Robert Collier is known as the first successful writer of self-help books, though the titles of his works do not sound quite as familiar as the kinds of self-help books written today (i.e. How to...). He was born in 1885 and educated in preparation for the priesthood; however, he decided to pursue a different career and discovered he had a real talent for persuading people with his writing.
He began to work for his uncle's business, the P.F. Collier Publishing Company, and wrote fliers and circulars which were so enticing and motivating that people bought the books he wrote about by the hundreds of thousands.
He was healed of an unknown illness through Christian Science and sincerely believed that most of the body's illnesses came from processed foods (which, in his lifetime, were much less toxic than today). He also believed that the human mind is strong enough to heal the human body. From there, he reasoned that the mind is capable of much more than that, and he began to study.
For long months, he studied hundreds of books and courses on everything relating to New Thought metaphysics, occult, and success. Whole religions seemed to be built on it. He delved into the deepest mysteries of the Masters. It was a long time before he began to find parts that were really workable in everyday life, a long time before he realized tangible results from his efforts, but when results began, they came quickly.
He wrote a series of practical psychology books called The Secret of the Ages and sold 300,000 sets of the books almost immediately. The books have been combined into one volume and have been renamed Riches Within Your Reach. His next books were sold individually and were then repackaged in a book called The Law of Higher Potential.
Collier died in 1950, but his books are still sold today. Collier wrote breakthrough books which are now labeled as "inspirational" and is the pioneer of the genre known as "self-help" books.