Sunday, October 26, 2008

Landmark education criticism review

I have heard much about the no-so-popular Landmark education program.

If you don't know what it is - basically a company that gives 3 day seminars; the seminars start at 9 in the morning and end at about 10 at night, for three days straight; Friday, Saturday and Sunday as well as Thursday evening to finish up. They occur once per month and the company spread to many major cities (if you want more info just google them).

What I found hard to understand is how such a general idea can draw on for so long, but even worse is why someone would take it (surprising at how many people show up) - would you like guidance to know what is wrong with your life?

if so I totally think you should take it, otherwise this program is NOT for you. (in my opinion)

I mean it's not a specific program to teach about a specific thing - if you want to know how to do something it will usually be specific.

For example if one would like to know how to drive a car, they would take a driving lesson or go to a driving school and NOT learn how the engine functions or the engineering aspects of the gasoline engine, transmission, etc. If you want to make more money do what you love and think how to monetize it. Granted not always an easy task but it's better than taking a seminar which would be spending more money in the wrong direction, instead maybe invest this money in something else, get a loan etc.

I could not stand the first two hours, had to tell them I'm out and got a refund.

Let me know what you think!


Anonymous said...


I took this course and it was one of the most valuable things I ever did.

I think the question you ask is a good one - how can one spend three full days on something that isn't about some specific area of life that one is working on.

One thing I can say is that it's NOT about what is wrong with you. To me, the course was about perspective - what perspective do we approach different tasks in life from? We spend a lot of time trying to figure out what to do and how to do it, and little time examining what perspective we are taking in what we are doing.

For instance, I noticed that the perspective I had of my parents was that they wanted to nag me all the time. Inside of this perspective, no action I took would really have me be really close to them. When I really noticed how much this perspective affected how I dealt with them, I started to actually notice how great my parents were. I don't know if that makes sense, but here's a website that explains it better than I can:

Boris said...

Thank you for the quick response,
but again you are addressing what I mentioned - if one needs to figure out what problems their life has, then by all means, this program is for them.

But if you know your problem then you should just work on it and NOT take this program, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I agree with boris

Anonymous said...

Boris - if you knew your problem, you could and should certainly work on it.

But sometimes we do not know we have a problem, yet it is there. Whether by virtue of ignorance or due to fear, we just aren't aware of it. For example, I never knew my former supervisor where I used to work before considered me an arrogant prick.

There's no definition of what an arrogant prick is, other than the one you give it. I _never_ thought I was an arrogant prick. Therefore, I didn't know I had a problem.

In the Landmark Forum, I discovered that some of the things I have said to my former supervisor (who fired me) were construed by him as being arrogant on my behalf, unbeknown to me.

What's worse, is I discovered I've been an arrogant prick even in relationships that DID work, and where I never was fired, like with my wife, parents, friends, etc.

Had it not been for the Landmark Forum, I would have continued to be an arrogant, self-absorbed, pretentious prick who constantly complained why after 10 years of creating software, he is unable to make it to a tech lead/architect level as a software engineer.

Yet, since I took it, in the last 3 years, I've become just that - a technical lead, architect, and someone who is listened to and not a prick. How do I know? People aren't afraid to talk to me, give me assignments bigger than myself, I rely on people instead of telling them what to do (e.g. micromanage), I listen to their input, and I lead by following them.

Now I'm no longer being perceived as an arrogant prick and I am getting ahead.

And my wife is in a state of bliss with the kind of change in language/behavior she's witnessed in me eversince I did the Landmark Forum.

So, could I have recognized that I was a prick without the Landmark Forum? Perhaps. But it may have taken me another 20 years, so by the time I am 50 or so, I'd have still been a prick, but at least I'd have a recognition of it by then.

Most people are pricks, they don't know it, and that's the only way they know how to be and think it's "just fine" to be that way, presumptious, pretentious, a prick, a know-it-all, and they wonder why they dont get ahead and they wonder why life "doesnt work"?

Well, guess why? You're an asshole - but you dont readily admit that. In the Landmark Forum, you get to admit, perhaps for the first time ever, that you are an asshole.

And it does have benefits to admit that, like you wont believe.

a software lead/architect in Redmond

Anonymous said...

By the way, Boris, the former supervisor who fired me also gave me the recommendation for this job where I'm now a lead. But I had to go immediately after the Forum, apologize to him for being a prick and tell him why I was a prick (mostly because my dad was a prick too his entire life)....

He loved what I shared with him, and said "If I could take back firing you, I would, but since I can't do that, I will give you a stellar recommendation for your next job for being so straight with me. Most people I've fired, I wouldnt touch with a 5 foot pole, but you I really liked for who you are being right now."

He has subsequently left the company where we both worked.

Anonymous said...

So what you're saying is if you don't have a problem then by all means go to landmark to find the problems you are looking for.

Great advice guys! landmark sounds like treat.

Anonymous said...

actually a basic concept of Landmark is that you do not have something wrong.. rather you work on your potential

Anonymous said...

I took this course at the request of a friend who supposedly paid for it (I think by being part of that group he got it for free). In short: it is a brain washing seminar that takes your values and gives you a family- landmark groupies. One sits very tight rubbing elbows with teh next person, AC is turned off (supposedly electric failure- I don't believe it), leaving for bathroom is discouraged. The landmark people sit behind your back and each person monitors behavior of people taking seminar. The leader encourages confessions, some of them are gruesome and it is all written down. You are praised for dark details and admonished if you are not sharing private information. The leader is a vocal person, many times a lawyer. In short: a brainwashing technique thru depravation. All comes from EST by Erhardt from the 60's, a car salesman who decided to brake into a new line of business. Company changed hands few times but the founding fathers are always in the background. They teach you many things but one of them is never to give up like in a talk to the boss: I need a raise. No. You don't understand - I must have a raise/ Guess what? Boss fired him. IMO it is an idiotic way to spend your money and time. They give you a fake family, you will become a recruiter. Oh, I forgot, you have to bring new recruits, so they can praise you like a dog. Carrot, depravation, money extraction- there are more courses to buy from them. Mind boggling that people go thru that horror. I know several people who took it (their beliefth is that yesterday was yesterday, tomorrow will be tomorrow but you live today) and 2 walked out first day (one after 15 minutes), 2 got divorced, 2 ended up in prison,1 is to be sentenced any minute, 1 survived training and never went back for more still praising.

Anonymous said...

I think this course might help your spelling or could encourage you to buy a new keyboard in case your keys are sticking.

PitBull said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PitBull said...

I did all the 3 parts of the Curriculum for Living (The Forum, The Advanced Course and SELP).

I took the course when I got laid off during the recession. I was in a rut and I wanted some help with my confidence and my public speaking skills.
That wasn't really what I got from the course though.
I got my mother and my wife who had not spoken to each other for about 6 years (since we got married) to become friends.
The confidence and public speaking bit was really just the icing on the cake.

Do I like all aspects of Landmark Education? No, particularly the constant enrollment speeches. But I enrolled quite a few members of my family though and some of them benefited from it. I wouldn't do it for anyone else though.

Go with an open mind. Take what you can from it. If you don't like something, don't do it. But you will get certain results if you only completely participate, trust me on this one. I had to go completely out of my comfort zone for what I got from the course.

You can take away what you want from it. Hope this helps.

Douglas B. said...

I know and have known many people who have taken this course over the years. Even when it was known as est in 70's and early 80's. (albeit a more brutal form of Landmark but still the same philosophy) What I've noticed over all this time is that people love it or hate it, but rarely are neutral about it. There have been only a couple clinical studies of it that were unbiased The results tended to be that there is no long term benefit from doing it and that it tended to have a short term placebo effect.

All the positive buzz centers around personal experiences related only to that individual without any substantiating data. Landmarks own publicity tends to cite studies of limited value because either the studies relate to their business model and not the efficacy of the program or they are blatant spin doctoring. For example: Landmarks business arm, The Vanto Group, touts it's success in helping a Chilean mining concern, the Escondido mine in Northern Chile achieve an increase in worker productivity and a decrease in worker accidents. Yet fails to mention that approximately one year later the operation shut down for over a year due to a workers strike about wages,working conditions and safety. I don't know if Vanto/Landmark caused this fiasco or not but they obviously didn't solve the labor and safety problems.

All information I've run across is ambiguous at best and this includes the many friends I know and have known over the years. To me it seems like I would be wasting time and money on this so it really doesn't interest me. Make your own decisions of course, this is just my 2 cents worth.

Anonymous said...

If you ever get invited to their introductory session by a friend or family member - don't go!! I was literally attack by three people (including a member of my family) to give them money and sign up for the Forum. If I didn't then I was in denial that there was something wrong with me, blah, blah, blah and how Landmark could fix me - except there's nothing wrong with me. I think it's Landmark that has the probelm. It was like being locked in a room with a used car salesman for three hours.