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John Grinder,
co-founder of NLP

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John Grinder, along with Richard Bandler, founded the study of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP. This relatively young science was founded in order to study the ways that people know what they know and how excellence can be modeled.

After earning a degree in psychology from the University of San Francisco, John Grinder joined the United States military and served as a Green Beret in Europe. While serving, Grinder showed a striking ability for picking up languages and, upon leaving the military, began his studies of Linguistics, eventually earning a Ph.D. in the field from the University of San Diego.

Grinder spent the next few years teaching at the University of California at Santa Cruz. While there, he met Richard Bandler, a student of psychology studying psychotherapy. Through Bandler's invitation, Grinder began attending therapy groups and became fascinated by the language patterns employed by effective therapists. In 1974, Bandler and Grinder decided to model the linguistic patterns of Fritz Perls, creator of Gestalt Therapy, Virginia Satir, a family therapist, and the hypnotherapist Milton H. Erickson. The results of Grinder and Bandler's work were five books: The Structure of Magic Volumes I & II, Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, Volumes I & II and Changing With Families. Together, this set of books became the cornerstone of Neuro-Lingusitic Programming.

John Grinder and Richard Bandler wanted to model excellence and the methods by which excellence may be communicated. The resulting model is NLP. This model is not theoretical in nature. Rather, it is a model to be applied.

The question on their minds as they constructed NLP was not "Why do people perform better than others?" so much as "How did these people come to perform better than others?". Thus, the pair examined superior performers and people who are experts in their chosen fields and studied the ways these people became excellent. Grinder and Bandler were not interested in producing theories of human excellence. They wanted to help people work toward excellence.

Through his study of NLP, John Grinder co-authored numerous books and became a well-known instructor of the description and methods of NLP. Thanks to his success and personal presence, he is still highly sought by both companies and individuals as a consultant and speaker.


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