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Schwarzenegger’s Lesser Known Success Secret

We all know about the steely determination of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

We know how he turned his weaknesses into strengths; stoic, stiff and Austrian accent became the exact recipe for success with the Terminator movies

We know how he had a long term strategic plan to strike for office when the time was right.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Creative Commons License photo credit: jurvetson

But do you know the secret of how he learned to sell his ideas to powerful people, and most of all sell himself as always the next big thing?

There’s one secret that has been rarely talked about.

While vacationing in Cyprus a couple of summers ago, I read an unauthorized biography of Arnold.

I didn’t particularly set out to dig dirt on the guy by reading an unauthorized bio, but sometimes the most interesting details emerge in those unauthorized ones.. go figure.

Unfortunately I no longer have that book, but here’s the gist of it.

  • Despite his unprecedented success, bodybuilding didn’t make him rich – his own determination to become rich did
  • Even while he was still training full-time, he went out of his way to learn everything he could about business, investing and… selling.

Now, what would you do if you were an ambitious immigrant in the 1970’s, not having a big name yet, looking to get rich?

That’s right, a MAIL ORDER business!

Information products through direct mail, baby.

In today’s world, maybe he would go and sell his information through the internet, who knows.

Still, you may be thinking he had it easy being famous in the bodybuilding and fitness arena. But you know what, these were the 1970s. You couldn’t become a household name overnight like you can today.

So Schwarzenegger started a direct mail venture while still training at the Gold’s Gym in Venice. With the help of Joe Weider, the man who basically made bodybuilding into big business, he launched several information products.

At first, training manuals like “BUILDING THE LEGS OF AN OAK” or “BUILDING A CHEST LIKE A FORTRESS“. (Pretty nice use of mental imagery right there, huh?)

These under the name of Arnold Strong, when he wasn’t so well-known yet.


As I recall from the biography, the future governor really got into the mail order business with great gusto – perhaps realizing that he was not only making a lot of money, but also learning how to sell his information, ideas, and perhaps most importantly – himself.

So before the age of 30, he was already a self-made millionaire, entirely from his direct mail prowess and shrewd investments made from those proceeds.

Imbibed with the principles of selling anything direct, he then went on to be the Arnold we now know him as.

So when are you going to hunker down, dig deep, and discover the principles that build empires – just as well in the 21st century as they did in the 1970’s?

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Comments to: Schwarzenegger’s Lesser Known Success Secret
  • June 2, 2010

    Impressive – I didn’t know that!

    I would expect these skills had an impact on his later political success too.
    .-= Brent Hodgson´s last blog ..The Power to Impress =-.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Juho Tunkelo and Juho Tunkelo, Juho Tunkelo. Juho Tunkelo said: Blogging away: Schwarzenegger’s Lesser Known Success Secret https://bit.ly/agslmF […]

  • June 3, 2010

    Awesome article Juho! I did not know that either. I heard he later went in to real estate and made a lots of money in that business also, is that right?
    .-= Mikko kemppe´s last blog ..Meta-Visualization Meditation =-.

  • June 3, 2010

    Brent – no doubt those skills translated quite readily to persuading people while in the power seat…

  • June 3, 2010

    Mikko – you’re right, every time he made some money in business, he’d leverage it in real estate, and then grow that way. Very smart, determined man…

  • June 22, 2010

    If you’re interested in seeing one particularly, well, honestly a little cheesy ad (or maybe just dated?) check this out: https://twitpic.com/1yywem 🙂

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