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Back in his early 20s the now famous self-help guru, Tony Robbins, was a broke-assed loser living in a low-rent apartment in LA. Then, he discovered the secret of success. No, it wasn’t the power of positive thinking, and it wasn’t how to awaken the giant within. It was if you peddle hope to desperate people, not only will they buy it; they’ll keep coming back for more and more.

In his excellent book, Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless, Steve Salerno explains how this crap is like a drug. People buy a book or a recording, and after they finish it, they feel like they can conquer the world.

After a few weeks that feeling fades, and they need another fix. This goes on and on until they have shelves lined with this motivational nonsense.

Last week the high priest of self-help, Tony Robbins, held a four-day event in San Jose entitled “Unleash the Power Within.” As is his custom, he capped the first day by having people do a fire walk. This supposedly shows them the power of positive thinking, and helps them realize the impossible is possible.

Unfortunately, 21 people were lacking in faith and suffered burns, and three of them were transported to the hospital.

I’m still mystified as to why anyone would want to do this. The coals are fairly poor conductors of heat, and if the fire beds are made correctly, you should be able to walk through them without any injury. This silly firewalk proves nothing. It’s only when the coal beds are built incorrectly that you face real danger, and if that happens, no amount of bullshit positive thinking is going to help you.

If you really want to feel empowered, you should read my new book, How To Make People Do What You Want. In it I share some of my groundbreaking motivational tips like “Go get liquored up and start waving a gun around” or “A quick kick to the nuts is a great way to get someone’s attention.”

Trust me, if you follow the hints and tricks in my book, not only will you feel like a big man, people will literally be knocking down your door to see you.