“My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey, the richest African American of the 20th century, was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi in 1958, on 29th of January. She is best known as the most successful American television producer, host and philanthropist and is among the most influential women in the world. She did not have a promising childhood and had to face a variety of hardships in her teenage life. After her parents’ separation, she was sent to her grandparents, to live in extreme poverty. Some say that she used to wear dresses made of potato sack. She reunited with her mother at the age of 6 who moved with her to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her mother spent her all day out working as a maid at households and had no time for little Winfrey. At the age of nine, as she says, she was raped by her cousin, her uncle and a family friend. Having had enough, she ran away from her home at the age of 13 and became mother at 14. After her son’s death in infancy, she went back to live with her barber father in Tennessee. This was the first time, as she remembers she took her studies seriously and managed to become an honors student. Her dedication soon paid off and she became the most popular student at East Nashville High School and won several awards in open speech competition. Later, she studied communication from Tennessee State University.

At the age of 19, her life took a turn for better when she got a job at a local Radio Station as a co-anchor for the local evening news. In 1984, she started to host ‘AM Chicago’, an early morning talk show, which soon became the most watched show in America. Later, it was renamed as ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’. The syndicated talk show became the most popular show in the Television history with over 30 million American viewers and spanned across 144 countries worldwide. She has also proved herself as the most influential spiritual leader through ‘Change Your Life TV’ with 22 million female viewers.

Besides being a TV host and producer, she is the co-founder of Oxygen Media and founder of Oprah Magazine. In 1998, she started a charity named “Oprah’s Angel Network” for which she carries all administrative costs. Oprah’s Angel Network donated $10 million after Hurricane Katrina and collected $11 million given by her viewers on her request. She is regarded as the 32nd most philanthropist person in the world. In 2005, Business Week enlisted her name among 50 most generous philanthropists for her contribution which was equivalent to $303 million dollars. According to Forbes of 2009, her net worth is $2.7 billion dollar.

Oprah Winfrey’s Secrets of Success

According to Forbes, as of March 29, 2015, Oprah Winfrey’s net worth was $3 billion. So, what is the secret of the success of The Oprah Winfrey’s Show, which ran on TV for more than 25 years? On the other hand, is there a secret at all?

The answer is obvious – the secret lies in the unique personality of the show’s host. Primarily, the show was not just a simple job for Oprah. It was the realization of her childhood dream to teach people and help them. Oprah Winfrey has never put money on the first place in her priority list. Maybe on the second. For example, she never received any commission for the goods and products, which she advertised in her show. However, she only spoke about things, which she considered truly good and important. As paradoxically as it may sound, Oprah’s huge fortune is the result of never trading her principles for wealth and money.

Oprah Winfrey’s personality traits include being sincere, courageous and hard working. Winfrey is uniquely capable of communicating without being boring, raising delicate topics without causing nuisances, motivating without sounding didactic and teaching without lecturing. Only Oprah could ask the adult movies star in one of her shows if they ever arouse at shooting and get full approval from the audience. Oprah’s charisma and sensitivity are catching. This quality allows her to be a successful talk show host and deal with the subjects, which would be a taboo in any other place. Winfrey’s straightforwardness and sincerity are unique qualities for her profession. Her ability for self-identification with the interlocutor during their conversation in the room full of people allows her to ask such questions which other journalists would not even consider.

Oprah Winfrey’s close friend and mentor Maya Angelou once called her the cheapest and most honest shrink of America. Angelou, an outstanding American poet, described Oprah as the one who bravely walks where others do not dare to set foot, the one who paves the way for others. Indeed, Oprah’s ability to stride boldly where others do not take a risk to step is close to mystical. She instinctively knows the underbelly of a person and has a unique talent to bring to light exactly what the audience wants to know about a person. She has a capability and patience to listen attentively to sadists, fiends and assassins without expressing a tiny bit of judgment or personal emotional attitude.

“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work,” Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah Winfrey had to overcome countless obstacles on her way to success. It would be impossible to tell of all the difficulties and failures she had to surmount for there were many. But Oprah did it and so can everyone. We hope you have enjoyed exploring Oprah Winfrey biography and her success story and it has inspired you to new discoveries.

“As you become more clear about who you really are, you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you – the first time around.” – Oprah Winfrey, O Magazine