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Chicken Soup for the Soul Co-Founder Mark Victor Hansen (ep. 444)

Mark Victor Hansen of Chicken Soup for the Soul

John O’Leary welcomes Mark Victor Hansen, co-founder of Chicken Soup for the Soul, to the Live Inspired Podcast.

Mark Victor Hansen co-founded Chicken Soup for the Soul in hopes of sharing motivational stories with people all over the world. But it wasn’t always the successful publishing franchise we know today.

Despite originally being turned down 144 times by publishers, Mark persisted. To date, Chicken Soup for the Soul has now sold more than 500 million books and had 57 different titles on the New York Times bestseller list.

Today, Mark joins us to share the four principles to which he credits his success and to remind us that we all have a story to share.

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  • “Every one of us knows a great inspiring teacher.”
  • “Education is the leverage for humanity.”
  • “You can’t lead if you don’t read.” Mark dreams of erasing illiteracy rates globally.
  • Alongside co-founder Jack Camfield, their first version of Chicken Soup for the Soul was denied by 144 publishers.
  • June 28, 1993: Chicken Soup for the Soul is published. In a year and a half, it sold 1.3 million copies.
  • Mark credits his success to living by these four principles:
    • Figure out what you want
    • Put your goals in writing
    • Visualize what you want
    • Build a supportive team that challenges you.
  • “Life gives to the giver and takes from the taker.”
  • Get a copy of Mark Victor Hansen’s latest book Ask! here.


Did you enjoy today’s episode? You’ll love our New York Times Bestselling Authors playlist. Hear from legendary broadcaster Bob Costas, The Five Love Languages’ Dr. Gary Chapman, professional surfer Bethany Hamilton and more. Listen to the New York Times Bestselling Authors playlist today.


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  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. The Bible and The Resurrection by Neville Goddard.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Unstoppable white-hot desire.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. The insurance papers!
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. Jesus, Apostle Paul, William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Socrates, Plato, Alexander the Great and Dale Carnegie are a few.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. Keep writing.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. You're going to have the most exciting, exuberant and ecstatic life of anyone you know.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. He served greatly with love.