“So what do you think of Tai Lopez?”
That’s the question we’re getting asked repeatedly after several weeks of deep research into Tai Lopez.
We’ve watched countless hours of his videos, listened to dozens of episodes of his podcast, bought and carefully reviewed his courses, and read scores of articles about the man.
The following is a summary of what we’ve learned, and our answer to the above question.
The problem with Tai Lopez
We’ve learned quite a bit from Tai Lopez, and he’s turned us on to many valuable ideas, books, and thinkers.
We don’t consider him a scammer – at least not since he shut down his fleet of dating websites – and it’s clear that he’s improved the lives of many people.
That said, we take issue with Tai for three reasons.
1. Cleverness over Clarity
Ramit Sethi once wrote: 13
Be clear, not clever. A subject line like “Hey” or “Critical mistake” is clever. An email like “New course: Creating an online business” is clear. Clever emails might get you short-term boosts in open rates, but people stop trusting you after a few of them.
Tai Lopez seems to operate by the reverse principle, often prioritizing cleverness over clarity.
- Step 12. Mike’s Stack Of Resumes, My 96 Year-old Grandma, & Your Eulerian Destiny
- Step 32. Slot Machine Probability & Chasing The Mirage
- Step 43. 20% Weird Factor, The Cabbage Mind, & The Treachery Of Scoundrels
But it’s not just the lesson titles that are confusing.
As we wrote in our deep review of the course:
The majority of the videos within The 67 Steps feature Tai talking casually and loosely about a particular topic, without any obvious notes or structure to keep him on track.
As a result, he usually ends up taking 30 minutes to deliver 10 minutes of actual value and you’re left confused as to what his main point was in the first place.
To be fair, Tai has improved in this regard over the years – the names of his courses and email subject lines tend to be increasingly succinct nowadays.
But the core issue remains: Tai’s teachings are more often clever, less often clear.
2. Quantity over Quality
Tai posts multiple times a day on several social media platforms, puts out ~100 episodes of his podcast a year, regularly records 1-3 hour videos and webinars, and has produced more than a dozen content-heavy courses covering a wide variety of topics.
We spent several weeks looking through his free and premium content and didn’t come close to consuming it all.
In short, the man is prolific.
But such quantity seems to come at the expense of quality.
Take Tai’s SMMA program, for example.
It features 100+ lessons from 33+ teachers and more than 64 hours of training.
Get it on sale and it’s still great value for money – read our full review here – but instead of the concise, well-structured, regularly-updated program on social media marketing that it could be, the content is scattered, occasionally contradictory, and increasingly outdated.
We get the same impression from Tai’s content in general: overwhelming quantity, underwhelming quality.
3. Style over Substance
No doubt you’re already familiar with Tai’s style of marketing…
Tai has earned his riches and he’s entitled to enjoy his life however he sees fit, so we take no issue with his MTV Cribs lifestyle.
What we do take issue with, however, is Tai’s willingness to bend or obscure the truth, presumably to score extra style points with his audience.
For example, here are just a handful of claims by Tai that we found to be either disingenuous or flat-out dishonest:
- He was “voted the Number 1 Social Media Influencer by Entrepreneur Magazine.” 15
- He and Oprah “have the biggest book clubs in the world.” 16
- He reads a book a day. 17
- One of his videos is “almost the most watched video campaign in history.” 18
- He “never discounts his programs.” 19
- “Watch the above presentation now, because it will be taken down in a few days.” 20
Make no mistake: Tai Lopez does have plenty of genuine value to share with his audience.
But once you become aware of his fondness for exaggeration and fabrication, you’re left fact-checking and second-guessing everything that comes out of his mouth.
Tai Lopez and the Law of 33%
All those issues combined lead us to a concept made famous by Tai in a 2015 TEDx Talk:
The Law Of 33%, as described by Tai at the 10:10 mark of that video:
You should divide up your life and spend 33% of your time around people lower than you. You can mentor them, you can help them. And they’ll help you back by making you feel good about yourself. Right? It’s good to know somebody’s doing worse than you. That’s that 30%.
Then you have 33% of people that are on your level. These become your friends, your peers.
But that last 33% is what most people forget about. Those are people 10, 20 years ahead of you. They’ll make you feel a little bit uncomfortable, but that’s what you want. 21
That’s a nice concept and everything, but when it comes to Tai Lopez, we propose that the law be repurposed to describe his teaching style.
The Real Law of 33%
For every 30 minutes you listen to Tai Lopez talk, you will receive only 10 minutes of value.
In other words, approximately 33% of what Tai has to say is incredibly useful, insightful, and perhaps even life-changing.
And the rest is either pointless rambling, Tai reminding you how successful he is, or claims that can’t be taken at face value. 22
To illustrate, consider this 30-minute video on Tai’s official channel:
The title of the video is “8 Ways To Not Waste Time And Procrastinate”
We watched the entire video and took a bunch of notes, but failed to come away with a clear understanding of the 8 ways alluded to in the title. (If you fared better, let us know in the comments below.)
Sure, Tai shares some good ideas in that video, but nothing that couldn’t have been communicated in 10 minutes or less. 23
For comparison, consider this 5-minute video from another YouTube channel on the same topic:
The title of that video is “How to Stop Procrastinating.”
It’s well structured with a quick introduction, 3 clear recommendations for overcoming procrastination, and a short recap at the end.
We daresay that it’s twice as useful as Tai’s video, in 1/6th of the time.
So is Tai Lopez worth listening to?
We’ve seen Tai’s teaching style described as follows: 24
Lopez focuses on blending education with entertainment, which captivates and motivates people to learn much more efficiently than conventional education systems.
While we agree that Tai blends education with entertainment, most of his content is weighted heavily towards the latter.
Combined with how unstructured his content usually is, we’d argue that he’s actually a highly inefficient teacher.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to the guy.
- If you love seeing flash cars and lavish lifestyles, then Tai is your man. You’ll find his content entertaining and you’ll pick up some nuggets of wisdom along the way.
- But if your primary goal is to learn something as fast and as efficiently as possible, Tai should be relegated to background noise or tuned out altogether while you make use of better resources available online.
Tai Lopez Alternatives
If Tai Lopez isn’t your cup of tea, try these alternative recommendations…
- Instead of Tai’s podcast, try The Tim Ferriss Show or The Knowledge Project.
- Instead of Tai’s YouTube channel, try The Futur or Ramit Sethi.
- Instead of Tai’s 67 Steps program, see our recommendations here.
- Instead of Tai’s SMMA program, check out the top rated social media marketing courses on Skillshare and Udemy.
(Know a good alternative we should include here? Share in the comments below.)
Read more about Tai Lopez
This article is part of a 9-part series:
Do you agree with our take on Tai Lopez?
Let us know in the comments below.