Motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar has passed away. In addition to being a motivational speaker, Ziglar was also an outspoken Christian, or it is probably more accurate to say that he weaved his Christianity into his motivational work. This is important in a field that has more than it’s share of New Age heretical nonsense.
Ziglar could really spin a yarn. He was from Mississippi and always reminded me of Jerry Clower in this way. I think this is one thing that set his speaking apart from others. He was like listening to your grandfather spinning tales and imparting wisdom.
Ziglar was also an open Republican and Christian conservative. He endorsed Huckabee in 2008. (He’ll have to be forgiven for the Republican and Huckabee part. He was a motivational speaker and not a political theorist. What this says to me is that he wasn’t afraid to be a part of the culture he came from, Southern evangelical, even though it might have been easier and more lucrative for him to distance himself from it.)
I first became aware of Ziglar because my main pastor when I was growing up was a big fan of his and even co-authored a book with Ziglar. Ziglar once came and spoke at our church, an event which I was very excited about. At that point in my life, Ziglar was a celebrity on par with a sports star as far as I was concerned.
I have read two of Ziglar’s books (see here and here) and would recommend them to anyone who is looking for self-help literature that isn’t just New Age pablum. (Interestingly, his first book was published by Pelican which has been very friendly to conservative and pro-South books).
We have lost a good ‘un. The world was richer for him and will be poorer without him. I bet he’s up in Heaven telling a tale right now. May God bless his family in their time of mourning.