Thursday, August 16, 2007

Magnum Dopus: Hustledork Cinema lives on

Okay, it's not The Secret that will give you the ultimate answers.

And it's not tapping, a la Emotional Freedom Techniques.

I've just found out about a movie that will finally tell you what will really, really work.

It's... it's.... it's.... The Opus, soon to be released on DVD and distributed on a web site near you. The Opus is the brainchild of a young New-Wage capitalist named Douglas J. Vermeeren. For anyone who thought the New Wage was the sole province of baby boomers, young Doug should put that thought to rest. Doug apparently has discovered the formula for success. He calls it the "Four P" formula, although in this interview on Canadian television he seems to mention more than four P's. (Initial mention of the the Four (or more)-P Formula occurs at about 3:38 in this clip.)

And it wouldn't be truly New-Wage without a built-in money op. The good news is that you, too, can make a bundle from this great movie. At least you can make some money for its producers and "stars." In any case, it's for the higher good. Here's how to become a distributor.

But it's really not about the money. Okay, yes it is. But it's also about becoming "the best, biggest, most incredible, abundant and spectacular YOU possible." It is a "spectacular follow-up to the Law Of Attraction" that shows you, once and for all, how to turn your intentions into achievements.

It's truly "the next step."

Don't believe me?

Well, ask Secret star Joe Vitale.

Or ask another Secret star, John DeMartini.

Or ask Chicken Soup For The Soul co-creator Jack Canfield or his co-hort Mark Victor Hansen
(he who was so rude to SHAMblog's Steve Salerno on TV a couple of years ago).

Would these fine folks lie to you?

But seriously, now, I really do have to wonder: where do these guys find the energy to get so over-the-top excited about EVERY new scheme that comes down the pike?
And do they ever get burned out hearing themselves get so excited? More to the point: are they acting, or are they just on some really good drugs that I don't know about?

PS - If you listen to Mark Victor Hansen's plug, you might hear an unwitting hint that The Opus isn't the be-all and end-all after all. It sounds as if he starts off by saying, "Opus means "the penultimate..." Or maybe he said, "penultima," but that word means "the next to the last syllable in a word." So maybe he's just throwing words around because he thinks they sound impressive.


Anonymous said...

I've known Joe Vitale for many years, and literally every pyramid scheme, product, process, or person he's ever been hired to promote has left him too excited to sleep, caused his hands to shake, and generally made him over-the-top excited.

Maybe he's the one who's been hypnotized by his "hypnotic" writing. The only alternative explanations for such across-the-board intensity are that he either follows a boilerplate formula in promoting everything he touches, or that he actually *feels* the excitement he describes, which would frankly suggest he might be suffering from a bipolar disorder. I mean, how many things can one person get "insanely excited" about before their credibility flies out the window?

Cosmic Connie said...

Anon, that pretty much sums up my thoughts and feelings. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

These are pretty interesting comments. Some I agree with. Some of these motivational guys are pretty hard to swallow. It's just one rah-rah session after another. And then when you do see them live it's like attending one big infomercial. No value.

Or at least with most of them it is...

I have to admit I am looking forward to seeing this film. And before I made a commitment I wouldn't spend a dime on such drivel. I am actually excited about this film - More so than I was with the Secret. And the reason why is really Douglas Vermeeren.

I had a chance to hear him speak when he came to speak to our company. I must admit before he started I rolled my eyes and prepared myself for a day of high energy rantings full of stories about how I "needed to get motivated and unlock my future" - but that did not happen.

He was not only more entertaining to listen to than most who have come through our corporate doors, but what he said was actually valuable.

He won me over from being ready to puke from motivational rah - rah to actually liking this guy.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all this motivational stuff being rah-rah garbage. Don't know Douglas Vermeeren. Never heard him speak. Can't say I either like him or dislike him. I did however enjoy the youtube clips about The OPus more than the commercials. I have a got a feelign that the film will have much more practical info than The Secret which left me wondering - what does it all mean? And how can a person gain anything valuable from it? At least Vermeeren seems to have some ideas that are more practical. I guess we'll see what happens.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was interesting. I jsut went to the Opus site and say that the link for who is involved was down. I found the answer no another Blog. It looks like they are cutting their cast. Some of their motivators I guess just did not make the cut. I guess it just goes to show you that even Dougie and his Opus people don't think that all personal development guys are all that great either. I wonder who they cut.

Could it be Joe Vitale? Maybe they just got irritated with him being so insanely excited?

My money is on people like James Malinchak (I have heard him speak - kind of a dork actually) and Morris Goodman (I have heard him twice and can never ever understand the guy) and a hand full of these other no name people.

I don't know much about the movie - but cutting their cast list down was probably the smartest thing they could have done.

Cosmic Connie said...

Who knows, Anon? But thanks for the tip; I'll see what I can find out.

Anonymous said...

I saw that the Opus is cutting people too. I think it's a good idea. I think the Secret had too many people too. Alot of them said the same thing over and over again. I hope this film focuses more on real substance and has more insights from actual experts, not just a bunch of Personal Development coaches. I heard in the orignal plan the Opus people approached Tony Robbins - Anybody know if this is true and what are your thoughts on Tony?

I have heard people on another blog compare Douglas Vermeeren to Tony Robbins. That's a pretty crazy idea. I am not saying I am a huge fan of Tony, I actually like Doug better - but they are so different. I am curious to know how the two can be compared.

Cosmic Connie said...

At the risk of sounding a bit ignorant or prejudiced, Sean, I'll say that much of this is moot to me, since in my view, both Tony and young Doug are...well... hustledorks.

I do think Tony offered some things of value in some of his earlier books, and I admit he was brilliant at building and sustaining a career for himself, but these days he just seems to be a big walking ego. My opinion is that like most in the SHAM/New-Wage/selfish-help industry, the main product Tony offers these days is excitement, and the promise of more excitement. (And what is Tony except another "personal development coach," albeit the world's most famous one at the moment? Just what is he an "expert" on?)

I'll stop now because one has to tread carefully where Tony is concerned; apparently he has a tendency to sue, or threaten to sue, anyone who offers a negative opinion about him.

Anonymous said...

I guess that's another thing that just doesn't add up for me either. If Tony is so positive and confident in himself why do we always here these stories about him suing people. I've heard that from so many people. And I remember on one of his tapes that he talks about a falling out with a business partner. Maybe there is some hypocrisy going on with Tony here?

Who knows maybe that has something to do with why he is not in The Opus.

I like the term you use "Hustledorks." It's funny. But I have to admit I am not sure exactly what you mean by that. And I suppose in all honesty, although it's a funny term, are they really hustledorks when there are people that are genuinely benefiting from what they are doing?

What has been your experience with their products?

Anonymous said...

I have heard Doug Vermeeren speak and I have known him for quite sometime. One of the things I actually really like about Doug is that he isn't just a talker. He is actually achieving great things himself. I think this is very different from people like Tony Robbins and others. Doug actually is accomplishing some pretty neat goals in his own life. When you get a chance check out his bio video on Youtube. It is a bit dated but there are a lot of things in there that Tony has never done. I think that's a reason why so many people have a challenge with a lot of these motivators is that they claim to get people doing incredible stuff, but haven't really done anything themselves. Doug is the real deal. That's something I can respect.

Cosmic Connie said...

Sean and Travis, thanks for your comments. I am always willing to hear other viewpoints and I'm sure Douglas V appreciates the sneaky PR if he knows about it.

I'm a little tied up with some personal things right now so I don't have the time or the presence of mind to answer your comments point by point, but the short answer to Sean's question about "hustledorks" (a term my partner Ron coined) is that this word refers more to style than to substance, whether or not people are being "helped" by the hd. A hustledork is an aggressively enthusiastic type who is always trying to sell you something, even if just a point of view.

Whatever you want to call them, whether or not they are truly "helping" people or harming them, is, of course, often subjective. Some folks may feel momentarily uplifted by one of their chosen hustledork's books or DVDs or seminars, perhaps enough to get over a hump in their own lives, inspiring them to go on to create great things. (But then again, "great things" is also subjective. Building homes for poor people, or helping to comfort the sick and dying, or researching alternative sustainable forms of food and fuel, or even working harder to bring joy to those around you...those are pretty great things in my book. But do we REALLY need another DVD on "The Missing Secret," or "How to Create Unlimited Passive Streams of Income On The Internet?")

Many people, I suspect, feel momentarily uplifted by the hustledork du jour's shtick, perhaps even enough to become enthusiastic cheerleaders for that person (thus becoming hustledorks themselves).

For most folks, however, the euphoria eventually wears off and they're left with a bunch of books and tapes and DVDs on their shelves. But some get hooked on the euphoria and simply go off in search of the next thrillmeister. I went through that drill for quite a while myself, and that's where my p.o.v. comes from.

As they say, your mileage may vary. And apparently has, so far. :-)

Anonymous said...

I have a few more questions for you connie. Have you heard doug speak? Have you seen the Opus (I am sure you haven't since is not relased yet.) But a better question what do you know about Doug Vermeeren that allows you to label him as a husseldork?

You seem quite intelligent, a little cynical, but intelligent. I am confused why you would jump to such conclusion. share your logic, I'm interested.

And by the way here is an interesting blog where they are singing his praises for the work he is doing. Maybe this will give you some context.

Cosmic Connie said...

Travis, I've seen clips of your hero speaking. I've even seen the interview on the blog you linked to. I'm sure he's a perfectly nice young man and I'm sure there are scads of people who love him and his work, but to me, the guy comes across as a hustledork. As I noted in my previous comment, this refers to style as much as, or perhaps even more than, substance.

That's my opinion. It has nothing to do with intelligence or logic or lack thereof. Maybe it's just a matter of taste. In any case, I do appreciate hearing opinions that differ from mine, and you are always welcome to comment here, but if you're looking for new converts to the Vermeeren cult, I'm thinking that this blog isn't exactly a target-rich environment. :-)

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone is ready to be converted to anything. But I do think it is improtant to think about what you say when using such a powerful medium as a blog.

So have you seen the Secret? I'd like to know your thoughts on that. And I'd be curious to know if youa re going to go and see The Opus when it comes out.

Just for the record I thought the Secret was a nice move. but I am not one of these die-hard freaks. personally I think it left a lot of questions and opennings for critics. I hope the OPus doesn't make the same mistake.

Cosmic Connie said...

Travis, I agree that it is important to think about what one is saying on a blog. And I have thought about it. But then again, this blog is a forum for opinion, and I am expressing my opinon, as you are expressing yours.

I have seen most of "The Secret," and have shared my thoughts about it many times on this blog. (Short answer: I don't care for it and consider it to be a New-Wage infomercial whose producers and creators increasingly seem to be motivated by greed.)

I am interested in seeing "The Opus" but am not motivated to "go and see it" in the sense of going to a theater and paying for a ticket. If someone gives me a free ticket or another chance to view it without paying for it, I'll probably take them up on it.

And I do appreciate you sharing your opinions here.

Cosmic Connie said...

To those of you who have been following the comments on this post, I deleted a few of the recent ones because they concerned some unsubstantiated allegations not only about Douglas Vermeeren but also about some of his critics.

It has been pretty clear to me all along that some of the people commenting here are working for Doug Vermeeren, even if on an "unofficial" basis. Perhaps they are affiliates of "The Opus." Maybe they're friends of Doug, or just ardent fans who feel a need to defend him and to counter every mildly negative remark about him or his work. At any rate, as I've previously noted, I think I can recognize sneaky PR efforts when I see them.

On the other hand, there are some allegations going around regarding Doug Vermeeren that may or may not be accurate, but in my opinion, there is simply not enough information at this time to justify posting about it. These allegations, which were recently brought to my attention, appeared on a discussion forum but had been copied and pasted from another forum. However, I have since found out that the copying, pasting, and re-posting were all apparently done WITHOUT the knowledge or permission of the person who wrote the original message.

I have no idea who sent me the anonymous tip about this message. One of the Doug fans who has been commenting here is certain that he knows who it is, but *I* don't know, so I removed that person's comments as well as the anonymous tip.

In the interests of fairness -- and, I must add, in light of the fact that Doug V. and company seem to be fairly litigious -- I think it's wiser to err on the side of discretion for now. But my eyes -- and ears -- are open. And as always, I welcome comments and opinions from all parties.

I also want to make it known that so far, I still haven't seen anything about "The Opus" or about Doug Vermeeren to convince me that he or his upcoming moviemercial transcend the New-Wage/SHAM genre occupied by "The Secret" and its ilk.

Anonymous said...

Hey Connie,
Just thought you'd be interested to know I did investigate a little bit about Douglas Vermeeren and that link that was posted against him. It was all BullShit. I kind of think that the annonymous poster must have created it. As I investigated I found that Mr. Dougie is actually liked in the film community by most people, There were also quite a few who had never heard of him, and yes, there were a few that didn't like him. The answer was that for most of the projects he has been involved in he worked around using some of the union people and key players in his films. (Most Indie filmmakers do the same - no surprise - the unions aren't exactly the easiest people to work with anyways.) But the posting against DV was totally bogus.

Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you, Eric. As it happens, I did some investigating too and the *original* posting was not bogus. But the original poster apparently retracted it, or tried to do so, after being threatened by "Dougie's" lawyer(s).

Look, I'm sure that some folks involved in this controversy have an axe to grind, and I have no doubt that some of the issues are little more than a matter of hurt feelings and bruised egos. And I have no problem believing that (union) politics could play a part too. But even with all of these factors, and even if Doug himself is the most well-loved guy in indie filmdom, that doesn't mean that "The Opus" is anything but another freakin' New-Wage infomercial. And that's MY main point, and has been all along.

Anonymous said...

Hi Connie,
Actually the original posting against Doug Vermeeren was very inaccurate. If you check into the details, it was posted by someone who had their feelings hurt. (you were right about that)And every scrap of info they give you to check into comes up empty. I did check with the right people (including the authorities) in regards to what actually happened and there is no story, it doesn't exist. And the casting director mentioned in the story has never even done business with Doug Vermeeren. It's 100% the rantings of someone with jealous or bad feelings.

Anyways, you might be interested to see that there is a trailer for The Opus now on YouTube. I'd be interested to know your feelings about that:

Cosmic Connie said...

Eric, the more I looked into the "story" the more I suspected there was no real story there. I did see the new trailer for "The Opus," and sorry, dude, but my opinion remains the same: it's just another New-Wage infomercial. If a few people make some big bucks off of it, and it makes some folks feel momentarily better about their own lives, more power to everyone involved. But even as there may be no real "scandal" to the "Doug incident," there is, in my opinion, no real substance to Doug's movie. Sorry to disappoint you.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your checking it out. Personally I think the film looks great. To me it appears that the film will be quite inspiring. I think the music is great. the visuals are very picturesque. I think that while no film can have all the answers we can expect something great from The Opus. I hope you will definitely share your comments and feelings after it has come out.

From a purely technical point of view it is certainly evident that there are zsome talented people involved in putting it together. And for that matter the same can be said about The Secret. I have seen my share of corporate training videos, documentaries and instructional films that were certainly far less polished than even this trailer for the Opus. I hope that even if you can't appreciate the content that you can at least appreciate their talent.

Let me know your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

Connie is bang on. Time will tell anyway. And yes, there is always substance behind posts...and where there's smoke, there's usually fire.

Anonymous said...

I think you have to ask folks in the motivational arena how they really make their money and how they are "doing things" with their life, other than the motivational hype that they are touting.

Ask deeper questions on their background and details and you may be surprised by what you actually find out, and how many people they stepped on to get there.

It is then,and only then, that you will understand the integrity with which they speak.

Cosmic Connie said...

Hi, all:
I'm sorry I haven't been responding to comments lately, but ever since The Big Move last month, I've been face with so many technical and other glitches that it was all I could do to publish comments as they came in.

Eric, thanks as always for your civil response. Technically, "The Opus" may be a fine film, produced and promoted by pros who really know what they're doing. Of course technical excellence is no reflection on the veracity (or lack thereof) of the message.

As for the "Anon" whose comment immediately followed Eric's last one, I agree: time will tell. I'm inclined to believe the where-there's-smoke-there's-fire theory too, but I also try to take into account that some "issues" are just a matter of hurt egos or sour grapes. However, my b.s. detector is always on full alert whenever a new New-Wage moviemercial is released.

The last Anon commenter makes a very good point too; some of the most successful New-Wage gurus have left some wreckage behind on their way up. I think their backgrounds deserve at least as much scrutiny as do the backgrounds of politicians -- especially since the gurus make their fortunes by telling the rest of us how to live our lives.

Anonymous said...

Hi connie,
Back again... I saw The Opus today. I actually really enojyed it and I am confident you will too. I liked it much better than the Secret and What The Bleep? it wasn't full of the fast paced commercial style editing, and it didn't repeat the same "Thoughts become things" motif. it actually had some very pracical and useful things to say. I did enjoy the story most of all though. it was really very entertaining, engaging and inspiring. Now having said all the positive let me share a few things that jumped out a me. I thought there were a few things that were a bit simplistic. common sense stuff that probably didn't need to be in the film. There was one speaker too that just didn't seem to fit with the rest of the speakers. While everyone was sharing insightful and profound principles this guy came on and said (I am paraphrasing, but still quite accurate) "surround yourself by winners, get rid of all the hasbeens, cry-babies, losers, criminals and wannabees, even if they are your relatives and surround yourself with good people." I thought that was kind of funny and maybe a bit awkward because he was so in your face. like I said out of place. But overall I really liked the film and I did buy a copy. all of the speakers were interesting and it was also good to see that it wasn't all new age people preaching new age things. they had one of the founders of fedex, and Bill Farley who used to own the Chicago white sox, fruit of the Loom and other things and Jon Biel (Jessica Biel's dad). Overall I would give it five out of five stars. check it out and let me know your thoughts...

Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you, Eric. I will see "The Opus" when I get a chance. As for the speaker who didn't seem to quite fit in, it seems to me that the "get rid of the losers in your life" mindset is actually pretty prevalent in the New-Wage industry. Actually it's a time-honored tradition among all narcissists and power-hungry types, whether they're New-Wage/new-age or not. Throughout history, rulers and politicians and business moguls have sacrificed their personal relationships in the name of success (or their view of success). And I know of several contemporary selfish-help gurus who have apparently done the same. Perhaps that guy in "The Opus" was just being a little more blunt about it.

Don't get me wrong. I agree that it only makes sense to try to remove oneself from people who are truly negative or harmful influences -- and unfortunately, that sometimes does include family members or formerly close friends. But all too many success-oriented folks have carelessly discarded people just because they no longer "fit in" with the success geek's image of himelf (or herself, as the case may be).

You wrote, "all of the speakers were interesting and it was also good to see that it wasn't all new age people preaching new age things."

In my opinion, the line between the new age crowd and the success/motivational crowd has grown more fuzzy over the past dozen years or so -- which, as it happens, is why I coined the term "New Wage."

It may seem that I'm being closed-minded and stubborn about this but so far, viewing the trailer and other promo material, I haven't seen anything new or groundbreaking in "The Opus." But I'm still willing to give the movie a shot.

Anonymous said...

Hi Connie,
I've been reading your posts and have found them pretty interesting. I have also been waiting for the Opus and to be honest with you I wasn't expecting great things. Just the same message - rah rah rah rah. (or in some cases blah blah blah blah.) But I did enjoy the Opus. In fact, I was totally surprised at how NON-new agey it was. It was the most practical film of this kind I have ever seen. Here's a quick thought I shared elsewhere that I'd appreciate if you republish here:

I went to the premiere of The Opus in Edmonton. It was a great movie. The place was packed. It was crazy. But the energy was good. The film is so much more than a sequel to the secret. The secret was great. But it left a lot missing. This film actually gave me steps I could do and things to think about TODAY. it was not a new agey conversation about energy. It was powerful realistic invitation to action. And not just action - the right kind of actions to take. I highly recommend it as the best personal development movie ever made. The other thing I liked about it was that those teachers from the secret that made it into this movie actually got share some depth. I almost got the feeling that what they said in the secret was only part of their stories. This film is so much better.

I didn’t get to the speaking part of the event. it happened earlier in the day - but after having seen the film and talking with a few people I wish I would have. It sounded really good too. So if the Opus is comign to your town. I would encourage you to make sure you go. You won’t be disappointed and you will walk away 1000 times more powerful than when you walked in.

As a side note I met Douglas Vermeeren and his wife Holly after the event. They are the kindest people you could imagine. And they are so classy and full of grace to everyone. I know they must have had a long couple of days with all the screenings lately, but they were so kind and interested in everyone that they met. I watched from a distance in awe. The guy is really living the Opus and you can see what a difference it is making for him. If you get the chance to meet him you’ll see what I mean. Totally awesome guy.

Anonymous said...

I also liked the Opus. It was everything that Matt says and more. Definitely the best show like this yet. I hope it opens up the door for more movies like this and raises the bar for other films. I didn't like the secret at all. But this film is worth watching.

Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you for your comment, Matt. While "The Opus" may be "non-New-Agey," I think you also have to consider that some of the top "stars" of the film are making their fortunes by promoting New-Agey concepts and magical thinking. Oh, they may couch the magic in scientific precepts (quantum physics comes to mind), but they're just as airy-fairy as Shirley MacClain. And as I noted earlier, the line between the success/motivational industry and the New-Age/New-Wage industry is growing ever more fuzzy, almost to the point of disappearing in some cases.

Anonymous said...

Hi Connie,
I was impressed with the Opus, mostly because it was not new agey and there was not one word about (pretended) quantum physics and very little about the law of attraction. I think it was a refreshing movie in this market where we are now bombarded with all kinds of "physco-babble" and "Power - Fufu" from people who aren't even qualified to offer basic psyciatric advice. You are right when you say most of these people are out for a quick buck. (ie. I saw the Moses code - Ouch. don't even bother.)But alas, I digress.

This film stands out like an eagle among chickens. I liked the Opus because it WAS useful. And I felt it had a certain level of hoensty, sincerity and interest in more than just self promotion for the Gurus. I think this characteristic alone will draw people to it.

The other thing that impressed me was the lack of Superiority that it seems the other films are displaying. (ie. "I know a great secret or a code and here's your chance to get it. - Kind of leaves you feel a little undervalued and your intelligence a little unrecognized. and then the mysteries they claim everyone is missing aren't really that mysterious at all. Thanks for nothing.)

Anyways, although I don't think the Opus will be the end all be all of motivation films, I do think it is probably the best so far in terms of content, audience accessibility, honesty and integrity to a true to life message and quite frankly the first film that actually gave me anything useful.

Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Clarissa. I still haven't seen "The Opus," and I have to confess that the big factor preventing me from going out of my way to see it is simply this: So many of the "stars" of The Opus were in "The Secret" and similar films, and let's face it: they have amassed quite a fortune for themselves by doing exactly what you described -- promising to have some mystical or revolutionary "secret" that IS the be-all and end-all of secrets...and then when they milk that hustle dry, they come up with another ultimate "secret"...and so on, and so on.

I realize that their success in this scam says as much about the legions who continue to swallow their tripe as it does about them, but I still think they bear some moral if not legal responsibility to their audiences which they are clearly not meeting.

In any case, I can't seem to get past the "birds of a feather" mentality that leads me to ask why Doug didn't eschew the hustledorks in favor of lesser known but more honest people. The honest and ethical guys (and gals) who also happen to be successful ARE out there; Ron and I are working with some of these people now.

The answer as to why Doug didn't forgo the star power in favor of integrity is pretty clear: the "big names" are more marketable. Duh.

I'm sorry, but it's really difficult for me to get past the "teasers" put out a few months ago by people who utter the same "oh-wow-this-is-IT" line about EVERYTHING they hawk. I believe this is a prime example of what was referred to years ago as a "credibility gap."

Am I throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Well, keep in mind that I haven't thrown anything out yet and that my opinions about "The Opus" are based NOT on having seen the film, because I haven't yet seen it. My thoughts are based purely on the fact that I HAVE seen so much similar stuff before.

Cosmic Connie said...

One other point to add to my thoughts above: If the big selling point of "The Opus" is that it IS different from all the other New-Wage moviemercials, and if all of the "stars" of "The Opus" truly want to get behind it and promote it (presumbably because it is so different), aren't they in a sense admitting that "The Secret" and "What The Bleep" and other forums for their egos are crap after all? Hmmm... it's dilemma time! Or it would be a dilemma in an ethical world, but when you're trading in the world of people's hopes and dreams, it seems that ethics are not so important. (And I hasten to add that I am not making an implication here about Doug V's own ethics, only those of some of his stable of "stars.")

Then again, perhaps I am taking all of this too seriously. After all, self-help has become a form of entertainment (albeit a relatively expensive one), and maybe most of the people who buy one moviemercial or book after another are, at some level, refusing to take any of it all that seriously. Maybe there's just a willful suspension of disbelief going on, somewhat like that state of mind one enters when watching Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings movies. Or, for that matter, like the state of mind necessary to spend hundreds of dollars on cosmetics or exercise equipment with the abstract notion that by doing so, one can begin to look like the models in the ads.

Maybe there's an unspoken pact between the hustledorks and their audiences: "I'm b.s.'ing you, and you KNOW I'm b.s.'ing you, but just for the fun of it, at least just till I get your credit card number, let's pretend this is real."

But I'm rambling now...sorry.

Anonymous said...

Hi connie,
I've been reading for a while and never commented. I enjoy your thoughts and the thoughts of many of those commenting. I think your thinking is very accurate. Too many of these people are out promoting whatever they think will make them a quick buck. ALot of what is being flogged has absolutely no value in terms of being anything beyond common sense. But I have to admit after seeing the Opus I was quite pleased. As others have said it is genuine and insightful and I believe is actually quite useful.

I think if those who were involved in other projects didn't get behind this they would be foolish, as this is the first project to really give any of them some kind of credibility and honesty as being genuinely interested in people. I don't know much about Doug Vermeeren but I think he really hit a home run with this film and you are probably right that a lot of his team on this film HAD to come along to make this film marketable. They might not have been the best team, but he was definitely smart to include them to get this film noticed. I am excited to see what he will do next. And hopefully he won't need to bring the celebrities along for the ride Don't get me wrong I enjoyed them. But Vermeeren's voice was by far the most significant in the film.

Cosmic Connie said...

I appreciate your comments, Don, I really do, but must respectfully disagree with one point:

"I think if those who were involved in other projects didn't get behind this they would be foolish, as this is the first project to really give any of them some kind of credibility and honesty as being genuinely interested in people."

My opinion is that in the New-Wage market, the sort of credibility to which you refer -- and for that matter, honesty -- are pretty much moot. Some of the biggest "names" DO have *market* credibility and they had it before "The Opus." Market credibility, of course, is the powerful force that inspires so many of the credulous to whip out their credit cards in response to a promo for the newest "breakthrough" book, e-book, DVD, workshop, moviemercial, etc.

And how do the gurus gain this credibility? At least in part by convincing their marks that they, the gurus, are "genuinely interested in people." Let's face it: The biggest names in "The Opus" were successful before "The Opus" and will continue to be successful after "The Opus," no matter how well or how poorly the film does.

My point was that if "The Opus" is indeed the profoundly beneficial, useful, and, yes, altruistic work that you folks on Doug V.'s unofficial P.R. team are claiming it is, these factors make it notably different from "The Secret" and "What The Bleep" and all of those other magical-thinking, narcissism-encouraging offerings. Yet several of the "big names" have moved seamlessly from being in and/or promoting "Bleep" to "The Secret" to "The Opus" to "Pass It On" to "Try It On Everything" to Goddess knows what other New-Wage moviemercials.

Further, if the "big names" are claiming "The Opus" is indeed the ultimate thing, which some of them WERE claiming in the teasers filmed a few months ago, they are in a sense saying that everything else they've been involved previously in has somehow fallen short, and everything they could ever hope to do in the future would fall short as well. Yet they continue to hawk their own stuff as also being the ultimate breakthrough can't-miss way to health, wealth, and happiness.

Logically, you can't have it both ways.

Then again, it seems that logic doesn't enter into this any more than ethics do.

Anonymous said...

I just saw "the Opus" in Las Vegas. It was far better than "The Secret" It was probably the best movie to come out so far. It was also tons better than "what the bleep do we know?" and far surpassed "the Moses code" which I saw last week at another event. (And "Pass it On." should not even be included in the same category as these other films. - it was an embarrassment.) The Opus is really the movie to beat. The bar is now high. You actually have to create an interesting film and one that delivers valuable information. The Opus is the first film to do it. I will be promoting through all of my businesses and associates. See it - it is a great film.

And as far as the speakers - I heard Jack canfield say yesterday that Secret was what really put him on the map. The Opus will do the same for others. And even more for speakers like Jack.

Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you for your comments, Diana. Am I to infer that you're an "Opus" affiliate and stand to gain if the movie is favorably received?

As for Jack Canfield's remark that "The Secret" is what really put him on the map, that's arguable. I think the "Chicken Soup" series is what really put him on the map. If he hadn't been a marketable commodity I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have been chosen to be in "The Secret."

In any event, it seems clear that there's a campaign afoot to "spread the word" about The Opus via blogs and discussion forums wherever possible. I even saw some of the same promo on Scott Adams' "Dilbert" blog that I have seen on mine. One of those things that makes you go "hmmmm...."

But I honestly don't mind, as long as the dialogue remains civil, as it has so far.

Anonymous said...

Jesus. I can't believe you're giving Doug this much attention. All these posts from anonymous and other pseudonyms are all from Doug tooting his own horn and trying to get people to buy into his bulls--t and he's got you hook line and sinker.

New look, same scam. He's had more careers in the last 5 years than most people have in a lifetime. Looks like he's finally hit on one that could make him some bank.

Cosmic Connie said...

Anon 1:54 PM -- Doug does not have me "hook, line, and sinker." Do you honestly think I don't know (or strongly suspect) that most of the positive remarks here are, at the very least, from Doug's minions or from people who stand to gain economically if "The Opus" is a success? I am willing to publish positive remarks about "The Opus" as long as they are not profane or abusive to anyone. Similarly, I am more than willing to publish negative opinions and information.

You might even say that the reason I seem so willing to let Doug's P.R. machine work through my blog is that I think they are setting their own trap here.

And yes, I've heard some negative scuttlebutt about Doug (aka David Grant, a name he used in his acting profession), but so far there's nothing really substantial. I did have some private correspondence with a person who had put some negative information about Doug's past business practices on a Canadian discussion forum in July of 2006. That person informed me they were contacted by Doug's lawyers and subsequently took down the comments.

I realize this doesn't necessarily mean the comments weren't true, only that the lawyers were successful with their intimidation efforts.

OMT: I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong, and certainly nothing criminal, about having had numerous careers in one's life. In fact, perpetual reinvention seems to be the name of the game in the New-Wage/selfish-help biz.

Anyway, I'm not afraid to publish positive or negative information about Doug. I think I've made my opinion pretty clear regarding films like "The Opus" and New-Wage hustledorks. But I am always willing to hear from others.

Cosmic Connie said...

To the above I need to add that I am willing to publish negative opinions as long as they aren't abusive or potentially libelous, and don't contain profanity.

Anonymous said...

Hi Connie,

Doug Vermeeren here. I thank you for your honesty in writing. I have been watching your blog for a while and I have seen the praise as well as the negative comments. I try to be level headed on everything I read and of course, I know there are people that don't like me or agree with everything I believe and teach. I expect that. But I want to sincerely thank you for sticking up for honesty and trying to be objective. I respect that alot.

One of the challenges I have always wondered about is why my critics don't want to discuss things with me directly. (this last person wouldn't even share his name.) If they have a concern it seems that they would rather broadcast it (often getting the facts wrong) rather than simply to contact me and address whatever the problem may or may not be. We are all human and no doubt I am not perfect either. I have no concerns addressing and talking about any part of my past, present or future intentions. I have made mistakes. Sometimes big ones. But who hasn't right? And I have not had many careers - in fact, I have never really had one. I don't consider my life pursuits a career at all. In fact, I explore all of my passions and still hold interests in many of the companies or business I started. Some have been sold. But a little research would show that I am still very involved as an active shareholder in most of them.

Personal development is also not new to me - it has also been something that I have been involved in teaching for years. If you go to youtube you'll find media clips from programs in the late 1990's and if you google me you'll see I have been an author since the early 1990's. I am just getting started with life I am not really that old and yes, I have done alot and I certainly hope to do alot more. I believe everyone should be able to explore and enjoy whatever excites them to pursue.

Now about my lawyers. There was a very unfair and untrue incident that was posted sometime ago that I believe not only effected me, but my family. I believe there are certain lines that should not be crossed by critics. It is one thing to say you don't like someone - but to start a slander campaign - that is simply unacceptable. There are many public figures that use their lawyers to quiet those who are unresponsible, mean and dishonest in their representations. I believe I am entitled to that same right.

I am not claiming to be a perfect person. And everyone has their faults. But if people are not courageous enough to approach the person who offended them their comments are really not worth listening to, are they?

Personally, I think that is a
great indication of a very shallow, unhappy and unforgiving person.

I am grateful for the support of those who feel I have been able to touch their lives for good. but if I have frustrated someone or they don't like me I am sorry that we didn't click. what else can I say?

Cosmic Connie said...

Hi, Doug, and thank you for taking the time to write to me. I do appreciate it; the fact that you *have* taken the time to write (and a civil response at that) distinguishes you from the majority of the folks I snark about on this blog, most of whom either ignore it altogether or send their lapdogs out to nip at my heels. And the folks who have spoken up in your defense here also differ from the vast majority of other "gurus'" defenders, most of whom seem to want to psychoanalyze me at best, or call me unprintable names at worst. :-).

As you can probably discern, my gripe has never been with you personally, but rather with the genre of inspirational/motivational offerings that I like to refer to as New-Wage moviemercials. The hype about these movies in particular really turns me off. What brought out the snark in me about "The Opus," of course, was seeing those "leaders" going on about your movie like it was absolutely the ultimate work on the planet...and then a couple of weeks later, as usual, they were off promoting the next "ultimate work" by someone else (or their own stuff).

These days, some of these guys are going around bragging that they're movie stars. I realize that's not your fault; it's their own overly inflated egos talking -- but let's face it, these dudes are not exactly in the same pantheon as Brad Pitt or George Clooney, if you know what I mean.

As my first commenter on this thread put it regarding one of your picks for "The Opus" (but this could actually apply to most of these folks):

"...he either follows a boilerplate formula in promoting everything he touches, or...he actually *feels* the excitement he describes, which would frankly suggest he might be suffering from a bipolar disorder. I mean, how many things can one person get 'insanely excited' about before their credibility flies out the window?"

I guess I just have a good case of excitement burnout. And quite honestly, I don't see how you can keep from getting burned out yourself, being surrounded by all of that aggressive enthusiasm! :-)

Regarding some of your detractors, I would think that you are indeed within your rights, both legally and morally, to use your legal team to put a halt to real slander or libel (deliberate untruths, in other words). Some New-Wage leaders such as Tony Robbins, however, have attempted to use their own legal eagles merely to silence negative opinions.

As a person who has not exactly taken a conventional career path myself, I certainly don't condemn you for having had several careers, or, as you said, for never having had anything that you actually considered to be a career. In fact, I think the conventional path of education-to-career is rarely the path to success, wealth or happiness.

In short, there's nothing wrong with taking an unconventional path, or even with reinventing oneself to a certain degree when it's done in an honest way. My issue with so many "leaders" in the self-help biz is that they use this "convention of unconventionality," if you will, to defraud others and/or to disguise some truly smarmy behaviors.

This doesn't mean that none of these people's teachings has any merit, but it is galling to see some of them advising others on how to live their lives, when they themselves have left wreckage behind at every step in their own lives. And yes, I have some personal knowledge of some of these folks so I know what I'm talking about.

As for you, you seem to be sincere and enthusiastic, and intent on doing your work and spreading your message -- and though I may snark, I don't begrudge you any success, and I don't begrudge any of your fans whatever inspiration they may find from your work. At the very least (if I may be so blunt), you do NOT seem to be the type who defrauds your followers, seduces your female fans and/or staff, or any of the truly sleazy things that some of the New-Wage gurus have been accused of doing. Perhaps you live by the tenets of your faith, which, I think, would help temper any tendency towards letting fame go to your head.

So... I guess all that's left for me to say right now is, Keep doing what you're doing, and I'll keep on snarking about the things I find snarkworthy. And if a certain Aussie Secret star approaches you and wants to be in The Opus like the wind!

Thanks again for writing.

Anonymous said...

I was kinda keen on seeing this film, as I saw The Secret. However, the Doug V bio on YouTube has given me cause to think again!

Why aren't the movies he associates with part of the IMDb database? I looked them up, but there no listings for some like Oblivion and Highway 66. He isn't credited anywhere. Hmmm.

Just playing music in parts of the bio and showing a few pics of famous places... doesn't necessarily equal "credibility". I can be a famous teacher in New York too -- hire a hotel room, bring 1 person to a class and "hey presto!" I'm ready to make that claim. I can also get my "words" distributed to 4000 leaders (probably a whole lot more) with a small ad in the WSJ.

I've heard the believe/achieve quote long before I've ever heard of Doug V -- so when he claims it as his own, the BS-detector is on full alert.

Gonna be a whole lot harder to convince me now AFTER seeing that YouTube bio!

Anonymous said...

I think it is quite interesting that there is a lot of stuff put out about alot of speakers that they themselves did not build. I have seen the same quote also attributed to Tony Robbins and that wasn't his either. Anyways, all very interesting stuff.

All I can say is that I did like the Opus. It wasn't really like the secret in my mind but it was good. I see that he now has another film he is working on sop the Opus must be doing well financially. His next movie is called The Gratitude experiment It looks like he is trying to be a bit more edgy. who knows?

Anyways, I have yet to see a personal development person (or any person) for that matter that is the end all be all of this kind of stuff. I think Vermeeren maybe isn't the easiest to figure out, but I think it is admirable that he is creating so many interesting projects. see the Opus and share your thoughts, I thought it was quite good.

Andrew H. said...

I have been following Vermeeren quite a bit lately. I have seen a lot of interesting comments on the internet... ie. That he is the new Napoleon Hill, that is considered one of the best motivational speakers in the world under 40, the George Lucas of personal development and so forth. I think these are pretty bold statements. And while I am quite skeptical I can't help but admit at least a few things.

Vermeeren has added some pretty significant contributions to the personal development industry for being such a young pup. There is no one who is as ambitious and so bold. His principles also are quite unique and in some respects quite revolutionary. While I find many teachers in the industry are recycling content they have picked up somewhere else. Vermeeren appears to actually have done the research first hand. It seems to be more practical and applicable to the common man. Mind you he's not making the bold claims that Tony Robbins did in the 1980's with NLP, but he has created the same kind of excitement.

Andrew H. said...

Here's an interesting clip on Vermeeren and what it is like at his event.

matt said...

Douglas Vermeeren is coming to Canada and selected US cities with his seminar If you have never been to an event with him you may want to check it out. He is considered by many to be the Napoleon Hill of our day.

Anonymous said...

I have had ties to David Grant aka Douglas Vermeeran by being close friends to those that he has acquainted with over the past 5 years. One thing I will credit him with is the ability to remain positive while jumping from one scheming ship to the next. I don't doubt that he's a positive speaker on how to survive tough times, as he's always managed to do that for himself. Maybe this is the best gig for him, and he's finally found his fit.

Unfortunately, I have witnessed him tear through the Calgary Film community under his alias David Grant, or was that his real name, and Douglas is his alias? After hiding out for some time he emerged as the spokesperson on a website for some Religious Camp. Congrats to his lawyers for getting those blogs pulled the first time around. But, the truth will always find a way of following. In all honesty I'm quite shocked to see that he has remained in Canada, as this country is smaller than most give it credit. Especially when you're trying to make a name (or two) for your self in a small industry.

Regardless of how much you have to say, or talk your way out of the holes you dig yourself, I have no interest to listen.

Douglas Vermeeren said...

Hi Connie
It's a been a while since I have read your blog, but alas I see that there are still some people who have a challenge with me that are too cowardly to either address these problems with me personally or even put their name to posts on the internet.

As always I invite those who feel that they feel a need or even have a right to slander an individual in a public forum to get some courage and contact me personally. I have always pledged that I have been willing to address any real wrong I have done and repair it. To this date I have not had anyone approach me.

While I am the first to admit that I have made mistakes in my business and personal life in the past, I will also point out that everyone makes mistakes. Yet I will not let past challenges dictate my future.

These allegations have all been addressed before. It's beginning to sound like a broken record. Yes, I used a stage name when working in film. Yes, I ran a casting agency where not everyone received work. I was not a spokes person for a religious camp, but anyone who googles me will see that I have written and published several religious books and articles. I was invited to be a speaker for a one week religious travel tour. (My role was not very different than speaking engagements I am involved in for a non-religious setting.) I have spoken at many similar events since and will in the future. And the thought about me leaving Canada is just silly...I have no reason to leave Canada and will most likely remain a resident here for the duration of my life.

These kind of attacks are expected to continue from ignorant people like this. We have seen this in the past. As soon as anyone gains any kind of notoriety in the public there are always people who come out to slander or dig up what they consider challenges from the past. I will be the first to admit that there are some things in my life that I would have liked to try again with the experience and knowledge that I have today. I would probably do a lot of things differently.

Isn't it interesting to note that they suggest they have "friends" that have known me for the last 5 years that have a challenge with me. Generally when my "friends" have a challenge with something or someone I have the wisdom to let them fight their own battles because I also recognize I may not have all the facts. There are two sides to every story. And quite frankly there may be a reason why these "friends" are not publishing emails of this nature. Perhaps if the true story came out the "friends" would have less than perfect histories too.

My suggestion: Rather than try and point at a past you may not fully understand or have been associated with you should grow up and move on. You don't have to like me. These public criticisms are not a reflection of me but of YOU. They truly speak more about your character than of me.

If you are truly the better person the you should have no problem having an honest heart to understand that what a person does yesterday does not mean that is how they are today. Hate, jealousy, frustration and strife always burn the crucible that carries it. If you continue Karma will bring to you what you put out. You will not and cannot hurt me or my ambition through your attacks. True, they are disappointing to me - but I have evolved past letting these kinds of things effect me. I am on the way to accomplishing my missions in life. There are many lives I have touched for positive and many new and life long friends that are supportive and encouraging. And people will remember the good that I do long after they have forgotten my mistakes and forgotten you.

Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks for taking the time to weigh in again, Doug. I will continue to host the discussion here, though it really isn't all that active any more. I receive more positive comments about you than negative ones, which could just mean that you have some more determined folks in your corner, who at least aren't afraid to acknowledge the existence of this blog. I have published all comments except for those that seemed to contain serious and unsubstantiated allegations. For my part, I pretty much stand with my earlier response to you (11:30 AM).

While it isn't necessarily true that what a person did yesterday doesn't define what he does today (hence that old saying about "the leopard doesn't change its spots"), it's also true that people deserve at least a second chance. I personally think that the simple facts that you have a show-biz past or used stage names is NBD. A show-biz background actually makes you more qualified for the modern self-help industry than someone who has no such background.

It may or may not be true that the critics are revealing more about themselves than about their subjects; it depends upon the nature of the criticism, I suppose. However, having recently been through an online battle with another one of my occasional snargets -- who resorted to ad hominem attacks on his critics rather than addressing the real points of the criticism -- I was reminded that the way the subjects respond to their criticism reveals a lot about *them.* And I will say this about you, Doug: you have always been civil in your responses on my blog. I thank you for that.

Jim Archibald said...

Dear Cosmic Connie,
I have been an acquaintance of Doug Vermeeren and his family for over twenty five years. As a veteran business owner and having been quite visible publicly at times, Doug asked me for advice on how to deal with some of the comments that have been appearing on your site. He did not ask me to write in to you but I would like to make a comment or two.

The internet is a somewhat new tool and it becomes very easy for those who have frustrating experiences to be much more vocal than they could be in the past. People can hide behind annonymous comments and slander without the risk of being caught.

I believe this is what has been happening here.

I would think that after more than twenty five years I would know Doug Vermeeren quite well. I have hired him to work for me several times. I have seen his work ethic and the way he has treated others around him first hand. He is an honest, kind and genuine person and always gives his best to all the projects that he was entrusted with. The crticisms are untrue. There is no other way to say it.

If there is one thing that I might say to your younger listeners by way of advice, after many years in life and business, by way of advice and expectation in life:

1)Things don't always work out the way you would expect, and many times it really is no ones fault.

2)Be careful what you say publicly, because it will always come back to haunt you.

3)Some business failures will surprise you with their great successes on the next try.

4)Don't burn your bridges by speaking too loudly of their challenges the first time around - you may want to work with them when the successes do finanlly arrive.

5)Success will always arrive to those who stick with it.

6)When success comes failure is generally forgotten.

Doug has stuck with it and his success is now arriving. I am proud of him. Like most people, his journey has not been easy. But he hasn't given up. If you have ever tried some of the things he is doing, like building a movie or writing books or any of these things, you will understand that there are very few people who have the gifts to put these kinds of things together successful. But he is doing it, and he is good at it. That alone marks him as a success in my books. And I look forward to what else he will do in the future.

He is still a very young man and there will be much more to come I am sure.

Jim Archibald
Calgary, Alberta

Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you, Jim. But really, according to my own critics, nobody reads this site anyway, so Doug really doesn't have that much to worry about. I am puzzled about why he is so concerned, unless this little blog is the only "press" he is getting. Surely that is not the case, if he is as successful as you say.

I can't speak personally about making movies, but I do know from firsthand experience that creating good books is labor-intensive and takes more skill than many people realize. In fact, many of the folks I snark about on my blog -- as well as their followers -- seem to be of the opinion that one can knock out a good book in less than a week and go on to create the next infoproduct.

You seem to be aware that it's a little more involved than that.

I stand by my own opinion of what I call "Hustledork Cinema," but that is my opinion and is not an indictment of young Douglas. In any case, if you weigh the positive comments about Doug that I'm getting versus the negative ones, you'll see that the ayes have it. This post is nearly three years old and as I noted above, the discussion is just not that active. If these are the only negative remarks Doug ever has to worry about, then I think he's doing a lot better than most successful folks.

Brian said...

I was reading your posts here and I recently saw The Secret again and The Opus and I really liked them both. I thought they were very different in their approach to similar lessons. In the end I think The Opus was more practical but The Secret seemed to be more cutting edge in the music and filming. I highly recommend them both. I was also reading below about people's comment of the various creators Rhonda Byrne and Douglas Vermeeren. i have never seen Rhonda Byrne live, but I have seen Douglas Vermeeren live. He is an incredible speaker. And just like the Opus he was full of great practical information. I found him to have great and useful insights far more relevant than many other speakers I have heard. He has been compared to Napoleon Hill and rightly so. His materials focus around interviews he has conducted with some of the most success people on the earth in the last decade. You can find more about him at his official website and there are also many good clips on youtube. I have heard many saw that he is the next big upcoming personal development leader and after having seen his materials I would agree.

Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks for weighing in, Brian. Some of my readers might want to know if you are an affiliate of The Opus, or are working for Doug in some official or unofficial capacity. Comments?

Brian said...

No. I don't work for him. I don't work for anyone. I am a life coach myself and I like to share my thoughts about all the new guys out there. I think The Opus and Doug Vermeeren are better than most out there and so that's why I thought I'd raise my voice about him. As a side note, I see alot of personal development movies and to be quite honest (even if you don't like the content) The Opus and The Secret are the only two movies that have come out so far that were really well done. Everything else has really been an embarrassment. I just saw another one today (which I won't mention the name of... yes, it was that bad) But if people are going to continue to try and put out these movies they really have to step up the production value. If you can't do it right, it would be better to skip the idea of making a movie and share the information in a way that you can handle. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that. So many of these movies are just plain cash grabs by non-talented people who just happen to get a bunch of ego inflated "gurus" in an interview setting. While there may be some value in some of these shows. (.5%) Most of them are a joke. Now I see Vermeern has another one about gratitude. ( Do these people really think that a one and a half movie can change my life?

Rory said...

Did you see Doug has a new book, this time co-written with the father of Guerrilla Marketing, Jay Conrad Levinson. Levinson's books are used in many universities and colleges. My question is will this add more credibility to a guy like Vermeeren? Or is he still going to be like a lot of these other motivational types. I enjoyed the Guerrilla books and I'm wondering if they get too much into this kind of stuff they may lose their credibility. Here's the back cover, cut and paste from the site, it shares what the book contains:

The unconventional way to become a top achiever

The Guerrilla series is by far the most trusted business book series of all time. Well-known for providing practical, proven and powerful strategies for growing business and individuals the Guerrilla series delivers! Guerrilla Achiever is no different. This powerful book will teach you the tools that top achievers use to unlock their greatest potential and get to their goals and accomplishments in faster, unconventional and highly effective ways. If you want to go from your average to you extraordinary this is the book that can unlock that door!

This is the book that will help you get to your goals!

This book includes:
- Success Interviews
Key questions that will prime you for success
Exercises to apply the lessons directly into your life

Douglas Vermeeren - Thought by many to be the modern-day Napoleon Hill, Douglas Vermeeren has conducted extensive research into the lives of more than 400 modern top achievers. He understands what top achievers know and can help you get to your goals instantly. For a FREE gift to increase your productivity now go to:

Jay Conrad Levinson - Jay Conrad Levinson is the father of Guerrilla marketing and innovative business thinking. His books have become required reading in many colleges and Universities and have been published in more than 62 languages worldwide and have sold more than 22,000,000 copies around the world. For more great Guerrilla titles go to:

Michael K. Godfrey said...

I have always found it interesting that so many of these personal development people have these strange and bizarre rumours that follow them about their past and their history. ANy ideas why? Is it that they are so public? Is that they are making themselves a target by claiming they have the answers? What is it? I have met a few of them and they seem like nice people, but they always have these things follow them. Why is that?

And I have met Doug Vermeeren. Yes, he is a nice guy too. But this stuff seems to follow him just like the others.

Cosmic Connie said...

Good questions all, Michael. I suppose that people who claim to have answers on how life should be lived do make themselves targets. Whether this is fair or not I can't say. I've never met Doug V. but have met other self-help gurus. Even though most of them are or can be "nice guys" when they want to be, many also have big egos and no small amount of arrogance. I think I can safely say that many of the "rumors" about some of these folks are true. Again, though, I have never met Doug so I can't say what is or isn't true about him.

Self-help insider Peter Wink, who has been the subject of some of my recent blog posts, is one who believes we should separate the message from the messenger. Even if the gurus themselves aren't exemplary human beings, their teachings still may be valid and useful. I'm sure there's a great deal of truth to this, but on the other hand, sometimes it's hard to separate the message from the messenger in today's brand-conscious, cult-of-personality environment. Many of the gurus are selling themselves as well as their teachings.

Here, in case you haven't seen it yet, is a more recent post in which I ruminate on these matters...

Anonymous said...

Bob Proctor and Douglas Vermeeren and The Opus... There's a new movie coming promises to reveal a message that The Secret left out... That movie is The Lost Message. And it features both Bob Proctor and Douglas Vermeeren. ( You can find it online at It focuses around an ancient message that was practiced by rulers and kings to build and maintain empires, but since then it has been lost. Only a few have even had a glimpse at this grand secret. It is a lost message but it will be reveal again in this upcoming movie.

Cosmic Connie said...

I suppose I should offer my apologies to anyone who has ventured back to this old post. The May 26, 2010 Anon comment above is a bit on the spammy side. However, since it makes reference to yet ANOTHER snarkworthy hustledork moviemercial, which stars the Elder Statesman of Hustledorkdom himself, "Scientist" Bob Proctor, I thought it worthwhile.

How long, oh, how long are the h-dorks going to keep playing this "missing secret"/things "The Secret" left out card?

Seriously. Is anyone still buying this crap?

Scientist Bob is certainly overplaying the "missing secret" card. It wasn't that long ago that he was promoting something purporting to teach the eleven "forgotten laws" that "The Secret" left out.

Anyhoo, here's the web site for the new h-dork flick, for those who care to go see:

disillusioned said...

I had a look at the trailer--its featuring James Arthur Ray amongst other usual suspects. Is this a new advertising ploy what with his trial coming up in a couple of months?

Cosmic Connie said...

LOL, Dis. I looked at that list on the trailer (about :40 in)...

...and it almost looks as if they just copied names from the cast of "The Secret." (Notably absent: Joe Vitale, but that doesn't mean anything, because it also says, "...and others.")

And yes, JAR is there too. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's a recent addition. My guess is that this project was actually begun years ago, perhaps during the first wave of Secret rip-off flicks, but for one reason or another the project's creators couldn't get it off the ground. (No big surprise; 'tis a flaky business filled with flaky people.) The creator(s) of the flick probably got a preliminary commitment from "the usual suspects," most of whom were so high on Secret fumes that they would agree to anything at the time.

Again, that's my guess. I could research it but I am too lazy.

As of now the web site says the movie will be available in late 2010. So, whether or not that cast list was put together recently or years ago, many things could change before the final product is released. IF it is released. If I were those folks, though, I would remove JAR's name for the time being.

Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd share an insight from someone who worked on the movie although you have to appreciate that I can't share my name. James Arthur Ray has been cut from the final film. Any guess why... and a few other Secret alumni have also been given the heave-ho. Mostly for the reasons you've pointed out. People are tired of seeing this gang try and build another "secret."

Having said that I do think what the film is shaping up to be may surprise many people. It is pretty interesting and there's a lot in there that I didn't expect. The first few scenes I saw rough cuts on were kind of interesting.

I guess we'll see what the end result is....

Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks, Anon (Wed. May 26, 11:20 PM). But you'd think that whoever is responsible for the flick would re-do that trailer or place a big disclaimer below it. Sounds like there's still a lot of disorganization there.

I'm sure you understand that these days, any product that claims to offer forbidden secrets (or "lost" messages," if you will) is automatically suspect to many people who are tired of hearing the same old hype.

Raven said...

I am not even sure that "The Lost Message" is a film that Douglas Vermeeren is heavily involved with anymore. I heard he is appearing in The Journey and actually preparing to release a film called "How Thoughts Become Things." (Both are advertised on facebook.) And apparently it has more to do with real Neuroscience and investigating the claims of the Law of Attraction.

There are so many of these films coming out lately that I hardly know what to believe and which one to watch. I will say this, after all the films of late the only ones I actually found interesting were the Shadow Effect, The Opus, The Secret and What the Bleep. Everything else has been amateur and boring.

If they make these movies with higher quality and better information more people would take them seriously and be interested.

Cosmic Connie said...

Raven wrote: "If they make these movies with higher quality and better information more people would take them seriously and be interested."

Maybe. The first step in establishing a movie's credibility would be for the filmmaker to resist the temptation to parade out the same lineup of hustledorks and con artists, who are labeled, more often than not, as "great teachers" holding the key to the secrets of the universe. (Pardon me if I sound cranky; I'm fresh from viewing trailers and "reviews" of the finally-released "The Meta-Secret." Seriously eye-rolling stuff.)

Ryan said...

I agree. How can there be so many experts on the planet and we still struggle with the massive challenges that we do. I think it's time we all got real honest. Most of these people are not living the ideal life. They have problems and challenges just like the rest of us. I am not trying to slam all of self help. there are some that I believe are genuine. But they are a lot that are not anything special at all. People need to be very careful who they listen to. And I think most of the regular gang aren't worth much. It's all about the GREEN $$$$$$$.

Somebody oughtta make a movie on how some of these people really live. I'll bet you there would be some surprises there.

Cosmic Connie said...

Well said, Ryan. Some defenders of self-help and its gurus say we shouldn't be so judgmental because everyone's human and makes mistakes, and no one is perfect, etc. These defenders often advise that we should just separate the message from the messenger. However, as I've said numerous times before, so many of the self-help gurus work very hard to brand themselves, making their persona and personal shticks an integral part of "the message" (even though "the message" is generally derivative or an outright ripoff of hundreds of previous "messages").

Equally as important, as I've also noted before: More often than not, the gurus use their own "designer realities" (to borrow a phrase from Steve Salerno) -- that is, their manufactured versions of their deliriously happy lives -- as the focus of their marketing campaigns. "I'm living proof that what I'm selling works. I'm living the high life and you can too if you just invest in what I'm selling." So critics are, I think, justified in looking a little closer at those "high lives." If gurus are using their success as "proof" that their stuff works, but in fact they are misrepresenting their success, then that is indeed fraud -- if not in a legal sense, then certainly in an ethical one.

And when defenders of the gurus try to turn the scrutiny back on the critics, it just obscures the real issues, which, of course, is the whole idea.

Kent said...

I am actually interested to see "How Thoughts Become Things" I don't know if you've ben reading Doug vermeeren's blog on his website ( but I think for once here comes a movie that will actually have something of substance. I guess we'll see when it comes out. But I am finding his blog to be a little more useful than what some of the other folks are peddling.

Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you for your thoughts, Kent. But I gotta ask: Are you an affiliate of one or more of Doug's products or programs?

Kent said...

HI Connie,
No I am not an affiliate, but I am a fan. I think what he teaches is useful. I can't say that about all personal development folks. check out his stuff and you'll know what I mean. I just find it more practical and better thought out. I'd be curious to know your thoughts on the new trailer and some of his blog posts. do you find him to be like the others?