Zig Ziglar


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Hilary Hinton Ziglar was an American author, salesman, and motivational speaker. Zig Ziglar was born prematurely in Coffee County, Alabama, to John Silas Ziglar and Lila Wescott Ziglar. He was the tenth of 12 children and the youngest boy. In 1931, when Ziglar was five years old, his father took a management position at a Mississippi farm, and his family moved to Yazoo City, Mississippi, where he spent most of his early childhood. The next year, his father died of a stroke, and his younger sister died two days later.

Between 1943 and 1945, he participated in the Navy V-12 Navy College Training Program at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. Ziglar dropped out of college in 1947 and moved to Lancaster, South Carolina, where he worked as a salesman with the WearEver Cookware company. Ziglar was promoted to field manager and eventually divisional supervisor in 1950.

While working at the company, Ziglar became interested in self-help and motivational speaking and began giving his own speeches. With Richard "Dick" Gardner and Hal Krause, Ziglar was a charter member establishing American Salesmasters in 1963. The company's objective was to raise the image of salespeople in America by providing seminars. 

They began with cities across the South and Midwest (Memphis, Atlanta, Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Denver, etc.), featuring speakers such as Ziglar, Norman Vincent Peale, Ken McFarland, Cavett Robert, Bill Gove, Maxwell Maltz, and Red Motley. They booked an auditorium, assembled a slate of speakers, and contacted local businesses to sell tickets. Audiences included insurance agents, car salesmen, financial advisors, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and curiosity seekers.

Ziglar went on to speak extensively for audiences of the National Association of Sales Education (NASE), founded by Dick Gardner in 1965, and also became a major sales trainer for Mary Kay Cosmetics. In 1968, he became a vice president and training director for the Automotive Performance Company and moved to Dallas, Texas. The company went bankrupt two years later. 

He later founded the Zigmanship Institute, later known as Ziglar, Inc. Subsequently, Ziglar spoke extensively at seminars for motivational speaker Peter Lowe and eventually signed an exclusive agreement to support Peter Lowe's events. In addition to speaking, Ziglar wrote over 30 books. Ziglar employed and trained several speakers in Addison, Texas, including Will Harris.

In 2007, falling down a flight of stairs left him with short-term memory problems. Nonetheless, Ziglar continued participating in motivational seminars until he retired in 2010. Ziglar met his wife, Jean, in 1944, in Jackson, Mississippi. He was 17, and she was 16; they married in late 1946. They had four children: Suzan, Tom, Cindy, and Julie.

Ziglar, a Baptist, integrated Christianity into his motivational work. He was also a Republican who endorsed former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee for his party's presidential nomination in 2008. On November 28, 2012, Ziglar died from pneumonia at a hospital in Plano, Texas.

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