Wayne Walter Dyer was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Melvin Lyle and Hazel Irene Dyer and spent much of his adolescence in an orphanage on the east side of Detroit. After graduation from Denby High School Dyer served in the United States Navy from 1958 to 1962. He received his D.Ed. degree in counseling from Wayne State University.
Dyer worked as a high school guidance counselor in Detroit and as a professor of counselor education at St. John's University in New York City. He pursued an academic career, published in journals and established a private therapy practice. His lectures at St. John's, which focused on positive thinking and motivational speaking techniques, attracted many students. A literary agent persuaded Dyer to document his theories in his first book called Your Erroneous Zones. Although initial sales were thin, Dyer quit his teaching job and began a publicity tour of the United States of America, doggedly pursuing bookstore appearances and media interviews ("out of the back of his station wagon", according to Michael Korda, making the best-seller lists "before book publishers even noticed what was happening"), which eventually led to national television talk show appearances including Merv Griffin, The Tonight Show, and Phil Donahue.
Dyer proceeded to build on his success with lecture tours, a series of audiotapes, and regular publication of new books. Dyer's message resonated with many in the New Thought Movement and beyond. He often recounted anecdotes from his family life, and repeatedly used his own life experience as an example. His self-made man success story was a part of his appeal. Dyer told readers to pursue self actualization, calling reliance on the self as a guide to "religious" experience, and suggested that readers emulate Jesus Christ, whom he termed both an example of a self-actualized person, and a "preacher of self-reliance". Dyer criticized societal focus on guilt, which he saw as an unhealthy immobilization in the present due to actions taken in the past. He advocated readers to see how parents, institutions, and even they, themselves, have imposed guilt trips upon themselves.
Birthday: May 10, 1940