State University of New York Institute of Technology
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Kevin Trudeau and The Willingness to Be Deceived

Kevin Trudeau was a liar. That is clear from all the visible evidence about the books he pitched on his infomericals. But were his lies criminal, and does he deserve to spend 10 years in prison?

The offense in question, that he disobeyed a court order to stop producing infomercials, is, without any doubt, enough to send him to prison and cost him a lot in penalties. But the initial offense, selling impossible promises to a willing public, is more doubtful. This kind of marketing is not uncommon.

His claims were hyperbolic on the face of them, and anyone believing them had to be willing to be fooled. Still, according to the article, "According to his book covers, several of his books have been number one on the New York Times bestseller list." So we know that many, many people wanted to believe what he was telling them. They wanted a "magic" solution to their problems about weight and health. Perhaps it was his very popularity that made him a target, rather than the significance of his offense.

We, as a buying public, also have a responsibility when it comes to choosing products and services, and researching the promises made by marketers. If it seems to good to be true, it probably isn't true.

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