Get rich quack: David Schirmer of The Secret

In my review of The Secret, I complained about the get rich quick mentality the book espouses. I was particularly cranky at the financial “advice” to visualize checks coming in the mail. That tip came from David Schirmer, an Australian financial “expert”. Here's the complete passage from The Secret:

When I first understood The Secret, every day I would get a bunch of bills in the mail. I thought, “How do I turn this around?” The law of attraction states that what you focus on you will get, so I got a bank statement. I whited out the total, and I put a new total in there. I put exactly how much I wanted to see in the bank. So I thought, “What if I just visualized checks coming in the mail?” So I just visualized a bunch of checks coming in the mail. Within just one month, things started to change. It is amazing; today I just get checks in the mail. I get a few bills, but I get more checks than bills.

Unsurprisingly, it turns out that David Schirmer's “secret” is to scam his students and employees. An Australian news program filed an investigative report:

This video is a little uncomfortable to watch — it's always awkward to see somebody flounder when confronted — and I wish the clip had been edited to allow us to see more of Schirmer's responses. But it's nice to see somebody taking these people to task.

Read more about this at Van Demonian and Whirled Musings. Schirmer Exposed is an ongoing catalog of anti-Schirmer information. Here is David Schirmer's response video. Finally, here's an Australian comedy show taking on The Secret. It's pretty funny, though it does contain some profanity.

[Thanks to the many readers who sent me links related to this story.]
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Andrew
Andrew

I’ve always maintained that the best way to get rich quickly was to write a “get rich quick!” book and sell it to suckers.

I’d do it myself, but I’m too honest. I think I’ll work on getting rich slowly instead.

On second thought, maybe I’ll write a parody of get rich quick books and publish it under the psuedonym “Travis Tea”.

Jake
Jake

Thanks for doing a follow up on your review of The Secret. As I mentioned in the earlier review, I’ve watched my friends and family’s lives fall apart because they believe The Secret is the key to success. The financial, religious, and scientific mishmash that this book espouses is contrary to any of the actual facts in these fields. However, the book continues to be a bestseller as people search for a way to get rich quick without any actual effort. Experts in the financial, religious, and scientific fields need to let people know what a sham this is before… Read more »

Ladydoughgirl
Ladydoughgirl

Thank you for this post. This Secret bulls**t really disturbs me. And I’m surprised to hear that some very well educated people have been sold on this stuff. While I agree it helps to have a positive attitude only a moron would think that visualization alone changes your life. Visualization helps but it’s action, consistency and determination that does it…People need to learn how to take responsiblity for their lives. My husband who is a psychologist has told me that he and his colleagues have heard so many patients talk about the Secret. He’s said that there’s a correlation between… Read more »

James
James

Wow.
I agreed completely with your post on “The Secret”. I agree completely with this post about David Schirmer.

And that Aussie reporter…well done! Definitely a no-holds-barred approach that should be commended!

Gwyn
Gwyn

The look on that guys face was priceless. He looked like a schoolboy caught shoplifting.

payjisan
payjisan

Pure ownage!! Wish NZ had more reporters of that calibre.

Marc
Marc

What is really amazing is all this stuff self help stuff was brought to the attention of the masses in the 1950’s by a plastic surgeon who is now considered the granddaddy of all self help concepts. I read his book and it changed by life (“Psycho Cybernetics”) the difference is this guy wrote a book to educate you and didn’t up sell a 10 set DVD collection with bonus audio cd for the great price of $5000 USD!! And buy tonight you will get 10% off my breakfast seminar where I try and sell you crap mentoring for an… Read more »

Elissa
Elissa

Wow. Australian investigative reporting seems quite AMAZING. I really do enjoy the uneasy nature of it all, but while it is satisfying to watch, unfortunately no action is going to be taken by Schirmer unless he’s pressed with legal action. He seems like the type who will say anything just to make a person happy, and then change it all (i.e. push payment dates back) when the time comes.

I’m not sure what the fine print of all of his courses were, but it seems like the students would IMMENSELY benefit from a good ol’ lawsuit.

Wesley
Wesley

That reporter was quite impressive, and I’d really like to hear from some of the folks who tried to defend “the Secret” in your last post. Is anyone still willing to defend this guy now that this is out??

Hustler
Hustler

Talk about BS. I find it hard to believe with “the Secret.” Your post was right on!

A Tentative Personal Finance Blog
A Tentative Personal Finance Blog

I first heard of the the book through Oprah. I don’t even know why I was watching the show because I hate her with all my passion. She embodies this fake spirituality that messes people up. Sure she’s “successful”, but it’s not through visualizing and wishful thinking that made her dreams happen. It was hard work.

I know the Secret isn’t all bs, but the financial parts really get my goat. Checks coming in from the mail by just believing… you want to know what you call people who believe in the Secret? Poor.

Nancy (aka 'money coach"
Nancy (aka 'money coach"

Gutsy you! “The Secret” poses a real dilemma for me – I work as a money coach (for want of a better term) on the west coast of Canada, and lots – LOTS! – of my clients buy into it. It’s not really my place to challenge people’s faith-beliefs, and on top of that, who wants to be the person who says, “well, I’m not sure I would count on your intention statements to provide your desires”? Not an easy place to be, yet I also feel a responsibility to gently shoot straight. So thanks for tackling a difficult topic!

BRE
BRE

I liked the secret, however, I can see how so many individuals use the secret to try to do things the “easy way”. I think before you can make any changes their needs to be a positive intention behind it, you have to believe it is possible. But then it’s a matter of matching your actions to that belief. I think the thing that I disagreed with the secret on is that here we are talking about potential and spirituality and then in the next sentence we are talking about getting rich beyond what one individual really needs – how… Read more »

Meags
Meags

I’m also curious as to what the Secret believers think now. I always thought the Secret was rubbish, but now it all makes sense. The people who propagate it probably don’t even believe in it. If they did, Mr Schirmer wouldn’t have withheld wages from his employees and profits from his students, knowing that it would all come back to him via the law of attraction. And hopefully, it all will.

Seth
Seth

dodgy sprukers. I rather like that term. Much better than shysters. I wonder if he has it on his name cards?

Trent
Trent

I believe people like him are L. Ron Hubbard wannabes.

WestOf8th
WestOf8th

Check out the Google ads to the right of this page:

– Easy Turnkey Cash system
– Get paid to take surveys
– The secret business
etc.

I’m sure all these web sites are run by Schirmer wanabees…

John
John

I read somewhere that Schirmer wanted to be a household name. Looks like he might have achieved that goal, unfortunately he wasn’t to specific about the type of name he wanted!! The sooner types like him are flushed out of the system the better the whole world will be. He is nothing but a parasite on society.

Came across this site the other day:

http://www.schirmerexposed.co.nr

John
John

Episode 3 of schirmer on ACA on channel 9 at 0630p Monday night (June 25, 2007) in Oz.

No doubt this will appear on Youtube shortly after. It could well have another ‘secret teacher’ on it that is not all that impressed with schirmers antics.

Ian
Ian

Rhonda Byrne should be suing David Schirmer for lying about his position just to get onto The Secret. Look how much he has affected the reputation of The Secret. Nobody deserved what he has done and to think he has also accused Bob Proctor of not fulfilling his promises. He is a bloody idiot. It was his choice to do all of the things he did so it’s his choice whether he takes the medicine or not. I’m happy to sit back and watch the next installment in the series of Schirmer video.

Pam
Pam

Ian, Do you know when the next Schirmer episode will be on? I guess they are waiting for Schirmer to pay up his traders some time in the next few days. I too think it is shocking the way that David Schirmer had very serious unfinished business when he entered the agreement to do the secret thing. That says a lot about a person doesn’t it. Very greedy and selfish.

Dom
Dom

Today is DDay for David Schirmer and there are a lot of people watching. This is what the secret IS in my opinion: a) A massive marketing campaign designed to line the pockets of the teachers NOT help the masses. b) An evil form of human seduction and emotional manipulation. Not one of the teachers on The Secret are making REAL changes to humanity despite boasting about making their millions. If they are, wheres the proof? Where are the Mother Theresa’s the ones who are willing to live ample but humble lives and gift their excess successes to the needy?… Read more »

Dennis
Dennis

David Schirmer maybe a conman but let’s not overlook Bob Proctor’s involvement. Life Success is run by the two of them. I’m not for Schirmer and I think what he did was extremely awful however Bob Proctor is no different. This is not the first time Bob has had involvement with someone/something that is unethical and immoral not to mention illegal. Bob was involved in the SGR Program which was also illegal in it’s first run and like schirmer tried to cover that fact up. Honestly, I’d like to see ACA or some american channel do an expose of Bob… Read more »

Patrick
Patrick

SCHIRMER IS SOLICITING FOR BUSINESS PARTNERS!!! You can join him in an affiliate opportunity with his company Wealth By Choice Pty Ltd? Schirmer is charging $10,000 for the incredible privilege of having a wealth creation business with him selling Life Success products through yet another company. How absolutely positively incredibly laughable is that. This guy can’t even pay his investors back, or the people who have worked for him, or his traders or suppliers and he is now asking people to join him for an incredible once in a lifetime opportunity to spread his message. Oh and there are only… Read more »

David
David

Why is David Schirmer selling the Life Success products through his own company? I considered this opportunity a few years ago and I thought the investors are taking legal action over this because they have not had a refund of their investment or any profit share while Schirmer has been publicly boasting of millions of dollars of profits. Is this another example of Schirmer ethics or just a sign of desparation? I would advise anyone to contact the media to find out who the investors are and speak to them before they pay David Schirmer anything for the affiliate opportunity… Read more »

Dennis
Dennis

Noted quantum physics expert Scientist Bob Proctor and his pals, as well as nearly 2,000 personal-growth junkies, are taking over an entire ship in October! The Reverend Michael Beckwith, is going to be on board as well, raising the vibe by perpetrating a special meditation every morning. Also appearing will be several other renowned hustledorks self-help stars whom Scientist Bob is raving about but most of whom, frankly, I’ve never heard of. Alas, for some reason, it doesn’t look as if Bob’s former co-hort, Aussie Secret star David Schirmer, is going to be on board. And the two of them… Read more »

Dennis
Dennis

It’s no surprise that the secret has many more secret’s. I’ve just found out that Dr. Joe Vitale a teacher featured in the secret is not an actual doctor. He just gave himself that title inorder to build credibility. Why am i not surprised. That’s exactly what david did when he said he was worth millions. Credibility in an Internet Marketer (Scammers) best friend it allows them to get peoples trust and more importantly their money. I’ve searched the internet and consulted with professors at Local Universities – There is no such thing as a doctorate in Metaphysical studies which… Read more »

John
John

For Christs sake Schirmer, who the hell gives a shit whether Tony Robbins helped you or not the fact is YOU HAVE STOLEN FROM PEOPLE AND REFUSE TO RETURN WHAT IS NOT YOURS. Until you get that through your head your business will suffer. Interesting how you quote that you have made sooooooooooo much money but where the hell is it you idiot? If you have made so much WHY ARE YOU SO IN DEBT? Why do you owe all these people so much money. Quit the lies and come clean otherwise suffer the consequences you idiot.

Bill
Bill

David Schirmer is so full of crap, he is still pretending because he still getting bills in the mail. He is now promoting Anthony Robbins seminar and no doubt simply to get a few free tickets for himself. He also reckons that he’s been to see Tony Robins 8 times….laughing my arse off now!

For Christs sake Schirmer are you that thick that you need to attend that many times, are you obsessed with Tony Robins or are you so up yourself that you think it’s the right thing to do to worship someone else.

What a freak

Penny
Penny

I came across the secret in a book store and found Schirmer as the only australian apart from the author. What I am finding very disturbing that one person can create such an amazing amount of negativity and be included in something like the secret. I think he is a hypocrite and should walk away or be forced to walk away from the personal development industry. David Schirmer is causing more hurt by continuing along his greedy path to self gratification and it looks like he doesn’t care in he least. I believe his stubborness and greed will be his… Read more »

Anon
Anon

Wanker Schirmer is at it again, lying his face off. I reckon he has a mirror on the ceiling, the floor, the walls and everywhere he walks because he loves himself that much. What a complete prick. Do you really think that Tony Robbins is interested in you Schirmer? Really? Come on now, he would be embarassed to know your name.

David Ashton
David Ashton

To all those interested here is the truth straight from David geocities.com/usepenlube/acaschirmer.pdf In other words if you believe this bullshit story without being present and knowing all the facts, you have stooped to the same gutter journalistic level as the journalist who has twisted the story for his own personal gain.

Benjamin
Benjamin

Everyone seems so upset about his guy and all I can find is negative press.

I feel sorry for the people who have been affected by his actions but I guess it will come to an end soon.

I don’t think The Secret is everything everyone thinks it is but I did enjoy some of he content.

Benjamin
Benjamin

Hey Ashie (aka David Schirmer)

Looks like you are in deep shit now.

J.D.
J.D.

Folks, I’m closing this entry to new comments. Nothing productive is occurring here. For further discussion on The Secret, please check out my review of the book.

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