Blogging James Ray’s book, The Science of Self-Destruction: Part 3

October 4, 2013

For a bit of a change, I’m not going to start off talking about James Ray’s 2003 book The Science of Success.

Instead I’m going to quote something from J.D. Salinger’s book, The Catcher in the Rye. I’m sure you’ll see where I’m going with this soon enough…

The trouble was, I knew that guy Stradlater’s technique. That made it even worse. We once double-dated, in Ed Banky’s car, and Stradlater was in the back, with his date, and I was in the front with mine. What a technique that guy had. What he’d do was, he’d start snowing his date in this very quiet, sincere voice – like as if he wasn’t only a very handsome guy but a nice, sincere guy, too. I damn near puked, listening to him. His date kept saying, “No – please. Please, don’t. Please.” But old Stradlater kept snowing her in this Abraham Lincoln, sincere voice, and finally there’d be this terrific silence in the back of the car….

The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 7

Death RayJames Ray, before the Science of Self Destruction had fully kicked in

More than anything else, I wish I could communicate to consumers of motivational products the importance of being able to recognize that fake “Abraham Lincoln voice” when you hear it. It sounds steady and reassuring, but when you take a step back it sounds pushy, overbearing, grandiose, and focused on one thing only: closing a sale.

And now back to the book. In the previous post we made it through the introduction and now we’re onto Chapter 1. The Abe Lincoln voice continues:

This book presents the universal SuperLaws and Power Principles that make success inevitable…..

SuperLaws??? Okay, clearly this stuff is not “just like the law of gravity” like he said in the introduction. It’s a SuperLaw. Maybe one day gravity will also rise to the level of being a SuperLaw if it focuses its intent and does its networking.

The subject of success has fascinated people for centuries, perhaps for ever.

…has fascinated people for ever?????

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Abe Lincoln never spoke in horrid, grammatically unsound babble like James Ray does. It was just a metaphor, okay? (Dammit, metaphors are supposed to last a bit longer than that!) 

Clearly Ray did not employ an editor or even a proofreader. So I am offering James Ray an easy-to-use universal principle of success: If you don’t know how to do something, find someone who does, and ask them “How do I do this?”

Research and my own personal experience has shown me that when people consistently do not succeed, it’s not because they aren’t smart or don’t work hard, or because they aren’t lucky. It’s because they simply don’t understand how success works. They don’t understand the specific SuperLaws and Power Principles that activate success.

Well it might also be that they never bothered to learn how to do something properly. Or because they are so arrogant and stupid that they don’t even realize they don’t know how to do it properly. No one ever seems to have told James Ray that his spelling and grammar are not up to a standard where he can just write and publish immediately. 

So we get things like this on his official website [Update — he’s finally taken it down]:

James Ray -- obsticles

Overcoming “Obsticles”?

Ray’s Teachings — Success as a Sticky Substance

Ol’ Death Ray seems to think success is a substance that will inevitably stick to you if you think and act in a certain way. This is of course completely stupid. You can only be successful within a certain limited context, in relation to certain standards. To say that a person is “a success” is a complete misunderstanding. (I am going to ignore the idea that success can be “activated”.)

Next we get a heading for a new section:


Huh? Shouldn’t that be in the introduction and not in Chapter 1? For a guy who claims to have studied many hundreds of books, he seems to have noticed nothing about the way they are usually structured. And then he needlessly starts repeating the stuff he’s just said in the introduction — that he was interested in Gandhi, Einstein, Martin Luther King and, um, Napoleon Hill. From this he has “synthesized the formula that causes people to succeed.”

This is really insane. A guy with the literacy level of an 8th grader (according to his prison aptitude test) reckons he knows what “caused” Einstein to succeed? He doesn’t realize that his ridiculous “SuperLaws” contradict everything Einstein ever said, as well as the whole of modern physics!!!

If Ray’s SuperLaws exist, Einstein failed.

Bad example, James. Baaaaad example.

self destructUm, James, you don’t need a “.” (period or full stop) at the end of a book’s subtitle. What you DO need is a proofreader who can spell and knows what books should look like.

Martin Luther King can of course be described as a successful civil rights activist, though not “a success”. There were many aspects of his life that didn’t work all that well, and most importantly, he was assassinated. How does that fit with Ray’s SuperLaws? It certainly was due to his success that he was assassinated, but is that also part of Ray’s SuperLaws? Or is Ray saying that King got himself assassinated because he failed to follow the SuperLaws? 

I can’t help but wonder if Ray even knows that King was assassinated. That would at least explain why he made such an unfortunate choice of a famous personage to exploit to sell his product. Or maybe he did know and the name of King’s assassin just didn’t stick in his memory. (Some loon even mistakenly commented here once, thinking I had been writing about King’s assassin. I had to tell him that if he’d read the post a bit more closely he might have realized that James Earl Ray was not the kind of guy who would have been leading a sweat lodge, even a fake one.)

Gandhi was a successful political opportunist revered by many, including Dr King. But, like King, he also got assassinated. This rather important fact also seems to have slipped past Ray during his years of “research”. Could it be that Ray is an ignorant fool who chooses iconic personages to promote his ideas without knowing the first thing about them?

My advice is just stick to the normal laws of physics, a great many of which happily coincide with common sense — a much better guide than any SuperLaws.

Posted by Yakaru



  1. Nice post, Yakaru. I always appreciate your sense of humor. Nice warning about James Ray.

  2. Abe Lincoln was also assassinated. I only remembered this and am only bringing it up because sometimes motivational folks (not necessarily scammers) use Abe’s life as an example of how one can overcome adversity. And while I still have a teensy 1 – 10% of me that’s not cynical that can still appreciate that message, I can never quite forget that Abe’s life story, given its tragic ending, could be viewed in a slightly different manner.

    Furry cows moo and decompress.

  3. Thanks for commenting, Wyrd!

    Yeh, it’s not so easy to find examples of people who have been successful every time.

    Rhonda Byrne chose Lance Armstrong as an example of mind over matter. Funnily enough, the guy who convinced Armstrong to “confess” was the same PR genius that Death Ray employed (also to no avail). Thick as thieves…

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