Life 102: What to do When Your Guru Sues You, by Peter McWilliams

This is a manual cross-post to my account, where I track my reading:
Peter McWilliams is certainly a hero of mine for his prolific writing and political activism for civil liberties. This book interested me as both a memoir and a profile of the psychology of cults and indoctrination. The first few chapters satisfied my curiosity on the latter, and subsequent chapters were too heavy on the sordid actions of a cult leader, which I am not too interested.

Interestingly, this organization, The Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA), has roots in common with Landmark Education Corporation. McWilliams speaks well of Werner Erhard and Stewart Emery, who were both instrumental in Est, Landmarks previous incarnation in the 1970s. Apparently MSIA used the term “enrollment” in the same unconventional way LEC does today. Incidentally, Stewart Emery is co-author of a newly released book, Success Built to Last: Creating a Life that Matters, which consists of interviews with successful people from various walks of life. Life 102 is out of print and is the only one not on-line on McWilliams’s website. is an interesting page. It begins:

The book Life 102: What to do When Your Guru Sues You by Peter McWilliams was declared out of print by Prelude Press in 1996. The copyright for the book is now owned by the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA). In August 1999, Peter McWilliams offered to write a letter, on behalf of MSIA, to express Peter’s opinion of LIFE 102 to someone who had put LIFE 102 on their web site without permission from the copyright holder. The following letter represented Peter’s thoughts about LIFE 102 and MSIA at that time.


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