Zig Ziglar was born in Coffee County, Alabama to parents John Silas Ziglar and Viola Ziglar. He was the tenth of twelve children.


In 1931, when Ziglar was five years old, his father accepted a management position at a Mississippi farm, and his family moved to Yazoo City, Mississippi, where he spent most of his early childhood. In 1932, his father died of a stroke, and his younger sister died two days later.

Ziglar served in the Navy during World War II . He was in the Navy V-12 Navy College Training Program, attending the University of South Carolina.

On September 15, 1944, he met his wife, Jeane, at the YWCA in Jackson, Mississippi. He was 17 and she was 16. After dating for over two years she accepted his proposal and they were wed in late 1946.

Ziglar later worked as a salesman in a succession of companies, during which time his sales skills improved and his interest in motivational speaking grew.

In 1968, Ziglar became a vice president and training director for the Automotive Performance company, moving to Dallas, Texas.

In 1970, Ziglar went into the business of motivational speaking full-time. He often incorporates his strong Christian values into his enthusiastic speaking. Up until this final career change, he had gone by his given name, Hilary Ziglar. As more associates in the speaking and motivation business called him by the nickname, Zig, he decided to call himself Zig, and it stuck.

As of 2009 Ziglar still travels around taking part in motivational seminars despite a fall down a flight of stairs that diminished his short term memory. Zig Ziglar has always inspired audiences and readers to do, be and have more by personal example. At a time in life when most his age have long ago retired, Zig Ziglar finds possibly his most important work still ahead of him.

His willingness to be transparent and open about how he is embracing his struggles with a brain injury and positional vertigo, the results of a fall down the stairs in his home, will endear him even further to those who have looked to him for wisdom and direction in the past, and it will challenge those who might be tempted to hide behind the frailties of their health or the challenges of their circumstances to take positive steps toward living life fully and gracefully in a way that honors God, benefits themselves, and others.

Zig Ziglar continues to be an inspiring example of how to live life fully and with great purpose