Charles F. Haanel (1866 – 1949)
Charles F. Haanel (May 22, 1866 – November 27, 1949) is widely regarded as the “Father of Personal Development.” Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 22, 1866, he is the son of Hugo and Emeline (Fox) Haanel, who removed with him to St. Louis when he was in early childhood. He initiated himself into the business world as an office boy for the National Enameling & Stamping Company. For this company he worked for a period of fifteen years.
Sometime after 1911 Charles began to publish The Master Key System in weekly parts. It is unclear why and when Haanel changed from a trading company president into an author. It would seem that the earliest versions of The Master Key System consisted of 24 lessons, which were later bound into book form and published in 1916.
Following The Master Key System, Haanel wrote several more books of a similar nature. These included:
- The New Psychology (1920)
- Social Science (1922)
- Mental Chemistry (1922)
- A Book About You (1927)
- The Amazing Secrets of the Yogi, with Victor S. Perera (1937)
Charles Francis Haanel passed away at 1:15 PM on November 27, 1949, aged 83 years old. His death certificate states the cause of his death was unknown. A private ceremony was held at C. R. Lupton & Sons Funeral Director’s chapel at 10:00 AM on November 30th and he was buried at Bellefontaine Cemetery at 11:00 AM the same day.
In many ways, Haanel was a man ahead of his time. His perennial tome The Master Key System successfully combined various philosophies and teachings into an accessible volume for the every-man describing a complete method of success. This book was not only successful in his day, but was very influential for future self-help legends, such as Claude M. Bristol (author of The Magic of Believing) and Napoleon Hill (author of Think & Grow Rich).
Haanel proved to be more visionary in his later writing as he explored various religious experiences, Eastern philosophy, and Biblical interpretation, as well as sundry explorations into psychology, theology, and the sciences.
His methods of marketing from the “correspondence course” to the sundry pamphlets and brochures he used prove him to have been an astute businessman. The methods he used — and perhaps innovated — are still used today with great success.
The world is a richer place because Charles F. Haanel was in it — not only because of the books he wrote and published that exist over fifty years after his death, but because of the life he lead and the example he set. Of all the authors in the self-help genre, Haanel was a person who not only talked the talk, he also walked the walk.
For much more information about Charles F. Haanel, please visit the Official Charles F. Haanel web site at www.haanel.com.
You can also follow Mr. Haanel on Facebook.