Oprah was repeatedly molested as a child. The abuse was emotionally devastating. When she tried to run away, she was sent to a juvenile detention home – only to be denied admission because all the beds were full.
She moved in with her father which required her to read a book and write a book report each week. Something that would change her life forever.
At the age of 14, she was out of the house and on her own.
At 17 she began working in radio and television broadcasting. She was fired from her evening news reporter gig because she got too emotionally invested in her stories. A TV producer reportedly told her she was “unfit for television news.”
She was offered a role on a daytime TV show, People Are Talking. The show became a hit, and Oprah stayed for eight years.
The Oprah Winfrey Show started out like other daytime talk shows. But in the 1990s, Oprah made it her own. She began to emphasize spiritual values, healthy living and self-help. Motivated in part by her own memories of childhood abuse. Her show started to attract the most popular guests. Making her show the most popular daytime show on TV. But dominating the daytime talk show field wasn’t enough.
Oprah started acting and producing movies that impact the world in a positive way.
She created the “Oprah Book Club” which influence the whole publishing industry.
Oprah became the highest-paid performer on television. The richest self-made woman in America. And the richest African-American of the 20th century.
Using her genius she influenced people around the world. She influenced people to read and think about themselves and the world around them. She appears on every list of the world’s leading opinion-makers, and has been rightly called “the most powerful woman in the world.”
“The big secret” she says. “Is there is no secret. Whatever your goal. You can get there if you’re willing to work.”