Jack Canfield


Jack Canfield, one of the leading experts on developing self esteem and peak performance, is most well-known for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and for his audio programs about building high self-esteem. The wider audience knows him as one of the Law of Attraction teachers from The Secret, but his main area of work is training entrepreneurs, educators, corporate leaders and employees how to achieve their personal and professional goals.


Jack Canfield was born on August 19, 1944 in Fort Worth, Texas. He spent most of his teenage life in Martins Ferry, Ohio and Wheeling, West Virginia, where he graduated  from high school at Linsly Military Institute in 1962. In 1966 Jack graduated from Harvard in 1966, and received his M.E. degree at the University of Massachusetts in 1973.

Jack Canfield has been a high school and university teacher, a workshop facilitator, a psychotherapist before he became a leading authority in the area of personal development. In 1990 he met  Mark Victor Hansen, and they started working on the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of short stories. Three years later, they had compiled 68 stories, and, according to the official Chicken Soup for the Soul website,  here’s how they came up with the name for it:

Rather than focusing only on their stories, they decided to reach out to others and seek contributions of powerful tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. After rounding up the 101 most inspirational submissions, they were left with an untitled book they both knew had the potential to make quite an impact.

As they searched for a winning title, Jack & Mark each agreed to meditate on the subject for one hour a day. Jack visualized the image of his grandmother’s chicken soup and remembered how she told him it would cure anything. The book would have the same healing powers as that soup, but not for the body—for the soul.

This series has sold more than 112 million copies, and contains near 200 titles. In 2013 they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary.

In the meantime, Jack Canfield has married three times, founded “Self Esteem Seminars” and “The Foundation for Self Esteem”. He is also the founder and CEO of Canfield Training Group. According to his official website he holds the Guinness Book World Record for having seven books simultaneously on the New York Times Bestseller List, and has been a featured guest on more than 1,000 radio and television programs in nearly every major market worldwide including Oprah, Montel, Larry King Live, 20/20, Inside Edition, The Today Show, Fox and Friends.

Jack Canfield has conducted more than 2500 training groups, workshops, and seminars in 32 countries around the globe.


In an interview Jack Canfield explains why he went from teaching school to teaching personal and professional development, and he says: “I wanted to be a Teacher with a big T, teach the whole planet. It led me into writing and speaking to large groups.”

He realized that no one teaches us how to love, so he decided to devote his life to teaching exactly that: “You must come from love—of yourself, others, justice and the planet,” he says. He helps people attain their dreams by reaching their full potential.

In his coaching program, the central topic is an ongoing pursuit of knowledge: he counsels his clients to write down their goals, to visualize and share them, but also to persevere, maintain personal balance and continue to learn. He suggests two tactics to maintain momentum; first is monthly mastermind sessions with supportive people, and the second is his Rule of Five:

Whatever your No. 1 dream is, every day, do five specific action steps toward your dream. Keep track each day. Have accountability to another person. Get on the phone and share the five actions that you did or didn’t do. It works for me. I can’t stand telling people I didn’t do it.

The strategies that his coaching system is based upon and teaches are:

  • Discover and define your Life Purpose statement
  • Understand the power of the goal achievement process
  • Learn how to ask for needed resources
  • Learn to implement the keys of effective planning
  • Tap into the liberating power of delegation
  • Develop key habits for continuing success
  • Establish a compelling vision of success in seven key areas of life
  • Begin taking action to get measurable results
  • Change your thinking by creating powerful personal affirmations
  • Develop and refine your personal time management system

But Canfield also teaches that  it’s important to nurture relationships and health, as well as career. “Visualize your ideal week. Define how much time to spend with your spouse, to spend working out (…) Schedule your free time first; plan for it. Then schedule work around that.”


Other than the Chicken Soup for Soul series, Jack Canfield has authored and co-authored:

  • About Me: A Curriculum for a Developing Self
  • One Hundred Ways to Enhance Self-Concept in the Classroom: A Handbook for Teachers and Parents
  • Personalized Learning: Confluent Processes in the Classroom
  • Self-Esteem in the Classroom: A Curriculum Guide, Self-Esteem Seminars
  • Self-Esteem and Peak Performance: A Transcript
  • One Hundred and One Ways to Develop Student Self-Esteem and Responsibility in the Classroom
  • Los Angeles Dodgers Team Esteem Program: A Self-Esteem Curriculum Guide
  • Dare to Win
  • Follow Your Dreams: A Goals-setting Workbook
  • The Aladdin Factor: How to Ask for and Get Everything You Want in Life
  • Heart at Work: Stories and Strategies for Building Self-Esteem and Reawakening the Soul at Work
  • The Power of Focus, Health Communications
  • The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
  • You’ve GOT to Read This Book!: 55 Inspirational Stories about the Life-Changing Power of Books
  • The Golden Motorcycle Gang: A Story of Transformation
  • Tapping Into Ultimate Success: How to Overcome Any Obstacle and Skyrocket Your Results

And you can find the entire list of the Chicken Soup for the Soul titles on this link on Wikipedia.


Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try

Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it

There are essentially two things that will make you wise — the books you read and the people you meet.

People who ask confidently get more than those who are hesitant and uncertain. When you’ve figured out what you want to ask for, do it with certainty, boldness and confidence.

And here’s Jack Canfield talking about the importance of taking action:

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