on December 30, 2008
I finally got to sleep this morning at 6AM. "People Are Idiots" literally kept me awake all night. Not just because it's a "page turner" (which it IS), but also because it had me thinking so much about my life that I couldn't stop writing notes, pondering the future, and contemplating Larry's advice.
I'm always wary of reviewers who write a long treatise here. It seems they have an axe to grind -- positive or negative -- and that their position is more about them than it is the book. So, here's the bottom line: If you want to get fuzzy inspiration, this isn't the book for you. If, however, you want a book that shows you how to get your act together, quit sabotaging yourself, and have a better year in 2009, regardless of the economy, stop reading reviews and start buying (and reading) this book.
You may -- or may not -- like HOW Larry makes his points. However, WHAT he says will change your life. It has mine. Sometimes the most valuable advice is the stuff we don't want to hear.
People are idiots. (He did not have to prove it to me, I have worked in retail for over 20 years). If you want an author who will get in your face and challenge you to quit whining and making excuses and change, then this book is for you. If you are overly sensitive or love being a loser, then you will likely find the author to be rude and crude. You will also be offended by his rants. For me I enjoyed his sense of humor and agree with the principles in his book to take 100% responsibility for your life and make changes if you want different results. The truth is we have created the circumstances in our life through our actions. We spend our time on what is most important to us. We have in our life what we were willing to pay the price for. Every decision we make takes us either closer to our goals or farther away from them, choose wisely.
If you sit up and pay attention this book will show us all how we act like idiots sometimes. We sabotage our lives when we are ignorant, stupid, lazy, don't care, lack vision, have low expectations, don't recognize the consequences of our actions, have bad habits, have poor role models, and have no plan. The author shows how to overcome all of these challenges through sound principles and common sense. This is not rocket science but it is solutions to problems that some readers may not even know that they have. You will find principles in this book that will change your life. Don't be an idiot, buy the book and learn something new.
on December 30, 2008
Wow! Winget obviously ticked some people off with this one. I had to go back and look at the book again to be sure we were reviewing the same one. The book I read was about the power of taking action, positive role models, personal responsibility, keep on learning, be charitable, the role of integrity, and a lot of other ideas that must be incredibly controversial to some people. Look, Larry's style might not be your cup of tea. He gets in your face. Admittedly, he's not all cute and cuddly like some motivational gurus. But his goal is (my guess) to make us think about the consequences of our actions. Period. With this economy like it is I'm personally grateful for a well timed kick in the butt. I don't need to be blaming anybody for anything right now. I need to get on with life and understand that I've got choices to make every day. Larry's book helps me make better choices.
on January 3, 2009
Larry is bald and brash, wears loud cowboy shirts, smokes cigars, drinks scotch, rants, and surely you feel strongly about him one way or another. (Or, both.) But that's not a basis for a positive OR a negative review. That's his genuineness and is the way he singles himself out. That's the way he gets people to listen to him THE FIRST TIME. Like Scotch in a pretty bottle, if the contents turn out to be rotgut, the bottle will be ignored real quick next time you're looking for a quaff. If Larry doesn't come through with quality from behind the sunglasses, nobody will be listening. So if you judge a book by the cover (either literally or figuratively) or can't hear the message because you react to the messenger about irrelevancies, your review is worthless to an intelligent reader. This is the Marketplace of Ideas, not Tea Time at the Little Church in the Valley.
Let me suggest a three step process for reviews, and then apply it to People are Idiots.
Step One: What is the quality of the writing? Is it grammatical? Consistent? Does it maintain ones' interest?
Step Two: What is the quality of the information (if non-fiction) or story (if fiction)? [NOT "Do I like it?" That's next.] Is it researched and footnoted if appropriate? If it is free-form, it is logical? Does the author use appropriate examples? Does s/he understand logic?
Step Three: How do I personally react to the book as a whole? Do I agree with it? Even if I don't agree with it, does it make a significant contribution to the public discourse? (Note: I've positively reviewed books I don't agree with for precisely that last reason.)
In a 5-star system like Amazon uses, I'm thinking that we put step one and step two together and account for at least 4 of the stars. (I say all 5 stars, and step three gives the review character and meaning, but others will differ.)
OK, People Are Idiots:
Writing: As advertised. Larry is brash and obnoxious, harranging and ranting. You want mealy-mouthed, look elsewhere. His writes more like he speaks than most "motivational gurus," which makes the content readable. To me, it's fun and I throw in a lot of "Right on's" (Wait a minute, that's Step Three. Sorry.)
Information: There's not a whole lot of research, but that doesn't bother me. It may bother others. He is drawing conclusions from impressions of American society which, if we are honest with ourselves, will match our own observations. As to the information, one review is right, Larry doesn't put much about the grey areas of life in People Are Idiots. Shame, shame, Larry. Wait a minute - He also doesn't mention French cooking, menopause or romance, either. Why the hell not, Larry? Well, only Larry can answer for sure, but I'm guessing that the shades of grey aren't there because they aren't what the book is about. This book doesn't teach subtlety, stealth or feeling good through meditation. That's because most of us (me included) still haven't learned the basics adequately. We are dreadfully in debt. That's not grey, it's black & white. Most of us are overweight, obese or really fat. That's not grey. At least part of the time, just about all of us whine and duck responsibility. Nope, no grey there. I don't know about you, but I don't have the basic lessons down by a damn sight. Learning is good. Repetition is good. New approaches are good. New motivation is good. Before you hang the wallpaper in a house, a carpenter has to build the house level, plumb and square. If s/he doesn't, you have pretty wallpaper on a flimsy house.
And Step Three, People Are Idiots did speak to me. Larry speaks to me. This time, he put out a quality product. Whether you agree with all or most of what he says, it causes thought. For that matter, if you agree with ALL of what he says, you may be one of the idiots. We are supposed to exercise independent judgment. It's America, remember?
As for me, I'll keep walking with Larry, learning from him, and taking heart.
I like a lot of what Larry Winget says, and this book is clearly a notch or two above most self-help guru books. (Larry calls himself a "success guru" or at least he did once on page 89.) The thing I like about his spiel is that he emphasizes personal responsibility. This is his central argument, and it should be the central argument of anyone's life. You are responsible for what happens to you. And yes you can throw in, "It isn't what happens to the man that counts. It's how the man reacts to what happens to him."
I don't know who said that, but I bet Larry does. He studied just about every self-help guru and motivational speaker he could find, and he's read a slew of self-help books; and judging from some of the well-thought of people he quotes throughout the book, he's probably read many of the Great Works of humankind--actually I know he has because he says so. Or he listens to them being read on a CD in the car. Larry Winget does not wing it. He believes you can fake it some of the time especially when you're starting out, but when push comes to shove you better have the goods. Furthermore, Larry believes in reading. He harps on it. And he's right, but you can also watch what he calls quality television--and he's right there too. Television use to be a vast wasteland--57 channels and there's nothing on, according to the Springstein song--and that was right, but today with the Discovery Channel, NatGeo, the Science Channel, PBS, etc., there is a lot to learn just by watching the tube.
Larry also believes in getting out of denial. As he says, every 12-step program ever designed begins with admitting you've screwed up and need to change your ways. That seems simple but most people never get to that step. They wallow in their denial. They are actually blind to the fact that they're fat and lazy and addicted to constant consumption and gross mismanagement of their finances. Their kids are even fat but they are so deep into denial they can't see it. The school counselor or the school nurse has to tell them, and guess what? They are insulted.
And that's another thing Larry has right. If your kids are fat, chances are they got it from you. Take a look in the mirror. In fact one the best things you can do--and Larry is all about this--is take a good long look in the mirror next time you wonder why bad things happen to "good" people. Doors close and you don't even know it. You seem unlucky but taking out a mortgage on a house you couldn't afford and then maxing out your credit cards is NOT bad luck.
Larry doesn't like hypocrisy (which is probably the main reason he isn't a George W. Bush Republican). He says, you screwed up. Admit it! He tells how he loved watching Jimmy Swaggart break into genuine tears as he admitted that he screwed up (literally) with a hooker. Larry contrasts this with Bush's "Mission Accomplished" photo op. He writes, "That has to be one of most idiotic statements ever made to the American public. I don't know of one human being except George W. Bush who doesn't know what a mistake that statement was. Will he admit it? Nope. The whole world knows--yet he won't come clean and just say that perhaps, possibly, maybe that was a mistake to claim." (p. 86) In a bipartisan style, Larry also takes Bill Clinton to task for lying about the sex he had with that woman.
I also like some of the reasons Larry picks for saying people are idiots. For example, "People spend millions of dollars every year on psychics. Come on, people...psychics! No one can predict your future except you. Take control of your future and stop spending money with these frauds." (p 21)
"The human race is knowingly destroying the environment. We pretend there is nothing we can do about it, and that makes us all idiots." (p. 21) Actually, Larry, the average person is in denial about destroying the environment. But it amounts to the same thing.
Here's one I especially like: "The average cost of a wedding today is almost $30,000. Yet those couples who spend that much on the wedding (or have that much spent for them on the wedding) rarely have enough money to make a down payment on a house. How smart is that?" (p. 15)
But Larry isn't your usual motivation speaker. Styling himself as "The Pitbull of Personal Development"--yes, as in another business, you gotta have a gimmick--Larry first beats you up and then gives you a hand up. I suspect that his style works best with people who feel they have to hit bottom before they can reverse the trend. I would also say this style is eerily similar to the bullying style of people like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly who like to kick people around on their show so their audience can live vicariously. But I have to admire Larry Winget's ability to turn this style into something positive, although it and this book will not be to everyone's taste. And by the way, he calls people who listen to Rush Limbaugh "dittoheads." (p. xiii) And yes he's got that right too.
Bottom line: ninety percent right on. Larry Winget knows his business. He's done his homework, and I will NOT (as some reviewers inevitably will) say that one more proof that people are idiots is that they buy books like this!
I admit it. I have always had an interest in self-help type books. I have read some of Larry Winget's other books and like his writing style. Unlike some readers of this book (People are Idiots and I can prove it), I love the title. In fact, I have often thought of writing a book with a similar title (Why are People stupid and irrational?) because of my life and job experiences.
First off, there is nothing really new about succeeding in life in this book; however, Larry presents the material in a unique and hard-hitting interesting way. There is so much information in this book that it may take more than one reading to grasp every principle. Actually this is more of a workbook because it wants you to participate in evaluating the reasons why you fail and how to succeed in the future. This book is organized into three sections. Section explains what the idiot factor is and proceeds to prove it. This section also includes the ten ways people sabotage their success and how to stop being an idiot. This section alone is worth the price of the book. The second section explains how to take action for success and action lists of success. The final section covers how easy it is to keep being an idiot and how to avoid being an idiot.
In conclusion, this is a book for anyone who is willing to face their stupidity head-on and change their lives for the better.
Rating: 4 stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Season of the Warrior: A poetic tribute to warriors)
on May 31, 2014
The author is abrasive but his message makes sense. I'm glad this book was recommended to me because I have learned a lot and reaffirmed even more.
I recommended this book to my adult son who is going through a new stage in his life.
Once you get past the titles of this author's books, you find a lot of useful wisdom and information
on December 15, 2012
I was attracted to the title (yep, people are idiots) but even more attracted to the idea that I can be successful if only I stop sabotaging myself. For some reason, I keep sabotaging myself in life, but I don't know why and I don't know what I could do about it. This book is good motivation for stop being lazy and unproductive, but it's all stuff I already knew and stuff I was already doing. I wanted to know why, no matter how hard I try or how much I learn, I can't seem to translate that knowledge into success. In that respect, this book was depressing, because he claimed that "if you try hard enough, you will succeed." Well that's an extremely naive notion at best. People are unsuccessful for many reasons not under their control, such as the autistic person who cannot get an interview because he has no social knowledge and no real ability to learn social skills, the woman who has been abused and assaulted in the past and therefore cannot be successful in her relationships, the person with a very bad memory who cannot do basic things in life much less be ahead of the pack. Not all of your life is under your control. (Although, for most people, this is important to hear because most people don't take enough responsibility for where they are in life.) The exercises in this book were hard for me, because it assumes that you actually know what you could be doing better. This book just made me more depressed because it perpetuates the wrong idea that unsuccessful people are all lazy and stupid, and it didn't give me any new information or any helpful information. Maybe this book helps other people, but it didn't give me any insight.
on December 30, 2008
Larry Winget's first popular book took an original approach, made us laugh, and gave readers a kick in the pants. His second was almost information-free - perhaps a quickly-written mistake. The third book was further re-hashed information no one around here was willing to finish.
"People Are Idiots" is just bad.
When I found a lone copy on the shelves at Border's over a week ago, I grabbed it, hoping it would be something fun and inspiring to read over the holidays. It wasn't. Larry admits the information is old. It is. That isn't the problem.
In "People Are Idiots," Larry states that everything truly is black and white and that there is no gray area. Things are right or wrong, tall or short, bad or good. No wiggle room. No space for what makes us human: Awe, the enjoyment of wasting time watching TV re-runs, God, unscheduled time wasted in nature, or money blown on psychics. That one strikes me funny. My next door neighbor of eighteen years makes a cushy and legitimate living as a (psychic) consultant for the Los Angeles Police Department. Apparently we're idiots if we don't believe exactly what Larry does.
The lack of gray area gets worse. Obviously Larry has never had a chronic medical problem, or bothered to deal with anyone suffering from, oh, let's say Alzheimer's. Migraine headaches, M.S. and giving care to those who have problems do not fit into Larry's scheme for our lives. When my cousin misses a week of work due to a serious bout with Meniere's Syndrome, she must be a real slackass.
Again, if it isn't in Larry's world, it can't be in ours.
I'm further amazed by Larry's assumption that we all want money. Lots of money. I'm actually offended that Larry equates money with success. I lived in a situation of enormous wealth for four years and hated every minute of it. On the other hand, I have a friend my age (late fifties) who raised three girls on his own by working the oil fields and the docks. At age fifty, he decided to "retire" despite the lack of a traditional retirement plan. He rents a small bedroom with the money he makes selling artwork on the streetcorners, rides his bicycle locally and uses public transportation otherwise. He's the happiest, healthiest, and sanest guy I know.
Larry also assumes we all want to live a very long life. My parents both made it into their nineties and were miserable that last decade. They were well set, but their health declined naturally (both died of natural causes), and life held very little joy for them. I teach adults and don't know one who aspires to simply live a long time. That idea is another of Larry's enormous ego trips.
In "People Are Idiots" Larry spends more time bragging about how rude he is than he spends actually being rude. He loses credibility. And his self-branding just shows that no one else thinks Larry is a "pit bull," although I imagine in reality he is. My daughter, a forty-year old psychologist who "wastes time" volunteering at a local animal shelter learned that pit bulls are one of the gentler dog breeds. They only acquired their poor reputation because gangsters decided to take pit bulls, abuse them, and train them to attack and fight. It seems that Larry should have gone straight to "Gangster Larry."
In "People Are Idiots," Larry brags a lot about his image. His image is a joke. It just doesn't work. As a failure from Oklahoma, he must have suffered severe culture shock when he arrived in the big city in search of what he considers success. We have motivational speakers like tall, handsome, congenial Tony Robbins. Tony fires people up by empowering them with all good things. He's frank and friendly, and full of information. He sticks to his original precepts from twenty-odd years ago, but updates them and adds new information. I still have an original tape set from twenty years ago and when I want to get inspired, it still works.
Larry, on the other hand, could admittedly open a jewelry store with just the amount of bling he wears every day. His image is foolish, but it isn't fun. He looks and sounds like a high school bully.
Would you have trusted your school bully to help you improve your life?
This book is old material, readers. It's presented in Larry's worn-out confrontational manner. And it's woefully lacking. If you believe in anything remotely spiritual, if you sometimes enjoy a day of sitting in front of the TV eating (heaven forbid popcorn), or have an uncontrolled physical problem, you'll fall right smack into Larry's non-existent gray area and end up so annoyed at your own stupidity for buying this book, you'll recycle your copy like I did mine.
People really are idiots. They'll buy this book.
on January 3, 2010
Before Idiots I had never heard of Larry Winget. Just like the book promised, I didn't agree with everything he said, it was all common sense with nothing spectacular and it made me think. So why rate it so highly? Well the book doesn't just give advice. It's active. You have to stop and fill out some fairly thought provoking lists; most of which are for prioritizing your life and then a plan for implementation.
I have seen many books which ask you to make lists but these lists make sense and I've never seen a plan for implementation. While all this makes PERFECT SENSE, it made all the other motivational folks seem like, well, idiots.
I recommend this book for people who are looking to organize their life for forward moving action. If you like a little humor along the way, you'll also like this book. I wouldn't recommend it if you're looking for a Tony Robbins style feel good book. I think this book is for people who are already emotionally stable enough to make the changes in action necessary to improve their lives.