Small business expert and “Good Morning America” contributor Tory Johnson is about to release a book this Tuesday entitled “The Shift“. The book chronicles her experiences over the past 18 months as she lost 60 pounds. A producer suggested a stylist which Johnson interpreted as a threat that her “GMA” job was on the line, she created a 5-step system that left her svelte and happier than ever.
Of course, we don’t yet know what that 5-step system is because you have to buy the book to find out.
I have to say, I didn’t want to write this post. But I’ve been stewing for days now (see the Facebook post below) and what Tory is doing is exactly what I think is wrong with the fitness and diet industries. I feel I have to call a spade a spade.
Generally speaking, I’m a fan of Tory Johnson. She asked me once to speak at her small business Spark & Hustle Conference and I thought it went well … well enough that she quoted me in her last book, also called “Spark & Hustle.” I don’t consider us enemies, we’re even Facebook friends. Which is what lead to this conversation:
To be fair, my comment was an exasperation that I’ve felt towards the entire fitness and diet industries and not just towards Tory. It just seems like the people with true expertise frequently get ignored in favor of the person with the bigger platform. Jillian Michaels takes her online-only certification and parlays it into a fitness and diet pill-popping empire … Tim Ferriss goes from business consultant to diet guru with the catchy titled “The 4-Hour Body” … Etcetera, Etcetera. The examples are numerous, overwhelming, and largely the by-product of marketing.
Not surprisingly, people jumped to Tory’s defense, and quite fairly suggested I read the book first. (I requested an advance copy to review, but didn’t receive a response back.) Tory, herself, even weighed in:
The conversation didn’t really go anywhere further from there. Most people supported Tory, and most people either chided or ignored me. The original poster, Ted Rubin (another person I respect and have known for a while), fully supported Tory. I was drowned out again.
Here’s Why I’m Pissed Off
I thought about this conversation for a while. I was just over-reacting, I told myself. It’s just another person taking advantage of a situation for her own financial gain … hey, we ALL do that. I have two fitness DVDs after all, that I’d be thrilled if you’d purchase. But then I started checking around.
Despite an adamant disclaimer that this “is not a diet book,” Tory is …
- Making sure her media posse positions the book as a way to lose weight and be happier.
- Charging $40 to $75 per person for the opportunity to attend an “intimate evening with Tory” to learn how you can get on the same successful path.
- Working with several companies (mostly snack bars and diet and fitness products) and cross-promoting them with her tour.
If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.
Do you see on the Facebook comment above where I say, “If she starts hawking diet pills/drinks/powders/bars I’ll have lost all respect for her. Ditto if she starts a weight loss group of some sort that she charges for …”?? Did you see 2 and 3 above?
Yep … she’s looking to making money through …
- Book sales
- A “for fee” tour aimed at encouraging you to be as successful (and slim) as she is
- Charging companies for access to you through her platform
Honestly, my first reaction when I figured it out was, “Damn … I bet Tim Ferriss wishes he had thought of all this too a couple years ago.” Most book authors don’t charge for their speaking tours. Tory is definitely a smart business woman and she will definitely make a lot of money off her “not a diet book.”
So here’s a question: if you’re thinking of buying Tory’s book, are you buying it because of her business advice? Thought so.
Here’s the Other Reason Why I’m So Pissed Off
Tory Johnson is sharing her story with us. She is giving us a blueprint to follow (I’m sure a lot of the advice is very sound). She is sharing some tough truths that she had to confront along the way … old ways of thinking that didn’t work and had to be discarded.
This is actually wonderful and I applaud her for it … but I know at least a dozen bloggers off the top of my head who do the exact same thing without asking you to shell out $75 to hear them speak in a big auditorium. A few that come to mind:
MizFitOnline. A former personal trainer and now an online gladiator of positivity! I love Carla’s warmth, her charm, and how you can somehow feel her arm around your shoulder, supporting you, as you read her.
Authentically Emmie. I love that Emmie has lost over 100 pounds and has so flourished that as her weight loss journey continues she has become a plus size model. She truly understands the struggle and shares her story with people every day.
Sweating Until Happy. Alan Ali is such a bright light in the weight loss journey niche. He is trying so hard and is having great successes. He’s not motivated by the threat of losing a six-figure job, he’s motivated by how great he feels and the happiness his healthy lifestyle is bringing him.
Roni’s Weigh. Roni Noone is one of the greatest weight-loss bloggers out there. She’s kind, she’s plucky, she’s a Mom who gets it … she has become incredibly successful and also created FitBloggin, a great annual conference that brings other like-minded bloggers together to share ideas and expand a great community.
I could go on, and while most of the people above make money from their online endeavors, there is plenty that they share for free just because they want you to feel better about yourself. I’m sure they, like me, glow with pride when someone leaves a comment on their blog about how much a post helped shift their perspective.
Maybe the first impulse for this book was truly from Tory’s heart. The chance to share her story with others and help them out … But if that’s the case, how come everything is under wraps until you cough up some dough?
Since writing this post, I’ve purchased and read the book. Here’s my review of “The Shift”.
What do you think?