James Arthur Ray (born November 22, 1957) is a motivational speaker and author. He is the author of Harmonic Wealth, a New York Times bestseller frequently featured on the Today Show. In 2006 he had appeared on CNN's Larry King Live and was a guest speaker in the film The Secret. Ray had taught Stephen Covey Motivational seminars while employed at AT&T and claimed he later worked two years for the Covey foundation, although the company has no record of him as an employee or contractor. As of October 2009 Ray's company, James Ray International, was not Better Business Bureau accredited, which gives the company a C rating for seven complaints filed and two unresolved.
On February 3, 2010, Ray was arrested in connection with deaths of participants at one of his sweat lodge ceremonies and was tried for manslaughter. Ray was acquitted of manslaughter but convicted of three counts of negligent homicide.
James' father was an Oklahoma preacher in occasional poverty for a decade until 1973 at Red Fork Church of God in Tulsa. At times they had to live in the church office. Money and spirituality were central to him. "The hardest part of my childhood was reconciling how Dad poured his heart into his work, how he helped so many people and yet he couldn't afford to pay for haircuts for me and my brother," Ray wrote in his 2008 book Harmonic Wealth. "How could a loving God keep me from Cub Scouts on account of not being able to afford a uniform?" However, a classmate of James "recalled things differently".