BeamTeam Books header - getting real
 
 

This article appeared in the Danish Lifestyle Magazine “Liv & Sjael”—with Barbara on the cover.

 

 
 

FROM DOWN AND OUT TO BESTSELLER
- THE TRUE STORY OF BARBARA BERGER’S ROAD TO POWER

     
 

American author Barbara Berger’s “Fast Food for the Soul” is one of the best-selling Danish self-help books of all times. But not many people know the true story behind the birth of the “Fast Food for the Soul” books—or that Barbara Berger wasn’t always as happy, healthy and prosperous as she is today.

 

 
 

“It finally dawned on me,” says Barbara Berger after hearing the same remark time and time again at her talks and lectures about Fast Food for the Soul, “that I’d have to tell people the true story behind my books.”

During the question and answer period after lectures, people would often say things like… “Oh it’s easy for you to stand up and tell everybody to think positively, you’ve never had troubles like mine. You look good, you have your own business, and money in the bank…”

“After people said that enough times, I realized that maybe I should start telling my own story. But it wasn’t easy for me to do because it’s not much fun standing up in front of a group of people and telling everyone that you were once a complete mess. But when I finally opened up and started sharing my own story, I was amazed to discover how much it inspired other people to try the techniques I was writing about.”


FROM DOWN AND OUT…

Barbara Berger’s life story is dramatic enough. Born and raised in a middle class American family, she ran away from home at the young age of 18 with a young man who had been drafted to go to Vietnam. The two were against the war—but since her father was a top-ranking military man at the Pentagon, her family didn’t support their anti-war stance. So they went underground and traveled the world—until they got political asylum in Sweden in the late 60s. But Barbara’s real hard times didn’t really begin until late 1982 when she collapsed one day from exhaustion.

Up until then, Barbara and her Danish husband owned and ran the East-West Center (a health center) in Copenhagen where they sold ecological food and taught oriental medicine. But with Barbara’s collapse, the center collapsed and so did their marriage. “My breakdown wasn’t something which just took a day or two,” says Barbara. “I was completely out of circulation for almost two years—and totally lost confidence in myself. It was a definite mental and physical low-point in my life.”

By 1986, Barbara found herself alone in Denmark with her three young sons – a single parent with no job, no income—and a foreigner with no network of family to fall back on. “It was pretty scary, also because I didn’t have an education or a degree of any kind so it wasn’t like I could just go out and get a job. What could I do?”

SEARCHING FOR A WAY OUT

“It was at that point that I really started searching for answers. There had to be a way for me to take control of my life and my destiny.” I started reading self-help books. One day a book by Napoleon Hill caught my eye. The title was Think and Grow Rich.” The book was the start of a consciousness revolution for Barbara.

“The book is one of the classic self-help books of all time and explains how you can use the power of your mind, focus and intention to achieve your dreams. Napoleon Hill describes quite specifically how to proceed and I was so desperate, I decided to try his techniques. At the same time, an American friend said to me if I needed to make money, I could use my writing talents to write advertising copy in English for big Danish companies. He said he’d introduce me to some of his contacts and teach me how, which he did.

“So with my friend’s help and Napoleon Hill’s visualization techniques, I made up my mind to change my life. Here is the exact exercise from Hill’s book that I used. Hill says:

"Every human being who reaches the age of understanding of the purpose of money wishes for it. Wishing will not bring riches. But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches.

Six Ways to Turn Desires into Gold.

The method by which desire for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent, consists of six definite, practical steps, viz:
First: fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say ‘I want plenty of money.’ Be definite as to the amount.
Second: determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire. (There is no such reality as ‘something for nothing.’)
Third: establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.
Fourth: create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.
Fifth: write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.
Sixth: read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. As you read - see and feel and believe yourself already in possession of the money."

LEARNING TO THINK CORRECTLY

“The result was truly amazing. Once I took control of my mind, everything started to work for me. I started achieving my goals immediately and within 6 months I was earning enough money to support myself and my children easily. I was ecstatic. And obviously, after such immediate success, I really started studying what I call mental technology and the way the mind works. I read all kinds of self-help, self-empowerment, and metaphysical books. I studied the Science of the Mind—and began using these mind techniques to improve all areas of my life. The transformation was amazing. I regained my self-confidence. I was making money, I was independent—and I started having fun again. I was so thankful. And it just kept getting better. After some years of this, people started asking me what was the secret behind my success? Then one day when I was least expecting it, I was guided to write it down and the first Fast Food for the Soul book was born. But it was an unusual birth to say the least.”


THE BIRTH OF FAST FOOD FOR THE SOUL

“At the time of the book’s birth, I was trying to combine a stressful career as a freelance English copywriter, pursue my studies of spirituality and metaphysics, and fulfill my obligations as a single parent with three sons. By the summer of 1994, I was so stressed out that I finally decided I had to take a break. So I closed my business for three weeks and told everyone I was going away. But I didn’t leave Denmark. Instead I took my bike and went up to the forests and beaches north of Copenhagen everyday and walked alone, meditated, read my books, sat under the trees, listened, stayed late on the beaches. At the end of the three weeks of peace and silence, I was sitting alone on a beach one late afternoon when it was as if I got knocked on the head and a voice said to me, ‘Barbara you are going to write this book… so get out your pen and paper and write this down.’ I was surprised to say the least, but I got out my little notebook and listened. Then the voice said, ‘The title of the book is…. And the title of chapter one is… and this is what you are going to write about. And the title of chapter two is… and this is what it’s about…” until the whole book was delivered to me. Then the voice said, ‘Now go home and write it.’ So I went home and followed the instructions. It was an easy birth.”


REJECTED BY EVERYONE

Once Barbara wrote the book, nobody in Denmark would publish it even though all her previous books had been published in Denmark. “Especially my own publisher, who had published several of my previous books, rejected the book with a scathing letter saying the book was too simplistic; they wrote to me that it couldn’t possibly be so easy to turn your life around as I claimed. I sent the book to several other major Danish publishers and they also rejected the book.”

“But I wasn’t ready to give up because I knew from my own experience that everything I wrote in the book was true. I had actually proved it in my own life and I was convinced that if I could use these mental techniques to completely turn my life around, other people could too. So I decided to publish the book myself—with the help of my son Tim Ray who translated the book to Danish.”

There was, however, one person in Denmark who did believe in the book—and that was best-selling Danish author Jane Aamund. “At that time, Jane was in the hospital after a cancer operation. I gave her the manuscript and she read it again and again. She told me that she kept it in bed with her and read it at night when she couldn’t sleep. The book helped her so much that when I had printed the first 1,000 copies, she came out of hospital and wrote a full-page article about the book, which appeared on the front page of the Sunday section of Denmark’s biggest newspaper Berlingske Tidende. And the rest, as they say, is history.”


…TO BESTSELLER

The response was immediate. People started buying the book and I began to get letters and calls from people telling me how much the book had changed their lives. Word of the book kept growing and by the year 2000, the book was on the bestseller list in Denmark. Today more than 47,000 copies of the book have been sold in Denmark. In 2001, the book came out in Sweden and today there are more than 110,000 copies in print in Sweden. After this, publishers in other countries began to be interested in the book and today the book has been translated to 30 languages including Chinese, Japanese and Russian. “But by far the most wonderful thing about this whole experience,” says Barbara, “has been the overwhelming response from my readers around the world. So many people have told me that they have used the techniques described in the book to totally change their lives!”

All the practical techniques for changing your life described in Fast Food for the Soul are based on the basic mental laws, which govern the way our minds work says Barbara. “Once we understand that we are talking about the science of mind and impersonal mental laws that do not change, we can use this understanding to change our lives. When we understand that we live in a mental universe and that the focus of our attention determines our experiences in life, well then we have the key to freedom and happiness. Waking up to this is truly a miracle – it’s a revolution in consciousness that can totally change your life. I know this is possible because it changed my life.”