Self-help guru released from prison to market his new ‘how to succeed’ CDs

James Arthur Ray has served his sentence for causing the deaths of three participants on an inspirational retreat involving extreme physical deprivations and walking on hot coals. He is reported as planning to continue his work as it is too important for it to be abandoned

Mr Ray was reported as being released on July 12th 2013. The deadly experience for participants on his “Spiritual Warrior” retreat in Sedona, Arizona occurred in October 2009. A desert “vision quest” of a day and a half for fifty paying acolytes left them exhausted, sleep and food deprived, and in need of rehydration. They then followed Ray across a six meter [20 foot] hot coal walk. Three people failed to survive the experience. A similar kind of incident, but without fatalities, occurred more recently in a workshop featuring the well-known motivational speaker Tony Robbins.

Mr Ray came to national attention in 2006 in a film The Secret, where he is shown promoting his life-changing journey towards wealth, health and happiness.

Christine Whelan writing in USA Today offers a balanced view of the potential benefits of self-improvement advice, and the plethora of those whom she describes as purveyors of snake-oil. Her estimate is that Ray and Robins are part of a thirteen billion dollars a year industry. She also advocates the evaluations of such programmes found in the book Self-Help That Works,now into its forth edition.

To be continued

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