This website uses cookies. Learn more via our web privacy policy. For questions, please email
John O'Leary - Columbus State University Skip to Main Content
Leadership Institute Columbus State University The Forum

John O'Leary

John O'Leary

National best-selling author and speaker

Expected to die. Now teaching others how to truly live.

In 1987, John O’Leary was a curious nine-year-old boy. Playing with fire and gasoline, John created a massive explosion in his home and was burned on 100% of his body. He was given 1% chance to live.

This epic story of survival was first showcased in his parents’ book, Overwhelming Odds, in 2006. Originally printing 200 copies for friends and family, his parents have sold more than 60,000 copies, most in back-of-room sales at O’Leary’s speaking events. It was this book that first invited O’Leary to embrace his miraculous recovery and share it with the world.

O’Leary inspires more than 50,000 people at hundreds events each year. He speaks to companies and organizations across industries, including sales, healthcare, business, safety, marketing, financial services, faith, education and insurance.

Consistently described as “the best speaker we’ve ever had,” O’Leary receives 100% of his engagements from referrals. His schedule is a testament to the power of his message and who he is as an individual. His emotional story-telling, unexpected humor, and authenticity make each of his presentations truly transformational.

O’Leary’s first book “On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life” was an instant #1 national best-seller, selling more than 30,000 copies in the first three weeks. John is a contributor for The Huffington Post and Parade Magazine website and has an online community of more than 75,000. O’Leary considers his greatest success to be his marriage to his wife Beth, their four children and his relationships with friends and family.