Mark Joyner is a great teacher. There is no doubt about it. He writes in a very simple (almost simplistic) sort of way that may leave many readers wondering “what is the point?” But at the end of the chapter, if you hang in there through his personal rhetoric, political views, and fictitious examples, the point ultimately becomes clear and all that preceded it suddenly makes sense.
The question is not so much whether or not Mark is a good teacher, but more so about the validity of what he is teaching. Simple•ology is the first and only book I have read by Mark, and I have to admit for much of it I really struggled to remain engaged. This is not to say that there are not some valid lessons in Simple•ology. There are.
For instance, Mark spends a fair amount of time discussing how our thoughts, beliefs, language and experiences combine to form our model of the world. I have researched and written on these topics extensively in this blog and elsewhere, and I for the most part agree with Mark’s ideas.
Mark eventually, after writing several chapters on topics such as neural networking, focus and trances, links the creation of these models as representations of our own realities, to the notion of belief and behavioral flexibility. His “Utilitarian Model Flexibility” concept is undeniably powerful. In essence, Mark suggests that by accepting that your model of the world, which represents your reality, is not a true representation of reality, you may maintain the flexibility to change the model. In doing so, you retain flexibility of behavior and can better achieve your goals “at that precise time.”
I wholeheartedly agree with this notion, which is actually mirrored in a number of NLP presuppositions:
• The map is not the territory
• Everyone’s unique model of the world is equally valid
• The most flexible part of the system controls the system
However, what Mark does not provide is a viable tool for creating and maintaining such flexibility… at least not in his book. To be fair, there is a companion website that may hold those answers.
So, would I recommend Simple•ology? Sure, but with the caveat that while reading Simple•ology the reader should look out for the very manipulations Mark warns about in the text. I could not help but feel that Mark spent a fair amount of time selling a product as he did a system for self-improvement and personal development. Maybe that is ok. As I stated I have not really investigated the web site (the product) so I cannot comment on the quality of the content and exercises.
I can say, however, that what you will not get from Simple•ology is a free standing, or in depth, body of knowledge that will help you achieve the belief and behavioral flexibility Mark prescribes. The information and concepts are good, even if he takes a while to get to what I believe are the most important points about how we can create our own realities to serve our own needs.
I would suggest additional studies, particularly in the practice of NLP, which offers not only many of the same concepts, but also specific exercises and techniques to implement these concepts in your daily lives.
Overall I would recommend Simple•ology, but rate it 3 out of 5.