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Rating Self-Help Gurus (Who to Follow, Who to Avoid)

This thread is for quick notes on who to follow and who to avoid.

Marie Forleo Review (0/10)

I signed up for her email list to see if I could get some marketing inspiration (or should I say "Steal Like an Artist").

It turned out to be the only email automation that actually pissed me off.
This stuff actually made me angry.

Look at this crap:

This is not encouraging because she knows nothing about you.

It's what I call "ego-cadies".
Sugar overload for weak-minded people who seek short-term relief instead of long-term, personality-based solutions.

The difference is that the former makes you worse off, the latter builds you into a high-quality individual.

But wait, it gets worse:

This is not just void, useless emptiness, it's actually actively damaging.

It promotes a fixed mindset (as per Carol Dweck's research) and an entitlement mentality.
This stuff makes you a really low-quality individual and only increases the odds of you not achieving sh*t.

Do yourself a favor and do the opposite of this type of advice.
Work on building an antifragile ego and, as Ray Dalio says: love reality, even when it hurts.

Say no to ego candies. They might taste good, but they do you no good.
Seek harsh, good feedback. The harsher it is, the quicker you can improve.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Tom Bilyeu / Impact Theory  (8/10)

Edit: (0/10) when interviewing others

Tom has gone on a rampage of interviewing snake oil salesmen and professional "marketers" (marketers are the highest Machiavellian profession, so the overlap with "charlatan" and "snake oil salesman is high), going on to cut pieces of those interviews for views and subs, and disseminating BS all through the Internet.
Tom speaking himself is a 10/10, but because of his promotions of charlatans, you must be aware of the difference (and I've personally lost respect for Tom).

Next up in our reviews of the self-help gurus who are worth (or not worth) following is Tom Bilyeu.

I had stumbled upon Tom Bilyeu before he founded Impact Theory and when he was still producing videos with under the Quest umbrella.

When Tom Bilyeu first launched Impact Theory I was super excited and watched all of his videos.
Even more than his interviews I loved his takes and his analysis of the interviews because I was deeper and more insightful than any of htis guests.
His analysis and comments were huge learning opportunities with insights and gold nuggets strewn all over the place. Some of the deepest learnings per minute I've ever had the pleasure to listen to (yes, I've just coined a new KPI for self-help gurus: learning per minute :D).

Tom Bilyeu also features prominently in my collection of self-help literature called "Ultimate Power" and he's been the inspiration for some of my articles (The Antifragile Ego) as well as the inspiration for some important changes in my mindsets.

So why "only" 8/10 and not 10/10?
Here is why:

Tom Bilyeu Pop-Psychology

Tom Bilyeu seeks to ground his advice in researches, psychology and scientific concepts.
And that's how it should be.

He recommends listeners to "take the red pill" with books like Mindset and Extreme Ownership.
And he's totally right with those.
As a matter of fact, you will notice that all of his book recommendations are featured in my own book reviews here. And that's not by chance: I was following his reading list.

But I sometimes find that Bilyeu does not go deep enough in his researches and does not seek contrasting opinions on what he reads. I have the feeling that he ends up taking whatever he reads at face value.
So when he talks about neuroplasticity based on his recommended books "The Brain That Changes Itself" and "Phantoms in The Brain" he ends up exaggerating how plastic the brain is.

I find that he sometimes cherry-picks information based not on reality but on his favorite narrative. In the case of brain plasticity, an extreme view of plasticity fits with his message that "you can do anything you set your mind to".
Yeah, that's nice, but if it's based on fake science I don't find it encouraging and motivating in the slightest. I find it empty, useless self-help lies.
Indeed, the brain is plastic, yes, but with limitations (also read "The Blank Slate").

I also wished Tom Bilyeu would consider a bit more the criticism of his recommended "Grit by Angela Duckworth", which in the psychology literature is now deep and far-reaching.
You can read here more on the failed concept of grit in the psychological literature.
But in a nutshell, if one wants to present himself as a science-driven pundit, then he should take better care that the science is on point.

I Wished For Tougher Interview Questions

Tom Bilyeu wants to become the best interviewer around.

And he's probably already there.
At least when it comes to researching the interviewer and when it comes to providing a good stage for their message.

I wish he'd ask tougher questions though.

For example, when interviewing the SEALs that everyone loves to interview these days, how about asking what they think of the non-existing weapons of mass destructions?
How about asking if their "pride of being Americans" and "allegiance to the flag" they so deeply feel cannot be the driver of unneeded wars and bloodbaths?
Because I, for one, believe that too much nationalism is harmful.

Is Tom Bilyeu Is Helping Snake-Oil Salesmen?

But the major reasons that I lost much of my outsized respect for Bilyeu is because of the people he is giving a platform to.

He often repeats something on this tune:

I want to learn from anyone, no matter who they are

And then he added he would invite Mussolini on his show if he were still alive.

That's BS in my opinion and a convenient way of skirting responsibility.
If you provide a platform for people to share all their ideas, then WHO you invite and WHAT  they do DOES matter.

But he doesn't it that way, and so he ended up providing a huge platform to possible snake oil salesmen like Tai Lopez and Joe Dispenza (read my reviews of "Becoming Supernatural", "You Are The Placebo" or watch the video below).

Sadly, in my opinion, it's possible that albeit Tom had good intentions, many people watching his show ended up seeing believing the snake-oil sellers just becuase they appeared on Impact Theory and weren't properly questions on their methods and intentions.

And many of Tom's followers ended parting of their hard-earned money in the belief that the hyped up snake oil that his guests sell was going to change their lives.
In that way, Tom Bilyeu might have inadvertently helped fraud.

That would be my biggest suggestion to Tom Bilyeu: as a thought leader, you bear responsibilities.
Act judiciously with it.

Tom Bilyeu: Review

Tom Bilyeu could be more thorough in his background research on scientific and psychological concepts.

I wished he also focused on what he knows best instead of, say, talk about relationships.
I don't think that just because he's in a happy relationship he can qualify as an expert and teach others how to run the perfect relationship.

Most of all though, I wished he'd be more careful on who invites on his show.
Impact Theory has given a lot of credibility to some dubious individuals who needed tough questions and not an open mic to pitch their expensive (and unproven) products.

And I know this review might sound harsh.
But it's harsh because Tom has the biggest potential of any self-help guru around. And part of me actually hopes he reads this.

I still love Tom and rate him as one of the best self-help gurus to learn from if not the best.

As a matter of fact, I'd wish he made fewer interviews -which by now start looking like they're all the same- and do more of his own content.

So thumbs up for Tom Bilyeu, he is one of the best to learn from.

Valentin has reacted to this post.
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

You have a great critical mind and I like what you have to say about Tom Bilyeu. I'm following his philosophies, because they work as you know. Talking about the learner identity, etc. Given your critics, I would recommend you to check his Impact Theory University. It is even more valuable than the free advice. It is really about the details of implementation of his mindsets and tools. And once again, it works. I think he has a free offer for his first module, mindset 101. It's a good reflection of the paying content. He explains the 25 bullet points, which kind of make his ideas "10x" more powerful. "10x" is a relative number of course. What I mean is that when you understand the why and the how of his ideas, then you can apply them more effectively.

Awesome, did you get the whole program?

I was taking a look at it and might definitely go through it eventually.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I did. I think it's worth the money. The value is great. You can start with:

  1. The free Mindset 101 course
  2. Pay 47$ a month for the mindset track (he also has a business track, but this is not where I'm at right now, maybe for you)
  3. 25$ a month for the mindset track with a yearly payment.

Give it a shot, I'm sure you won't regret it. I did not, I paid the yearly payment after 3 months of trying it months. You know Tom, he's always improving and he delivers consistently. So this you can be sure is part of the deal. Glad we share the same dedication to improving our mind(set).