Self-Help Gurus

Snake-oil salesman Professor Thaddeus Schmidlap at Enchanted Springs Ranch, Boerne, Texas, USA - By Carol M. Highsmith

Self help gurus are guaranteed fakes.  So are all other self anointed gurus.  Avoid them – run for your life and keep your purse locked.

I have parked this article under the category “health”,  since I find self help gurus the most insidious but you will find this species of pariah in every walk of life and every area of commerce.

Clark Stanley's Snake Oil Liniment,True Life in the Far West,200 page pamphlet, illus.,Worcester, Massachusetts, c.
Clark Stanley’s Snake Oil Liniment,True Life in the Far West,200 page pamphlet, illus.,Worcester, Massachusetts, c.

I first noticed them in finance:  such people are a huge danger to your wealth. They promise you will make millions in up and down markets by buying their absurd courses. It is likely they have never traded in the financial markets and that if they have the exercise was a failure.

It is all about money: getting yours.

The Dalai Lama doesn’t need to peddle books, nor does the Archbishop of Canterbury.  They may be worth listening to, they may not. But at least they are not looking for you to finance their expensive lifestyles.  Much the same can be said for qualified doctors or therapists.  At least they have (usually!) had a rigorous training in a recognised discipline.

The real con artists are those who sell books, courses and seminars telling YOU how to achieve happiness and contentment when THEY have singularly failed to achieve any measure of well being and are as far removed from nirvana as it is possible to be.

I used to buy the occasional self help book or at least books on what one might loosely define as “spirituality”.  But I have this obsessive compulsion to dig deeper into anything I take on.

That apparently delightful and wise author on the beauty of Sufi poetry turned out to be someone to avoid.  And pseudo religious nutcases promising revelation, synchronicity, union with the divine – take your pick – always turn out to be cynical fakes out to get your money.

If you need god (I don’t) then read the canon of your chosen faith. If you need advice on happiness or the avoidance of misery read philosophy and medicine.

 

2 Comments

  1. About self-help gurus, I always keep in mind that they make their money by selling you the tools you need to dig in the mine of gold, but not digging as they recommend you.

    1. Ha ha ha….yes indeed. We all have to make money (sadly) but the snakeoil salesmen do not rate highly in my list of humanity!

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