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The Tony Robbins Fraud: Revealed

Keith Schroeder writes The Wealthy Accountant blog and has 30 years of experience in the tax field.

Tony Robbins: After This You'll Change How You Do Everything!

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Tony Robbins is everywhere on TV today with 30 and 60 minute infomercials. With such exposure, people ask, “Is Tony Robbins a fraud, a scam, or for real?” Before you put down your hard earned money, review what Tony Robbins is really selling.

Twenty years ago Robbins sold his original Personal Power program on TV and live seminars. A local real estate agent talked me into purchasing the program. I enjoyed the program and found it valuable. I reviewed about twenty of his Power Talk interviews and found most to be inspiring and motivational.

I became interested in how Tony Robbins was able to motivate a crowd so completely. It became apparent that he uses techniques that caused people to do his bidding without physical contact or even his presence in the room. This article will explore the two main techniques Tony Robbins uses to get people to do what he wants: neuro-linguistic programming, also called NLP, and Ericksonian hypnosis, a way to induce a trance without the subject knowing they are hypnotized and planting a suggestion.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is presented as a fast way to get results in psychological therapy. NLP claims a connection between our neurological response, language, and behaviors learned from experience, allowing a treatment method for people suffering from any of a multitude of mental disorders, including: depression, anxiety, learning disorders, bad habits, and phobias.

Tony Robbins employs methods like 'anchoring' to achieve the goals desired. He also uses fire walking and other devices as metaphors to convince people anything is possible. Modeling plays a key role in Robbins' teachings. He teaches his students to use their good, powerful, and positive behavior to their advantage by modeling the desired behavior patterns in the area they want to improve.

The language we use with ourselves is paramount when applying NLP. Tony Robbins encourages students of his program to ‘fake till you make it.’

Tony Robbins did not invent or discover NLP. There are several flavors of NLP taught by different self-help and motivational speakers. Robbins has a large following of admirers that claim he provided the principles needed for their success in business and personal life. He also has a number of detractors that levy claims NLP is a scam and fraud.

The psychotherapy mainstream has ignored NLP due to the lack verifiable testing.

  • Tony Robbins Scam
    Tony Robbins is flooding cable with 30 minute commercials selling his motivational, self-help, and success CDs called The Ultimate Edge. I have DirecTV and there are multiple showings at all times, day and...

Ericksonian Hypnosis

This is the scariest teaching of Tony Robbins. Ericksonian hypnosis in its simplest form seeks to put the subject into a trance without their knowing. The practitioner uses the subject's own beliefs against them to induce trance and implant a suggested behavior change. Many students of Tony Robbins and Ericksonian hypnosis attempt to use the new found skill to influence people around them to their own benefit without ever informing the subject they have been induced to take a certain actions.

The practitioner of Ericksonian hypnosis attempts to break the pattern of the subject by doing something unexpected. The natural response of the subject is to enter a mini-trance as they mentally work out what has happened. This is when the suggestion is planted.

Ericksonian hypnosis is not the blunt suggestion ‘You will not smoke,’ but rather an indirect ‘You can become a nonsmoker' type of hypnosis. It gives the subject permission to carry out the act. Tony Robbins uses the same technique when he says, ‘You can do this stuff. You can succeed,' giving you permission to buy his products.

A student of Ericksonian hypnosis when shaking your hand will employ techniques that force a mild trance. Since the handshake is something we do without thinking, it is easy disrupt the expected action halfway through the process. The handshake to induce a trance begins as a normal handshake. The manipulation begins as the grip loosens. As the grip eases, the thumb and little finger linger on the hand with a light brush against the subject’s hand. The middle finger then drags along the palm as the subject focuses on the thumb and little finger brushing the side of the hand. The subject’s mind works to understand what is happening by entering a light trance. To distract what is happening, an appropriate verbal exchange can be used. Each level of the handshake can lead to a deeper and deeper trance.

Ericksonian hypnosis teaches many additional ways to induce trance and plant a suggested behavior. Teaching these skills to the masses is dangerous, as most students do not inform their subjects they are attempting to manipulate their behavior.


So, is Tony Robbins a scam or fraud? Is he taking advantage of people? It appears as if Tony Robbins is sincere in his efforts to help others. He wants to be rich and famous, no doubt. He talks about the influence he got from the book THINK AND GROW RICH. It is not a bad goal to want wealth, fame, and prosperity. The two main concerns are: 1.) Is he using his knowledge to manipulate people to his advantage, and 2.) Is he teaching other to manipulate? His greatest shortcoming could be his gullibility. He admits in his Ultimate Edge recordings he was teaching the wrong thing for years  when it comes to health issues, but has the right answer now. Tony Robbins throws his support behind fantastic claims and periodically faces the failures that result. As with any claim, use caution.


Edward G Gordon from Northern Ireland on April 05, 2019:

A couple of family members went to see him in London a year ago. They both came back with the same opinion, great guy, amazing speaker but everything about the couple of days was geared to getting you to buy something.

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They felt that the emphasis on the hard sell detracted from his message. It's not like the seminar was cheap in the first place.

I own his book, Awaken the Giant Within and find it to be brilliant, but listening to him on youtube etc I can't help but agree with my siblings, he's inspirational but the constant pressure to purchase something is off putting.

Jasper on March 30, 2019:

Tony Robbins is brilliant if you have an open mind. If you have an open mind you can achieve anything. The people who say Tony is a con artist and a scammer all show very clearly they did not go into it with an open mind. They were sceptical from the start and refused to give it a go. Is Tony really a con artist well I don't know. All the evidence I have only seen is the nay Sayers and their negative attitude from the start. Their minds are closed and they don't give Mr Robbins a chance. Anything is possible if you believe. So before you abuse Tony have an open mind.

Anything is possible look at the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs they proved anything is possible even when people said they were jinxed - cursed. They dared to dream dared give it a go with an open mind. They believed they could and refused to believe in curses and jinxes. Look what happened they believed and won. So maybe Tony Robbins is right anything is possible if you have an open mind and are positive.

Seabee on March 28, 2019:

It is all about common sense, I am sure everyone of us knows if you don't take action you achieve nothing, likewise you need to work in order to earn money, to be afordable to live the life style you want; you need to act to make something happens for you. I belive we all have the capacities to improve ourselves, what Tony teaches is all about using your detemination and common sense to do everything in your life. You have these abilities already!

thatonegirl0507 on July 21, 2018:

I rarely leave comments online. Why? There is so much negativity it often seems pointless to do so. But I decided, it was worth chiming in this time. I listen to Tony Robbins on youtube (which is free by the way) when I run. I find it very therapeutic and kicks me into positive thinking when I lose focus on my direction. If he's a fraud then I guess I'm guilty of drinking the cool-aid. I suppose in the eye of many on this thread that this labels me as being some sort of fool.

OR...maybe It’s up to each of us to think for ourselves. If you think with an open your mind, and focus on the positivity, you might realize we each need to take responsibility for our own actions and our own decisions. The most logical and greatest thing Tony preaches is to take "Massive Action". Not rocket science, very logical, and hearing it simply reminds me of what I already know. He's easy to listen to, and hearing what he has to say keeps me focused. Best costs me 0$ dollars. If you don’t find value in what he offers, you might consider how well you're listening or how resilient you are to do the work. I can’t speak to his seminars but, I would personally not attend unless I accepted the risk and I could afford to make the “investment”. If you did attend and it was that awful then just focus on how to move on. All the anger, judgment and in some cases…the hate people express is overwhelming, and very sad.

The most challenging obstacle is often ourselves.

Merlin on March 02, 2018:

Well, I once worked for him, he is not who most people think he is, he is really called "A Confidence Man" short for Con Man. He uses charm and charisma to extract your money. He uses military and communist brainwashing to manipulate people, how do I know, he admits it due to his absurd arrogance. Lets see, in the last 8 months, 3 of his long term volunteers have committed suicide. Yes, 98% of his event staff are "free labor", they pay all their own expenses, he gives them NOTHING. He is a master of creating "addictions" to get free staff, and then abuses them. He brags about being a master of relationships, yet, while married to his first wife Becky, he was having an affair with his 2nd wife, Bonnie" not a "Sage" Robbins. The TRUTH will come out sooner than he thinks, Hmmmm Me Too

Phoenix V on February 12, 2018:

Lot of negativity against Tony here. You need to remind yourselves of one thing regardless of what anyone thinks of him.

Ultimately no one is forced to listen to the man. No one is forced to give him any of their time and / or money.

People freely choose to do so. If you choose to do so then complain later, who has failed who?



Da Vinci on October 07, 2017:

I worked for him, he is NOT who you think he is at all. The man in front of the curtain is an actor, the man behind the curtain is an abuser, liar, cheater, unethical, dishonest, manipulator and appears to have NO conscience.

Anthony on September 14, 2017:

// What’s behind his way of thinking?.......other than what he teaches.

These are methods religious cults use. (Scientology, Moonies . .

They also have "true believers."

If this stuff had LASTING RESULTS there would have been by now some kind of verifying scientific publications.

Just searched over Google Scholar with no success.

Hector rojas on April 12, 2017:

Biggest fraud ever. Period

Jack on March 27, 2017:

want to be rich or at least not giving your money away don't buy anything that tell you how to do it. Plain and simple he's a very good speaker but he's making his money that way not by what he preach...

Lola on March 10, 2017:

This is a terrible article. Terribly un-educated on subjects which have been written about. It puzzles me how people can write or criticize something they have little or no experience in, make false claims and then get other people to agree with them in a discussions, so that more stupid claims can be generated. You're better off spending your time at Tony's event. He's a smart guy, and certainly not a scam artist.

Glenn on May 28, 2016:

One of the best lessons I learnt a long time ago is if you know what you want, then listen to the people who have the results you want.

Opinions are like noses, everyone has one and they are all different. If Tony has the results you want, then use his techniques.

Chris on July 29, 2015:

I have met too many people with too many self help books that continue with their failed worlds. If there is anything you take away from his teachings is action. That is the only key. Your condition has to be right. Most parent do not teach value added planning so many require this later on. What Toni teaches is no magic or easy get rich it is about getting you to move your ass, organise your life and take action simple. Sure he sells you other products but hay give the guy some credit he has a business to run.

Willy on April 29, 2015:

@ George,

"Anyone with half a brain will look at this 6'7" dofis, who has never served in the military, run for office, remained faithful to his wife, never played any major sport as a professional and ask, why are we listening to him?"

I see. So the only people we should listen to are professional athletes, politicians, and people who have served in the military. These are the prerequisites we should demand before we listen to what a man has to say? Got it. Thanks.

Ike_the_Cat on June 28, 2014:

Hey, guys, I've really liked this discussion, it's been completely awesome on both sides of the debate. I want to tell you that I bought Unlimited Power at a Goodwill for, like, $.75, and then I bought Awaken the Giant Within at a yard sale for $.50. I am guilty of helping to feed the Robbins Money Machine -- I admit it. I am so guilty of falling under his power that I had to have the audiobook of Awaken the Giant Within from a torrent, downloaded the Time of Your Life Worksheets that some very well-intentioned people put on his forums for download, and then I scavenged everything I could off of the Internet. My God, I'm hooked! Robbins has powerful technologies that have helped me lose 200 pounds (not kidding) and 20 inches off of my waist, become a published author, and set fantastic, structured plans for achieving my dreams. I am so sorry for contributing to the great money suck, but I just had to have all that.

See, Robbins told the story of a man who retired from a factory job, but he had a great recipe he wanted to sell to restaurants, so he traveled across the country, slept in his car, trying to sell this recipe, rejected thousands of times, until finally someone wanted to open an entire restaurant selling his ... famous recipe chicken. Colonel Harlan Sanders. And that story taught me one thing: if you want something badly enough, be persistent, seek out resources, keep changing your approach, and you, too, can have all of Robbins' works for free. Hahaha. As Liberace said, "I cried all the way to the bank."

PermissionGiver from Lake Stevens on May 31, 2014:

This has definitely been an interesting article. I wish there had been more of a concrete conclusion to it, as opposed to a cliff hanger, but that's just the editor in me ;)

As for Tony, I love what he does, and I think we see in it what we want to see in it, just as we get out of it what we put into it. I know I've had my ups and a downs, but when I'm down, his suggestions always bring me back up and it's only when I don't follow through, that things go downhill again. Either way, you can't blame a person or a thing (like taps, a process, etc...) for not succeeding, whether that's with a program or our own personal goals. We can only blame our own point of view for not allowing us to see the potential in ourselves and the world around us.

Thanks for the hub. It was definitely interesting =)

Stephen hope on May 31, 2014:

What tony has achieved in his own life is proof that his methods work.

Cynical people will always condemm, thats what they do.

Im reminded of a comment by martial arts legend cass Magda,"the process of self development is not for everyone"

But if it is for you then listen to tony robbins.if its not then you are probably one of the critics .

Just remember that lions do not worry about the opinions of sheep.

Think ALTside on May 15, 2014:

Anthony/Tony Robbins and other self-crowned "gurus" like Derek Halpern exploit the stupidity of the masses. Most people think that "if lots of other people" do it or like it "then it must be good". So a con artist simply starts with a video of rented-actors; eventually when tickets self it becomes a real seminar. They think they know 'psychology' but all they are are great unethical salesmen who learnt that there are enough dumb people to trick. People only have themselves to blame

The reason why some business strategists and salesmen have turned themselves into coaches is because they realize that most people lack confidence in something and have had imperfect parents who didn't give them the support, validation, and encouragement they need even now as adults.

It would be far cheaper to ask a counsellor or psychologist to help you with all of your human and emotional issues. But the masses worry what others think if they went to a therapist. They would rather spend $10000 on a "guru" than $200 on one therapy session because "other people flock to the guru". So these clever manipulators exploit the love people crave by charging thousands

If so many people claim to have been helped by Robbins, then why aren't they boasting about it on their websites? Where are these people? How successful are they? All they've paid for is an over-priced perfect parenting course

Keith Schroeder (author) from Wisconsin on December 29, 2013:

Thank you for your well-written, well thought out, in-depth comment, DrDNAAymee.

I am sorry to hear of your losses and experience with Tony Robbins. I too feel the way you do. Many people aren't helped by Tony, but they paid a lot of money to get help. A real doctor is probably cheaper and more effective.

Your experience should help others make a better decision when considering anything from Tony Robbins. There are more people like you, DrDNAAymee, than you know. Tony's programs have some value, but don't solve every problem, nor are many problems (or people) addressed.

I wish you and your family the best, DrDNAAymee. I pray all goes well with you in the future. You sound like the kind of person who deserves the best.

DrDNAAymee on December 28, 2013:

My Experience with Tony Robbins and his Seminars

My husband is a results coach for Tony Robbins and loves his job more than anything. He is truly happy when he helps people. As for me, I have a Ph.D in molecular anthropology and created a non-profit organization that helps families who have children with Down Syndrome. We have 4 children (3 boys and 1 girl) and our youngest son has Down Syndrome.

I have been through several tragic events in my life, but have always learned from them. After each tragedy, I picked myself up and turned it into something positive which made me stronger. My motto is: “Follow your HEART and let it guide you to HAPPINESS.”

Before I met my husband, I was raped at 17 and then became pregnant. After my daughter was born she was diagnosed with brain damage, underdeveloped lungs and heart defects. She never came home from the hospital and died at 18 months. Over the course of several years, I watched 4 grandparents suffer with cancer and die too young. Recently I took care of my father and watched him suffer with stage-4 bladder cancer for 11 months. I was there when he took his last breath, then he died in my arms. A few months ago my best friend was found slumped over her desk……. dead from an aneurism at 40.

After many years of thinking that I could handle anything on my own, I finally broke down and said I needed help after the loss of my father and best friend. My husband decided to take me to UPW (a Tony Robbins seminar/event) in Los Angeles. I survived through 4 days of complete immersion in a strange environment. I did not enjoy the Dickens process and walked out after 6,000 people began screaming and wailing at the top of their lungs. On the other hand, I must say I really enjoyed the music, Joseph (who taught 2 days of the seminar), and the last day, which was all about health.

In October of 2013, I attended Tony Robbins’ Leadership Academy, which was taught by Joe Williams and several guests speakers. I absolutely loved this 4-day seminar in Del Mar, CA!

In December of 2013 my husband and I attended Date with Destiny in Palm Springs. Everyone I spoke with highly recommended this “Live Experience” seminar that Tony Robbins taught himself for all 6 days. However, since my husband worked for Tony Robbins, we had to sit in a “secluded room” across from the “main room” and watch Tony Robbins on TV monitors, so that kind of took away the “Live Experience” I had hoped for.

Day 3 of the seminar Tony asked all of the suicidal people to stand up. Around 12 people stood up. As he called on everyone in the “main room,” I noticed a young man in our room that stood up. As this young man stood there, you could see that he really needed Tony’s help. I believe there were about 6 people that Tony called on that admitted they stood up for attention and they weren’t really suicidal. Once everyone had been called on in the “main room,” Tony was made aware of the young man in our “secluded room.” To my surprise, Tony refused to help him. Everyone was a little shocked, but I spoke up and tried to get this guy some help. All the coaches and trainers in our “secluded room” said they wouldn’t let the young man harm himself and Tony had his reasons for not wanting to help.

After this I was quite upset. I couldn’t understand how Tony Robbins could simply refuse to help someone who was suicidal. I had always heard that Tony could help anyone. Perhaps this guy was beyond the help of Tony Robbins?

On day 5 Tony came walking through our “secluded room.” As he walked by me, he extended his hand so I extended mine for a handshake. It wasn’t quite the handshake I thought it would be. It was very weak. Maybe he was in a hurry, he had other things on his mind, or maybe he was afraid of hurting my tiny hand. I let that one slide even though my dad told me, “You can always tell the character of a person by the firmness of their handshake.”

By day 6 I still had not had a breakthrough or anything even close to a breakthrough. Again, Tony asked all the people who hadn’t had a breakthrough yet to stand up. 4 people stood up in the “main room” and I was the only one who stood up in our “secluded room.” He called on everyone in the “main room” and completely ignored me even though the camera showed me on the monitors and 4 big screens, which he could clearly see me standing there. I felt as though he ignored our room for some reason. I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. I spoke with several people who felt ignored as well. I let this go too, perhaps he had his reasons for ignoring the people in the “secluded room.”

Two hours before the seminar ended, I met another person with a Ph.D and we discussed how we didn’t seem to benefit from the seminar. After my conversation with this person, I went back inside our “secluded room” to speak with my husband about the person I just met. Everyone in the room was standing up and talking. I found my husband and began talking with him when the leader of the “secluded room” came up to me and told me that I wasn’t allowed to speak with my husband and if I didn’t stop talking with him I would be forced to leave the seminar. Well, that obviously didn’t go over well with me. At that point I had enough of Tony Robbins, Date with Destiny and everyone else. After having a few words with my husband, I left Date with Destiny alone and drove through the desert back home.

There are two things I got out of Date with Destiny, or Date with Disaster as I called it: First, make sure you are sitting in the “main room” to get the “Live Experience” and second, you need to ask permission before speaking with your spouse.

I acknowledge the fact we are all individuals, have different experiences, perspectives, and that thousands of people have benefited from Tony Robbins and his seminars (apparently I’m in the few that have not). I don’t have anything negative to say about Tony or his seminars, I simply don’t understand why he does some of the things he does. What’s behind his way of thinking?.......other than what he teaches.

paxwonderfull on November 24, 2013:

What I discovered over twenty years ago was you are not the victim of the world you see since you are the one who invented it. So it is up to you to create the the world you want free of pain and fear.

I experienced NLP under the guidance of Peggy D. from Atlanta. That was a life changing event that has removed all limits my simple ego had imposed on me.

Keith Schroeder (author) from Wisconsin on October 28, 2013:

If Tony touched your life so much, Jim, why are you calling others losers? I also have listened to Tony for several decades. Tony would not approve of your behavior. Shame on you. You can only rise higher by helping other rise as well.

Jim Nash on October 27, 2013:

Without actions you cant accomplish nothing. I am personally listening Tony from last 23 years and he changed my life.

All negative comments here are from losers who did not took actions from his teaching.

Personally Tony Robbins Changed my life.

He showed me the way and hope of light.

He is not an angel or God so he can mistakes too, but he is a great teacher and Mentor. He changed the life's of Millions of People and me.

Before you critize other think what u did to change people life.

Looks like you are a looser and don't want any person succeed.

hjkhj on September 21, 2013:

Oh please, he uses those techniques to help us.

He already has tons of money, he doesn't need to sell extra.

You people are retarded and are searching for a reason not to change your beliefs and are scared like babies.

He can't make you buy his products and I listened to half of all his audio tapes and never mentioned his products.

joem789 on August 29, 2013:

Tony Robbins and anyone who sells solutions to your problems are scam artists. You want real help? Look at volunteers who sell nothing. Robbins is a liar. A scam artist. He knows what he is. He loves money. And when a person gets their hands dirty, they want more. He preys on weakminded people who wear a fool's shoes. Personal wealth isn't the answer. It never was. Those who seek it and find it become liars and thieves to maintain it. People aren't going to devote their lives to keeping you rich unless you have a con game going. That is how the rich thrive. As long as the world contains stupid people, we will continue to see swindlers like Tony Robbins filling their pockets with hard earned money of the gullible. There are a few Youtube videos that show well at just why he is a scam artist.

Keith Schroeder (author) from Wisconsin on June 02, 2013:

I've listened to Tony for years, huh. I also required my foster kids to listen in as well. Tony has done good, but he gets carried away and has had legal issues over the years as a result. Listening is fine as long as you don't turn off your own thinking process.

huh on June 02, 2013:

The way I see it he's achieved an amazing amount and I'd rather listen to him than you who writes hubpages. Go and actually LISTEN to him and you might learn something, and become someone.

Keith Schroeder (author) from Wisconsin on May 22, 2012:

I've been shamed.

Marc C-S UK on May 22, 2012:

Ambiguous website with spurious content! Went to see his 'Unleash the Power within' in London this weekend. A gracious unambiguous gentleman who has helped millions of people around the world create and satisfy their desire for a better life. Shame on you!

Michael Ma on May 06, 2012:

He doesn't force you to do anything. If you want to pay for someone to get your mind out of the gutter, and you can afford it, what's the harm in that? He donates his time to do good.

So why try to tarnish the reputation of a man who impacts the world in a positive way? So people come to your blog and you get more views of your advertisements?

Sanddollar on April 17, 2012:

I recently watched Tony Robbins on the Oprah Network. She was attending one of his seminars. Seminars that cost from $700 to $2,000 dollars. If you pay that much, then you are already wanting to believe. Half the battle is won for Tony already.

He then kept them going for up to 12 full hours. Jumping and yelling and screaming. Ending with a "fire walk" having them walk across hot coals supposidly 2000 degrees. First of all this reminded me of military boot camp. Wear them down then you can control them to do most anything. The are too tired to resist.

Secondly, Leonard Nemoy taught us all the truth of "fire walkers" years ago on a show called "In Search Of". The coals used are a certain type of coal. Compact on the inside but porous on the outside. The hole covered outside prevents the outside of the coal to not get as hot as the inside.

Tony also did a display with a young man onstage. As he talked to the man and audience, all of a sudden without warning, he pushes the man backwards by his shoulder. Of course the man stumbles backwards. Tony goes on to say how unbalanced we are and how easily he pushed him off balance only using three fingers.

He then tells the man to imagine he is part of the ground. Imagine roots growing up from the ground securing him there. Then Tony pushed him again and the man does not budge. Tony goes on to say how his mind believing he was grounded held him there.

What was the real truth here? The second time the man was EXPECTING it so he resisted it.

I think people like Tony get rich off of people looking for more. They are already unhappy and desperate for a fix all.

They are not going to find it by making people like Tony rich. They pay their hard earned money to a guy who does not have to work thanks to them. How insane.

Coach Sean on April 17, 2012:

Did you really suggest going back to school to get a "real degree"? So they can get more of the same conditioning, be thousands of dollars poorer and still be unemployed. Recognize the crap you have been fed your whole life and choose to break out of it. So much of what Tony and others in the self help world point to is a person's beliefs. They offer strategies to change those beliefs.

What you believe shapes your thoughts. Think about how your current beliefs are shaping the thoughts you are having right now about my comments.

Until you become aware of your beliefs and choose to embrace empowering beliefs there will be no lasting change.

"Whether you think (believe) you can or you think you can't--your right." ~Henry Ford

wow ursosmart on April 10, 2012:

wow that Budda story is real enlightening... So if I make General Tsuo's chicken and gave it to a dog and the dog refuses to eat it, it is still my General Tsuo's chicken? Truly eye opening, life changing information, just like Phony Bobbin's teaching. If you wanna change your life for real, go back to school and get a real degree people!

Reese on March 25, 2012:

I couldn't agree with you more Derek

"I personally think these people complicate the obvious, to achieve success you must take action, actions produces results and so on. I'll tell you for free, decide what you want and go get it."

Tony Robbins is a motivational speaker, and I must admit be as skeptical as you want he does give you that feeling that you can do anything after listening to him. The problem is people don't take action, often they know what they want but then believe it's going to magically appear, all the self help books have the same formula

Know what you want (set goals clearly), vision these goals happening and pretend like they already have (this gets you into the mindset of carrying out there goals) and TAKE ACTION!

I noticed most people complain about these books not helping them months down the track but the question is what have you done to achieve your goals? Did you even set them? The answer is often 'no'

My point, don't go crazy buying all the self help books thinking you will one day find the "secret"to all your problems, it's right in front of you! The question is are you ready to dedicate to your dreams and take action.

I usually invest in one or two books (from amazon onto the kindle app on my laptop) once a month for extra motivation, and I write quotes I love down and reread them throughtout the week.

I have a long way to go but I lost weight, scored an internship, got my uni marks up and improved my friendships by simply knowing what i wanted and then taking action (the most important step of all) hard work but very much worth the effort.

Best wishes!

Micheal from United Kingdom on March 14, 2012:

This hub was very useful and interesting.

Tony Robbins is like many of these types of 'sales' oriented people.

Snake oil comes to mind.

Positive thinking has been flogged and bandied around for as long as I can remember, and NLP.

I don't think any of it works long term.

Interesting that he admits teaching 'the wrong thing' for years?

Voted up interesting funny and useful.

Keith Schroeder (author) from Wisconsin on March 10, 2012:

Tony has zero tolerance for insults. Tony preaches the power of positive and empowering thinking, Me_Myself_and_I.

In Tony's Personal Power tapes he tells the story of a man that traveled a great distance to meet the Budda and drive him to anger since it was thought by many to be impossible. When the man gains an audience with Budda he lets the insults fly. After a while the man runs out of insults and stops to gauge Budda's response.

Budda asks the man, "If you give someone a gift and they refuse it, to whom does the gift belong?"

The man responsed angerly, "To the person that gave the gift, I suppose."

"That is right," said the Budda, "and I refuse your insults." The man left bitter and angry.

Whether you agree with everything Tony says or not, you can always learn something. That is my gift to you.

Me_Myself_and_I on March 10, 2012:

Keith...baldness has certainly corrupted your thought power....Tony is the best

Keith Schroeder (author) from Wisconsin on February 24, 2012:

You make an interesting point, Derek. Sometimes people do need the obvious pointed out to them, however.

derek on February 24, 2012:

I personally think these people complicate the obvious, to achieve success you must take action, actions produces results and so on. I'll tell you for free, decide what you want and go get it.

Lone Ranger on February 09, 2012:

I bought the Personal Power tapes in 1989 or '90. I think I paid about $200 for them. Listened to them religiously.

At first I was really impressed and thought they were really helpful, but then it occurred to me that people do not have all the answers locked away inside of them and there are things going on in this universe that are just out of our control. I think that is what brought me back down to earth.

Tony's humanistic philosophy, in a way, reminds me of Ophrah's "The Secret". Simply stated, if one wants something bad enough they will get it. Again, there are things we can change and things we cannot change and may God grant us the wisdom to know the difference.

Best wishes and be well - L.R.

Marc Hubs from United Kingdom on February 08, 2012:

Great hub, Robbins seems to be one of the main people at the top of the NLP pyramid. It could be considered to be manipulation and to perform hypnosis on a subject without their awareness is illegal in many if not most countries. However, at the end of the day all he's doing is communicating with people, it's just heightened communication and there's no law against communicating.

It's a controversial subject and yes a lot of people in the field do make outrageous claims and almost make it out to be magic.

Keith Schroeder (author) from Wisconsin on January 13, 2012:

Lone77star, if you think my title is fraudulent, then you also think Tony is a fraud. He had twisted words more than once in his life. In his first Personal Power tapes there is a spot where he says he will help kids through college if they follow his program. I had every foster child in my home listen to the program. Years later, several of these kids came back and told me Tony doesn't back up his claim. So I helped them through college. So who is the fraud?

Tony has done many good thing, no doubt. I respect his work, but he gets carries away, making unsubstantiated claims and passing them along as fact. Always verify. That includes anything I say. I'm not infallible.

Celebritie, hope is a powerful emotion. Before we do anything, we must have hope.

Thanks for the comments.

celebritie on November 19, 2011:

Tony Robbins has probably helped more people with his programs than any other speaker out there, because he is personable and he has this energy that people are attracted to. I have personally sat and watched his videos and was amazed at the way he thinks about life. I think that with the world in its present unstable situation people are looking for a shimmer of hope to get them through these difficult times and Anthony provides that for them.

Rod Martin Jr from Cebu, Philippines on August 03, 2011:


KeithTax, an interesting article, but I find your use of the word "fraud" a touch... fraudulent(?). ;)

Use of such words certainly stirs the pot of controversy. But you raise some interesting points and create some delightful discussions. And that's valuable.

Perhaps Tony Robbins doesn't have it all figured out, but he's pushing the envelope and challenging us to take control of our own lives. And what's bad about that?

So what if he uses techniques that are sneaky? Like your use of "fraud" in the title, perhaps?


What I find refreshing about Tony Robbins' work is that it gets us to think outside the box and to become more self-aware. Not everyone is ready for a life of poverty and saintliness. But some of the techniques Mr. Robbins teaches could be used just as easily for something more altruistic.

It all depends on what we bring to the party (motivation, fixed ideas, attitude). Each of us is individually responsible for our own future. If we start blaming it on Tony or our abusive father or Uncle Sam, we lose, big time.

Tony's techniques teach fearlessness and they exercise our ability to let go of limiting beliefs. Your article paints a sinister picture. Wow. I don't see it that way, but I'm an optimist. If someone uses a technique to help a person break loose from a fixed pattern of behavior, that can be a good thing. First, the person comes to realize that such a change is possible. "Hey, I did it!" Second, they gain confidence that it can be done. And third, they're given techniques to strengthen the change. Not bad.


Some people can't get it to work and blame Mr. Robbins. Tsk, tsk! Some people buy a DVD player and can't program it properly, so sell it in a garage sale, cheap. The fault is not necessarily in the player, but in the buyer's inability to persist and to find that way which really does work.

If it's only about Pavlovian response tricks -- programming (and as a Software Engineer, I understand such things deeply) -- then that would be sinister and sad, indeed.

Some people get nothing from it because they bring their own excess baggage to the party and cannot let go of it. So, they don't see the silver lining; they see only darkness. They may even bring too much skepticism, or have an innate skepticism triggered by something said or demonstrated. (And skepticism is not the best tool. Restraint or humility are far better for any investigation.)


Mr. Robbins talks on some of his recordings about former students who won the lottery using his techniques. Trust me. He's onto something. Miracles! What I find discouraging, though, is the lack of spirituality attached to such use. They're using the power of creation, but not using it to awaken the sleeping immortal within (the source of that power).

Resentment is excess baggage of the worst kind. Those who resent Mr. Robbins for using "tricks" to leverage change, or resent him for being rich -- they need to lighten up. Smell the roses. Chill. See the lemonade instead of the lemon. Hear the sound of one hand clapping. Exercise the perfect generosity of spirit without even a hint of selfishness.


No, this is not a "paid" advertisement for Tony Robbins. I just care about my fellow children of God. There are so many opportunities which can help us wake up to our full potential, not as Homo sapiens bodies, but as fully awake children of God -- those who were created in His image.

Keith Schroeder (author) from Wisconsin on July 28, 2011:

Dream On, I am also happy people with varied opinions have shared their experiences and feelings. I also agree learning something is better than nothing. My goal is for others to benefit from my writing and from the comments it generates.

DREAM ON on July 28, 2011:

I also bought the Personal Power program in 1985.I was excited and I felt it helped me in many areas of my life.I refer back the old casette tapes now and again.I have told others and some care little to improve their life even when I offered the same tapes for free.It is not for everyone.I rather improve a little than none at all.I don't like all the t.v. hype.Maybe that is what you have to do to sell and make money.I support all the thousands of people he has helped with his methods.I love the response you got and the different points of view.Thanks for sharing.

Earthman on July 26, 2011:

The content of your article here is designed like a tabloid headline, mainly to solicit viewers and increase your affiliate revenues from your ads.

Now, to each their own, Keith, but given the subject matter of the article, you appear to be a pretty solid hypocrite, yourself...

The concept that there is one therapeutic / self-help technique that will work for Everyone is a fallacy, and anyone trying to prove the validity of any technique in the therapeutic field will fail miserably - human psyches are far too diverse.

The way I see it, Tony's work does many people a lot of good, and very few (if any) people harm. To say that he is a 'fraud' implies that his products are 'snake oil' aka ineffectual, which is not the case in many/most instances I have read/seen/reviewed. Many people require deep hypnosis, repetition, and altered state consciousness to get by self-imposed mental blocks. Others do not. To each their own.

The techniques may not work for some people, but many could say that about many pharmaceutical products, hair-conditioners, or even tampons. Are they 'frauds' too? Or are they simply a product that doesn't work for everyone?

The truth of the matter is, if his products were so ineffectual and he was actually a 'fraud' as you are so-called "revealing", then regardless of how much NLP he uses, the word would have spread so much that he would not be nearly the success he is today.

Tammy on July 20, 2011:

Here's my 2 cents...just my experience - the majority of the seminar did NOT have the same experience as me:

I recently attended a Robbins seminar. My husband loves him. It wasn't for me. All the meditations were aimed at getting overly-suggestible people into a trance and then Neurolingustically programming them to sign up for the $10K mastery university. I would walk out to use the restroom or to grab a bite (breaks were hardly given) and when I came back, they were still beating the same, dead horse as when I left. His ideas were not revolutionary, his facts were questionable, and his stories were very far-fetched. The room was deliberately freezing which, along with the rest of the sensory overload, was meant to break us down so our brains would be putty in his Banana-hands. I did not learn anything new (except that my husband drank the Kool-aid) and I am PISSED that I wasted 3 days of vacation on it.

FloraBreenRobison on July 05, 2011:

I've never bought anything like this off the tv. There used to be a store in the mall that was based on items sold in tv informercials and ads. This allowed you to try things up front. But I admit that even after that the only things I tend to buy off tv ads are movies and other aspects of entertainment, not health or investments, etc.

Norm on June 27, 2011:

This sounds less like a fraud revealed and more like a system revealed. The article itself uses similar suggestive techniques. For example the first question in the last paragraph says "So, is Tony Robbins a scam or fraud?" You leave the reader with two possible answers, scam or fraud. Also, I have never been to a Tony Robbins event, but I have a hard time picturing him shaking everyone's hands and with enough time and focus on each shake to implement a suggestion.

You had another article stating he is a scam at and as proof suggested he didn't know anything about relationships because of his own failed relationship. Haven't many successful people had failures previous to their success?

You also link to a wikipedia page after stating he was married 6 months after getting divorced, but the wikipedia page says; "In 1997, Robbins and his first wife of 15 years, Becky Robbins (née Jenkins), were divorced. In June 2001, Robbins married Bonnie Humphrey (now known as Sage Robbins)[29] and is the father of four children.[30]" That is closer to 4 years then it is 6 months.

English Bob on June 23, 2011:

I am in the UK, I have used Tony's CD's and books and some of it is really useful but it's just another tool, be careful not to be sucked into the 'after sales' (will the e-mails never cease?!). Paul McKenna is very good too however recently I bumped into an old friend who is now a 'success coach'... What a laugh. He seemed to be devoid of the old personality I recalled, little humour left. I just wanted some advice and he tried to get me involved with an NLP group paying money to attend and encouraging me to 'bring lots of friends'.... Might as well be a cult, it's no different. My conclusion is to be open minded but keep your wallet tightly shut (unless it's a few quid for a book etc). Best wishes!

Mary on February 07, 2011:

I was really into Tony when I purchased Get the Edge. After I went to Unleash the Power Within was very excited and found great benefit from the conference. Then I signed up for the Business Mastery for $10,000. After the first day I had to ask for my money back. My advise if you are going to take any of Tony's live seminars take the UPW. Everything else is over priced. Forget going to his resort in Figi. If you want to go there find a cheaper place that gives great service and excitement. I am totally don't with Tony Robbins.

Natasha on February 05, 2011:

Hi,I do remember in Tony's Seminar -Awaken The Giant-that I went to 5 years ago that he did say he learned NLP.What ever it is-Tony has helped me a lot.I still carry with me his teachings and remember his words.

Will always remember how it felt to be a fire walker.Great stuff.

Planning to go again with my 17 year old son

Robert's Intel from New York on January 11, 2011:

I like Richard Bandler (co-inventor of NLP) a little more than Tony Robbins. I studied psychology for my Master's Degree, but found that NLP was much more efficient. Psych can help you understand the problem, then you depend on yourself to solve the problem. NLP puts it's focus on the problem and moving forward. Personally, I think government mental health systems would be more effective and efficient, if they moved in the NLP direction.

Rob on January 02, 2011:

Take what you want and leave the rest. I have tested TR and done the books and programs and events 100%. I was broke and unfulfilled, now I am wealthy healthy and phenomenally excited about life. His programs are inexpensive. If for example, you are 40 years old and you don't have $20,000 of disposable cash to invest in yourself, then that's a problem you need to fix.

paul on December 20, 2010:

Hi from Poland. In my country I see a very intensiv motiviation campaign in each sphere of life. It should be added that religious, political used the same tricks as motivation speaker. After some time we lose our opinion, unique personality and we think similar and even in this same way as our guru. The whole motivation literature based on people who have problems in their life. The try to solve them by spending all money for books, videos's, audio's and so on, because they look for a solution. Unfortunately this is vicious circle because ONLY we are responsible for our life, we are masters of our fate, NOT guru's.


Baileybear on August 01, 2010:

I heard of a workplace where a manager tried to use NLP on staff - apparently it was rather cultish and she lost a lot of respect

Bloget from Minnesota on July 31, 2010:

Interesting... I don't listen to or watch Tony Robbins.. but your article is very interesting... Thank you ;_)

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on July 31, 2010:

I have attended Tony's workshops twice and both times, been disappointed. I also have all of his old tapes, etc. and I do like them. Curious to watch his new TV show.

Good hub.

beccas90 from New York on July 25, 2010:

Your hub seems to have sparked a lot of interest and response which is good. NLP is just another tool for therapists to use. Unfortunately, it has become the recent domain of the "covert" and dating brigade which has moved serious practitioners of NLP away from using this umbrella term.

WillGrander on July 24, 2010:

I'm a little skeptical of NLP, so I don't think his success can be explained by that. I think he's just good at what he does. What he "does" is the question, however.

Baileybear on July 09, 2010:

I borrowed some of TR's CD's and books from the library many years ago. Some of what he had to say was interesting. But it reminded me of hyped up evangelical religion - he's a very charasmatic personality - I'm suspicous of people like that - people blindly follow them

Keith Schroeder (author) from Wisconsin on July 09, 2010:


Never guarantee something you are unsure of. If you count the number of people that attend Tony's seminars as being helped, then my readers are also helped by me. In that case, I help over 150k a day.

BtheB on July 09, 2010:

I firmly believe in what Tony is doing. His average event houses 6,000 people... if he is doing 24 events per year he is helping over 150,000 people per year. Show me another person out there who has this level of impact.

His CD program Personal Power has sold over 5 million copies and is translated into 17 languages... of course he is selling, he needs money to reach more people. You don't think pastors and priests aren't selling? Money is needed to reach the masses, period. How many people have you helped in the last 10 years? I guarantee its less than 150k.

SteveWasHere on July 07, 2010:

I have used Tony Robbins' home programs whenever I was in a rut and needed a swift kick in the a**. They came in handy after I went through a nasty break-up and particularly after my father died.

I firmly believe two things about him:

1. He is absolutely selling something and he is constantly trying to market to you.

2. His stuff works likes gangbusters. If you're in a rut, he will get you out. Don't believe it? Try Personal Power II and you'll notice a difference in your life immediately.

That said, I definitely understand all the controversy surrounding him. When you watch him on t.v., he somehow "seems" shifty, especially with all the has-been celebs he has pushing his product. (I mean, Quincy Jones? Gimme a break...)

But then you see that he has been hired by the U.S. Army, NBA coaches, and the the President of the United States and you realize that what he's doing is not an act. It works.

Bottom line? He's cheesy, but the techniques he teaches are world-class.

Anyway, my two cents.

Keith Schroeder (author) from Wisconsin on June 04, 2010:

Thank you everyone for the comments. I think you are right, Arthur, Tony Robbins uses tricks that actually can work, but not similar to Browne or Gellar.

Seb and bgamall: I think bgamall has it right Seb. I have listened to Tony and completed his program from years ago. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely may be an apt phrase when talking NLP. It is used for less than honorable purposes too often.

Brice: I like Zig Ziglar. I think his program is far better than Tony's. You do provide some good points of interest. Thank you for sharing.

Arthur Windermere on May 29, 2010:

Very interesting. I don't think these self-help gurus are frauds. At least, not in the sense that Sylvia Browne or Uri Gellar is a fraud. They're just not really all that helpful and founded more on tricks and gimmicks than solid psychology. I actually didn't realize exactly how those tricks and gimmicks worked until reading your article, though. Good stuff! Rated up.

raisingme from Fraser Valley, British Columbia on April 24, 2010:

To me NLP or anything of that ilk is a little like handling a hole in the wall with wallpaper, you can cover it up, it may even look pretty, but the hole in the wall is still there.

shayari from Austin, TX on April 23, 2010:

For some reason I did not like Tony's tapes when I listened to him in 1999 for the first time. He was overconfident and little aggressive for my style. In fact, I stopped reading all self-help topics. I think 90% of what they preach is basics. If you sit down and think about your life, you will figure it out yourself. I am fairly successful now and I did not all the self help guru advise.

Barry Rutherford from Queensland Australia on April 03, 2010:

About 10 years ago I bought several hundred dollars worth of the stuff. Then they kept inviting me to buy more and more...

lisa brazeau from Canada on April 03, 2010:

I came in here knowing little to nothing about the subject.Fascinating! Thank you

Gary Anderson from Las Vegas, Nevada on March 21, 2010:

Seb, when this brainwashing is used to get folks to buy more stocks as I wrote on Seeking Alpha under the handle "Gary A", then it is being used for evil.

I have been reading about NLP, and it apparently does little to heal but does work in some cases, for maybe some good and certainly some bad, as a brainwashing, and perhaps a self brainwashing technique.

Seb on March 21, 2010:

This articles (although I read through it briefly) does not have a very strong conviction to it. Keith, have you learned and applied any of the principles that Robbins teaches? If you have not (unlike the millions of people who have been successful in his teachings) then I am not sure this article works in any justice of ripping Tony's 25 year work down that has lead to many people's success. Authentic testimonials from celebrities, world leaders, sports professionals, and business people support the contribution of Tony's work.

If you have listened to him enough I think you would understand that he has gone far beyond his ego to desire money and fame. Those things had come alongside with his passion to serve.

So in defense of one of my role models I say learn from people who are more successful before putting them down.


Gary Anderson from Las Vegas, Nevada on March 18, 2010:

I wonder if this is what economists and pundits on the financial networks are up to in this bad economic time, with the green shoots and the like? Interesting hub.

Brice on February 25, 2010:

I started doing hypnosis when I was just 19 but as a fun thing to do at parties. One day while in the Army as a Military police officer a new guy came into our platoon. He suffered from a terrible stutter therefore could never fulfill his dream of becoming a law enforcement officer. He was relegated to guard duty until we spoke and tried my first hypno for something serious. He quit stuttering for a few minutes during our first session and I was hooked for life. Eventually his stuttering went away completely and he filled his dream of being put on patrol as an MP. I trust that he went on to bigger and better things in law enforcement. This was before Tony Robbins became famous. I was given the original personal power tapes for my birthday some 20 plus years ago. It quite literally changed the direction of my life for the better. I listened for 30 days then started the next month litening again.

Tony never claims more than "I have learned" I can't remember him ever saying I invented NLP. As far as doing things covertly... If I walk up to one person and tell them to come with me with authority they will and the next may not...just doing such a thing is NLP and it's also covert. I became wealthy utilizing NLP, Hypnosis, Charisma and my ability to build rapport with people to help them get past their fears and limitations. First as a car sales man (I'm very proud to say "I'm a car salesman") who did not lie cheat or steal, which brings customers running back like no cheesy ads can.

Next as a real estate investor and now as an investor who does free Business and Real Estate mentoring and coaching. Tony helped deepen the morals and ethics my father taught me. Be good for your word, do not lie, and give back or as people say today it forward.

If I had never had Personal Power It would have taken me years more to have found my way to where I am in life now, if I ever would have gotten off my unmotivated behind. Now I'm being a bit long winded so I'll finish with this.

I learned to dig around in peoples minds to root out their troubles and problems so I can help them fix those problems.

Zig Ziglzr said "You can have everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want" Also I notice you have your affiliate links right there so we can buy Tony's stuff, is that not covert subliminal or something like it... ;) It's Kool if it helps someone.

This stuff is kind of like a gun or hammer... It's a tool in the right persons hand it can save a life or build a future, in the wrong hands either can take a life.

The BIBLE does say "the power of the tongue is the power of life and death". NLP can be used for good or evil.

Thanks for indulging my long wind :)

Keith Schroeder (author) from Wisconsin on February 12, 2010:


I have the original Personal Power and Power Talks. I required foster kids in our home to listen to the Personal Power tapes at least once. It made a big difference.

I recently ordered his new package of CDs, which include some of Personal Power II (much the same as the original) and selected Power Talks.

The new material is not of the same quality as the original Personal Power. I feel Tony has taken a turn to the left. I still love the interviews he conducted.

Saying all this, I think there are better values elsewhere that give more and better info. Just my opinion.

Oh, I did attend one of his live events in Chicago 10 or so years ago.

martycraigs on February 12, 2010:

I know a few individuals who went to a Tony Robbins convention in California (this did happen to be a few years ago, though). Anyway, I've heard from mixed reactions. Certainly some of them are in complete agreement with what you have here. Do you have personal experience with Mr. Robbins? (Either one of his products, seminar, or something else.)

Keith Schroeder (author) from Wisconsin on January 27, 2010:

You did not talk too much. You provided excellent points I think readers will be interested in. Thank you for the comment.

Andrew from Italy on January 27, 2010:

I'm not a big fan of NLP, first because in my opinion it seldom has long lasting result (i.e. you quit smoking but after a week you begin to smoke again) and second because most of the times it's used "against" other people will. As a matter of fact is the preferred technique of salesmen. Third it's nothing new in the field of psychology, as every psychologist can tell. I'm not but I've studied some.

Ericksonian hypnosis these days is almost always connected with NLP (you become a Master Hypnotherapist) and it was a great tool for Erickson but I'm not so sure it works for everyone. For me it's a boring technique and not very useful, the advantage is that using Erickson name you can charge big bucks for teaching it. And I'd also add that the handshake technique could work with very suggestible people, but then even a snap of the hand would work, while it definitely works with accomplices. Stage hypnotists or magicians know this quite well.

Sorry Keith if I talked too much but I love debating this stuff. Great hub, very interesting and equilibrate. Rated up.

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