Rob Knight

America's favorite fraud

August 30, 2005

Look out Dennis Miller, there's a new tool in town.

I saw a rerun of The Daily Show and they featured a story on Kevin Trudeau, the "author" of a book that is currently selling like hotcakes at (as of this writing #12) and high on the New York Times bestseller list (as of this writing #1 on the hardcover advice list).

The video they showed of his infomercial was simply disgusting. He makes wild claims about a cure for cancer using electricity or something outrageous. Standard used-car salesman stuff. Nevermind that most cancers are unique from other types of cancer and are treated in different ways. Oops, did I mention actual science? My fault.

The book is called Natural Cures 'They' Don't Want You to Know About. You can check it out at Amazon. You need only read a few of the reviews to get an idea of what the book is. The media stories about the book and Trudeau haven't even touched on what seems to be the fraud within the book: most of the "advice" in the book is trivial and the reader is invited to pay more money to get "real" information from a website for $10/month or $400 for a lifetime membership. So the book is more of a hardcover pamphlet. I feel compelled to mention at this point that Trudeau makes a point of telling folks he's not in this for the money. He is a consumer advocate. Right. I, by the way, am Michael Jordan.

The Chicago Tribune has an expository article on Trudeau that covers everything else you should know about the guy, past prison sentences and numerous federal investigations included.

The world is full of these guys. You can usually spot them coming from a mile away. Especially when they're dragging that much filth behind them. The sad part is that they make any money at all. America just seems so ready to pay a lot of money ($30 in the case of Trudeau's pile of garbage) for a quick fix to any ailment. Exercise? Healthy diet? Proper sleep? An apple a day? Forget it! Give me Ripoff McHuckster's infomercial book so I can cure cancer with electricity. This guy is only selling books because America is buying them. I know that is an insanely obvious thing to say. But that is the point, right?

I think the success of Trudeau's book says a lot about the ability of the American education system to teach people how to think critically about health issues and our bodies. There isn't one pill, one cure, or one machine that will solve our health ills. Health is something you work at, not buy. It is a lifelong process that involves responsibility on the part of the individual, not electricity, crocodile saliva, and rhino horn. People like Trudeau have made millions selling nonexistent quick fixes using the same marketing message many times before. "I can fix your health/financial/family problem and you won't have to do any work! I have the secret no one else knows!" It's old. Very old. Kevin Trudeau is a tool for selling snake oil in dead tree format. People who bought this book...I don't know what to say. Think harder next time about what the guy is saying!

Update: a Google search for Kevin Trudeau turned up - for lack of a better term - a Google of entertaining articles debunking/lambasting his book and his infomercials.