I always had a mild fascination with Scientology and cults in general (after reading the book, I think you'll agree that "cult" is not too strong of a word). Most of my understanding of the religion was through wikipedia articles and blogs. I found it interesting, but figured my impression was being somewhat skewed to be overly negative.
It is broken into 3 sections, as the title kinda implies. The first section is about the life of L. Ron Hubbard, the church's larger than life founder. I thought this was the most interesting section because every other minute there would be some insane anecdote that literally had me shouting to myself (Hubbard's dabbling in satanic rituals, the time he led a military ship on a hunt for a non-existent submarine, the fiasco of an alleged psychic that he trained being grilled by the media at a press conference). The next section shifts the focus to the church's recruitment of celebrities and an orchestrated coup to take control of the church after L. Ron passes. The last section focuses on members of the church trying to leave it behind. In particular, it focuses on famous director Paul Haggis.
The book is always fascinating. It never feels like a hatchet job either. The author often portrays many church members sympathetically and he does give the arguments others have made that Scientology can have a positive effect on peoples' lives and that it is no less valid than other religions.
I listen to a lot of audiobooks during my long commute and I'm usually reluctant to get one that is kinda long because I figure I'll get bored of it quickly. That wasn't the case with this. I was excited to sit in the car for 2 hours to listen to more.
Frighteningly ignorant people.
A study in how to manipulate idiots.
It is a little long and drawn out, but overall is worth it.
This is a spellbinding book read by an excellent narrator. It was both frightening and fascinating and didn't want to put my iPod down. It was well researched and well written and I would highly recommend it.
It's horrific how a group of bullies terrorize and profit from brainwashed members, all under the safe harbor of religion.
This was one of the best recent books I've "read". The detailed research is unimpeachable.
L. Ron Hubbard has to be my favorite character. His story is about as unbelievable as the pulp he wrote in the 1930s: science-fiction writer turned self-help guru turned messiah. You can't make this stuff up!
Sellers brings out and enhances the narrative. His tempo is perfect, allowing the listener to picture everything happening while never feeling like the story is dragging.
The book made me laugh at the absurdity of Scientology, especially given the objective stance Wright gives to the religion. Wright goes to great lengths to place scientology in historical perspective. His epilogue examines Scientology in comparison to other religions, and he does a great job at explaining how questions of faith, from the perspective of someone outside the religion, always appear illogical and silly. This goes for Scientology as for Christianity. (Think of the virgin birth, for instance). And yet even with this disclaimer the belief system is so irrational, so unscientific (some events that the religion chronicles occurred before the beginning of the universe) that one has to chuckle at times when it is systematically described.
Moreover, Hubbard himself, as his biography reveals, is a charlatan of charlatans - in the end, maybe, even fooling himself.
This is a very informative book. Assuming it is true, LRH is an incredible individual with the power to convince people to follow him despite his numerous faults which included bigamy, kidnapping, excessive lying, and a tendency to elevate himself above the "crowd". And that is only some of his faults!!
The detail to which the author described LRH
Yes, very much so in my opinion
LHR's continual lying about his WW2 service record.... and the absolute proof that he was not where he claimed to have been. He was no war hero, but instead a coward.
This is the second book I have read about Scientology. This is much better researched and informative. Great read!!
Definitely, for those who love a story about a mysterious and evil cult.
The details uncovered were a great act of investigative journalism by the author. Well researched to give a fleshed-out picture of an insane and powerful cult. It portrayed our vulnerability as humans to belong and the exploitation of that weakness by sinister forces.
Absolutely, and I almost did.
I didn't want it to end!
Entertaining, well written, impeccably researched, this book reports both sides of the story, which makes it extremely clear who is telling the truth, and who is lying. The "Church" of Scientology is a massive fundraising operation skilled in deception, fraud and intimidation. It is amazing to read a book that really gets to the heart of the "religion" from its earliest roots to its present incarnation.
The real biography of L. Ron Hubbard is a fascinating story of a deeply disturbed, but yet enigmatically brilliant mind. It provides a picture of his life you just don't get from reading about him on wikipedia, and while it only forms a part of this in depth story, its an amazingly interesting part.
I knew the cult of Scientology was crazy but didn't realize the depth of the insanity nor did I realize the degree of torture that this "church" performs. Very informative. Looking forward to seeing the documentary that received rave reviews at Sundance.