If you live in America, then you’ve probably read and heard at least something about Arianna Huffington in the past couple of years, which is ironic because she is actually from Greece. Nevertheless, you could debate the reasons why she has actually been thrust into the public forum these past few years, most likely because one of the latest books that she’s published about the importance of healthy sleep habits struck a chord with a lot of people.
Arianna has been writing books for decades, and she is exceptionally intelligent. An intellect like hers that is matched with relentless self-motivation to work in different fields, influencing many people as she goes, is a pretty rare combination to occur in the same person.
All the books which she has published over the years seem to be her way of expressing and releasing all of the ideas she has inside of her and putting them out into the world. Arianna is no stranger to different cultures, either.
She’s lived in multiple countries, achieved success in a variety of fields, and changed the way that we consume online media, especially the news media. A success story no doubt, you can see from the events of her life that she’s lived an exceptional one, one that many people strive to achieve but never reach.
The Origin of Arianna Huffington
Arianna was born on July 15, 1950 in Athens, Greece, to Konstantinos Stasinopoulos and Elli Stasinopoulos. For the early part of her life, her parents stayed together for a long time and raised Arianna and her sister with solid values, mostly instilled by their mother, Elli.
Her father worked as a journalist, and her mother encouraged strong feminist values in their daughters from a very early age, which would set the tone, in a way, for the rest of Arianna’s life. The influence of her father obviously came into play later in her career, as well, because her work with the Huffington Post showed an acute interest in journalism, just like her father.
You could say that she had far more success with journalism than her father, too, as the Huffington Post set a new precedent for how news content and media is presented, organized, and published on the Internet.
Arianna Takes a Heavy Blow
The combined parental unit that she enjoyed as a child was unfortunately not meant to last, though, because her parents found, at a certain point, that they were unable to work through their differences.
During a difficult time when she was only 11 years old, her parents were divorced, which had a significant and profound effect on Arianna. Of course, it is hard on any child when their parents are divorced or separated at a young age, but for Arianna and her sister, it was a particularly difficult strain on them.
Her mother was obviously very important to her, so when she divorced her father, it took a serious toll on the family. As a single mother, Elli took great pains to make sure Arianna and her sister were well taken care of and gave them the best start that she could.
You can see where Arianna gets her strength and views on how much women are capable of because Elli was an outstanding individual, teaching Arianna the values and perspective on feminism that she would exhibit as she grew up.
A Unique Passion for Education
When Arianna was in her teens, she developed a powerful desire to go to Cambridge University, for which she met with quite a bit of resistance from the people around her. This was an important dream for her, though, and she was unmoved by all the naysayers who told her she was aiming too high.
At their home in Greece, it was apparently frowned upon for women to aspire to such a high level of education at such a prestigious university because there were a lot of people around them who dismissed the idea of Arianna going to Cambridge and therefore ascending head and shoulders above her peers. Her mother, Elli, unwavering, being the clear driving force for the family, would move Hell and Earth to get Arianna to Cambridge.
She obtained loans from family and friends, companies, and any other source she could find to gather the funds she needed to get Arianna to the university and get the education she felt Arianna deserved. Elli was a formidable force of nature when it came to her daughter’s expressed passion for Cambridge.
A Landmark Victory
Against many negative forces that might stop her from getting her daughter there, she eventually prevailed over all of them and was able to move the family to England. Arianna was accepted to Cambridge at the age of 16.
With the instrumental help of her mother, she fulfilled her dream and did not waste her time while attending. She would not stop at a bachelor’s degree but instead would continue into her graduate studies and completed them with honors.
Although she was enjoying the dream-come-true while at university, she took time to make sure her studies never suffered, and at age 21, she ultimately obtained her master’s degree in economics, graduating with honors.
The Author is Born
Following her graduation from Cambridge University, Arianna moved herself to London and settled in, where she took the opportunity to begin seriously working on her writing, which is where her talent and interest truly lied.
Her first book, The Female Woman (Random House) was published in 1974. It was a bold first attempt at writing, wherein Arianna showed a good amount of contempt for the Women’s Liberation movement of the time, while soberly accepting few of the core views of Women’s Lib.
Her sophomore work After Reason came in 1980. This one was Arianna’s assessment of our culture in the West, discussing the problem with being hell-bent on achieving wealth on the part of each individual, at the expense of what the individual needs even more to be healthy in body and mind—basic spiritual needs.
Coming to America
It was around this time that she moved to the United States, where she continued to write and pursue other avenues, which would contribute to her even further success. Arianna was and is a supremely driven person who never stopped moving, seemingly destined for success in anything she did.
She would even work as a television commentator for a time while living in New York, which she enjoyed to some degree but naturally wanted to return to her passion, which was writing books. She wrote consistently during this time, publishing Maria Callas: The Woman Behind the Legend in 1981, The Gods of Greece in 1983, as well as a biography of Picasso. They would certainly not be the last books that she would publish in her lifetime, and she is still writing today.
Not long after this period of working furiously on her writing, she would find and marry Michael Huffington in 1986, having 2 children with him, and later divorcing Michael in 1997. Arianna obviously kept his name, but she unfortunately followed in the footsteps of her parents and parted ways with her husband of 11 years.
The Transition from Author to Entrepreneur
Arianna was and has always been occupied with writing, which contributes to the fact that she always identified as an author, above all else, even though she was involved in many other pursuits along the way. She has always had a passion for writing and literature, but not only that, she has a soaring intellect to match.
There are plenty of writers who can create work that’s good enough to publish, but Arianna is one of those people who is extremely smart in a general sense. Like many people with an exceptional intellect and a high motivation to make things happen, she had her fingers in many pies and was driven to pursue multiple ventures over the years.
She couldn’t help but to work concurrently or periodically in fields like broadcasting, publishing, commentary within various forms of media, and entrepreneurial ventures. She made her transition into entrepreneurship with the Huffington Post.
The Huffington Post Changes the Game
In 2005, she opened the website for the Huffington Post and founded the online publication along with her partner, Kenneth Lerer. The Huffington Post has been an extremely successful online publication for years, originally focusing on liberal politics but eventually publishing articles for a variety of categories, even including sports.
The Post was, for many years, a source of reliable information that offered the public an alternative way to consume content related to news and other categories. It was well-known to publish articles that were, at once, well-sourced and highly entertaining to read.
The content was different from what you would normally find in the mainstream media outlets of the time because it possessed a different slant on news stories, concentrating on stories that were sometimes little-known but always extremely interesting.
The Huffington Post, during the time when it was founded, was instrumental in bringing younger people in to consume news because it didn’t have the dry, boring feel of mainstream news outlets. Arianna was no silent partner, either.
She actively wrote articles for the publication on a regular basis, which anyone would guess since she had such extensive experience with writing for years on her own. Then, in 2011, she sold the Huffington Post to AOL for over $300 million.
Increased Exposure Turns Arianna into an Influential Figure
Just in the past few years, though she has returned to writing books again after selling the Post, she has placed herself in the public eye far more than she had in the past. On one particular subject, she became somewhat of an activist.
She has been promoting the idea that getting enough sleep can transform anyone’s life, and that too many Americans don’t get enough sleep. She even wrote an open letter directed at Elon Musk, telling him quite clearly that she believes the personal issues he has been having are largely related to his sleep habits, as Musk is well-known to overwork himself and hardly sleep at all.
She wrote a book on this very subject, which is very likely the catalyst for gaining a lot more exposure and attention because of her activism for eradicating sleep deficiency. She seems to be on a mission to drive this idea into the hearts and minds of everyone she can reach, meeting with a variety of prominent figures to promote her cause.
These include people like Elon Musk, Gary Vaynerchuck, and others. Her recent activity with the subject of sleep has propelled her into a position in which she can influence people, and she is taking advantage of it.
An Extraordinary Woman—Author, Entrepreneur, Influencer
Arianna Huffington is an exceptional human being and a very strong woman. Even though she has been creating outstanding work and breaking down barriers her whole life, she doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon.
Her recent interaction with Elon Musk alone, where she fearlessly stood up to him to try and convince him to get more sleep and improve his life, is a perfect example of how tenacious she can be. In fact, after all the experience she’s gained throughout her life, she is probably even stronger and more ambitious now than ever.
It is well worth your time to read one, or even a few of her books to be inspired and to gain a deeper insight into the story of her life and what kind of woman she is. Even if you don’t, there’s a good chance that you will see her all over the place in the media.
1. Joseph Chukwube, “The Inspiring Story of the Media Mogul—Arianna Huffington,” Dream Chase Achieve, January 16, 2017, http://www.dreamchaseachieve.com/the-inspiring-story-of-the-media-mogul-arianna-huffington/
2. “Arianna Huffington Biography,” Biography, https://www.biography.com/media-figure/arianna-huffington
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.