroneous Zones (1976), is one of the best-selling books of all time, with an estimated 35 million copies sold to date. [1]

Self-help or self-improvement is a self-guided improvement—economically, intellectually, or emotionally—often with a substantial psychological basis. Many different self-help group programs exist, each with its own focus, techniques, associated beliefs, proponents and in some cases, leaders. Concepts and terms originating in self-help culture and Twelve-Step culture, such as recovery, dysfunctional families, and codependency have become firmly integrated in mainstream language.

A motivational speaker or inspirational speaker is a speaker who makes speeches intended to motivate or inspire an audience. Such speakers may attempt to challenge or transform their audiences. The speech itself is popularly known as a pep talk.

<i>Your Erroneous Zones</i> book by Wayne Dyer

Your Erroneous Zones is the first self-help book written by Wayne Dyer and issued on August 1, 1976. It is one of the top-selling books of all time, with an estimated 35 million copies sold. The book spent 64 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list through November 13, 1977, including a spot at number one on the week of May 8, 1977.


Early life

Dyer was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Melvin Lyle Dyer and Hazel Irene Vollick, and spent much of his first ten years in an orphanage on the east side of Detroit, [2] after his father walked out on the family, leaving his mother to raise three small boys. [3] After graduating from Denby High School, Dyer served in the United States Navy from 1958 to 1962. He received his Ed.D. degree in counseling from Wayne State University. [4] His dissertation was titled Group Counseling Leadership Training in Counselor Education. [5]

Detroit Largest city in Michigan

Detroit is the largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Michigan, the largest United States city on the United States–Canada border, and the seat of Wayne County. The municipality of Detroit had a 2017 estimated population of 673,104, making it the 23rd-most populous city in the United States. The metropolitan area, known as Metro Detroit, is home to 4.3 million people, making it the second-largest in the Midwest after the Chicago metropolitan area. Regarded as a major cultural center, Detroit is known for its contributions to music and as a repository for art, architecture and design.

Michigan State of the United States of America

Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the United States. The state's name, Michigan, originates from the Ojibwe word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake". With a population of about 10 million, Michigan is the tenth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area, and is the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Metro Detroit is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies.

Denby High School

The Edwin C. Denby High School is a public secondary education school located at 12800 Kelly Road in northeastern Detroit, Michigan. Denby High opened in 1930, and the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.


Dyer, a Detroit native, [6] worked as a high school guidance counselor there and as a professor of counseling psychology at St. John's University in New York City. [2] He pursued an academic career, published in journals, and established a private therapy practice. His lectures at St. John's University, which focused on positive thinking and motivational speaking techniques, attracted many students. A literary agent persuaded Dyer to document his theories in his first book, called Your Erroneous Zones (1976). Dyer quit his teaching job and began a publicity tour of the United States, doggedly pursuing bookstore appearances and media interviews ("out of the back of his station wagon", according to Michael Korda, making the best-seller lists "before book publishers even noticed what was happening" [7] ). After Your Erroneous Zones dozens more books followed, many of them also best-sellers. [6] Among them were Wishes Fulfilled, Excuses Begone and The Sky’s the Limit. The success of these books eventually led to national television talk show appearances including The Merv Griffin Show , The Tonight Show , and The Phil Donahue Show . [2]

St. Johns University (New York City) university in New York City, New York, United States

St. John's University is a private Catholic university in New York City. Founded by the Congregation of the Mission in 1870, the school was originally located in the neighborhood of Bedford–Stuyvesant in the borough of Brooklyn. In the 1950s, the school was relocated to its current site at Utopia Parkway in Hillcrest, Queens. St. John's also has campuses in Staten Island and Manhattan in New York City and overseas in Rome, Italy. In addition, the university has a Long Island Graduate Center in Hauppauge, along with academic locations in Paris, France, and Limerick, Ireland. The university is named after Saint John the Baptist.

Optimism mental attitude

Optimism is a mental attitude reflecting a belief or hope that the outcome of some specific endeavor, or outcomes in general, will be positive, favorable, and desirable. A common idiom used to illustrate optimism versus pessimism is a glass filled with water to the halfway point: an optimist is said to see the glass as half full, while a pessimist sees the glass as half empty.

Michael Korda is an English-born writer and novelist who was editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster in New York City.

Dyer proceeded to build on his success with lecture tours, a series of audiotapes, PBS programs, and regular publication of new books. Dyer's message resonated with many in the New Thought Movement and beyond. He often recounted anecdotes from his family life and repeatedly used his own life experience as an example. His self-made man success story was a part of his appeal. [2] Dyer told readers to pursue self actualization, calling reliance on the self a guide to "religious" experience, and suggested that readers emulate Jesus Christ, whom he termed both an example of a self-actualized person and a "preacher of self-reliance". [8] Dyer criticized societal focus on guilt, which he saw as an unhealthy immobilization in the present due to actions taken in the past. He encouraged readers to see how parents, institutions, and even they, themselves, had imposed guilt trips upon themselves. [9]

Guilt (emotion) cognitive or an emotional experience

Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person believes or realizes—accurately or not—that they have compromised their own standards of conduct or have violated a universal moral standard and bear significant responsibility for that violation. Guilt is closely related to the concept of remorse.

Although Dyer initially resisted the spiritual tag, by the 1990s he had altered his message to include more components of spirituality when he wrote the book Real Magic and discussed higher consciousness in the book Your Sacred Self. [2] [10]

Spirituality philosophical / theological term

The meaning of spirituality has developed and expanded over time, and various connotations can be found alongside each other.

Higher consciousness is the consciousness of a higher Self, transcendental reality, or God. It is "the part of the human being that is capable of transcending animal instincts". The concept was significantly developed in German Idealism, and is a central notion in contemporary popular spirituality. However, it has ancient roots, dating back to the Bhagavad Gita and Indian Vedas.


Wayne Dyer stated Nisargadatta Maharaj to be his Teacher and cited the quotation, "Love says: 'I am everything'. Wisdom says: 'I am nothing' from a compilation of talks on Shiva Advaita (Nondualism) philosophy I Am That. He was influenced by Abraham Maslow's concept of self-actualization and by the teachings of Swami Muktananda, whom he considered to be his Master. [11] [12] In his book, Wishes Fulfilled; Mastering the Art of Manifesting, Dr. Dyer also credited Saint Francis of Assisi and the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu as foundational influences in his work. [13]

Nisargadatta Maharaj Indian guru

Nisargadatta Maharaj, born Maruti Shivrampant Kambli, was a Hindu guru of nondualism, belonging to the Inchagiri Sampradaya, a lineage of teachers from the Navnath Sampradaya and Lingayat Shaivism.

<i>I Am That</i> book by Nisargadatta Maharaj

I Am That is a compilation of talks on Shiva Advaita (Nondualism) philosophy by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, a Hindu spiritual teacher who lived in Mumbai. The English translation of the book from the original Marathi recordings was done by Maurice Frydman, edited by Sudhakar S. Dixit and first published in 1973 by Chetana Publications. The book was revised and reedited in July 1981. These publications led to the spread of Nisargadatta's teachings to the West, especially North America and Europe. Excerpts of the book were published in Yoga Journal in September 1981, the month Nisargadatta died at age 84.

Abraham Maslow American psychologist

Abraham Harold Maslow was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization. Maslow was a psychology professor at Alliant International University, Brandeis University, Brooklyn College, New School for Social Research, and Columbia University. He stressed the importance of focusing on the positive qualities in people, as opposed to treating them as a "bag of symptoms." A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Maslow as the tenth most cited psychologist of the 20th century.

The Books

Pulling Your Own Strings.(Copyright 1978) This was Dyers' 2nd work published as sole author. It developed the idea of habitual "belief systems" hampering our personal effectiveness. Chapter 7 "Never Place Loyalty to Institutions and Things Above Loyalty to Yourself" listed "Strategies for eliminating institutional victimisation". [14]

The Sky is the Limit (copyright 1980) was the 3rd work published by Dyer as sole author. Dyer introduces the concept of the "critical inch", that portion of life where the ultimate meaning of our life is considered. He is critical of the "hurry up" Western world society. In Chapter 8, "Cultivating a sense of Purpose" he recommends such strategies as "Do something you have never done before","Make a point to talk to a stranger today","Stop defending things as they have always been". [15]


Psychologist Albert Ellis wrote that Dyer's book Your Erroneous Zones was probably "the worst example" of plagiarism of Ellis' Rational Emotive Therapy (RET). [16] In a 1985 letter to Dyer, Ellis claimed that Dyer had participated in an Ellis workshop on RET before he published Your Erroneous Zones, in which Dyer appeared to understand RET very well. Ellis added that "300 or more people have voluntarily told me... that [the book] was clearly derived from RET." Dyer never apologized nor expressed any sense of wrongdoing. Ellis admonished Dyer for unethically and unprofessionally failing to credit Ellis's work as the book's primary source, but expressed overall gratitude for Dyer's work, writing: "Your Erroneous Zones is a good book, ... it has helped a great number of people, and ... it outlines the main principles of RET quite well,... with great simplicity and clarity." [17] In the book Your Erroneous Zones, Dyer makes reference to Albert Ellis in chapter seven.

In 2010, writer Stephen Mitchell filed a lawsuit against Dyer and his publisher, Hay House, for copyright infringement for taking 200 lines, without permission, from his version of the Tao Te Ching for his books Living the Wisdom of the Tao and Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life. [18] The suit was dismissed in 2011 after Dyer and Mitchell agreed to a settlement. [19]

Personal life

Dyer was married three times. With his first wife, Judy, he had a daughter. With his second wife, Susan Casselman, he had no children. With his third wife, Marcelene, he had five children, and two stepchildren from Marcelene's prior marriage. Wayne and Marcelene legally separated in 2001, after 20 years of marriage. [20] [ additional citation(s) needed ]


My beliefs are that the truth is a truth until you organize it, and then it becomes a lie. I don't think that Jesus was teaching Christianity, Jesus was teaching kindness, love, concern, and peace. What I tell people is don't be Christian, be Christ-like. Don't be Buddhist, be Buddha-like. [21]

Religion is orthodoxy, rules and historical scriptures maintained by people over long periods of time. Generally people are raised to obey the customs and practices of that religion without question. These are customs and expectations from outside the person and do not fit my definition of spiritual. [22]


Dyer died from a heart attack, said his publicist, Lindsay McGinty on Maui, Hawaii [6] on August 29, 2015, at age 75. [23] [24] [25] He had been diagnosed with leukemia in 2009. [26]


Nonfiction books

At the end of his life span, he wrote a quote for the book wonder. "When given the choice between being right or kind, choose being kind."

Children's books


See also

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