Confessions of a Failed Self-Help Guru
I traveled around the country telling strangers how to better their lives—until I learned that the those offering to solve your problems are often the ones who need help.
Illustrations by Branche Coverdale
Deepak Chopra is a fraud.
This is what I was thinking as I lingered 20 rows back, waiting for Bree, my boss, to finish huddling with Deepak onstage about the presentation he would give that evening.
Bree ran the San Francisco chapter of The Learning Annex, that mainstay of adult education courses for the personal-growth set. This was the mid-nineties, when people still called the New Age movement “the New Age movement.” Deepak was our big get that season. We proudly positioned the blurb announcing his lecture at the front of the newsprint catalog on its own two-page spread, rather than tucked away amid the litany of courses taught by shamans, sexperts, and self-professed real estate tycoons.
I had nothing against Dr. Chopra. I just found it surprising that moments before the dry run now underway, this beacon of enlightenment, a man supposedly above the trivialities of ego and self-doubt, had asked Bree if the khakis he was wearing made him look fat.