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Motivational Maestro Zig Ziglar Dies At 86

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And now let's take a moment to remember a man who helped define an industry - motivational speaking. Zig Ziglar, the author and speaker who campaigned for decades against what he called stinking thinking passed away yesterday; he was 86.

Here's NPR's Wendy Kaufman.

WENDY KAUFMAN, BYLINE: Zig Ziglar inspired millions with phrases like, you can get everything in life you want, if you will just will just help enough other people get what they want. He offered different advice to an angry woman who told him she hated her job. He told her to go home and write down all the things she loved about her position.

ZIG ZIGLAR: Get in front of that mirror - and folks, I cannot say this strongly enough, but I'm going to try - the eyes are the window of the soul. Look yourself in the eye and with excitement and enthusiasm, say I love my job because...

KAUFMAN: Ziglar motivated people for roughly four decades. His personal assistant Jay Hellwig recalls thousands of people waiting to talk to his boss after presentations. They sought him out in airports too.

JAY HELLWIG: There would be people that would come over when they recognized him and go (whistling) Zig, Zig, Zig, you spoke in 1985 in Detroit. You said this and it changed my life forever.

KAUFMAN: In additional to speaking, Ziglar wrote more than 30 books, including "See You at the Top" and "Secrets of Closing the Sale." Zig Ziglar was a deeply religious man. The born again Christian often invoked the Bible and made references to his faith in his presentations.

Indeed, when his assistant Jay Hellwig was asked about his emotions following the death of his boss, he said while he was very sad, he believed Ziglar was now having a grand 'ole time in heaven.

Wendy Kaufman, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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