Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Flow Genome Project - modern snake oil? con?

Note added Aug.16, 2019.  Please see this update:

I thought I would point MindBlog readers to comments made on my post of 11/7/2017, where I offered a scathing review of a book, "Stealing Fire" which purports to describe how the Flow Genome Project (for a considerable amount of money) will take you to the next level of human performance. The comments include an exchange between a very dissatisfied customer/student and a staff member in the first two classes offered ("Flow Fundamentals" and "Flow Performance.").   

I read your commentary on the Flow Genome Project (FGP) with great interest. Your suspicions about this "effort" are spot on, and I wish that I had your insight before taking two of these classes from the FGP...The first class (Flow Fundamentals) was a great community of people, and I learned much from them, and nothing from the FGP personnel. The second class (Flow Performance) was pseudo-profound BS (PPBS.) There is a great paper that won an Ig Nobel Prize titled "On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit."...The paper perfectly described every aspect of this class!! The instructor - Jamie Wheal - is more interested in impressing people with PPBS than realaying any useful information. Also, each class is prefaced with the promise that "All the secrets of Stealing Fire will be revealed in this next class." I stopped when this promise was not delivered in Flow Performance; but, was promised for private coaching (at an extremely high price).
Response from Flow Genome Project:
We're actually re-launching our new website in the coming month or so to address and make more transparent the research we're working on. As for the links, that was a frustrating mistake with them being published without confirmation on the back end. The correct working links are: 
[note inserted at this point by Bownds...the corrected links now actually work, but the web page /research contains no research,  and the web page /downloads is simply a sales pitch for buying the book "Stealing Fire"....their "correct working links" yield no relevant information!.].. continuing:
Sorry to hear Mike that you're still not satisfied with your experience in the course. Those marketing criticisms are puzzling as we unpacked quite a lot of information in Flow Performance with respect to that topic. The private coaching is not promising to deliver hidden information that Flow Performance does not, but rather the personal 1:1 time with a coach.
Response to the last sentence by commenter:
Here is an excerpt from an email from Jamie Wheal announcing the availability of private coaching to all members of the Flow Performance Class: 
"I’ve only ever done this with CEOs and military leaders, never before to the general public. We’re going to combine deep dive coaching, direct facilitation through some of our highest octane tools and a behind the curtain look at what we covered in Stealing Fire. No filter. Gloves off. The most potent tools and techniques we’ve learned in over a decade of working with the best in the world, and seeing what actually sticks." 
The VERY same promise made for Flow Performance. A promise that was never kept. I rest my case!!
Further comment:
During the Flow Performance Class, Jamie Wheal made the statement multiple times that "Stealing Fire [the book that he co-authored and the foundation for FGP training] is a complete fiction; a Promethean Prank." Taking him at his word, how can such a document have any scientific validity and/or application at all?! In addition, whenever a topic came up - in Flow Performance - in which certain class members had experience and deep understanding (e.g. Breathwork, DNA testing, Microdosing), the lack of knowledge/depth of understanding on the part of the FGP was blindingly obvious given the FGP's responses to deeper inquiries by those experts in the class. It is very telling when one starts addressing questions and concerns about their work with statements about their credentials, listing members of their network/inner circle, and engaging in character assassination against those who question; rather than addressing the questions directly. This was a constant problem during Flow Performance. It was the worst, but not the only, source of pseudo profound bullshit in the Flow Performance class.


  1. Kapios3:26 PM

    I finished the Flow Fundamentals course. It was a total waste of time. i thought I was going to be practicing new techniques,assignments, learning new ways to re-frame negative mindsets, but there was almost nothing like that. When the course ended, they wanted us to apply to the next more advanced course, which they ask you 100 dollars for an interview to apply to this program. They says it's refundable, but still sounds like a lot of B.S. I asked them for a refund or at least avoid the third payment installment around week 4 when I realised that nothing is going to happen. They told me that I needed to complete at least 50% of the Flow Fundamentals course and wait until week 6 to ask again. Once Sudnay is over I'm e-mailing them again.

    1. Did you get the refund after all?

  2. To expand on this for future searchers because the issues here are related to both Wheal and Kotler, and even after separating, nothing has improved for either of their trainings as far as I'm concerned.

    I took the Flow for Couples with my wife, which I regret not getting a refund for but that was on me. At the time, I said no because I wanted to join the next iteration and try again as my partner wasn't able to fully participate but we never did.

    Then when Kotler released the Habit of Ferocity after leaving FGP, that again intrigued me so I bought it. Again, I regretted it as there was no substance to it and when I asked when there was going to be

    I'm a pretty forgiving guy when it comes to content but of nearly 50 online courses I've purchased over the years, these are by far the two with the least substance and results.

    With Habit of Ferocity there is zero real value before the refund period expires so I asked for a refund and received it. At the same time, several of my friends were going through the program and after I refunded (but they didn't) I asked them how it was going and both them said the same thing, that they were following all the instructions and finding it was just fluff. The only benefit one of them said was that at least they were engaged in some sort of personal growth so it wasn't a total waste.

    A plus is their customer service, which was always good to deal with.

    Maybe someone can glean something useful from this but I found it to be the worst investment in my personal development that I've ever made.

  3. Anonymous6:20 PM

    May I ask what was the favorite 3 courses out of 50?

  4. Anonymous1:44 PM

    Here is a recent article on explanations of flow...very relevant for evaluating commercialized products being sold.

  5. Anonymous2:28 PM

    Thanks for sending the reference link.