From Sacramento to L.A.— and Paris?

Author and Hollywood life coach Gary Quinn returns to his roots

Gary Quinn tells enrollees that instead of looking negatively at life’s pitfalls, one should use them as the basis to set positive goals.

Gary Quinn tells enrollees that instead of looking negatively at life’s pitfalls, one should use them as the basis to set positive goals.

Gary Quinn’s success story is a cliché: Small-town boy moves to big city, lands five book deals, hob-knobs with stars. And you might say the same about his recent Sacramento homecoming. But you can bet he won’t.

The author and Hollywood life coach—whose clients include Roberto Benigni, Seal, Geoffrey Rush, corporate clients like MSNBC and Mattel, and several athletes—promised Sacramento residents a seven-hour life-improvement seminar. He received an audience of 10 people.

Maybe it was the $89 course fee that shied a larger crowd. Maybe it was the obscure location of the Learning Exchange. Whatever the case, one thing is certain: those seven hours were intimate.

“It was really gut-wrenching,” said Cindy Turner, a Sacramento resident who’d never heard of Quinn before she signed up for the class. “It was small enough that you knew everyone’s names. … You kind of relate to all of these people. You glean stuff off of everybody.”

That’s the thing about Gary Quinn: the man sees everything—even a small audience in his own hometown, where he attended Rio Americano High School—as something positive. One of his mantras is “fake it till you make it.” Paris Hilton jokes aside, Quinn believes in telling yourself that everything in life is great, that you are great, until it becomes true. And Quinn himself has, at times, had to fake it.

Years ago, Quinn went to Japan as a then unknown author of Living in the Spiritual Zone. “My publisher was saying, ‘Japan doesn’t want your book. We’ve exhausted our promotion and contacts,’” remembered Quinn. “I said, ‘No you haven’t.’ So I contacted a journalist from the movie industry and I said, ‘I know you can sell my book over there.’”

The journalist initially thought he was nuts—journalists don’t handle book tours. But Quinn’s strong conviction resulted in the tour he desired.Quinn navigated the Learning Exchange seminar as if he had planned for a small audience. And when the lengthy course ended, most participants stuck around for an extra hour to talk with Quinn.

So far, Paris Hilton is only a reader of Gary Quinn’s self-improvement program.

“I got confidence that there are people who are able to successfully demonstrate the manifestation process, and he’s one of them,” said Chuck Markham, a Sacramentan who attended the seminar without prior knowledge of Quinn, but who was familiar with the philosophy behind Quinn’s teachings.

So what is this manifestation process? Let’s say that a person racks up so many driving felonies, all the money in the hotelier world won’t buy them a ticket out of jail. To many, it sounds rock-bottom. To Quinn, it’s the right time to set specific, practical goals and work toward a positive, improved future.

That’s what we’re supposed to believe Paris Hilton was ponder-ing when People magazine ran a photograph of her in a bikini reading Quinn’s book Living in the Spiritual Zone. Thus far, Hilton has only “set an appointment” with Quinn.

Meanwhile, Quinn is busy running The Life Coaching Center in Los Angeles. “It’s not just some nonprofit church group,” he told SN&R when asked why his Sacramento seminar cost $89. “It’s actually a functioning, you know, group of individuals.”

And this functioning group of individuals allows Quinn to remain in Los Angeles, the city he loves. “I’m in the car and you know who’s [in her car] next to me? Victoria Beckham,” said Quinn at the close of the interview. “She’s on her Blackberry!”

To each her zone.