Why I Walked Out on Tony Robbins

Why I Walked Out on Tony Robbins

After paying $2,000 for a ticket to Unleash the Power Within

After the 3-hour flight out to California…

After fully committing, with a completely open heart…

I walked out of Tony Robbins’ seminar.

In this post, I will share why I went to Tony’s event, what it was like, and why I walked out. I will also show you what I did after I left, and what I learned from the whole experience.

If you’re skeptical of friends who say, “You have to go see Tony Robbins…”

If you’re on the fence about Unleash the Power Within ($2,000) or Date with Destiny ($5,000)…

This article is for you.

BONUS: Get the checklist to build your own Personal Development Day

“But doesn’t everyone LOVE Tony Robbins’ events? Are you just a hater?”

I know the diehard fans — the self-proclaimed Cult of Robbins who “drink the Kool Aid” — are already having doubts about this article.

“This guy wasn’t truly committed. He didn’t do the work, because he was afraid. Now he just wants to act like he’s more enlightened than everyone else.”

None of that is true.

Here’s what you should know about me…

I have a ton of respect for Tony Robbins. I’ve read (or listened to) several of his books. I’m amazed by what he does, and wanted to experience his coaching in person. A lot of my friends are big TR fans, and they all gave strong endorsements for UPW.

I’m not “better than you” for walking out. I’m not writing this because I’m a sophisticated aristocrat who turns his nose up at self-help groups. At many points in my life, I’ve been a total mess. I’ve written about depression and addiction. I wrote about the most embarrassing and painful period of my life (then I published a book about it).

I put in the work. I’ve had a ton of failures, and a few huge successes, because I’m constantly trying new things. Like how I built an 8-figure business. Or how I intentionally gained 40 pounds in 2015, then got into the best shape of my life in 2016. It wasn’t easy to eat so much food, or to go to the gym every week, but I put in the effort to reach my goals. (You can read more about my goals in 2015 and 2016).

I’ve read hundreds of books and taken action, because I am 100% in on improving myself. (Here are 18 books that changed my life). I’ve also publicly documented my self-improvement journey for the last 15 YEARS. If that’s not “doing the homework,” I don’t know what is.

I’ve attended a lot of paid seminars before, and loved them. A few events that changed my life were Gayle Hendricks’ Big Leap event and David Deida’s workshop. Both were three days long, 5–8 hours per day. I didn’t even consider walking out of either. I’ve even hosted my own seminars! Last September, my company AppSumo hosted our second annual conference, with over 200 attendees. I’m astonished Tony hosts events for 10,000 people at a time.

SumoCon 2016

This article isn’t “fear driven.” I committed to the event for seven hours. The only thing I was afraid of was wasting more time. Besides, I believe in helping people overcome their biggest fears — like talking to strangers, or starting a company. Here’s a speech I gave about overcoming fear:

Finally, Tony Robbins is one of my customers. In addition to Appsumo, I run a sister company called Sumo. Tony’s team uses our products. Do you really think I’m dumb enough to bash one of my highest profile customers? Hell no. This article is written with love.

In other words…

I’m not hating on Tony Robbins, or people who love his events.

I’m just defending a viewpoint few people ever bring up in public: the negative experience.

Most people are hesitant to talk about experiences that make us sound foolish. We diminish our losses, we downplay the bad stuff — especially if it goes against the crowd.

Think of Vegas.

Hardly anyone says, “I lost $2,000. It was a waste of time and money.”

We always say, “It was fun! Almost broke-even. Hashtag WORTH IT.”

For me, UPW wasn’t worth it.

My Experience at “Unleash The Power Within”

In the days that lead up to the event, I felt nervous. The discomfort was reassuring.

I’m going in the right direction.

The two areas of my life I most wanted to tackle during the event were:

  1. How to better position myself to be in great relationships.
  2. How to create a work environment that continually motivates and excites me.

Before the seminar began, I had a chance to talk with my neighbors. One was a recovering Jehovah’s witness. The other was transitioning jobs in Los Angeles. We had a nice discussion about why we were there, what our struggles were, and what we hoped to get out of the seminar.

Then, Tony came out on stage.

Tony’s presentation skills were incredible. The guy has been doing this for 30 years, so I expected him to be good. He was great.

Some of the things Tony did really well:

  • He encouraged us to meet our neighbors and keep each other excited.
  • He kept participation super high. He continually asked everyone to raise their hand and say “I” if they agreed. He also let the audience finish a lot of his sentences (“The truth will set you ____”).
  • He challenged us: “I’ll deliver but you have to promise to commit. If you sit down during the dancing, then you aren’t committed, and you aren’t going to get what you came for. Play full out with me.”
  • He repeated things over and over to drive points home and increase retention. He also backed up his claims with statistics.
  • He told great stories and incorporated a lot of humor.

Of course, there were some things he did NOT do so well…

  • At times, he was all over the place. “Let’s work on what you’re afraid of… Now let’s talk about how to get anything you want… Focus, mean it, do it!
  • There was conflict of interest. There’s a day where we talk about health and nutrition… and then he sells supplements. Tony also mentions his other events, and encourages you to sign up for more seminars during the middle of UPW.
  • He name-dropped and bragged constantly. Credibility markers are essential for a presenter to be taken seriously — especially with an audience of 10,000 people. And we all know Tony has done some amazing things. But the number of times he mentioned his relationships with presidents, celebrities, and business people was overkill. We get it  —  you have a private jet.
  • Finally, Tony has the weirdest clap I’ve ever seen.

In the first few hours of the seminar, we danced (a lot), massaged our neighbors, fanned our neighbors, did aerobic exercises, pumped our fists, watched Tony run through the audience like some idol, and other ra-ra tactics.

Still, these were minor annoyances. Those come with any event. None were deal-breakers.

But as the day unfolded, I began to question whether this seminar was a good use of my time.

Tony called on people in the front row and recited their names. Which made it seem like he knew everyone in the audience, though I’m sure they were his VIP ($75K per year) customers.

He called on John.

“What’s your issue, John?”

John wasn’t loved.

Here was Tony’s response:

  1. Everyone in the crowd faces that issue.
  2. John should come up with a new name. “Edward.”
  3. “Edward” walk towards Tony like a bad-ass.
  4. Tell Tony you are unleashed (basically).
  5. Everyone in the audience say “I love you, John.”

Problem solved.

Of course, no one expected Tony to solve John’s emotional issues with some light role-play and applause. The whole sequence was superficial (and entertaining).

Still, John clearly has deeper issues around his family. He wasn’t loved enough.

What then?

I wanted John and Tony to go deep.

I wanted to go deep.

I wanted to do the hard work we needed to do.

Then we had to massage our neighbors. Again.

Okay, I understand we need to break through social discomfort and energize ourselves, but I don’t enjoy random dudes touching me.

Hour 7…

I looked at the agenda for the next three days.

Nutrition. Interesting.

Then booklet work.

For two days.

I looked back over my notes.

Sure, there were some great takeaways, like…

Dedicate time every week to work on yourself. Reflect upon whether you are growing, and making progress.

What are you scared of right now? How can you move towards that? Discomfort is your growth!

Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.

Look at things from appreciation and gratitude. Instead of complaining about traffic, appreciate that we have cars to get us to places faster.

Modeling is valuable. Study and replicate the people that have already figured out what you want to do.

What’s a goal that excites you? What goal would genuinely energize you immediately?

What distractions are holding you back from your goals? Remove them.

These are his quotes I turned into instagram memes.

“No growth in comfort.”

“Success is how much uncertainty you can deal with.”

“Your worst day can be your best day”

“Complexity is the enemy of execution.”

“Have hunger that’s insatiable, always expanding.”

It finally hit me. Dread.

I was officially dreading the rest of the seminar.

To stay for three full days felt like a self-imposed prison, rather than an opportunity to genuinely grow.

I thought about what I most wanted to get out of my time, and whether this event was the best use of it. I decided it would be better for me to work on my specific issues, one-on-one with a friend.

So, I walked out.

Did I feel embarrassed? Yes.

Did I feel disappointed? Yes.

But what I really felt, more than anything else…


Empowered to make choices about what I want, and empowered to turn down the things I don’t.

What I Did After I Left

Rather than fly home, I planned a “Personal Development Day.” Here’s what I did the following day:

  • Drank coffee
  • Went on a 3-hour hike to discuss personal and professional growth with a friend
  • 90-minute personal development discussion (recorded on video)
  • Ate a healthy lunch
  • Reviewed some of Tony’s other materials
  • Read a book
  • 60-minute discussion with my mastermind group, where I shared some of my biggest issues
  • Got a massage
  • Sushi dinner

Get my Personal Development Day checklist

This may have been the best part about Tony’s personal development seminar — it forced me to create my own.

Final Thoughts

Tony has great intentions, a strong presence, and it’s clear most of his attendees feel the event is worth the investment. I am in the minority, who asked for a refund.

For many of his attendees, it seems there are deep-seated issues with a lack of love, and the belief that they are not enough.

If you struggle with those issues, then Tony’s seminars might change your life.

For a few days, you will feel loved.

For a few days, you will feel like you are enough.

That’s intoxicating, and many attendees (understandably) go back for more.

For my friends, the seminar was overwhelmingly positive and deeply moving. For me, it felt superficial and cheesy.

I don’t plan on attending another Tony Robbins’ event. But I would, if his team made a few big changes:

  1. More time to talk with the people around us. The most valuable time, for me, was when we shared our lives with each other. We all attended for personal development, and we all faced similar challenges. Bonding over common ground was great, and I wish there was more time dedicated to it.
  2. Shorten the seminar to just ONE day. Less dancing, less hoopla, less fluff… Just get to the meat. We wouldn’t need to be “awakened” every 20 minutes if the event didn’t take so long. (Then again, maybe it’s dragged out to create the sense that we got our money’s worth.)
  3. Focus. The seminar felt too general. I know it’s impossible to custom-tailor an event for 10,000 people, but more specific topics would have helped.

My good friend Tynan said it best:

“If you never quit, you probably aren’t trying enough new things.”

I don’t regret attending Tony’s seminar.

Nor do I regret walking out.

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290 responses to “Why I Walked Out on Tony Robbins”

Andy C
March 8, 2017 at 12:18 am

I totally share your feeling. I also walked out of another similar self-development course last month, feeling both embarrassed and disappointed.

Thanks for being the few that gives honest opinion on UPW.
I also walked out of

Dan Andrews
March 8, 2017 at 12:32 am

I enjoyed hearing your thoughts here. I was listening to his second appearance on Tim Ferris’ show, and like you pointed out the guy is super smart and charismatic and all that, but something was nagging at me and then it hit me: “horoscopes.”

He talks like horoscopes. (Often) fluries of non-falsifyable statements that just sound good, and often make you feel really good.

My suspicion as a TR outsider is that people who come to rely on these sorts of solutions don’t address why they feel they need them so much in the first place.

Scott Whisler
March 9, 2017 at 8:27 am

“My suspicion as a TR outsider is that people who come to rely on these sorts of solutions don’t address why they feel they need them so much in the first place.”

Boom, Dan.


March 12, 2017 at 4:10 pm


Gregory A. Buford MD FACS
March 20, 2017 at 12:57 pm


March 9, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Ha! Same reaction to that episode. I turned it off when he said “I very very rarely have bad days.”

I think he honestly believes that and it’s not disingenuous or malevolent, but I think the outcome he is selling is neither achievable or desirable.

The point is not to “never have bad days.” It is something more zen-esque like “be present for the good and the bad.”

Or at least, that’s my shtick

March 9, 2017 at 3:33 pm

It is easy to sell the endorphins of hope, but much harder to sell the scars of what it takes to achieve it. So most of the self-help industry sells the hope – it’s an easier buck to fleece. And that’s the problem with this industry.

Tragically with this industry, hope begets hope (god I sound like such a miserable m********ker) . Specifically, people love the endorphins of the day, leave on a high, then nothing really changes, so they return for another hit because hope is so much more fun than scars. And you can leave thinking that this time, this time more than the last time, it WILL be different.

But it won’t. And so it perpetuates.

And worst of all, I come across so many people who haven’t resolved their issues, but who are so sold on false hope, that they end up setting up as life coaches themselves, selling an even more vacuous version of the hope that they were sold.

It’s a genuinely screwed up industry.

And I speak as someone who attended a TR event about 15 years ago and left on a high. Oh, and despite what I said above, someone who also loves hope. But accepts that a scarred back is often its price.

Stever Robbins
March 11, 2017 at 1:00 am

I’ve found technology is the same. I’ve been using it for decades. And you know what? This time, the tool / gadget / software / app will DO IT!! This will be the one that really makes me break through and be productive!!! At long last, my email will be under control…

The reality? After almost an entire lifetime, all that technology, those tools, and those gadgets haven’t given me any more free time, haven’t brought me closer to my loved ones (though they have given me hundreds of superficial strangers to exchange one-click-happy-anniversary feelz with), etc.

Tony does it in self-help.
Silicon Valley does it with tech.

Snake oil sells. But this time … THIS snake oil … this is the real deal, and it WILL change your life!

March 12, 2017 at 6:14 pm


March 15, 2017 at 12:40 pm

“It is easy to sell the endorphins of hope, but much harder to sell the scars of what it takes to achieve it.” Iyas that is incredible!! It’s the going through it part that we all struggle with. Man, smart folks commenting here.

Marisa Tan
March 16, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Iyas, you don’t sound like a miserable person at all. Like JP, I loved your comment and had the same response – ‘Man, smart folks commenting here!’

March 10, 2017 at 8:56 pm

Well said.

Joshua Burkhart
March 16, 2017 at 11:19 pm

I wish there was a like button. . .

March 9, 2017 at 5:35 pm

Agreed on the TF episode, felt a bit like I was being sold by a “friendly” car salesman

Great post Noah, I’d imagine a tough one to write

March 11, 2017 at 10:35 am

Agreed. The same for the last 2 books.

March 19, 2017 at 8:17 am

Nail on head.

March 20, 2017 at 2:07 pm

Dan – “flurries of horoscopes” captures my experience as well. So many awesome sound bites and the sheer number of them overwhelm the nagging doubts and you finally get steamrolled into agreement and acquiescence.

March 8, 2017 at 1:49 am

Great post Noah! If only we all took the time to reflect on whether or not the things we do bring us real value or meaning, and if they don’t, what are some ways we can change that to realign. I love the approach you took and personally get so much more out of actually working through issues and having intimate conversations with close friends.

March 8, 2017 at 10:30 am

Really interesting! I just “discovered” Tony recently from watching “I am not your guru” and seeing him on the #AskGaryVee show. I’m not totally sold but I am interested in his message.

One point – I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and reading about someone as a “recovering” Jehovah’s witness is a bit mean. Would you call someone a recovering Catholic if they decided to leave Catholicism? Religion isn’t a disease like alcoholism or drugs.

Noah Kagan
March 8, 2017 at 10:32 am

Thanks for the note.

This is what he labeled himself. I found his story SO interesting about how he’s exploring his relationship to himself, his family and his religion.

March 8, 2017 at 10:43 am

All right, fair enough. I can’t say anything about what anyone chooses to call themselves.

I always enjoy your writing and appreciate the response.

March 13, 2017 at 9:12 am

I’m glad you brought that up. I had the same thought “recovering JW”. Thank you for clarifying Noah.

March 9, 2017 at 11:01 am

Lol. ?

March 9, 2017 at 11:05 am

I agree with your neighbor’s statement, Noah. I’m a recovering Catholic and I’m much happier by learning facts and using critical thinking. The church is really good at teaching parishioners that an opposing view is considered malicious and ignorant. In fact, it’s the other way around.

March 9, 2017 at 10:12 am

LOL – recovering was well used and appreciated by me.

Kaloyan Yankulov
March 9, 2017 at 3:47 pm

A recovering orthodox Christian here. 🙂

dianne jewell
March 9, 2017 at 2:35 pm

The dude who described himself as recovering JW has a strange way of looking at life. You can take it or leave it (JW) they’re not a cult. Maybe he thought he was being funny. Its me and God, the rest doesnt matter. #justsaying

March 11, 2017 at 11:49 pm

Exactly Dianne – religion is man’s attempt to reach God and it’s often more about rules than anything else. It’s really God who changes lives by working through people. It’s often the people who genuinely care in a one to one relationship that have the biggest impact. This is what I have seen through people in our church who are recovering from addictions.

March 20, 2017 at 9:05 pm

I think that JW is a cult – my boyfriends family are all JW and have disowned us because we live together -we got an email from one family member that they must choose Jehovah over having a relationship with us, and I find that very sad, and JW IS a cult, a scary one.

March 9, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Well actually religion is precisely that especially when a child has been raised in a group with strict doctrines enforced upon them into a rigid sense of conformity before the child has had the time to allow there minds to develop naturally.

No adult would raise there child on a mild form of alcohol or a regular weekly package of prescription drugs I mean the effects on the child would do life lasting damage both mentally and physically.

Drugs and alcohol alter the minds capacity to think clearly and make people behave otherwise different to when they are sober and yet what happens if they stop drinking and doing drugs well nothing in the short term perhaps some mild form of withdrawal before recovery but if it’s been year’s of abuse the withdrawal can be horrific and it’s the same as religion and it’s impact upon a child who has been raised on a mind alternating state of radical ideologies and then chooses to staep away from it when they grow older and the older they are the harder the withdrawal and effects on the individual lasts for year’s for some people perhaps even a lifetime.

March 20, 2017 at 9:08 pm

Very well said Flash – I agree with you 100%

Off Brand
March 9, 2017 at 3:56 pm

If someone referred to themselves as a “recovering Jehovah’s Witness” would that change your opinion of using that terminology?

Brian Brereton
March 9, 2017 at 4:48 pm

“Religion isn’t a disease like alcoholism or drugs.” I was going to respond: “Yes, it is”. But then I realized the appropriate response was “No, it is far worse…”

Sri Siva
March 10, 2017 at 12:49 pm

yes, far worse for sure.

John Reed
March 10, 2017 at 7:11 am

True – Religion may not be a disease, but to those of us that see no proof in it but instead see how much trouble it has caused in the world (throughout history) it does appear as a weakness or a sickness that we can do without. Also, if we are then persecuted for “not believing what we are told” this just proves the point – it can be a very dangerous “sickness”.

March 14, 2017 at 8:16 pm

Yes, I have called myself a “recovering Catholic” for years. I’m 61. Years. When you are raised with strong beliefs, beliefs that you no longer believe, you have to work at becoming free from them. It doesn’t just happen.

March 15, 2017 at 7:24 am

I know many people who self-describe as a recovering Catholic. I imagine his neighbor self-described as well.
Love, A Recovering Jehovah’s Witness.

March 15, 2017 at 12:55 pm

With respect, I am a non-religious person from a large Catholic family that is accepting of the beliefs of others, including mine.

One of my senior employees is the son of a major figure in the JW church on the east coast. With respect for what you choose to believe, yes, a church that permanently ostracizes you from your family ONLY because you leave the church and not for any other reasons, moralistic or otherwise, is absolutely something you recover from. His entire extended family except one sister that consistently tries to doom and gloom him into coming back refuses contact with him.

And for the record, to Christine’s point above, yes, many Catholics including my parents would refer to themselves as recovering or recovered Catholics.

March 15, 2017 at 1:12 pm

If it leaves that person in a state of shock, confusion, and despair, yes.

Nick Reese
March 8, 2017 at 2:49 pm

Dude, I walked out of UPW and sat in my car thinking it was the biggest waste of time and energy ever. Upsells, no real content, all over the place, lots of aphorism that people eat up. Finally went back but only for the last day, it was OK.

Later after listening to the advice of a mutual friend of ours, I went to his Date With Destiny. It was a completely different experience.

6 days of legit content that changed my perspective on huge parts of my life. It was truly worthwhile and helped me a ton of the relationship front. (I think I’ve told you this story personally.)

Always fun to read your take on this stuff.

Keep kicking ass homeh.

Jonathan GIbson
March 14, 2017 at 1:33 pm

I definitely agree Nick that the Date With Destiny event is by far the best event that TR holds. I’m so glad that I signed up for it and didn’t let UPW be my only experience.

Roland Tolliver
March 18, 2017 at 4:09 pm

I agree, Nick. I attended all of the Mastery University courses after going to UPW. I did stick it out and felt energized, but still wanting. Date with Destiny was certainly more intense, personal and substantially more interactive with other attendees. UPW is kind of the “gateway” and while the “self-promotions” get a bit tiresome during UPW and self-referential comments may seem self-aggrandizing, he really has changed a lot of lives. Just like many other elements of life, one dose of anything will not be sufficient for sustenance. The goal is to keep improving oneself, whether it is with the assistance of Tony Robbins or any other mentor, a parent, a friend or family member. Thanks for opening up the conversation, Noah.

Charlie Cleveland
March 8, 2017 at 4:16 pm

I’m a huge Tony Robbins fan and I really appreciated your thoughts here. You’re not a hater at all, you’re just paying attention to how YOU can best grow. Thank you.

Tom S.
March 8, 2017 at 4:18 pm

I saw the documentary on Netflix where he did a seminar in Florida in 2016. I got the same thing. My biggest issue with Tony Robbins, although he has good intent, is it preys on the weak-minded folks. Maybe because of my military background and confidence with myself, I can analyze my own life without the neediness of requiring a self-help guru to push me in the right direction.

Also, I feel Tony Robbins doesn’t actually do anything original or actually sell a product. He is regurgitating stuff he learned from his mentor Jim Rohn (who in the 60’s was nothing more than a saesmand and distribution marketing) and of course others like Zig Zigglar, and then learning from John Grinder about NLP (or what I call brainwashing).

When you put this all together, Tony Robbins has become what he has over the the last 30+ years because society is gullible, vulnerable, and our human nature is to search for answers, rather than doing the hard work themselves, being introspective, and putting their life in God’s hands.

I heard once a while back “We all know what to do, but we don’t do what we know”. For the people that follow Tony Robbins or any professed self-help guru, life coach, or motivational speaker, I would tell that person, you don’t need to waste $2000 at a seminar to fill the pockets of guys like this to talk to you.

All you have to do if you want to improve your life is DO THE WORK. Whether it’s with Faith, Family, Friends, or Fitness (Physical, Financial, Emotional, etc…)

Now for your readers of your post, they might say “That’s why you hire someone like Tony Robbins” to help you unleash and coach you to improve all facets of your life. The problem is, Tony Robbins isn’t selling you anything but him talking or trying to motivate you, or selling his books, his CD’s, etc…. that is the self-help RACKET…. They do their conferences, seminars, get someone to publish them in a book, make CD’s, informmercials, etc… then society buys into it like they are an EXPERT.

You see, Tony Robbins, dropped out or never even started college. Then he go onto the curtails of Jim Rohn, was told in high school after winning some debate competitions that he had the gift of speaking and I will give Tony Robbins that, he can coach, he can speak, but I would have more respect for him if he had a PhD, created his own stuff, rather than repackaging someone else like Jim Rohn or taking NLP works and trying to pass it off as his own.

Our society will always have the weak-minded, troubled individuals who have issues they can’t solve. Some go to shrinks, so go to life-coaches, and some waste their money on self-help gurus like Tony Robbins.

In the end, we all have our own opinions and mine is that we need less of the Tony Robbins in the world and more of folks looking in the mirror and telling themselves “You can do this and figure shit out on your own”. Life is not easy and God put us on this earth to do his work, to love each other, and to spread his word, everything else from work to family to friendships, etc…. is just the craziness called life that each person has to learn to navigate and figure out on their own. Tony Robbins can’t help you, but he can take your $2000 to waste your time, until you come back to reality that nobody can fix you but the person looking back in the mirror.

Thanks for the post.

Suzanne A.
March 9, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Tom S.
This little paragraph really sums it up so very well:
“All you have to do if you want to improve your life is DO THE WORK. Whether it’s with Faith, Family, Friends, or Fitness (Physical, Financial, Emotional, etc…)” –
(that would make a great meme!)

So you can learn the basics by reading on your topic of interest (or need), listening for a while, and keeping informed, but there is a difference between getting to know the ropes and making all the others who call themselves “experts” any richer just because they did that exact work before you. I mean, just think: with those insane prices – “just” $2000 for TR’s precious time, multiplied by the number of attendees, 10,000 people, add 4 zeros here, $20,000,000 for some 20 hours over 3 days = roughly $1,000,000/hour!!! Wow! How long do you have to work to gain such sums? Will you ever?

Like I said, there’s no real need to make them richer. Just be determined to make yourself rich in knowledge, and with it and practice, self-assurance will come along. Then you will be your own expert and the doors to unlimited possibilities will open… can’t you already see them slightly ajar?

Hey, maybe I could give a seminar, and I could do it in English and in French too! Kidding… I think.

March 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

I think you just saved alot of people $2000! It is called self-help for a reason…great advice. Thanks

March 9, 2017 at 4:28 pm

I actually think you might need to become a self help speaker. “You can do this and figure shit out on your own” was more helpful to me than any generalized rah-rah statement I’ve heard! ?

March 9, 2017 at 4:30 pm

That question mark was a smile that got lost in translation 🙂

March 11, 2017 at 3:28 am

I was searching for a ‘like’ button 🙂

John Barton
March 11, 2017 at 1:16 pm

One thing no one ever mentions about the “self”-help field is community. You go to these seminars, rallies, etc…and they become this big mass hysteria crowd love fest where everyone feels like they are part of something bigger surrounded by people who want them to succeed. But when you leave and go back into the real world most of us don’t have a community of empowering people to support our journey. We have bills and deadlines and jerks who have their own agendas that are more important to the them than ours are to them.

Instead of focusing on building a better society we spend so much time trying to fix what’s “wrong” with ourselves thinking that if only we do that then we will succeed in society. But that’s not how it really works.

Anyone can feel good in a circle jerk. That’s the reason for that type of activity. But in the real world no one is really interested in seeing you get satisfied unless you are paying them to satisfy you.

IF – IF we had a society where people got off by seeing other succeed at all levels THEN we wouldn’t need a self-help industry because MOST people would be working happily at their level (Peter Principle) in full understanding that they don’t NEED to do more than be at that level to have a happy and fulfilling life since everyone else along with them would be working to help each person reach that level. A constant hand up to where you are able to work and live competently would change society for the better in so many ways.

But in the ultra competitive environment we are in people will never feel good because there is always a level above them that they just cant reach because either they aren’t “good enough” or they don’t put in the work, or the opportunities aren’t there and they are failing to “create” those opportunities….. not thinking positively enough….etc…

Just Do It is good advice as well as brilliant marketing slogan….you don’t need to pay 2k for that advice…but what we could use is a society that provides a truly good environment to just do it in.

One that provides solid stairs for those who want to climb to whatever level they can handle and who can go back down when they can’t without feeling like failures. We need something better than the all-or-nothing society.

March 13, 2017 at 7:04 pm

This. This is why Self-Help of all stripes irritates me to no end. Empowerment works best when there is a community of caring where everyone gives what they can and is encouraged to ask for what they need, rather than being told they can do it all themselves. Not everyone is an “A-type” personality, and those are the ONLY people ever actually helped by this sort of guruism. The vast majority of people need support, encouragement, and help to get the good and right done. That’s where religion grows from. That’s why so many are happy to live in vast cities. Humans are social animals; we need each other. If more self-professed self-help faces recognized that and encouraged that to grow, more people would accomplish the goals they claim to want to show them how to achieve.

“Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. Sure. How about “Teach a man and three strangers in his community to work together and use a net, and you feed a village”, though? That sounds far more sensible to me…

March 13, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Ahaha, this goes full circle in the end: “we need less of the Tony Robbins in the world and more of folks looking in the mirror and telling themselves “You can do this and figure shit out on your own”.” –> you’ll always need some sort of Tony Robbins or replies like yours to tell people to look in the mirror and tell themselves that they can do this and figure the shit out on their own! –> your advice was free and shorter, though 🙂

Miguel Hernandez
March 8, 2017 at 5:23 pm

Same here. I love Tony’s energy but found his event overwhelming so we just showed up for a bit and tried to extract the main lessons minus the hoopla. We went more out of curiosity than need. In terms of events, UPW is just spectacular but my wife and I just didn’t have the patience to put up with 4 days of jumping and screaming. For that I rather go watch a soccer game!

Daniel kim
March 9, 2017 at 12:49 pm

Hi Miguel, I’m a big fan of your work (animated explainer videos, etc) and was pleasantly surprised to see here. Keep up the good work.

March 8, 2017 at 9:18 pm

Hi Noah,

Just wanted to drop a line and say thank you for your honest review of the event. I have read Tony Robbins’ book on personal finance recently and it revolutionized my world (and I came from a place of total ignorance on the topic). It’s helped me understand that probably one of his seminars is not for me, either. I’ve also just recently stumbled upon your blog and my respect for you has magnified by your transparency. Stoked to become a more regular reader!

The nutrition heretic
March 9, 2017 at 1:48 am

Oh I totally get this. I flew to San Jose for a conference called the Big shift. You can only imagine what I called it by lunch. Total fluff — dancing, fake hugging, telling painful stories, selfies and crap with a “buy my sh!t” pitch along the way. Huge waste of time. The same schmooze the pharmacy companies use to get cheerleaders to hawk their drugs. I only attended because the course I took from the same guy was really good but all the fake feely nonsense was like a bait and switch.

March 9, 2017 at 7:06 am

Anytime you have 10k people, it is a show, a performance, not a deep dive.
How many people were at David Deida’s seminar? A classroom at most…

Conor Neill
March 9, 2017 at 8:17 am

Hehe, I initially thought “fucking click bait titles” and hated the need to click and see what you were going to say… and then read the whole thing and felt it was an important message…

I have a friend who has seen Tony Robbins twice – the first time 25 years ago, and then 3 years ago. 25 years ago, Tony was on his own journey and the whole seminar felt that he was working together with all the participants and that he was a guide, but didn’t have all the answers. 3 years ago… my friend hated the name dropping, the guru-idol status and all the ra-ra…

I believe Tony Robbins has been a catalyst to start millions of people on a journey towards personal responsibility… but (I need the chemistry knowledge to find a better metaphor…) he is only the catalyst that begins the reaction… if you want to go further on the path, you need a different guide.

In teaching, the expert is often a terrible teacher for novices. The expert only becomes a good teacher to other experts. It is a different skill to teach beginners than it is to teach experts…

Keep searching for teachers.

and keep on blogging 😉

March 9, 2017 at 10:52 am

Ha! I thought the same thing about the quick bait title. I couldn’t resist clicking and the article was worth the read. I’m sort of surprised Noah asked for his money back though.

March 9, 2017 at 10:53 am


March 9, 2017 at 8:18 am

A most thoughtful review. This is one of the best “negative AND thoughful” review/reflections I’ve ever read on an event.

March 9, 2017 at 8:19 am

I think that what he offer in those events have entertainment value above everything else. He is like an evangelical preacher but instead of selling christianity he sells… well himself. There are quite a lot of cult-like persuasion techniques that he uses at these events – I know what I’m talking about when I say this – . 10% useful information, 90% hidden self-promotion and emotional manipulation to position himself as a guru. He is the most successful snake oil salesman in America, and got himself in such an influential position that few dare to point the obvious, the emperor is naked.

March 21, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Thanks for this insight. “There are quite a lot of cult-like persuasion techniques that he uses at these events – I know what I’m talking about when I say this – . 10% useful information, 90% hidden self-promotion and emotional manipulation to position himself as a guru.”

…and nothing more manipulative to position oneself as a guru than to use the title “I am not your guru”! …he surely knows full well the brain doesn’t translate negatives but thinks in pictures – …don’t think about Donald Trump …don’t think about a Christmas Tree! …

March 9, 2017 at 8:21 am

I appreciate both the candor. I don’t agree with all your points, but you made some really valid ones and appreciate your authenticity.

Here’s to more personal development days!

Mark Lassoff
March 9, 2017 at 8:23 am

Maybe if he wasn’t a borderline giant, who’s got a marketing machine and a mutual admiration society among Vaynerchuk, The Four Hour Workweek guy, and others, no one would pay attention to Tony Robbins. I certainly understand Vaynercuk and company’s involvement– They all make money off of each other.

I always thought George Carlin said it best: “Motivation is bullshit, if you ask me this country could use a little less motivation. The people who are motivated are the ones who are causing all the trouble!”

I have never heard him say anything except very general platitudes. When you’re walking across hot coals, pretending it doesn’t hurt, and thinking that’s “the answer” the problem is you.

March 11, 2017 at 3:35 am

Nothing like a smart And funny comment :), ‘The people who are motivated are the ones who are causing all the trouble’ – here’s some food for thought…while smiling

John Barton
March 11, 2017 at 1:19 pm

That’s awesome. Leave it to George to come up with the perfect quip. Like when he said humans are pretentious to think we can save the planet….the planet will be fine and shake us off like fleas….

March 9, 2017 at 8:25 am

Noah, Thanks for the consistency and no sugar coating it.

Shashank Mishra
March 9, 2017 at 8:25 am

Hi Noah,

Were you able to do the Christmas Carol exercise with Tony Robbins?

He would typically do it on day 2 or 3. This exercise has been a guaranteed method to make me take action and follow through on my goals. I go to UPW in order to do The Christmas Carol exercise as it’s difficult to reproduce with this intensity anywhere else.

March 9, 2017 at 8:46 am

Share with the group. Everyone reading this is willing to try something.

March 9, 2017 at 9:02 am

That was the most powerful thing I’ve ever done!!

March 9, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Christmas Carol exercise

at your FULLEST emotional intensity, FEEL the emotional consequences of failing to adhere to new (good) behaviors that you designed earlier in course.

Sequentially escalate the intensity of these painful emotional consequences by imagining them a year from now, five years , ten years and twenty years from now. It is intensely painful. Stay there…For a while.

T H E N…

switch to intense joy — the consequences were only imagined! The (artificial) aversion to those negative emotions gets you to stick to your desired behaviors. (Think Scrooge meets ghost of Christmas future).

Difficult to replicate, very powerful and alone is worth the entry price.

Tom Jackson
March 9, 2017 at 8:28 am

Dude, that was friggin’ well written and insightful. I’ve been to a TR event and have exactly the same thoughts. I feel like we are taco bros, even though I don’t really eat many tacos (don’t hate).

Simon T
March 9, 2017 at 8:28 am

Great feedback Noah, a friend of mine suggested we go to his next event in London and I would if it was one day but it’s a five day event!!

I just listened to Tony’s new audiobook ‘Unshakeable’. If I had a $ for everytime the words ‘index funds’ were mentioned I would be a rich man!! My advice is to skip to track 13 when he gives the best piece of advice you’ll ever get and tells it perfectly. He should have made a short book just on that chapter rather than filling it with advice on stocks and shares. Again, I guess it comes down to perception of value like his events.

March 9, 2017 at 11:32 pm

What’s the message in chapter 13?

March 9, 2017 at 8:31 am

Omg I have a gut feeling I’ll think the same once I attend this month. I watched online and I thought either I’ll love it or feel like it’s not deep enough and will leave and just work through my own shit lol! Thanks for sharing it didn’t seem negative it was just your experience.

March 9, 2017 at 8:36 pm

Z – you are going in LA? I will be there also with the same thoughts. Even thought of backing out ? It will be interesting. I have no desire to dance around or have anyone else touch me or me them.

March 19, 2017 at 10:45 pm

I’ll be in LA this week, as well.

Madeline johnson
March 9, 2017 at 8:31 am

Thanks for this honest review – I have read Tony’s books – watched videos – but always knew I would feel the same way about one of his seminars. Love your idea of designing your own personal development day.

March 9, 2017 at 8:34 am

Great article! I love Tony but at the same time agree with almost everything you mention and I LOVE your alternative personal dev day!

P.S – I have spent way too much time analyzing why he claps that way. It bothers the hell out of me 🙂

Rick Siderfin
March 9, 2017 at 8:35 am

Excellently written Noah, I am impressed by how you were at pains not to do a character assassination on the guy. What makes me smile is thinking of how many others would have secretly wanted to walk out, and yet not had the courage to follow through – and then they would have gone home and told all their friends how much they enjoyed it and how much it helped them…

Jerene Dildine
March 9, 2017 at 8:36 am

I was literally listening to Tony on James Altucher, asking, “yes, but make that platitude a ‘do now!'” when I got your post.

You are so dope and real, Noah. Thank you for having the balls and integrity to put this out there.

Jerene Dildine
March 9, 2017 at 8:42 am

PS – I <3 Tony and have benefitted from lots of his work.

PSS- religion can totally sometimes be a disease 😉 and the guy was "self-described."

Anric Blatt
March 9, 2017 at 8:37 am

Hi Noah, thanks for this note, appreciate that you are putting yourself out there for all the haters to come and hate you (or for the Tony haters to agree, lol), but i see your point, even as a former Platinum Partner, Business Mastery, etc – I also hate all the massaging, silly jumping, and uncomfortable proximity invasion, hype etc, but UPW is too general and almost like an advertisement for his other stuff, he always seems to be selling, which is why he is so successful, but Date with Destiny (DWD) is far more what you would appreciate, its much deeper (and longer !!) but its the best of Tony – i always thought that UPW was a Tony light session to get people hooked, and DWD is the real deal, he’s good, really good. The fake clapping thing is because of the sensitivity of his microphone (your ears would explode if he really used those 6 feet arms and shovel size palms to clap). He still is the No 1 guy out there for this kind of performance coaching, but Business Mastery or DWD would be far more useful to you. Thanks for your candor

lorraine murray
March 9, 2017 at 8:37 am

Very interesting and sounds like a fair assessment. I watched the guru film recently and am amazed at how this event is run. I can see how some of this works for people but being a teacher and someone who has been to many courses I notice how the teacher has to have the energy, authenticity and.integrity to hold the space for others to realise their potential. No gimmicks or sales or spoonfeeding. This is how a good teacher empowers others.

March 9, 2017 at 8:39 am

Thank you for writing this post. I have often wondered if I was missing something by not investing and going to a Tony Robbins event. I have read some of his books and seen videos and I felt I wanted more. But I was also wondering if that was the feeling I would always get from Tony; wanting more.

I love the immersion environment. It creates the break from outside obligations to allow you to drop some of the social masks and go deep. I love going deep.

I put on a workshop last year that opened with a concert and firewalk. Saturday was a full day Shamanic Breathwork with an evening sweat lodge for those who were so inclined. These are all deep transformative rituals. We had a lot of fun while doing our deep inner work.

Tony was one of the first to embrace firewalking in the 80’s.

Getting people to the first event was tougher than I expected. I don’t know why, but I thought everyone would jump at the chance to walk on fire. After meeting with so much resistance I had even more respect for his ability to persuade than ever.

After the weekend was over the attendees went out and told their friends about it. Then we had a waiting list of people who want to come to the next one. I learned it’s just the hump you have to get over when you are bringing new (old) things to the public.

But you have answered the Tony question for me and saved me some time and money. Because you just described something I would want to walk out of too.

March 9, 2017 at 8:41 am

Awesome article! I have to admit I’ve been a subscriber for a while but this was the first post that intrigued me enough to click through AND read the entire article! : ) I can also relate with quitting things when they are no longer serving you. I’ve found that gurus and motivational speakers can be great – but sometimes just reading one of their books or a video on a specific topic we want to learn more about in that moment can be digested a lot quicker and give more value to us.

March 9, 2017 at 8:41 am

This was perfect timing for me. I was just thinking to myself yesterday “Why does everyone like Tony Robbins so much? I don’t get it!”

So, I listened to his recent James Altucher interview to try to give him another chance.

There was some interesting stuff in there about habitually jumping in cold water to train himself to act even when it’s unpleasant.

Then the name-dropping came. Then he kept mentioning his private jet. Then he told a story about the time he didn’t fly in his private jet, because flying in a commercial jet supported the story that he proceeded to STEAL from Louis CK’s bit about airplane WiFi (with no attribution).

Then he went on about some questionable health stuff.

I think it’s great that Tony Robbins inspires action and change in people, but it worries me that they’re apparently impressed by his name-dropping and materialism. Being chummy with ex-presidents and having a private jet are not life goals that will lead to happiness.

Mark-John Clifford
March 9, 2017 at 12:02 pm

It’s funny you bring up the health stuff. I heard an interview a week ago with Tony on a who called Fater Than Normal with Peter Shankman and Tony talked about having ADHD and saying it wasn’t recognized till the 70’s or 80’s.

I also have ADHD and it was discovered or diagnosed in the early 60’s but called hyperkinetic impulse disorder which he didn’t know.

I had also been interviewed on this same show about my ADHD and because of how long I had it and was questioned about the diagnosis and time table. So when Tony came on my interview was questioned and then I showed the facts of when this disorder was found.

Bam! Tony fails again!

March 9, 2017 at 11:11 pm

Taking cold showers is an age old technique that Tony Robbins is passing off as something he discovered. A cursory google search will reveal how commin it is.

TR repackages established ideas as his own and sells them to people eager for some help.

March 10, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Funny, I was also completely offended that he stole Louis CK’s wifi joke. Worse, he pretended it actually happened to him.

(I also felt he insulted people’s intelligence that they wouldn’t know the single most famous joke in Louis CK’s career.)

That whole thing made him look like a total a–hole.

Noah, awesome post. I liked that you asked for your money back. But I *loved* that you put it in the article.

Shashank Mishra
March 9, 2017 at 8:41 am

I admire the way you analyse your own life Noah. That’s something I am learning to do more of from listening to and reading your materials.
Thank you for your awesome recent referrals to Jim Rohn — he is the man! Will check out Deida and Hendricks.
I saw Caldini’s book on your read list — you may enjoy listening to Charlie Munger’s Harvard speech on cognitive biases. (You Tube “psychology of Human Misjudgement”).

March 10, 2017 at 2:01 pm

….and you know who Tony Robbins worked for? Jim Rohn.

March 10, 2017 at 8:39 pm

He also took multiple est courses (Landmark predecessor) when he was planning his own curriculum. I know someone who was in his Forum class. (He was still Tony Mahavoric then.)

March 9, 2017 at 8:44 am

Hi Noah,

Never went to Tony’s event but I really understand your point of view. I feel the same in the Millionaire Mind Intensive here in Brazil. A lot of sales, dancing and too many superficial tips.

Congrats to be honest and authentic.

Big fan of your work.

March 9, 2017 at 8:44 am

Noah, I was listening to your recent podcast on my way to the office when I got the email about this post…so I just read it and holy shitballs, what a different perspective. I also wouldn’t spend 3 days in an environment like that mainly because I’m super introverted and talking to strangers, rubbing their shoulders, etc would make me crazy. I too believe that some of his tactics are cheesy but I guess they work for some ppl. I will say that his two newest books on money are awesome. He really did a huge thing for the general public on how to take control of your finances.
Thanks man for all you do. #eatmoretacos

David Gray
March 9, 2017 at 8:46 am

I think that your experience when you unplugged (on a recent trip) was the most rewarding to you. Tynan is my friend too and he seems very grounded. As Nick’s dad, I would say we all need to unplug more, find our self, and be more comfortable.
Kick Ass gets you only so far. I think defining what your zone is, being comfortable and enjoying your zone, and maximizing your output are huge goals. For instance, I’m 62 and think I’m getting to know where my sweet spot is for productivity. It is just me, not the same for other people. You get a certain warmth when you are in your sweet spot and at your best. Like the guy that other players pass the ball to and he can score.
Keep up the good work. I enjoy your stories and thrill for sharing your experiences. Cheers!

Clay Steadman
March 9, 2017 at 8:48 am

Hey Noah! Thank you so much for writing this 🙂 very inciteful and helpful.

How did you go about finding a mastermind group on that day?

Thank you,
Clay Steadman

Jonathan Kiilerich
March 9, 2017 at 8:50 am

Thanks for saving me $2.000!
I read Tonys books and he’s great.
But I too think, that a lot of his stuff is too superficial.

March 9, 2017 at 8:51 am

Thank you for this Noah. With the list of celebrities that Tony Robbins notes and constant references by entrepreneurs about how Tony’s tapes and courses have helped them, I have always feared that I was missing out by not investing in one of his courses. You have given a voice to a ton of the concerns I have about pulling the trigger. Maybe I’ll stick to buying a book or two instead so I can filter the fluff.

Antoine Dupont
March 9, 2017 at 8:52 am

That was ballsy, loved your candor. Great post, thank you.

Ryan Stewman
March 9, 2017 at 8:52 am

Dude, you make big bread, why ask for a refund? I never hit folks up for refunds, that’s just bad karma.

March 10, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Because there was a guarantee?

Because he expects people to do their best for $2000/seat, not push over-priced supplements?

Because he has enough balls to stand up for himself when he’s being played?

Thanks for the virtue-signaling.

David Sammel
March 9, 2017 at 8:52 am

I attended Tony’s events – UPW and two others. I was young and was inspired. Even then I was uncomfortable with the “upsell” and the amount of fluff and “ra-ra”. I put it down to being American. On reflection, over the years, and I still listen to Tony’s podcasts and all the amazing interviews he has done (bought the original box set of cassettes), I wish Tony would evolve into a more mature style of authentic, content richer seminars. He is so successful, intelligent and well-known I think he could figure a way of doing so profitably. I for one totally understand you walking out and why I have not attended another event for 20 years. I’m the same age as Tony and my credentials as a coach of Pro tennis players and author on mental skills are on http://www.lockerroompower.com

March 9, 2017 at 8:53 am

Thanks for writing this, Noah. I walked out of a conference yesterday that I had been really excited about attending. In the past I would have stuck it out and hoped for the best. Now I know how valuable my time is and would rather cut my losses and get out before I wasted any more time.

Maybe my “FOMO” is running it’s course – or maybe it’s in full swing and I was in fear of missing other aspects of life. #millennials 🙂 Either way, thanks for being courageous enough to write and publish this.

March 9, 2017 at 10:14 am

Thanks for sharing Chenell. Or maybe you’re moving toward #JOMO – The joy of missing out? 🙂

Tom Bergman
March 9, 2017 at 8:54 am

Noah, thank you for your courage. I have been a quitter as well, and I can tell you that it often takes far more courage to quit than to complete. In high school, I expressed interest in becoming a catholic priest, which my family immediately got behind. It took a ton of strength for me to extricate myself from their efforts to get me into the seminary. It would have been so easy to just go along, but I could not honestly do so. At 69 years old, my still living relatives deplore my decision as a teen to not go.
I had two appointments to the US Naval Academy and declined them, because they would have constrained my life in ways I could not accept. I have received more than a little hate from others who would have given a hand to be able to have that opportunity, which I “threw away.”
When I was 60, my wife surprised me with flying lessons. I got a private license when I was 18, but never got a chance to fly again. I took two lessons and quit. It scared the bejesus out of me. My reflexes and the rest were just not comfy with such an Adrenalin charged activity. She was disappointed that I did not complete the lessons she had bought for me, but supported my decision in the end.
By all this, I mean to support your courageous walk-out. Here’s to you and the rest who refuse to let the expectations of others rule us. Thank you for sharing!

Moira Lethbridge
March 9, 2017 at 8:55 am

Please share more experiences like this one. Real experiences stick and give me permission to do the same.

March 9, 2017 at 8:59 am

Generally, I like Tony Robins, I believe he has been around the block and understands the human condition. I also believe he’s in it for more than just the money, that he wants to help people.

With that said, I think much of what he talks about is modified common knowledge, and that people feed off the energy in large groups and “come alive” with all the validation.

I believe that individuals are capable of great things, are intelligent and have the ability to effect real and lasting change in their lives and in the lives around them. But in a group, they revert to a hive mentality and are easily swayed and highly suggestible. Especially when they are looking to someone who they “know” has the answers and has proven to be successful in the things they think they aren’t.

It’s unfortunate to hear that there is so much selling involved in that event. I should think after paying that amount of money, you’d be spared the sales pitch.

I have a couple of Tony’s audio courses and listen to them regularly, it’s great motivation. However, in the end, it comes down to putting in the work yourself because; reading, listening and hoping won’t change anything. You need to be able to figure out who you are, what you stand for and what you want, then create a plan to get there.

March 9, 2017 at 9:00 am

Hmm Intersting take. I actually enjoyed the discomfort of 4 long days in freezing cold and the hoopla of high fiving n all that with your neighbors because I felt it really immersed me in the experience. All of that was something I would normally despise. I’m glad I did it. I got so much out of the whole experience. It’s engrained in me now.

March 9, 2017 at 9:00 am

Appreciate this honest article. It feels like in this entrepreneurial blogosphere there are these celebs that few are willing to critique, and TR after his stints on Ferris and others after releasing his money book seemed to enter that sphere, so this helps break that groupthink.

March 9, 2017 at 9:01 am

have read and listened to most of Tony’s material over the years.

Have not attended the seminars, but really appreciate the reaction and candor.

Lusana Charles
March 9, 2017 at 9:01 am

Very Brave , Very True , I love this article

Lusana Charles
The UK No 1 BrainDetox Specialist ??

March 9, 2017 at 9:03 am

I have not been in any of Tony’s events but have seen him in interviews and read at least one book. First, his nutrition info is not science-based so I wouldn’t waste any time hearing from him. You left right on time! If you want to improve nutrition, generally the better choice would be to meet with one of the pros, a registered dietitian.

Second, while he has great energy, and while he makes me want to feel it, then he does something cheesy. This feels like blowing a balloon and then pinching it with a pin with the balloon deflating shortly after.

I really appreciate your honesty. In your next article, and if you’re up for sharing publicly, go deeper and let us know what you hoped to solve or get through Tony’s event. What is the hard work that you wanted to do? Make it a personal development blog day. ?

Alan Kong
March 9, 2017 at 9:06 am

Noah, my dude, I know exactly what you mean by this post.

I think that Tony himself is the freakin’ man. He’s a beast of a human being and genuinely cares for others.

He has unmatched energy and a real desire to do good in this world. I mean, if he was to work with anyone 1-on-1 consistently…then it’s a guarantee that his/her life would be transformed.

Unfortunately, that’s simply not possible for the masses and only reserved for those who can pay him $1MM a year, ha.

So, UPW is the solution for the masses. Like you, I also left early and chose not to hit every part of the agenda (especially the days when Tony himself didn’t actually take the stage lol).

UPW is perfect for those who have had crazy tough times that beat down their mental state, have no idea what to do to get out of their hole, struggle or don’t know how to build a constantly evolving mentality, and/or probably best for those who have zero support system of loved ones.

There was a moment in UPW when they dimmed the lights and Tony started his NLP work. He pretty much had everybody dive deep within themselves to feel their inner pains and struggles, and using that as a way to motivate you through raw externalized emotion as to how it can be exponentially worse IF you choose not to take the action in achieving the goals you wrote down.

This was my biggest ‘HOLY SHIT’ moment.

I’m a very happy fella that embraces life and always strive to live outside my comfort zone, so I came to UPW with a different mentality.

In this HOLY SHIT moment, I opened my eyes in the dimmed room and literally saw EVERYBODY around me crying, sobbing, and just externalizing their internal pains. Grown men were on their knees crying their eyes out.

If I could put a bulging shocked eyes emoji here, I would lol.

I mean, all I wanted out of UPW was to get more amped for my business and life and suddenly, I was in this sea of people full of hurt.

So, your takeaway was that it forced you to do your own personal development day – very cool.

My biggest takeaway was opening my eyes as to how much pain people were in, and being insanely grateful that building up my own personal mentality has helped me see life’s crappy situations with a more positive perspective.

So when I meet people who are rude, sassy, or even kind of depressing to be around, I try to understand it better.

In conclusion, when people ask me if UPW is worth it, I always say “It depends”

I totally just write a blog post length in your comments section LOL but hey, extra SEO content points for Google 😉

Great read as usual Noah, here’s a virtual Torchy’s Tacos for you, for your candor about UPW

March 9, 2017 at 9:14 am

Thanks for the divergent post. A few years ago, during a massage (free, gift certificate from mom) in which I felt the therapist was being a bully (completely counter-beneficial), I told her that this wasn’t working and we needed to stop. She was quite offended and completely put out, but it was a personal victory for me.

As much as I really needed that massage, it was the first time I stood up for myself and walked away from something that, on the surface, looked like a 100% positive thing.

So, kudos for listening to your gut. And thanks for the reminder. That little voice is usually worth listening to.

Manuela H
March 9, 2017 at 9:15 am

Love it Noah. Found out about TR by pure chance and finally watched the film on him which Netflix had proposed so insistently every time I opened the website. Very moving and I learned a lot. Having seen it I can tell how you must have felt in that room. Great for having felt that it wasn’t for you and that you got more value out of it by leaving. You will agree that it was a great trigger and all that matters are results. You were the perfect example to take matters into your own hands and much sooner than anyone else in the room (if others left they might not have had the same type of self-induced self-help day) so ultimately you followed TR more to the letter than he himself would have allowed for! Fair play to you for sharing it all with us. Best, Manuela

March 9, 2017 at 9:16 am

god damn nk this article is incredible. thank you

Gail Watson
March 9, 2017 at 9:17 am

I agree. I’ve read a couple of his books in the past, and just couldn’t get into them.

There’s something fake and superficial about it all, and I don’t felt they helped with the real issues behind things. I just think everything is boiled down to some glib remarks and comments.

What makes it worse is, they usually make you feel better for a day or two, but the downside actually makes you feel worse. Because then you berate yourself for not being able to carry through some of this advice, or keep the ‘high’ of the initial learning or knowledge. When in reality, it’s complex problems he’s dealing with, and over simplifying matters. On top of that, you feel a bit of a fool for having the money taken and not agreeing or seeing what the rest of everyone else is seeing.

But maybe that’s the lesson it all. Knowing you don’t have to go with the flow, and realising a lot of things take time and effort, and can’t be reduced down to bumper sticker psychology.

Victoria Saucier
March 9, 2017 at 9:19 am

Excellent writing and meticulously crafted reflection of my own perspective. You are very good in observing and reflecting in a form that appeals to a large audience. Thank you for sharing.

Mario Miranda
March 9, 2017 at 9:20 am

Hey Noah! A few weeks ago I saw ” I’m not your guru” on Netflix. It is an amazing documentary. At one point it even made me cry. Tony Robbins comes across as sincere and committed to delivering real results to people’s lives. “I’m the real deal”, he says at one point. I had always wondered if I would benefit from attending one of his seminars (I’ve been reading and listening to his material for over 20 years). But my conclusion from watching “I am not your guru” was that I DO NOT need to attend one of his events. He mentions something to the effect that, if you are very hungry for change, you will benefit from his seminar. But there’s people who already have a foothold on progress and who are doing things daily to improve themselves. I’m not as hungry as the audience that attend his events, because I am working on myself every day. Sounds like the same happened to you. You’re already on a path doing things. You didn’t need to shock your system into change.
Great post, as always. Thanks,

March 9, 2017 at 9:31 am

This is fantastic!! It is SO empowering to use our power of choice. I love that you designed your own development day. I’m so over handing over my discernment to “guru” types. I’m all about life long learning AND there also comes a time when we have to captain our own ship. Bravo.

Wole from spokenTwice
March 9, 2017 at 9:32 am

As you yourself said, Tony Robbins is an awesome dude.

His ability to energise a crowd of 10,000 is amazing. For an event of that size, you should expect Tony to find a common ground that everyone can relate with. The disadvantage is that smart people will feel less satisfied.

You are one of such smart people 🙂

That’s why Tony upsells to his more personal, intimate programmes and that is the best way you can get the most value with Tony or in fact, any amazing guy.

As someone said, a crowd of quality, 10,000 is a performance.

March 9, 2017 at 9:36 am

Ahahaha, this is gold. You’re confirming a lot of what I’ve thought. I enjoy Tony Robbins from a distance – I thought “I Am Not Your Guru” was really well done, and you can see that he’s really passionate about what he does, and his people, his tribe, are really into it too.

And what I think something like that does is, it invites people to meet other people like themselves, in a warm, welcoming environment. I think paying the money is also actually an important thing, because it lets people feel invested, feel the pinch, and it lets everyone know that everyone else felt the pinch, too.

Every journey is ultimately inwards, everything is somehow about managing ego and confronting fear, and everything anybody needs to know, they can typically figure out for themselves by following first principles, chasing down the implications and seeking out feedback from others who have done the same.

Sometimes people need to pay money to hear affirmation from a big lovable guy with a booming voice, and get massaged by strangers and so on. I think I know myself well enough to know that that won’t do it for me, even though I appreciate very much that it might be life-changing for other people.

If you told me you were thinking of going for Tony’s seminar, Noah, I’d have told you that you wouldn’t have needed it. ? But maybe you needed to go, to figure that out for yourself. Life seems to be quite funny like that. Thanks for sharing!

March 9, 2017 at 9:37 am

Great article, Noah. You completely expressed everything I have thought about TR’s programs. There’s always been something that hasn’t fit with how I work on my own personal development.

I’m an introvert, through and through and just watching snippets from his events make me uncomfortable. I’m all for deeper relationships with less hype

Each to our own because what he offers works for many.

PS: Really appreciating the new direction you’ve been taking lately.

March 9, 2017 at 9:52 am

Sometimes the Emperor has no clothes!

March 9, 2017 at 9:39 am

Loved this. I walked out of Landmark Forum but also felt a responsibility to spend my time wisely afterward. I don’t regret it.

Luis Gellon
March 9, 2017 at 9:42 am

Hi Noah, in those shows, many people are given a “blue pill”, a brief answer that seems to solve the problem and it works for a while.
It feels great, but unfortunately, it doesn’t last as much as people yearn for.
In my experience, the truth must be found in oneself by realising how we feel, what is causing that discomfort and learning to deal with it.
Asking the right questions will get you there.
Trust your guts. Ater all it is your life.

John Williams
March 9, 2017 at 9:43 am

Great post Noah. It takes incredible strength to walk away from something but it’s so necessary when that experience doesn’t help. Our time is our most important asset. We don’t get it back. Feeling dread during a personal development day is not helpful. There’s a difference between dread designed to make you better and dread that you know in your gut is waste. And if you gained clarity during TR’s show and your consequent personal dev day with steps to take you to the next level (which I’m sure you discovered) then you grew in ways that TR couldn’t have ever helped you with. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

Sarah Centrella
March 9, 2017 at 9:44 am

You should read my post “Tony Robbins Scam” after I saw him last week. It was a total rip off!

Sarah centrella
March 9, 2017 at 9:45 am

Oh forgot to give you my blog thoughtsstorieslife.com

March 9, 2017 at 9:45 am

Interestingly enough, I felt the same way when I attended a Joel Osteen church service at Lakewood Church in Houston where 30k+ folks attend every Sunday.

Thank you for this write up, homie.

It solidified a couple thoughts and I’m looking to incorporate a self development day myself.

Im not sure how you get into a Mastermind (the only question that surfaced for me), but I’m going to actively seek one as I go into a new chapter, in life and business, this April.

<3 ya!

March 9, 2017 at 9:53 am

I totally get it.

I’ve walked out of conferences before (most recently, the remarkably hard-selling and pitchy “Millionaire Mind 3-Day Seminar”. I went to my first Tony Robbins seminar in 2003, and have been to 3-4 more (including Date With Destiny – twice over a 6 year span).

I also wish Tony (and others in his organization) would tone down the sales pressure during UPW. He also doesn’t need to boast about his many houses, plane and successful people he coaches (we all know he is successful!). However, what I’ve found is that his teaching is worth it. UPW is a bit strange, since he crams so much into a small period it can get lost in the noise. Particularly in the first few hours it is a firehose of info that often doesn’t jive until things get explained over the next few days.

That said, I think it is a highly effective use of a few days…and you can easily get tickets for <$500 (you probably paid for special VIP seating with your $2K ticket, right?).

If you really want to go deep, Date With Destiny is where it is at. There is no sales pitches at that event, and over the course of the week, great things happen. I've also made lifelong friends through his events.

So I can relate to everything you are saying…but hope that you give his programs another try at some point. BTW – I have no vested interest in anything Tony does…I just want to vouch for the power of his teaching (assuming you can get past the salesy-ness of it at UPW!).


BTW: I wrote my experience of Tony's DWD here: http://raviraman.com/8-things-to-know-before-attending-tony-robbins-date-with-destiny/ and here http://raviraman.com/learned-tony-robbins-date-with-destiny/

Sarah Centrella
March 9, 2017 at 10:54 am

so glad to know I’m not the only one!!! http://www.thoughtsstorieslife.com/2017/03/tony-robbins-tour-scam/

March 10, 2017 at 5:15 am

I can’t believe so many people are saying he needs to tone down the sales pitches and upsells. I’ve heard him on the podcast tour (James Altucher, Tim Ferris, Lewis Howes etc) and in every episode he’s said his group of 30 companies do $5bn in sales, and he has 1200 employees.

No one blinks but that is $4mm revenue per employee! Even with technology, heaps of freelancers, consultants, agencies, outsourcing or sub-contractors, that is just an INSANE level of business efficiency.

That means his average company is 40 employees and $200mm revenue!

For comparison FB, does $27bn in sales and has 17,000 staff, or about $1.6mm/employee. FB is hailed as a model of insane efficiency and self-serve selling at scale, plus a monopoly in it’s niche, a licence to print money, one of the most successful businesses of this generation.

So how has Tony created a business empire that is 250% more efficient at generating money than FACEBOOK! Most of his businesses are training, resorts, information products, events, coaching, plus some random ones, but a high performing service business like VaynerMedia does $100mm in sales with 700 staff, or $140k/employee, which is normal for a business that size, industry and age. He is 28X(!) more efficient at personal branding, self-monetizing, selling from the stage and ‘hustling’ that Gary Vaynerchuck!

His business empire would make it big enough to be in the Fortune 500! A man’s personal brand and business acumen has made him a from scratch billionaire within 40 years and owner of one of the Fortune 500!

I like his stuff, but knowing the above, would love to attend his Business Mastery seminar. It seems no one who interviews him ever asks about this? How did he start? How did he earn his first $1mm? How did he get to $10mm? $100mm? $1bn? 5 companies? 15 companies? What did he learn along the way?

Some might say it’s a slip and he means 12,000 employees (making it a much more realistic $400,000/employee, but no business owner in the world doesn’t know how many staff are on their payroll, and especially not be wrong by over 10,000.

Am I going crazy? Did no one else notice this???

March 9, 2017 at 9:55 am

The content in this post is good. But the taco bullet points are GREAT!

John Sonmez
March 9, 2017 at 9:55 am

Great post. At first as was like woah? Really? Then I realized I actually walked out of the last day of UPW.
I skipped the day with all of the health stuff because, well, what I am doing is working pretty damn well for me.
However, one thing to consider: DWD. I did DWD a couple years ago and that was the depth to were looking for with John at UPW.
UPW is a bit shallow by comparison.
I probably won’t go to another UPW but I would definitely consider DWD again.
Amazing experience.
Also, I hate their sales technique… really is timeshare salesman shit.
But Tony is awesome!

March 9, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Totally agree….DWD is remarkable…and “pitch free”. I’ve been twice in 6 years (second time, my wife came as well).

March 9, 2017 at 9:58 am

Thanks for sharing your perspective on this and I think it’s pretty brave of you to turn your back on the situation. When you’re surrounded by a few thousand raving fans, it must not be easy to break the group-think and walk out the door. I think that implies more bravery than the alternative.

March 9, 2017 at 10:03 am

I have the same misgivings about TR (and I’ve never attended and event). When I saw his “Docu-advertorial” on Netflix “I am not your guru” I was completely turned off. Good for you for walking out. Did they actually give you a refund?

Tony The Tiger
March 9, 2017 at 10:16 am

Yes! How painful was the refund process?

March 9, 2017 at 10:06 am

Let’s be honest Noah. 99% of the people who attend these motivation rah rah seminars are losers who are there to get their hit of motivation dopamine for a few days, then they’re on to the next event/YouTube video/self help book with ZERO action.

Tony Robbins has made a career out of feasting on these people. Good for him and Tai Lopez and all the rest that do so.

Aaron Sylvan
March 9, 2017 at 10:09 am

I know several people who are super-excited by Tony Robbins (read: spent 5 figures on him), and none of them are achieving anywhere near their own goals. Could be coincidence, since my “sample size” is very small, but I take this as a very serious strike against him. The “feel-good” stuff can be helpful, for those whose confidence is the problem, and maybe he can help some people with basic social skills… but I think an aspiring entrepreneur would do better at a workshop about lean startups, or a professional would do better by honing their skills and contact network within their chosen arena. No amount of “empowerment” can help someone who’s trying to become wealthy but making lousy business decisions.

Rohan Bhardwaj
March 9, 2017 at 10:13 am

It takes courage to write such article. This is great. Most of the times people go and console themselves so that it seems their money was worth.

Nothing is for everyone.

Nice to see a review from different perspective. Kudos Noah.

Kelly Schulte
March 9, 2017 at 10:20 am

This could not be more true! I, too, left his event at like 4 PM on day one. Your depiction of the singing and dancing AND massaging had me in tears. all the hoopla was embarrassing for me and detracted from the core messaging of the event.

Lisette Carrithers
March 9, 2017 at 10:22 am

Noah, a little info on the length issue you mentioned. It isn’t random and it isn’t just to get more sales info in. TR does it for the same reasons cults and the military do. Longer term shared experiences bond us to a group. Whether that group is hostages, or addicts, or self-helpers. We, as human beings, are biologically wired to be ‘joiners’. It is a cliché that recovering alcoholics find religion. They trade one tribe for (hopefully) a less destructive one. Have you ever spent time at a conference where you are an outsider? It can be miserable to even find common ground to talk about something (ps. I’m an extrovert so it isn’t about meeting new people, at least not for me.) That was part of the reason he did his fire walking stuff. Group experience + Difficult task = Life time bonding. I’m sure TR has studied this stuff.

March 9, 2017 at 10:25 am

The most important voice in our head is our own. Too often we “should” all over ourselves because of what others might think of our decisions. As a young girl, I had no voice and as a result someone took advantage of me sexually. Had I been able to use my voice I would have said something like, “Oh hell no!” and possibly had a very different life as a result. This one event does not define me, but it is a great example of how I (and sadly, too many others) have been unable to find and use their voice because too many others’ voices bang around in our heads.
“You be a good girl now and mind your manners.”
“This seminar is AWESOME!”
“You’re so lucky to have that job!”
…or my favorite BS comments I’ve heard from other women (which completely blows my mind, because they’d NEVER say these things to men)
“The grace with which you accept this position will affect your ability to move up in the organization” — response to my attempt to negotiate a better starting salary when they offered me the lowest rate on the scale
“We’re going to move ahead with love” — response when I was told to apologize to the head of another department after I complained about that dept’s staff being completely unprofessional and belligerent rather than cooperative and helpful when asked for specific assistance (to unlock a door when I had no key).

I’m happy that you found a way to get what you need and to be honest about it with not just yourself but the rest of us. Sharing your experience allows us to see how we, too, can survive being vulnerable when we make a decision that goes against the grain.


March 9, 2017 at 10:26 am

Awesome post Noah, and admire your decision to empower yourself. I live in Spain and recently a friend of mine invited to come with him to a Tony Robbins program in the UK, and even though I love his books, I think I will choose to have a similar self development day like you. Thanks and greetings from Catalunya.

Jesse Moskel
March 9, 2017 at 10:29 am

Some of my most powerful learning experiences came from the “worst” things… going to prison, working for a bum restaurateur…

I’d say you got your money’s worth, on balance!

As long as you don’t demand I massage strangers or dance on command, I’m all in for your next live event.

March 9, 2017 at 10:32 am

Great job in empowering yourself and being your own best “coach”. It’s so true that our own path, our own instincts are the best to follow. I’m inspired by your willingness to listen deeply and trust your inner knowing. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Anonymous Poster ?
March 9, 2017 at 10:35 am

I wish you highlighted the refund. I had a great time but realized it was not for me, so left early with a refund. Which really makes the event more balanced. Also, I left because if you have listened to Personal Power, and taken it to heart, you don’t need this event. It’s for people who need 4 days of Tony’s energy to get started. So I left. With a refund.

March 9, 2017 at 10:43 am

“For many of his attendees, it seems there are deep-seated issues with a lack of love, and the belief that they are not enough.”

Sounds like these guys could have spent their $2000 on 6 months’ worth of weekly sessions with a trained psychotherapist and made some real progress on those issues?

March 9, 2017 at 10:48 am

Your article was as long-winded and superfluous as the event. A massage while others were getting something from the event is disingenous to those who would write a more informed article after they completed the several day event.

Tony had to fluff to get several days while you had to fluff to get a 2,068 word article to rank for SEO purposes using Tony’s name to get more reaction.

Who is the weaker of the species?

March 9, 2017 at 10:53 am

Finally, a brutally honest post on the self-help industry. I’ve been to one of these seminars and luckily I had read Robert Cialdini’s Influence. You’d be amazed at the number of times they pull the psychological levers to persuade people. People run at the back to purchase those discounted seminars and courses.

Thanks for sharing your experience, Noah. I reckon Tim Ferriss once said he was able to meet with Jack Canfield or his publisher during UPW that helped me to skyrocket his marketing for ‘The 4HWW’. So I’d presume someone of your stature would also try to get a similar ROI by attending Tony’s event through networking rather than hoping for those breakthrough moments which are best suitable for the type of people who are literally fueling the growth of the $10B self-help industry.

What’s even more fascinating (to me) is that people are dropping 5 grand for Date With Destiny which is completely outlined in his book Awaken The Giant Within. Either people attending seminars don’t read and take actions on his books, or they are ignorant of the power of designing their environment because the seminar environment (hoopla dance, massage, clap, roar, etc) is not what real life looks life (at least for 98% of attendants I’d guess).

Once again, thumbs up for sharing your experience with us, Noah!

March 9, 2017 at 10:57 am

I am so glad you wrote this article. I’ve recently started listening to you and as a woman who is not 20 or 30…. or 40, I sometimes find your style a little hard to take but always gain some knowledge. How many times have I felt alone in the “Is this guy for real…. what is everyone seeing that I’m not seeing…? Regarding Tony, not you. It feels cultish but I do gain knowledge in small bits and in my own time reading his materials. I couldn’t take a whole seminar. Thanks for sharing and being honest.

Nathaniel Solace
March 9, 2017 at 10:59 am

So well said, dude. I am a HUGE TR fan, but actually don’t feel called to his events the same way as I feel called to just put his principles (gathered from books and videos) into practice! 🙂 I love your way of digesting your experiences and sharing them with us, thank you!

Rick Merriam (@rickmerriam)
March 9, 2017 at 11:09 am

I have to start by telling you how much I’ve enjoyed your podcast. I’m in the process of creating a physical product that will have a significant impact on plantar fasciitis in just one application. So as you can imagine, the episode with Dustin was super informative. Thanks.

In 1994, I did a ‘firewalk’ with Tony Robbins. It was at a 3-day event. At the time, I couldn’t afford the price tag for the whole thing. So I only attended one day.

Last year, I listened to an interview with Derek Sivers on Ferriss’s podcast. At one point they talked about having read Awaken The Giant Within when they were in their twenties. And when read at the right time, the impact that a book can have. I could relate with all of that. I read Awaken The Giant Within in 1993 (I was 23). And to this day, I feel like it changed my life for the better.

Ten years after attending my first event, I had a unique opportunity to attend Unleash The Power Within for free. Since I was in a different place going in, the whole event didn’t have anywhere near the same impact. In fact, after I completed the firewalk with a friend who had never had an opportunity to experience all that comes along with Robbin’s event – we left.

Thanks for such an honest take on attending Robbin’s event.

March 9, 2017 at 11:10 am

This pretty much sums up the way I feel at your webinars.

(just kidding!!!)

March 9, 2017 at 11:18 am

This was a blast to read. I recently watched I’m Not Your Guru and thought it was an interesting event. I appreciated your openness and honesty about what you saw and felt. I especially liked how you developed your own motivational seminar. Way to make taco’s out of a “bad” situation!

March 9, 2017 at 11:20 am

You should have stayed for the firewalk at the very least bro! (I know, I know, he takes forever building it up.)

I attended my first UPW at San Jose last year. I’m the same as you, very skeptical at first. But I figured that I was there and I was just going to live it, and when you focus on what you *need* from the event then you get it. If you focus on the *waste* then that’s what you get.

Mary Catherine George
March 9, 2017 at 11:25 am

This is why I love you!! Really – I totally feel your sensibilities and while I appreciate Tony Robbins’ books and training – I have never felt that his training would suit me either. The dynamic of the seminars is overwhelming. Thank you for sharing this – I so appreciate your views. Sincerely, Mary Catherine

Kimba Green
March 9, 2017 at 11:28 am

I agree with you but thought it was just me expecting too much. I want the meat! Now I don’t even listen to webinars because they never get to the meat.

Sally R Good
March 9, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Love the avatar pix

Mark-John Clifford
March 9, 2017 at 11:43 am

Hi Noah,
I’ve known Tony for years. Back when I was running my investment business I would send new brokers to his seminars. They would come back all pumped up and get to work. About 6-8 weeks later the bottom dropped out from what they learned from Tony.

Why? Because if you’re not Tony what he teaches you only works for a short time. Without a great deal of support from Tony, by buying his CD’s or Tapes back then you would fail.

It all comes down to DNA. There aren’t many people like Tony. Everyone that goes expects to become Tony. When it doesn’t happen they are depressed and pissed off. It doesn’t have to do with Tony himself as much as what and how he teaches.

What you did was the best thing you could have done. Walk away and make it on your own. Congrats.

Russell Markowitz
March 9, 2017 at 11:43 am

I was a bit suspicious of your theme here. When I began reading, I was almost certain that you were just attempting to hook the readers by openly opposing Tony Robbins. However, reading all the way through I’ll tell you that we concur, and that I completely respect your point of view. Thanks for this article!

FD Thornton
March 9, 2017 at 11:46 am

I’ve never attended a seminar nor finished one of his books. But I get what you’re saying. I find way more benefit in mediation and one on one communication.

March 9, 2017 at 11:47 am

Awesome read! Thanks for being so vulnerable about your experience

Mike Goncalves
March 9, 2017 at 11:53 am

Whether it’s TR or anyone or anything else, I believe we get what we choose to get out of any event or experience we’re a part of. Focus on the shitty and not so pleasing aspects of something, well then I guess we can expect to feel shitty and like it’s a waste of time. If however we choose to focus on the good stuff, the valuable take-a-ways and put those to work, not only do I believe there’s more value in this approach, but I also believe it puts us in a position to win. Guess it’s all in what each person decides to focus on… “This guy has a weird clap” – why anyone would focus on that is weird to me. I much rather focus on the question you mentioned that was asked during the seminar, “What are you scared of right now? How can you move towards that? Discomfort is your growth!” I’m thinking if I spend my time focusing on these questions versus “why TR claps weird”, I may get better answers and therefore better results for my life. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me. There will always be good take-a-ways and not-so-good take-a-ways… I much rather focus on and dedicate my time to focusing on what has the potential of helping me and disregard the rest. Thanks for your two cents Noah, thought I’d share mine here as well – Cheers!

March 9, 2017 at 11:59 am

I agree with you Noah. Real change comes with putting in the work over time and with real effort. There are no silver bullets or “quick fixes”. By attending a TR Seminar you might leave with a few nuggets of info but the real itch your trying to scratch tugging at your heart strings will be found the way you ended your retreat. One-on-one with a real friend or mentor. Personally, I would never pay $2k for a three day work shop that 10k people will be attending.

Spot on write up.

P.S. What’s up with that clap???

Pk Hrezo
March 9, 2017 at 12:00 pm

I get what you’re saying. I’ve seen so many TR videos that I don’t think he could do anything differently at a live seminar to really impress me unless he took personal interest in my life.
It just depends on where you are in your journey. Like you said you can see how some would benefit from it.
Personally I’d never walk out on something I spent $2k on cuz I’d be determined to find something of value, but that’s my wallet speaking, not yours. Maybe your take home value was just that: empowerment to call your own shots regardless of price tags.
There’s a whole lotta worth in that knowledge alone.

Roger Williams
March 9, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Thank you for your vulnerability, Noah.

I find comfort in realizing this is why I refund most of my purchases form Appsumo – I am better off doing it myself.

March 9, 2017 at 12:49 pm

I also agree with that. Did not finish the 1000$ a month course. Did not ask for a refund, was not so expensive. Maybe I should.

Martin Messier
March 9, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Hey Noah,

Thanks for sharing this. Having been a Tony student for over 17 years, I found this sentence liberating:
“Empowered to make choices about what I want, and empowered to turn down the things I don’t.”

With that sentence, you put yourself on equal footing with Tony and took me right along with you.

Thanks, and tacos to you!



March 9, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Tony Robbins is a fantastic business man.
Its events – and maybe its coaching – are everything but targeting to solve people issues deep down.
It’s indeed superficial. It’s indeed cheesy. It’s indeed intended to sell more. And more and more again.
What a “coach” would gain by helping people and make the sick being cured, when you can just make all the helpless feel more helpless…. but not when they are living your so called “coaching”, the only rare moment on their life when they feel “loved”, when they feel “enough” (to take your words).

Robbins strategy is not to help people.
Robbins strategy is to make people addict to himself, so that they pay for more, and therefore increase the addiction which goes with more payment, and so on…

Salman Ahsan
March 9, 2017 at 12:51 pm

I started reading your content last month…looks like I’ll stick around for long 🙂 Your material is pretty transparent without fluffs. I dig bro.

March 9, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Thanks for writing this article, Noah. Although focused on your experience with Tony, the most valuable aspect of this article is the permission to quit. Better yet, permission to admit failure and move on.

Tony is a huge presence and recognizing the failure of the event takes courage. Most of us won’t even fail trying to ask someone out on a date, or asking friends for one dollar. (Thanks for that exercise. It changed my life.)

I’ve just recently allowed myself to fail. In fact, I’ve realized that not failing faster is a waste of precious time. Money can always be recovered. Time cannot. A money-back guarantee is nice to have. The willingness to realize when something is not working, admit failure, and move on is infinitely more valuable.

Thank you for adding your credibility.

Time is precious. Fail faster.

Chris Burke
March 9, 2017 at 12:54 pm

You quit and you left before the miracle happened
You went back to your “comfort zone” with your favorite warm milk and cookies.
This post post should of been how you lost your ego and changed your life but all we get is another sushi eating quitter’s perspective. Sad

Jordan Harbinger
March 9, 2017 at 12:57 pm

So glad you posted this. I felt like a chump for walking out, but then I remembered I dedicate my whole life to growth and helping others grow, and the seminar was largely fluff. I also remember hanging out that day which solidified our friendship in the way that it has, which made the time spent clapping and dancing all worthwhile. Much love to you for being so open my man!

March 9, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Thank you for sharing this. Honesty is so scarce.

March 9, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Nothing is for everyone. You do you. No shame in walking out. We are making decisions at every moment in our life. You made one at that time and you became who you are as a result of that, directly or indirectly.

If you had went for the seminar in the first place, you would not be walking out and spend the rest of the time doing what you did.

Keep on writing all these awesome stuff, Noah. I’m a big fan of TR but if both of you are in town, I would go see you 🙂

Bruno Bourget
March 9, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Man I thought I was the only one noticing his “clapping”… Also, any self help seminar, course or whatever shouldn’t accept more than 25 people. Not if you really want to go deep.

Great thoughts Noah, really appreciate it.

March 9, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Noah, this real article is why I like your content and I am turned off by how Tim Ferriss content evolved over the years. I think Tim’s content feels less real to me. I mean, he has people that I can’t relate to at all, like Arnold and Tony Robbins. I mean, I think there good content to take away from anyone but just to keep it short, your stuff (new podcast, articles, youtube). Seems more real. Please keep being like that. If you want to, or change 🙂

Arkadiy B
March 9, 2017 at 3:03 pm

As someone who had gone to TR events twice (UPW and Business Mastery) and haven’t paid for it (a relative paid) I can’t agree with you more, basically 99% of what you describe is exactly how it is.

Have I gotten some value out of it? Absolutely! Is it the best use of my time and someone else’s money? 100% NOT.

Also what irks me is Tony’s (and I respect and admire the guy) insistence on “integration and healing”…which basically goes against what every psychologist would say for the situation that people deal with.

Basically, there is too much cheese there and in the end, most people (I would surmise 95-99%) will revert to their old habits, issues, problems, fears and failures. Ra-ra, hugs, dancing and “whole room loves you” only get you so far (in my experience about a week or two at most) and in the end most people who come there are not prepared, or not supported to continue doing the hard work of self-development, facing their demons etc.

Dave G
March 9, 2017 at 3:20 pm

I attended a TR seminar over 20 years ago as part of a corporate sales meeting. It was well worth it for an afternoon. It was excellent for team building.

But, you’ve learned the most important lesson; take what you can use for you and DO NOT drink the cult kool-aid.

March 9, 2017 at 3:25 pm

I love the TACO bullets!

Personally I think it’s fine to walk out, leave early, not finish the book.

Sometimes you have to push through but if you are trying to get “turned on” and you feel “turned off” there is really no sense in hanging around.

I’m not a TR fan – no hate, just not a fan.

More hot on Mark Manson & Danielle LaPorte these days.

Sounds like you want an “intimate” 1 day workshop on “relationships”. Not sure where to tell you to go…

Did read “Choice Theory” by William Glassner recently and understand there are groups around that method.

Also really liked David Richo’s “How to be an Adult in Relationships”


Sally Good
March 9, 2017 at 3:52 pm

Good for you and congratulations for finding your own form of empowerment. After living both in San Francisco and Maui, I have encountered numerous types of self development. My premise is that no change occurs in the workshop because the purpose is to generate an emotion that has an addictive quality. And you sign up for the follow up seminar to feel that emotion again in a safe place. Just another opinion about the task of becoming your own best human.

Ben Hill
March 9, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Perhaps by walking out, you were the only one out of 10,000 that truly got something out of it. You immediately prioritized by connecting with friends and refocused your work life. Goals accomplished!
Way to have the stones to take action.

Mike Smith
March 9, 2017 at 4:57 pm

This was a great post. Big props for hitting publish. Not a lot of people have the balls to click publish on something that can be perceived as a hit piece (even though its not)

March 9, 2017 at 5:01 pm

I don’t know Noah, this post reminded me of the Napoleon Hill story about the gent who was drilling for gold and quit not knowing he was only 3 feet away! You could have been that close to achieving what you set out to but now you’ll truly never know. (I’ve just literally shook my head a muttered the word “shlepper” under my breath and I’m not even Jewish Noah!)

Anyway, I’m sure you know the story but for anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure. Check the below link out and read it, it’s well worth knowing.


As for TR, I don’t think he’s a charlatan like some of my fellow okdorkers are suggesting. He’s a game changer for some people, there’s no doubt about that! Unfortunately, he’s just evolved into a bit of a cheese ball over the years with his gay dancing and hooplars……..

Plus it’s gotta be said though, what the fuck is that clap about?? It reminds me of the time Brendan Fraser spazzed out when trying to applaud Robert Deniro at the Golden Globes. Instead it just looked like he was having a seizure…..for anyone who missed that one…….enjoy :o)


Great post though matey, can’t wait for the next podcast, blogs and YouTube vids!

Vince Burkhead
March 9, 2017 at 5:15 pm

Big Hairy balls. Who drinks Kool-Aid® anyway?

March 9, 2017 at 5:40 pm

Interesting comments. I like Tony Robbins for certain things. I don’t think you have to be weak or feeling unloved or whatever to get value – a lot of people are just looking for someone who has been there in order to get information to put good systems together. I think that’s the value of other people’s books, seminars, coaching, mentoring etc. It can’t take the place of YOU taking the next step though. I also think that without realizing a lot of people are looking for emotional experience as the foremost thing in contexts where it may or may not matter. If you go to a conference for information, and you primarily get emotional feel-good stuff instead, I think leaving is totally justified and may help push the market for more substance. Tons of recycled stuff out there as another reader mentions. I also think it’s kind of badass to be aware and evaluating whether you are getting what you are told you are getting and to say “Screw the sunk costs” and get on with inventing your own thing (self-development day) if you find yourself at that point. Sometimes you have to blaze your own trail.

March 9, 2017 at 5:43 pm

I wouldn’t have stayed, either. You stayed longer than I would have.

March 9, 2017 at 5:52 pm

It’s tough not to fall in love with the ra-ra crowd and enjoy the enthusiasm, but your insights mirrored my thoughts too. BTW, does your friend Tynan have a seminar? His quit quote is on the mark.

Vanessa Harris
March 9, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience Noah. And for having the courage to have your experience. I have attended all of Tony’s events and IMO Unleash the Power Within and Date with Destiny are both extraordinary. I don’t believe you need to be struggling to come away energized and filled with confidence. It’s not for everyone, yet if you embrace the experience I think everyone can find something valuable.

I notice a lot of ‘finally an honest review’ in the comments. There are honest reviews that also point to many positive outcomes.

For myself, I can say that Tony has literally changed my life. Through his books and tapes during the lowest point in my life, and by super charging it through his events when I was already at a wonderful place.

I encourage everyone to try it (UPW is great but Date with Destiny is extraordinary). For the price of a few nice meals out you could change your life. At worst you get to write a catchy article and get a more more click throughs to your website ?

Also, I use Sumo too – thank you ??

March 9, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Damn. I’ve been waiting for a review like this. I tried watching his documentary, but the whole thing seemed so cheesy and over the top. I thought maybe I was being harsh. Great post, great format. It’s nice to hear from someone that isn’t an unwavering true believer.

March 9, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Since I saw the subject line I had the idea you were gonna tell us you left because it inspired you to do something better, and you would advertise Tony. But I’m glad you kept the story real, it’s very relatable and refreshing.

March 9, 2017 at 6:41 pm

When his documentary came out on Netflix all my psychologist friends were ranting about it because they hate him.
Tony has some great stuff, and likely he helps plenty of people, but unfortunately the “motivation” world takes a lot of attention away from real solutions. We have thousands of researchers working day and night to solve these problems and we know what works and what doesn’t. Tony’s approach is 40+ years old and isn’t really grounded in the science.

Shane Sams
March 9, 2017 at 6:46 pm

Hey Noah. We recently went to Funnel Hacking Live and saw Tony speak. This was a 4-hour talk, a favor for Russell Brunson I suppose. We walked out about 3 hours in for ALL the reasons you said. I did not feel embarrassed walking out lol. I think some people do need that, but we quickly realized the same thing you did: it wasn’t for us. And that’s OK. The thing I did learn from it was how to structure a speech. Tony is a wizard with formatting. The claps, the dancing, the engagement, the random comments to make you laugh. He even did this neat trick with the big screens. He would be on screen so you would watch him there…he would move around the room to different parts….and the camera would turn off, so you’d be forced to look for him somewhere else. Subtle way to make you wake up and say “where did he go” then after a minute, the camera came back on, drawing your eye to the screen. Rinse and repeat. But for us it was just too superficial, to surface level, and to…general. Every segment felt like a fortune cookie. Could apply to anyone and anything. The people around us loved it, good for them. But, we cut our losses and bailed out. We went to dinner with some friends, had a blast, talked about life and business and got more out of that dinner than his entire speech.

March 9, 2017 at 6:47 pm


March 9, 2017 at 6:49 pm

OMG, thank you for not making me feel bad for never wanting to attend one of TR’s events. I saw him at the women’s conference, and the room was so loud, the air was so cold and the requests were so silly that it was distracting more than anything else.

Not loving the idea of a TR event is like not loving The English Patient. It’s an unpopular position.

March 9, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Thank you for the honest Review, Noah. I read your stuff since, I believe, the Last 4 years.
I have a friend that visits Events like that every couple months (3000€-5000€) that are run by Junesse, a MLM scam company.
After that He always claims that He is reborn and a better Person, until his live catches him again after a couple days and he doesnt do anything to Change his Life , Just tries to make enough Money to visit the next Event.
I feel kinda Bad for him but I feel helpless in his case… He doesnt want to listen and feels upset when I and others Tell him how WE feel about him throwing his really hard earned Money in the pockets of These scammers .
I feel that These Events are like a drug for him…
Has anyone an idea how WE can help him?
Thank you

Matt Rosinski
March 9, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Your post rocks Noah! It all comes down to product market fit. Tony sells something that a certain section of the population desperately need in a way that he is uniquely able to deliver. Apparently you don’t desperately need what you thought Tony was offering…

… and that’s ok. This goes for a lot of courses and seminars we have all purchased at one time or another. Intuitively, we often already know what we should do but want someone else to tell us to do it. Taking personal responsibility for positive and focused action is what I think your post is all about. Walking out or quitting something that is not the right fit for us is a wicked smart lesson for the life of an essentialist.

March 9, 2017 at 7:59 pm

Thanks for this Noah but seriously, you don’t enjoy random dudes touching you but you get a massage afterwards from a random stranger? Ok I get it you love TR but you don’t like how he runs the show, also I really feel that it would’ve been more objective if you finish the entire event before giving a full assessment of it but i am not sure if that is included in the refund details.

Either way thank you for this 🙂

March 9, 2017 at 8:04 pm

Looks like you got what you needed.

Noah Kagan
March 9, 2017 at 8:34 pm

Holy moly I haven’t seen your name in forever. I don’t need anything. Just wanted to share my story. Bit surprised it was this “responsive.”

March 9, 2017 at 8:11 pm

Brutality honest. Thank you. I don’t value TR less. I value you more.

Chairman Meow
March 9, 2017 at 9:19 pm

It’s amazing when you get to the realization you can do whatever the you want (within the context of morality)! Thank you for reinforcing that reality.

Tim Barker
March 9, 2017 at 9:28 pm

Hi Noah,

Great article, my wife and I are headed to UPW in two weeks in LA which will be our first TR seminar. I am trying hard to keep an open mind and not pre judge the seminar based on your post. My guess is if you have never worked on improving yourself, TR’s seminar are huge. I had a life correction 4 years ago and now I am always working on taking my life to the next level and hope to score a few nuggets or “Hmmmm’s” from UPW. If TR can get me to walk on a hot bed of coals (fire walk) it will be worth it.

FYI for those of you who want to attend a TR conference they offer “buy one get one fee”.

March 9, 2017 at 9:44 pm

This is excellent. I’ve totally done the personal development walk out. (A meditation retreat that changed my life one year. And the nexxxxxt, not so much). Thanks for giving me permission to let that shit go! ??

March 9, 2017 at 9:45 pm

Ps… that was supposed to be an adorable emoji. Not questioning question marks

Mick Falci
March 9, 2017 at 10:19 pm

Like you, I’m kind of in awe of Tony Robbins, but I’d never attend one of his events. And had you asked me, I’d have asked what a guy like you could possibly think he’d get from one of ’em.

You know that old saying about how we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with? I think that for most people at his seminars, Tony Robbins is probably the only truly exceptional person with whom they’ve ever had even a peripheral interaction, and he offers maybe the first real glimpse they’ve ever had of the possibilities of a world beyond their scared-rabbit day-to-day experience.

His job is to change the states of those people, to shake ’em out of their comfortable-but-deadly little boxes. And since he’s only got three days, he has to do it with dancing and touching and inspirational screaming. And it probably at least partially succeeds in waking a lot of those people up and giving ’em a little push.

But you’ve already done all that early work–and not in three days, but over years. And in the process of so doing, you’ve faced many of your fears, achieved some success and met hundreds of exceptional people.

So again, the question I’d have asked you is, what could an AP student possibly hope to gain from taking remedial English?

(Another question I’d have asked you is if there’s a better taco joint in this town than Tyson’s on Airport, because I haven’t found it.)

March 9, 2017 at 10:41 pm

I also greatly respect TR. heard him at an event last year and was so impressed with how he wasn’t just going through the motions, but was all in. Many of the speakers I heard that day were “acting,” but he was completely present.

Like you, I wasn’t down for the massage, hugging, constant dancing. But then I have friends and family to turn to for human touch… and from the looks of it, many other attendees do not. It must fill some need for them.

I have been thinking about attending UPW but never pushed the button. I think deep down I was afraid I’d be disappointed.

You rock.

March 9, 2017 at 11:48 pm

I love the idea of creating your own personal development day.
Like… monthly.
It could save you $50k in seminar fees (I’ve paid them and I still super respect Tony), and you could see a 100% focus on you and how you’re going to streamline stuff and add even more value to your circles and a wider world.
I’m on a cruise ship doing a form of that right now. While everyone else is doing tours on a gorgeous Thai island, I’m still on board with selected readings to continue, further strategy to clarify, and a sudoku on standby in case I need a quick wrestle for a mental win.
Started the day with a super gym session and an awesome breakfast overlooking a stunning archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand. Great environment for lots of introspection and nutritious brain-feeding.
The great thing about going to a Tony event, is when you realise that “all you need is within you now” (like create your own event), and then you “decide” to take the time to invest in yourself (not by buying more stuff but by doing the work) … and then “take massive action” in doing the hard stuff on yourself and not the easy credit paid magic pill of someone building your to do list for you.
Nice article. Thanks Noah.

March 10, 2017 at 1:40 am

Tony has written some interesting things and the for people starting on a journey of self discovery he may be a good start. However, the Tim Ferris book “4-hour workday” changed my life when I realized someone wasn’t just going to talk to me about changing my life – they were going to SHOW me how to change my life. I still respect Tony Robbins, but now I cringe watching him talk about himself and trying to sell his brand. It just looks so shallow now compared to all the great contributions I am getting from people like Tim Ferris for just the cost of a book every couple of years.

March 10, 2017 at 2:26 am

Good post. Ballsy! And a great idea for Personal Development Day. I have to come up with something similar for at least part of the day on Sundays…

jordan flynn
March 10, 2017 at 2:37 am

This was awesome to read Noah.

So interesting.

I’ve been to UPW myself and had some agreement to your comments.

I’m from Aus and Tony didn’t even show up for 2 out of the 4 days of our UPW…

All new comers did not know that this was going to happen until after we bought a ticket and found out on the end of the first day..

Apparently he never does 2 days in a row to save his throat because he’s nearly lost his speaking capabilities?

That’s what he told us anyways..

Carol Bell
March 10, 2017 at 2:58 am

Loved reading this… agree with your observations totally ?

Nathan Hewitt
March 10, 2017 at 3:19 am

Great post. It’s nice to read a critical view on Tony’s seminars. I went to UPW London 4 years back. I was 23 and obsessed with Tony at the time. My introverted self stood way back from the crowd, and I didn’t want to interact with anyone. Whenever Tony asked to hug a stranger, I’d run to the bathroom and then come back. I had to put on a fake character for three days just so I didn’t come off as a stuck up ass hole. But, I still learned a lot during the event and made my own personal breakthroughs.

Thanks again for this great pos.


March 10, 2017 at 3:29 am

Can’t remember where I read the following but every self-help book/course comes down to these themes:

1. You create your own life
2. You create the way you feel
3. Act “as if” you already had the quality you wanted
4. Find your purpose
5. Set goals
6. Live in the present
7. The power of attraction (hmm…)
8. Get out of your comfort zone.
9. Practise gratitude
10. Ask
11. Model others’ success
12. Ignore the haters.

And I would add the daddy of them all, “Take action”. You don’t need more information, you need to take more action and figure it out as you go along (just like everyone else). Avoid being a “permanent student”.

There, just saved you $2K 🙂

March 10, 2017 at 4:30 am

Wow! I never doubted your courage.. But this takes balls.

Really appreciate your candid perspective.. I’m sure this will be valuable to Tony.

I participated I one of your events.. And it definitely was life changing.

Please continue with keeping us enlightened the truth.


Troy Dean
March 10, 2017 at 6:02 am

I had a similar experience at Michael Gerber’s Dreaming Room event. I left at lunch on Day 2 and spent Day 3 working on my business with some buddies by the beach and had massive breakthroughs.

You’ve just outgrown this kinda stuff Noah. You’re not his target audience.

Kudos for publishing this.

March 10, 2017 at 6:32 am

I was at the INC 5000 conference last year when they brought Tony in to spend just over 2 hours with us. I’ve read all his books and gone through his audio programs. I like what he has to say and his technique have worked for me, so I was interested in what you had to say. I kind of thought that you might be giving us a “fake” headline so that you could draw us in with an affiliate offer. But I was WRONG.

My respect for you Noah has taken a huge leap forward. You always tell the truth. My son who was at the INC 5000 event felt the same way as you and reading your post sounded like I was listening to him all over again.

You’re awesome. Thanks for being honest. I would like to hear more in a podcast.

A happy UPW repeat customer
March 10, 2017 at 8:17 am

Noah I first heard of you on the Tony Robbins Podcast. The podcast was Episode 10: Are you a wantrapreneur? And after that I bought quite a few of your products.

Last year I attended UPW at a time that I needed a a boost in motivation. I got exactly that, and I’m going back this year with my 15 year old daughter who needs the same.

Although Tony’s UPW events are fantastic, they may not match up with the needs and expectations of some of the people who attend. Thats why it is worth watching the video testimonials on his site and reading a few reviews first.

Noah I can’t help thinking that this article of yours is doing a bit of name dropping isn’t it, which is one of the things you accuse Tony of during UPW. Surely after Tony allowed you to be a guest on his Podcast you could show him a bit more respect and not go so public with your criticism.

UPW events ARE fantastic, perhaps you were the wrong kind of person to go.

March 14, 2017 at 12:54 am

Exactly. Kind of ironic to go there with a goal of great relationships and then you do something like this to your own client. Not something I would do just because I didn’t like their method. If it’s not for you it’s not for you. But honor the relationship you do have, especially when you are benefiting from it.

March 10, 2017 at 8:45 am

I’ve been reading and listening to Tony’s work for thirty years. I love Tony. I didn’t like UPW. It was too long, and too crowded. Tony’s theory is that you will learn more at one of these seminars because of the intensity. I disagree. I need repetition to learn. One of Tony’s favorite quotes is “repetition is the mother of skill”.

I was ready for a refund while I stood in line for over two hours just to get my meeting credentials. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. I stayed the entire time because of my travel commitments, but would have been better served to follow Noah’s strategy.

Your mileage may vary.

Ian Mayman
March 10, 2017 at 8:48 am

I think it is stretched out to feel like it’s worth it, but also to promote other products and services. I wonder where Tony makes the most profit, off the webinar or off the promoted products & services.

I don’t understand what Tynan means, surely the opposite is true… as in “If you quit, you probably aren’t trying enough new things.”

Andy Fuller
March 10, 2017 at 9:34 am

A great, bold review Noah, it brought back memories of when I attended a UPW event in London back in 2005!

I discovered Tony Robbins when I picked up a copy of his UPW book for £1 (!!) in a discount shop where I live in Bath UK. I read it and it helped me give up smoking. Two years after this and I was travelling up to London to attend “one of the last live events he’ll do in the UK”.

From what you described of the event you attended, it hasn’t changed much – except the ‘Firewalk’? Did you not barefoot it over a hot bed of red hot coals on the first night?

Overall I found it inspirational and life-changing at that time in my life, and it helped me “push through the fear”

I did also walk out – but on the Sunday as Tony only did Friday and Saturday – and it was starting to get too salesy promoting his other events and alkalising products – but I had my fill and felt it was worth it (back then I did haggle the price down to £450 ($800)

Prithvi Raj
March 10, 2017 at 11:04 am

After a while, we don’t need Self Development Seminars. These guys don’t do any magic, we know most things that they say, we’ll feel pumped up for a bit.

All of us know the magic doesn’t happen in the seminar, but in making small shifts in our daily lives.

This same thing has happened to me 2-3 times at this point, I now know that there is nothing in these seminars any more. Not that I’ll never need it, but for the next 5 years, there is nothing to do except take big action.

March 10, 2017 at 11:07 am

well balanced. Thank you for spending the time to establish your credibility as a critic.

Michael Hobson
March 10, 2017 at 11:32 am

He didn’t take an refund, which believe is part of same day back out option. Imagine would have certainly considered getting my 2k fee back if event didn’t work out. ?

Eddy Baller
March 10, 2017 at 12:59 pm

I walked out of an event with my gf. First I went to the washroom, decided I didn’t want to go back, then texted her to meet me know the hall. We were on the same page, and both giggled as we walked away like kids escaping from class.

Keshav Kumar
March 10, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Such events and hopeful messages only work if we actually take some damn action. Otherwise, go get ready for the next hole in your pocket.

I personally believe that there’s no such problem that doesn’t have a solution. Still, if you don’t find a solution for a problem, it simply means that it was never a problem; but, you took it as if it was.

March 10, 2017 at 2:32 pm

I got a 3 day’er coming up in a couple weeks. I’m was thinking I might feel the same (but I’ll try to keep an open mind). I don’t really think I need it, I’m more there to support my fiancé , who’s signed up as well. If it doesn’t do anything for her, its ayahuasca time. Lol. That’ll peel back a few layers. 🙂 Thanks for your feedback Noah. You rock!

Noah Kagan
March 10, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Groovy Jimmy. Report back how it goes. Always find interesting when different people have opposing opinions on the same movie or same restaurant.

March 10, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Love you broheim. This is epic! Great post!!

Noah Kagan
March 10, 2017 at 3:07 pm

Thanks Mr. D!

Holly Edwards
March 10, 2017 at 5:59 pm

Interesting article. I love Tony’s books etc like you, but when I saw “I Am Not Your Guru” I thought he was disgusting. Super churchy. I imagine the emotional hang over afterwards is brutal. I attended Sumocon last year. Saw the offer never having been to a conference before, loved it. Seriously, it changed me in a good way., except I am a conference junky now. Can’t wait to go this year. Hope more women come this time.

Rik Hudson
March 10, 2017 at 9:21 pm

Refreshing perspective on arguably (obviously) one of the greatist motivational speakers of our time. Perhaps not.

March 10, 2017 at 11:29 pm

Noah, I love your writing style. Have any specific authors influenced you? I didn’t find myself skipping over anything.

March 11, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Hi Everyone

I’ve read nearly all the comments on here regarding TR and his events etc and it just reinforced what i i already knew along time ago. I personally know quite a few people who have literally spent thousands on similar Business courses by other so called Business Guru’s and one guy even calls himself the Business Prophet! Go Figure! They can be very charismatic guys who basically lie through their teeth about their credentials just to suck you in to their programs and now most of them who subscribed to their programs are Broke!

Personally I’ve watched loads of his videos and read loads of books also. I know very close friends who have been to TR Seminars Time after time. I have never been myself only because I know i could see through most of the hoo haa ra ra superficial stuff. I have a great idea of what it would be like having researched Personal development , motivational speakers, for many years . I’m not saying TR is a Bad guy or anything, i still think he’s one the best out there when it comes to this line of work. However, about 90% people are unplugged and when they come to these events and spend loads of money it certainly does give them a high and them leaving at the end, they feel fulfilled and positive etc, but it’s only temporary.

So to cut a long story short, every one of you has this power to better yourself in every area of your life/work. You must look within! Most of the answers lie within each of us. So to help you all, I would truly advise you to read two books. In my humble opinion these are two of the best books ever written. 1/ what to say to when you talk to yourself by Shad Helmstetter. 2/ The power of the subconscious mind by joseph murphy.

Lastly, If you pay close attention to what is out there regarding self help books, videos, Law of attraction, Personal Development and all these self help courses and motivational speakers, what do they have in common now?? They are all using word “Consciousnesses” Yes Folks this is the Buzzword and the Bandwagon they are all jumping on. Well, the authors of the two books I mentioned talked about consciousness in the early 60’s!! Mostly everything you read about in this day will be found therein. Trust me, You will know what I am talking about. I believe you will all benefit in some way or another. You can thank me later. : )

March 11, 2017 at 2:25 pm

quick thanks to Noah for his article and for being upfront and honest. Respect!

Gary Dean-Atkins
March 19, 2017 at 12:57 am

Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr Maxwell Maltz and The New Psycho-Cybernetics edited
by Dan.S.Kennedy will give you all the answers! The original written in 1960!! The key however is to target the subconscious limbic brain where all our habits and behaviours are stored. ” Change the self image and you change the personality and the behaviour” Dr Maxwell Maltz.

Excellent article! Thank you.

March 21, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Thanks for the recommendation of Psycho-Cybernetics. Great book and I am thoroughly enjoying it!

March 11, 2017 at 5:43 am

Hi Noah,

I don’t think you are his target market. I wish no one was, but better focus on this reply and you.
From the effort you have already made to improve yourself before going to his seminar, I am not surprised compared to what you may have already read and experienced, TR experience must have been disappointing. As most people who posted here, I have also read one of his book and watched some videos on youtube.
I don’t remember when I first heard about TR, my instant problem with him is that to my senses it screams that he is dis-genuine, I am from Eastern Europe so the cultural differences don’t help either, but that first seconds impression tells me he is a narcissist and possibly worst. Also the fact that his content is not scientifically proven or that he is repackaging some 20-30 years old knowledge is also not very flattering for people who pay to see him when they could get better quality information for free.
I have decided to reply mainly to say a few words about your quest to be in great relationships. Let’s take the obvious out of the way – we all need to work on ourselves. I find readings about mental health and narcissism/codependency mandatory. I have this theory or observation that we only completely take over our lives in our hands in our 30’s and then for the first time we look at ourselves – the product of our parents, teachers, culture, education and we spend the next 30 years trying to become who we actually want to be while repairing and altering the initial prototype.
From your article I understand you’ve been on that journey for some time, so I wanted to encourage you, that sometimes beyond all good intentions relationships won’t work or the connection won’t happen. I find it a bizarre functionality of our architecture that we can develop (strong) feelings for people who won’t reciprocate. Two good quality people who have many things in common often lack chemistry, or just one of them will develop romantic feelings. Love is still a mystery and please don’t think in every case that there was something that you could have/should have done and you didn’t.

Jason Krautkramer
March 11, 2017 at 6:13 am

I went to a few of his seminars more than ten years ago. I was in a fragile state at the time in search of something to make me feel better about myself. In retrospect, I can see what happened, but at the time I was too caught up in the salesmanship and energy and I was not in a good place in my life and very depressed. He is the master of the upsell. I couldn’t afford the first conference, yet I signed up for the next one at a price I definitely couldn’t afford and then the next one. The energy and camaraderie are intoxicating, yet proved detrimental to me in the end as it thrust me into a manic episode probably due to lack of sleep and the energy. I was not manic depressive, only depressed. It is not necessarily his fault, but for someone in my condition trying to get out of a severe depression, it ended up not being the best thing in my life.
The material is interesting and possibly useful, but I have soured on him ever since due to some bad memories.

Pedro Torres
March 11, 2017 at 7:28 am

For what i can see, your move was the right one. Tony Robbins seminars and programs feel like a religion, and he is almost a messiah for many people. I don’t say he has no wisdom to impart, but to be stuck in the same place for 3 days just pumping up your emotions… no. Its only a patch, not a solution. Go out and live! Experience! Travel! So, 2 thumbs up for you Noah.

paul kasper
March 11, 2017 at 9:01 am

I get the impression YOU needed the attention after reading what you did the next day. You recorded yourself for 90 minutes?! You went there to see what his special sauce was. there wasn’t any. He made 20million. You spent 3-4thousand. You got ripped. But the rippage allowed you to move forward.The pain of the money not well spent motivated you to do whatever you did and talk about whatever you talked about(to a friend) Fine tune your own seminars and get back out there!!! Oh, and increase the price! I just can’t believe some guy who gives self help seminars got suckered into one!

Jose Castro
March 11, 2017 at 10:33 am

Great post. I appreciate your candid experience and sharing it. It was actually on my Goal list of 2017, I feel plenty loved and since this seems to be the major theme of the event I think I will pass. Keep being real man, it comes through and I ( many more I am sure) love it. Cheers!

March 11, 2017 at 12:53 pm

1. Unleashed may not be the right workshop for-per the people you met at the event, it seems most of them are newbies and looking for motivations where they dont know how
You know lots of what he said already…

2. Possible Tony didn’t spend enough time to prepare his event-he has been busy promoting his event. He normally is kinda well organized I feel
3. Even a hit album wont have all songs that are ranked top 10 on billboard…
4. This type of event should include 1)principle course for 1 day; 2)real life application-group discussion for 2 days, etc…the takeaway points would be people repeat what they learn at the event on a daily basis…some how the rest 2 days fall apart it seems…

March 11, 2017 at 3:18 pm

Very honest, Noah. I attending a one-day Tony Robbins event in Dublin, Ireland two years ago. It was great fun. But I felt it was just like a sugar-high. Great for 20 mins but then you crash…

I get much more benefit from a solitary development day.

I also recommend consistent one-to-one coaching with someone you trust. I’d rather spend $5k on coaching over two or three years than dropping it on one day. It’s not the same as the sugar-high you get from Tony but I find the compounding effect of coaching over time much better than a seminar.

Ambrose WB
March 11, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Noah, you always keep if real and fresh. I admire that about you. There’s always been something about TR that didn’t sit right with me. But I’ve started to listen to some of his materials in the past year. And like you, after watching a documentary of UPW, I thought it was corny (and entertaining). Looking forward to checking out your content upgrade and coming up with my own PD day.

Odira Ndubuisi
March 11, 2017 at 6:32 pm

Great post man but I think this is a matter of personal opinion and preference. It is insane to imagine that every one of the 10,000 people that attended will get the value for their money. It is also unfair to think that nobody out of 10,000 people got their money worth.

Doug Crew
March 11, 2017 at 8:34 pm

Great post. I have never read any Tony but I have listened to podcasts and watched short videos. I kind of got the feeling you are describing.
I have wondered what it was like on the inside of an event.
I am with a ministry that actually does deal with the deeper things with far less people and from a Christian perspective obviously.
I only mention this to say that your post gave me somethings to think about. For starters, I may be under valuing what we do!
Thanks for the post Noah.

March 11, 2017 at 8:35 pm

Noah, I appreciate you sharing your experience with the world because I know you didn’t have to. When most people are dissatisfied with something they usually don’t tell you why they just get up and leave. You walked in and you had every right to walk out without offering anyone a reason why you did it.

I’ve come to discover that all experiences are neutral and it is us who are giving it all the meaning it has. Our feelings and emotions are feedback mechanisms and many times we ignore how we’re feeling because we don’t want to push againts the status quo.

Experience is always autobiographical and the only thing that anyone can really do is to share what an experience was like for them. Everyone is at a different place in their journey. When I first read Anthony Robbins book entitled Awaken The Giant Within more than 20 years ago the information it contained was revolutionary for me. Today, although the information is still relevant it wouldn’t move the needle very much. I’m at a different level in my consciousness today than I was many years ago.

There was one line in that book that has always stuck with me “If you live your life for one year like others won’t you can have the type of life that others dream about.” To date, I still have not lived my life in this manner for one entire year.

We think we need more information, more motivation, more guru-ness but what we need is to take more action and more introspection.

Once Tony shares with the 10,000 attendees “How To Unleash The Power Within” what’s going to actually get them to do what they now know to do when Tony’s not standing on a stage in front of them?

A lot of people are drinking the Koolaid and no one is saying anything about it. We “ostrich-ly” stick our heads in the sand and pretend that we don’t see what we see.

So of course when you share your experiences many will feel like you’re a hater, uncommitted and a host of other things. I learned many years ago that feelings are not right or wrong …feelings just are. I honor your interpretation of your experience because it was your experience and there is no way I or anyone for that matter can invalidate it.

In your article, you went into great detail sharing with us how much work you’ve done on yourself. I feel that you did this to put everything in context plus it’s great for SEO because you can link to other articles that you’ve written.

I don’t really feel it was necessary though because all you had to do is tell me why you walked out, what you learned, and what you did afterward and that would have been enough for me.

Sometimes when we come up against a “giant” in the industry we feel like we need some leverage before we can share our discontent. Even if you had never attended any boot camps, workshops or seminars before the fact is this one didn’t feel right for you – enough said in my humble opinion.

You said you committed to the seminar for seven hours but did you really? The only reason why I’m asking you this is because I feel you knew long before the seven hours had passed that the seminar wasn’t going to be a good fit for you. I’m sure your “Spidey Sense” was in full effect much sooner than seven hours.

Facing fear and ignoring how we feel inside (intuition) is not the same thing. Just like almost anything in life, there is going to be some strategic polarization. Some people will like Tony Robbins and some won’t but that’s not a problem and in many ways, it’s intended to be that way. You know the old saying, “some will, some won’t, so what, someone’s waiting.”

You said, “Hardly anyone says, “I lost $2,000. It was a waste of time and money.” You are right, hardly anyone tells the TRUTH because they are too concerned about what other people will think of them.

You said, “The two areas of my life I most wanted to tackle during the event were:
How to better position myself to be in great relationships.
How to create a work environment that continually motivates and excites me.

Did you really feel that tackling these large goals could be achieved at a Tony Robbins seminar? I’ve heard you being interviewed on many podcasts and you’re a very level headed, intelligent and practical guy. There’s no way you could have believed this would happen albeit in a room of this size with a rah rah guy on stage.

The things that you said Tony did well are things I bet you already knew prior to going to the event. A man of your caliber who’s built an 8-figure company has to already know these things. Am I right or am I right?

Ryan Holiday said the Ego is the Enemy but I’m not sure that a lot of these gurus read that kind of book or if they do they rarely heed the message. I could name several people right now who you know very well who are always name dropping and it’s quite distasteful.

When you attend an event where the organizer is always mentioning their other events or trying to upsell/cross-sell you we refer to these as “dog and pony shows.” It very unclassy and quite annoying.

I watched the 2016 documentary on Netflix “I Am Not Your Guru” and those are some honest words – he’s not. But, a one-eyed man is a king in a blind man’s world. So many people are looking to be led and told what to do that they end up throwing the baby out with the bath water.

One day I sat outside of a McDonald’s and I watched how many people made their way into this restaurant and went through the drive-thru window to start their day. I’m not picking on Mickey D’s, I’m just using it as an example because there are over 36,000 McDonald’s restaurants worldwide. Despite knowing how unhealthy this food is millions of people wolf it down every morning on a daily basis. You can’t stop it (and neither should you want to) it’s just what is.

Same thing with UTPW and DWD events people will continue to drop loads of cash on these events, crowd into the room with thousands of other people and not much will change in their life. Sure a few may have long-lasting and powerful transformations but most will just keep going to seminar after seminar, boot camp after boot camp, and workshop after workshop. I’m glad you’re not one of them.

Don’t get me wrong I’m all for investing money to grow consciously but much of what is being marketed today just doesn’t measure up.

You listened to your own inner guidance which always trumps what I or anyone else could ever say to you.

But just like you said in Episode 12 of the Okdork podcast, it’s another case of the Michael Jackson theory and very few people close to Tony will be brave enough to share what you have shared. (how they really feel)

Again, thanks for sharing with us.

I have another saying, “You can go deep with a few or go shallow with many.” Small intimate groups are the most powerful and transformative where all egos are left at the door.

Wayne Peters
March 11, 2017 at 11:27 pm

I have been giving him a lot more focused attention lately as my Fiance has a close friendship with one of his staffers and I thought I may get to learn a few things. However I have been completely having the same reservations about it and the time I spend, especially since his super active public schedule with the new book launch. I loved your article and got more value from this than the last several hours spent watching Tony. Thank you

March 12, 2017 at 5:44 pm

I am a fan of TR but I know what you mean. Recently I run across one of the peoples that trained Tony and in his talk the old man said this:
In order to be a Motivational Speaker there are 3 Rules of charisma
1. You have to grossly oversimplify
2. You have to be able to lie congruently
3. You have to lie to yourself first

Go figure…

March 12, 2017 at 11:03 pm

Yeah, I agree it’s not cool to push a bunch of your own products at an event people are paying for.

Bronwyn Grantham
March 12, 2017 at 11:37 pm

Yes. I walked out of the same seminar at the Gold Coast Qld Aust. in 2009, I think it was. Holed up in the hotel room and wrote a seminar, ‘Quantum Synergy’, a life-changer which Success and You ran once then wanted to own it before they ran it again and my ego got offended. I tried to run it myself through Soul Seminars but didn’t get anywhere and gave up. Tony Robbins is a con-man. Anyone who is evolved enough not to be taken in by the flim-flam and emotional tactics SHOULD not go.

March 13, 2017 at 5:58 am

I was dragged to a similar one by a friend. Mastermind or whatever it was called.
Lets be honest here, its all a waste of time and money. These seminars are simply for people who like the idea! of improving or working hard, but not actually improving or putting in the hours of hard work. Save yourself the time and money, and actually get to work! And if you need motivational quotes, they are free on facebook posts and reddit threads.

Its all snake oil and makes my blood boil that my friend still believes in this shit.
Just the outrageous price tag for these events should be enough to realize its someone taking advantage of gullible people.

Most people at the event I went to seem to been network marketers as well, so that should give you another hint what kind of people they target.

Nike has the best motivational slogan,and its all you need, JUST DO IT.

March 13, 2017 at 2:03 pm

There is a lot of power in walking away from the source of much of the knowledge that has changed your life, but I do believe that choice to walk away starts the final change that moves you into a life that’s all your own and not at all someone else’s. So many people find a guru or leader like Tony to tell them what to do with life. They follow, get results, and get hooked. Way too many of them become little clones (often nowhere near the level of skill and talent as the person they are cloning/modeling) while almost no one ever gathers the bravery to admit they made a mistake, and use that to become better. I spent alot of time in these environments and ultimately got so fed up with the lack of depth that I made my own processes and websites to share what I believe with others. Let go of blindly copying what you’re told by those with “success” and instead decide to become something unique that no one has ever seen before. The420formula.com was my first baby, what’s yours?

March 13, 2017 at 3:41 pm

I’ve always had issues with the shortcut-to-success, reprogram-your-life, be-your-best-self people. Sure they often have some good ideas, but they turn it into so much more so you keep buying, attending, subscribing etc. And they constantly cross promote each other so you’re never done with things, always something new to do.

Learning and self growth is good. Business growth is good. But as pointed out, half of this is just snake oil. In order to validate your previous purchase you need to buy the next one.

Tiffanee Jacob
March 13, 2017 at 9:44 pm

Thank you for the other side… I have to be honest. I have not attended an event, but I’ve thought about it. Something just kept me back. I have a feeling that it is some of what you shared. I think no matter goo.d or bad… what resulted was an empowering act. And then a story that encourages others to do the same… Bravo! Now it’s time for me to keep my eyes open for some things I can walk out on… 🙂

Ron Kemp
March 14, 2017 at 7:00 am

Eckhart Tolle, “A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose”, 2006. Changed my life for the better through meditation.

March 14, 2017 at 8:13 am

Hi Noah

I rather pay you 2000$ instead of TR.

biff washington
March 15, 2017 at 4:29 am

I remember Krishnamurti saying if he only had 1 true student…

Tony demands nothing – personal transformation is not much different than changing your clothes, always the easy side of easy, with a side-dose of group think thrown in. I totally respect you sharing this, and it just makes me more thrilled to be an appsumo customer.

March 15, 2017 at 6:32 am

I read this with interest because I am NOT the type of person who would pay someone to motivate me or help me find “myself”. I was interested in why you or anyone would. After everything you wrote and all the things you said you were feeling about the seminar and what you did after leaving I can only say this; perhaps you should start reading the Bible. Maybe you do though you didn’t mention it but if you don’t then maybe it’s time you began. All the answers you seek, all the issues you have (perceived or real), all the questions you struggle with are dealt with in God’s word. He wants the best for all of us. Perhaps it would be good for you to go “all in” for Jesus rather than a Tony Robbins. I wish you the best!

March 15, 2017 at 4:16 pm

I think what you did was great !!! You called it like you seen it. Lots would have just followed the crowd!!

Ron Pierce
March 15, 2017 at 9:11 pm


I’m actually one of your appsumo members. Great to know the other side of the brand. I appreciated your honesty. As a someone who is constantly working on themselves as well, I think we all reach a point where the “general” doesn’t work for us anymore. We need to go “deep” like you said. We aren’t special because of it, we just recognize that the little nuggets we are being offered doesn’t warrant the investment of time (and money) we are being asked to make. When you’ve experience self-improvement success, you realize the power you have within to learn and grow and know what you need when you need it. You were real with yourself and in turn, you took yourself to the next level and became the captain of your destiny. You don’t need a “guru” to fix you. You have the ability to seek those goals and lessons yourself. Congratulations on being real and having the courage to break away and follow your own path. Great Job!

Diana Chapman
March 16, 2017 at 10:00 am

I appreciate you standing for a level of depth that supports sustainable and lasting changes. Consider coming to a Conscious Leadership Group 3 day intensive. Having studied for years with both the Hendricks and David Deida, we think you will find our events to be in alignment with what you are looking for.

Gregory Drambour
March 16, 2017 at 1:07 pm

First, I own the spiritual retreat organization, Sedona Sacred Journeys so you could say I have real interest in your brave post, Noah! That took courage! I have been a great fan of Tony for 30 years but have never attended his events for a number of the reasons you stated. But primarily because of dozens of retreat clients of the years who have attended his events and then when they got back on the ground in their life they could not keep the momentum going. They feel awesome and psyched up at the event but very little changes. That’s where I come in! For 20 years I have sign on my desk that says, “Either you results or you got a story! –Tony Robbins —like you Noah I am not a Tony-hater. In fact, if I ever met the cat, it would be a great honor and I would thank him deeply.

Here in Sedona with clients, I am focused on what I call the “warrior perspective.” Warriors periodically engage their teacher, mentors coaches to point out the invisible feelings, thoughts, behaviors they are having that are keeping them from being in their innate creativity, wisdom and originality. This takes courage and raw honesty. This can only be a good thing. The following is just my perspective after 30 years teaching folks: In the last ten years there is far to much dominance of what I call “head-patting” going on in the personal growth world. Don’t get me wrong, I feel its important to acknowledge people and myself but to a limit. Lets get at what’s not working! Lets get at what’s blocking you from being in your innate wisdom and clear or understand how to experience blocks in the way that’s empowering

Noah, I applaud you brother, for following your gut. I have to imagine that wasn’t easy given your relationship with Tim Ferris who appears close with Tony. PS. Please tell Tim it appears
he has yet to have someone on who is an expert in Couples/Relationships — I’m his guy! 🙂

I have your cool app and I am going to look deeper into your blog.

Gregory Drambour

Deejay O'flaherty
March 16, 2017 at 10:26 pm

Tony has done some great things. However I am not a fan. For many of the reasons you pointed out in your not so good points bit, and I know people who have paid $5,000 merely to have their photograph taken with him. The guy is flesh and bone the same as you, I and anyone else. He doesn’t walk on water. To me however, I see that as extortion.

Sue Frend
March 17, 2017 at 5:39 am

I did UPW over 10 years ago including the fire walk, i thought he was kidding! It taught me the power of my mind. What it didn’t teach me was the power of my heart and the essential connection to my gut. 25 years i have been seeking and searching how to understand myself, it was worth it!! TR was a step on the way but never the whole picture.

Adrian Beckett
March 17, 2017 at 5:48 am

Incorrect Grammar:

Tony Robbin’s seminar.

Check book ‘Punctuation’ by Penguin.

Mohammed Bakodah
March 17, 2017 at 6:41 am

That was a nice article. I cant imagine attending a 3 day seminar never.

Shannon Feather
March 17, 2017 at 11:57 am

I loved this! Thank you for your honesty!

Mike Feinstein
March 18, 2017 at 10:50 pm

I know Tony Robbins a bit and I found your column interesting until you said “Just get to the meat.” There is no need to reference something that represents mass and disgusting treatment of living beings in order to make your point. Better to say ” Just get to the substance.” Meat doesn’t represent substance, it represents cruel death.

March 19, 2017 at 12:24 am

I attended his fire walk seminar in NYC in 1994. I left there walking on air, felt great!!!! For about 3 days, then life started happening again. I found TR to be very charismatic, a GREAT Orator. I met him outside the Marriott on the last day and thanked him, he immediately asked me if I was going to Hawaii, ha ha! That would’ve been $32K in ’94 dollars for me and my ex wife, 2 week program, plus travel and hotel. The 4 day fire walk seminar in ’94 was $1400 for my ex and myself, plus hotel. Tony talked about how great his life was back then, with his first wife and their (her) kids. Lately I’ve heard him talking about how miserable he was back then in that marriage? So was he lying during the seminar? I would never pay the prices he’s asking today, he’s a salesman. If you listen to Jim Rohn, a LOT of Tony’s programs are based on his stuff, he changed the language around a little, but the foundation is Rohn’s.

Kim minos
March 19, 2017 at 10:13 am

Excellent. Did you get your money back.

douglas Davidson
March 19, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Tony reminds me of Hitler, he tells everyone what they want to hear.

March 19, 2017 at 9:29 pm

I totally respect your opinion and decision to leave.
He was here in Toronto yesterday. I know some who went and they where over the moon with the whole event. I’m happy for them. And I respect their opinions.

As for myself though, I get nervous when it comes to people being whipped into a frenzy over one person. I went through the creepy cult like setting with those Jackson’s for yearrrrrs.
Lucky for me that I’ve emerged from all that fluff/drama/celebrity worship etc and I see very clearly!

As for “fluff” and “Dancing/Hoopla, I’m right there with you on that. I agree – cut to the chase, quit the fluff and sensationalism and get on with it. And 3 whole days?? Hell no..!

It is so important and healthy to question and evaluate. Particularly when a $2000.00 Plus price tag is concerned.

I do like some things that I’ve heard TR say. I know some of those ice breaker/team building exercises that he gets people to do and I like them. He didn’t solely invent any of this, hell he got it from other people, just like a whole lot of other information we’ve heard through the years.
It’s recycled info. Some of it’s great! Some of it is or isn’t presented well.

Whenever I hear of people calling someone a “Guru” or almost worshiping them, I see red!

Great article. Thanks!

Monty Fowler
March 19, 2017 at 10:06 pm

It’s interesting to me that the one man in human history who changed more lives and impacted the world for good more than any other was a simple Jewish carpenter-turned-teacher. He traveled the countryside with a group of fisherman, a terrorist, a tax collector, a rabbinical student, and other men of simple means and no formal education. He drew crowds numbering in the thousands and kept them captivated (sometimes for days) without the aid of a stage, laser lights, or a sound system. He did not dispense pithy platitudes or regurgitated rhetoric culled from others…instead, he taught simple, beautiful, and earth-shattering truths that penetrated the hearts of many that heard him and changed their lives forever. The best part of the story about this odd teacher is that, even though he lived 2,000 years ago, anyone who seeks him can still find him and have his truth change their life too.

March 20, 2017 at 4:55 am

I am about to attend a UPW event and I already have one concern about it: his new propensity for swearing. I’ve seen a clip of him talking to a guy and effectively saying ‘you can do it’, but every other word was a swear word. I find this distinctly off-putting as it dumbs everything down to a yob’s level. I don’t think I could take him seriously if he addressed me like that.

I attended an event some time ago at which he was one of the presenters (prior to the swearing) and I thought he was very inspirational and I absolutely love his various CDs etc. Nevertheless, I agree that this American-style attitude of ‘let’s massage everyone’ is rather OTT and all the rest of it makes it feel a little like a cult.

However, I’ve been wanting to attend one of his events for a few years, so here’s my chance. I just hope I enjoy it and get something out of it.

Mary B.
March 20, 2017 at 9:57 am

I would be interested in learning more about your 90 minute self-discussion. I need some personal coaching on sensitive issues right now and I think I’d prefer to talk myself through it. Did you have a structure for the discussion?

henri almanzar
March 20, 2017 at 10:05 am

I have similar feelings

Frank De Raffele
March 20, 2017 at 11:19 am

Great feedback and insight. Thank you.

Patricia Alexander
March 20, 2017 at 8:39 pm

Thank you for this. For a number of years, acquaintances have always said I must go. I really found it more important to go to events in my industry and build my network as a self-employed consultant.

A couple of years ago I was in LA at the same time as a TR conference. At breakfast in the hotel restaurant 3 different people stopped and talked to the young man at the table next to mine. They were all there for this conference. They were exhausted from the long hours they had already spent at the conference and no one had one bit of excitement for what the day was to bring. They each expressed being mentally exhausted.

I don’t know how anyone absorbs useful information in this state.

I am always up for learning and improving myself, but I am glad I avoided going down this road and knowing that others felt much the same way I do about what to expect from such an event.

March 21, 2017 at 12:30 am

I think that you should clap yourself on the back and recognize that you dont have enough issues or bad self-esteem to get something personal out of the event . Relationships become great when you get to understand your spesific needs on unconcious level in combination with what you are attracted to. Just send me an email and I will give you the insight you need for free in 30 min on skype. 🙂

Great article. Honesty rocks!

Terence Collins
March 21, 2017 at 4:34 am

Hey, yeh; good on ya, Rabbi.

I’ll never forget, Palo Alto, 1986. I’d wanted to see Shaktai Gawain forever and I finally got a chance to see her at some big theater in Palo Alto.

She came, she spoke, and I’d never been bored by a speaker ever. I fell asleep – into a very deep sleep – and began snoring. My neighbor nudged me, and I tried to pay attention for another 10 minutes.

Just as I began to doze off again, it came to me: leave, head to Watercourse Way and have a healthy sauna.


And god bless Shakti. I still love her writings but never need to listen to her again.

DL Marshall
March 21, 2017 at 6:53 am

TR won’t do that, I’m sure his financials are based on seminars that bring in that kind of cash and develop multiple currency opportunities for other products and people. ~DL

March 21, 2017 at 4:40 pm

I just want a taco. So bad.