Customer Reviews: False Profits: Seeking Financial and Spiritual Deliverance in Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Schemes
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False Profits takes a fascinating look at the world of illegal pyramids and multilevel marketing. The book approaches MLM and the MLM industry like no other book I have read. Instead of explaining it from a pure business point of view, it explains it from a psychological, spiritual, ethical and social point of view.
Make no mistake, the author of this book loathes MLM. As far as he is concerned, there is little distinction between most MLMs and pyramid schemes, other than the fact that the latter are illegal. Even if you are pro-MLM though, you must admit that many of his observations are correct, and that the MLM industry in general has a long way to go before it reaches any level of acceptance in our society.
My favorite aspect of the book concerns its look at the psychology of many multilevel marketers and get-rich-quick schemers. It focuses on the guilt trips that these people lay on their own friends and family, their compromise of integrity and interpersonal relationships for the sake of greed, their deception of unsuspecting strangers, and the overemphasis on materialism that has made many of these people morally bankrupt.
Of course, not all MLM participants behave like this. These are largely the actions of "MLM junkies" and hard-core recruiters. Unfortunately, MLM companies and the industry itself often encourage this type of behavior amongst their reps, which has helped to give the MLM industry a black eye over the years and made multilevel marketers looked upon as people to avoid. Hopefully, by recognizing these ugly traits, you can avoid becoming one of these people.
About the only downside of this book is its occasional delve into spiritual and deeply philosophical theories of how MLMs and cults operate. While I have seen many MLMs that resemble cults, and many multilevel marketers that resemble little more than brainwashed zombies, I think that the author's view of all MLMs being tied (somehow) into the new age movement is a bit of a stretch. Not all people get involved with MLM for the same reason, and not all multilevel marketers become blathering idiots. Many do, but certainly not all of them.
Despite the author's occasional forays into the esoteric, the book is quite enjoyable to read. It is obviously very well researched and the culmination of many years of hard work. Although it may go a bit far at times, I think that it should be read by anyone contemplating getting involved in the world of multilevel marketing. It will really make you question EXACTLY why you are getting involved, and whether your involvement is for the right reasons.
Unethical multilevel marketers will absolutely HATE this book. Those involved in blatant pyramids and get-rich-quick schemes will probably want to strangle the author, since he will likely expose them for the shallow con-artists they are. Ethical multilevel marketers will learn how to avoid the pitfalls of becoming a participant in these types of schemes, and the book's lessons will serve as a reminder of how NOT to do business.
Fitzpatrick explains exactly how illegal pyramids work, and exposes many MLMs for what they really are. After reading this book, you should be able to tell the difference between a quasi-pyramid and a legitimate business opportunity. You should also come away with a strong sense of what is ethical and right, and what is not. Ethics seems to be a dirty word to many in the MLM industry, but it shouldn't be. Read this book, and you will likely discover much about MLM, and yourself, that you did not already know.
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on June 12, 2000
After watching friends squander hard-earned money on worthless "network marketing" schemes, I found this book and read it. Proving that there really is one born every minute, authors Fitzpatrick and Reynolds have lived the lie--that easy money is to be had, merely by offering "business oportunities" to all of one's friends and aquaintances--and to their credit have written this remarkable book to warn others. Most helpful was the authors' comparison of multi-level schemes and illegal pyramid schemes. The only difference between the two is that in the former, a product is exchanged. This distinction without a difference allows "upline" MLM racketeers to exploit the gullible legally. Very telling also, was the authors' description of the training these MLM's provide, the standard lines, the stock answers and finally, blaming the almost inevitable failure to produce the promised financial independence on the recruit "not having what it takes" to "succeed". Blame the of the oldest lines in the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone considering participating in a multi-level scheme.
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on June 23, 1998
This book is a must for anyone involved or thinking of getting involved with MLM. I was involved in MLM for 3.5 years, and it was amazing how I let myself be seduced by the very charismatic leaders in the business. You take on a whole new way of thinking and speaking, and you don't realize how much you have changed until you get out of it. This book exposes MLM for what it really is, a snake oil sales pitch. It also does a good job of explaining the psychological appeal of MLM and why it is still around.
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on October 6, 1997
I found this book to be fascinating and difficult to put down. It offers a very thorough treatment of the multi-level craze and examines the psychology and motivations from a very personal perspective. Readers who have participated in multi-level marketing will likely find some sections to be painful and embarrassing, eliciting a knowing smile and blush from the all-too-familiar experiences. False Profits is highly recommended for those who wish to avoid or even escape the lure of MLM.
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on June 26, 1999
I was expecting a standard expose of the MLM industry, but this book is really more about the psychological and social forces that cause people to become involved in MLM. I found it honest, insightful, and engrossing. Judging from these reviews, it certainly seems to have ruffled some peoples' feathers...
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on June 7, 2010
Have you ever suspected that MLM's are shameless scams out for your money and are utterly useless in every sense of the way? Guess what, your right and "False Profits" confirms why you feel that way. MLM's are pyramid schemes designed to do nothing but dup you into an impossible "fast buck overnight" nightmare. Don't join the millions of undiscerning fools who refuse to see through the smoke and mirrors. Let Bob Fitzpatrick explain in details why these phony companies have only your destruction in mind and read the fascinating stories of those who were in these systems for years and finally renounced them. Not only are their testimonies riveting, but stories are supported with factual documentation of how the scam works. A must read for all and don't quit your job whatever you do. If you want to build a business, remember there's no free lunch and it takes a lot of hard work, risk and capital but it's not impossible!
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on February 27, 2015
Thank God a book like this exists. After participating in a very popular "ground floor" MLM, my eyes have been opened to the brainwashing that goes on and the history behind these MLM pyramid schemes. There were way too many ethical issues for me to proceed with this business even though I think it's a good skincare product. This is a must read for anyone who has ever been involved in an MLM, has a family member in one or has thought about joining one. Knowledge is power. I'm so thankful for the authors of this book.
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on January 26, 2011
In 1891, the definition of the word Prosperity included, for the first time, the attainment of great wealth. Before that, it was a very personal and often intangible matter with Calvinistic roots. Since then, prosperity has become extremely tangible in cars, houses, boats, and cash.

Information like this is found in False Profits, and it makes it a great book with an incredible history on how Amway became the model for all MLM companies (it was deemed legal by the FTC in 1979 while others were being shut down).

There is also a very interesting background on Metaphysics and how success somehow ended up being believed to be a result of how one thinks rather than how one behaves. If you think successfully, you will be successful. Essentially, successful living transformed in the era of motivation from a means of doing to a means of thinking.

Lastly, a scam the authors were caught up in called The Airplane Game is discussed.
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on May 11, 2013
It is really difficult to find quality content on the mlm industry. there is so much mlm propaganda out there on the Internet. Thid book is a diamond in the rough.
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on June 3, 2015
Insightful, revealing look at the "underside" of pyramid scheme businesses, ( many of which seem border-lined with MLM's.) With one of my own family members fully immersed in one of these "businesses" I can attest to the angst and alienation that happened to us. Any questioning or refusals to "purchase" unwanted products has been met with anger and resentment. We are no longer "family" we are "warm prospects." And since we won't participate, or become "distributors" we are labeled "negative people." The products being sold are high-priced, not scientifically proven, not FDA approved, yet this person keeps trying to push them on us. Mr. Fitzpatrick focuses on the insidious harm that occurs when people get sucked into these kinds of "quick" money-making schemes. He sheds light on the reality behind the hype. Well worth reading, especially if you know someone who has become obnoxious with their "terrific deal" stories, and pushy sales attitudes.
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