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GTD 'cult'

so a friend of mine sent me this message. I am a big fan of GTD and find it very useful. I'm just puttin' this out there.

I was excited to sit down to read "Getting Things Done" today. It's a great gift. I was so excited that I even read the acknowledgments, to be complete about the whole thing. At the end of the acknowledgments I noticed that David Allen thanks someone named "J-R" for being his "spiritual coach."

Uh-oh. "J-R" seemed like it might stand for John-Roger -- the controversial cult leader and spiritual guru. And it does.


David Allen, his wife, and many of his employees are ministers in the MSIA (Movement of Spritual Inner Awareness), John-Roger's church:

http://www.ndh.org/template.php3?ID=65 http://www.davidco.com/coaches_corner/Ana_Maria_Gonz%E1lez/article14.html (employee quoting John-Roger)

Anti-cult websites accuse GTD of being part of a program to recruit people into MSIA. Their view seems paranoid to me, but you can read it for yourself:

http://forum.rickross.com/viewtopic.php?t=2193 http://forum.rickross.com/viewtopic.php?p=15025&sid=e3195755a2185f9b4710580921d3f527

Now, I'm not saying that Getting Things Done isn't a good book about priorities and organization. David Allen may have very good advice about that stuff. But I am saying don't go to a David Allen seminar, get mixed up with the David Allen Company, or get too involved with the hard-core GTD crowd -- at least not without taking some anti-brainwashing measures. Seriously. This John-Roger character and his followers are not a joke.

I learned about John-Roger a long time ago, as it happens, because in high school I read a self-help book called "Life 101" that he "co-wrote" with Peter McWilliams, the poet and anti-drug-war activist. In 1994, not long after I read "Life 101," McWilliams wrote an expose called "Life 102: What to Do When Your Guru Sues You." McWilliams left MSIA in 1994 after 15 years of being brainwashed. It turned out that John-Roger manipulated him into giving him co-authorship in return for keeping McWilliams alive. You see, John-Roger had the power to keep McWilliams alive because -- and this will surprise you -- John-Roger claims to be the incarnation of God on earth.

John-Roger has also made headlines in connection with Arianna Huffington -- who admits to being a close friend and who has been accused (though she's never admitted it) of being an MSIA minister as well.


Linda's picture

I agree that DA's image...

I agree that DA's image is overly slick-- in fact, I avoided reading GTD for the longest time (despite loving time management methodologies) becasue it seemed like marketing-doublespeak, aimed at the type of executives that went for the all-show-and-no-substance kind of seminar fodder.

I can't speak to the davidco forums. Never been there. The website turns me off- for the same reasons I stated above. Too slick, I don't trust anything that slick. So, I cannot speak to your ciritisims of the fora, and they may well be valid.

But the generaly GTD system? Just commen sense. I don't see how keeping list of projects and next actions on a bunch of index cards puts me in any more danger of falling prey to some bizzare cult. The basic GTD system itself doesn't lead one towards one philosophy or another, doesn't encourage blind faith in a leader, doesn't do anythign cultish.

The site might-- I don't know, because the site irritates me and I stay away from it. The seminars might-- I don't know, because I can't afford them anyway. But the basic GTD system is the best I've found for anyone with the least bit of an ADD mode of brain functioning.

If the worst cult-leader ever to have lived told me the sky was blue, I wouldn't declare that the sky was lime green just to contradict him. Nor would I caution others that thinking the sky was blue made them more suceptable to falling prey to the the cult.

Teaching basic critical thinking skills is more important than scare tactics. If someone thinks "Wow! This person says the sky is blue, and I think they're right! he must be right about other things as well!" that person needs to be taught critical thinking, not be asked to choose between the duling dictacts of "accept this because I say it's good" and "no, don't, because I say it's bad"




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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