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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Some Good Books...

Hello folks!

For those of you who want something to read about con games in general and MLMs in particular, I can heartily recommend the following (all of whom I've read myself):

Carter's account of her trip in and out of the Amway cult is probably the best no-nonsense financial analysis on how MLMs are just a way to go broke slowly. What's more, even the "top" folks in Amway, faced with a constant need to show their "wealth and success" with all kinds of expensive knickknacks, are often in worse financial shape than the suckers they fleece. You thought Amway (Quixtar) "diamonds" are wealthy? Guess again.


Nash's work is history, not financial advice, but -- quite apart from being inherently fascinating and containing many rare photos and documents -- shows how there's nothing new under the sun. The same scams that worked 100 years ago (and more) work now. There's a sucker born every minute, after all.

Fitzpartick's book is more philosophical in nature. It concentrates on how MLMs, their promises to the contrary notwithstanding, are ruinous to friendships, spirituality, and religion. MLMs, a "business opportunity for Christians"? Not really.

Scammers, con men, and MLMers (is there a difference?) do not come with a business card saying, "Hello, if you want to be scammed, call...". They try to hide their illegitimacy in many ways. Like Quatloos!, Henderson's book -- written with verve -- is extremely helpful for those who would like to recognize the warning signs that say "SCAM!" ahead of time. The chapter on MLMs is especially interesting.



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