EARL NIGHTINGALE knew a thing or two about overcoming obstacles and conquering difficulties. And he had a unique gift for inspiring those around him to do the same. Born into a poor California family in 1921, Earl survived the meager years of the depression, joined the Marines at age 17, and was one of only 12 men to survive the Pearl Harbor bombing of the battleship U.S.S. Arizona.
After leaving the service, he embarked on a career in broadcasting. His sonorous voice and articulate, impassioned delivery won him a great acclaim in the broadcasting industry. At the insurance company he purchased at the height of his radio career, the sales force relied on his regular Saturday "pep talks" delivered over the PA system to motivate their performance through the week.
One week in 1956, Earl pre-recorded his message so that he could take a vacation without his staff missing their weekly dose of inspiration. The message absolutely electrified the staff. Word of this extraordinary recording spread, and the office was soon deluged with requests for a copy of it. To keep pace, Earl recorded the message, which he called "The Strangest Secret," on 10-inch recordings. Within a year, through nothing more than word-of-mouth, they were selling 2,000 copies a week.