Meet Arnold Siegel


Arnold Siegel

Arnold Siegel is a contemporary American thinker, philosopher and founder of Autonomy and Life. His work represents a revolutionary sea change in one’s thinking and being, which empowers participants in their ability to create and live lives of their own design.

Since 1985, Arnold Siegel, through his classes and coursework, has touched the lives of more than 5,000 students. This powerful governing philosophy sets in motion the strategies, perspective and discipline for living a life of wellbeing and life satisfaction.

Siegel also pens a free bi-monthly blog, which can be found at The blog serves as an approachable introduction for non-students in the complex themes of this modern philosophy as well as offering an instructive, thought provoking and inspiring continuity for his ever-expanding base of students. His book, How to Think About Autonomy and Life, is available only to Retreat Workshop participants.

Arnold Siegel: History and Experience

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Siegel completed his undergraduate education in 1960 and headed west. With an uncompromising work ethic and an extraordinary talent for business, finance and managing the momentum of one’s enterprise, he began work at a prominent accounting firm. By the age of 29, Siegel was named partner. He still remains the company’s youngest-ever senior partner.

As an accounting professional Siegel was intrigued with the idea of Real Estate Development and after 3 years as the head of the company’s San Francisco Accounting office, he switched gears signing on with a noted Bay Area real estate development team. His contribution was pivotal in the closing of a number of complex residential deals, including a vast waterfront residential development that remains one of the Bay Area’s largest.

After a brief and successful stint in real estate, Siegel returned to accounting, creating a new model in the field of accountancy. Blending traditional accounting skills with his talent for creative entrepreurship, Siegel used his business and accounting acumen offering actionable, real-world skills necessary to both maintain and build sustainable and successful businesses.

Then in the 1980’s he turned his attention to a new venture – a private satellite communications platform capable of serving more than 20 U.S. cities with simultaneous content feeds. Siegel’s innovative commercial use of “live feed” was a precursor to what we now know as “the internet”.

After two successful decades in corporate America, while simultaneously engaged in a largely self-guided inquiry into the relationship between personal freedom and the rules that govern social, economic and political life, Siegel founded Autonomy and Life.

When he’s not traveling to teach his Autonomy and Life coursework, Arnold Siegel can be found home in Northern California. His time is spent doing what he loves — reading, writing and exploring new questions and challenges inherent in his ever-evolving mode of thought.

Autonomy and Life: Its Purpose

Autonomy and life is about managing the transformative behavior of the sovereign individual. Its purpose is twofold. It addresses those who seek to leverage their talents, skills, education and experience in extending and defending themselves in the competitive arenas that define America.

And it addresses those who seek to avoid the bitter discontent that inevitably accompanies the inability to competently meet the demand on each of us to adapt to the requirements of practical existence in America.

These classes present a governing philosophy for autonomous living that puts our lives into the perspective of America’s liberating experiment with biography, morality and agency—a frame of reference for creating a meaningful and contributory life of our own design.

As Siegel is fond of saying: “When you understand who you are and your connection to the world, the possibilities for your life are endless.”

Siegel sees Autonomy and Life’s goal as nothing less than providing its students with the intellectual framework and tools necessary to design fully actualized lives of their own making. This philosophy focuses on the practical and substantive development of personal freedom, self-mastery, competitive maturity and communicative skills for acquiring a richly rewarding life and the means to excel in an increasingly competitive world.

It provides the autonomous authority that underpins the experience of security, wellbeing and life satisfaction; the emotional capital that helps us through fear, discouragement and loss; the on-our-toes mindfulness that shows up as resilience, timeliness and resourcefulness.

The historical purpose of this philosophy is to contribute a unique analytic perspective to the nation’s efforts to impress the practice of responsible autonomy in the lives of its citizens.