This is just one version of many Who’s Who-type scams out there. The kind where you pay through the nose to have your name buried in a book whose pages are brushed with genuine gold-like leaf, a display case or stand for the book, a bookmark holding the book open to your page, a certificate, a certificate frame, extra books for your relatives and associates and their pets, directional signs to the shrine you build around the book, a kit and instructions for building the shrine, etc., etc.
As you doubtless have surmised, the book and accessories are not really what’s for sale. What’s for sale is ego gratification.
I once worked in a company where the boss bought into such a scam. He proudly displayed his book in the office on a pedestal the publisher sold him, open to the page where his name appeared in minuscule type among the names of a hundred thousand other dupes. He was fully convinced that Who’s Who had chosen him from among myriad, mega-qualified, daunting contenders. In reality, his name was on a mailing list of potential marks, and he bit. One helluva an egomaniac, my boss, perhaps he was the publisher’s rightful prey.
But I have also known innocent people who, receiving such an invitation, genuinely believed that they — or, even sadder, that their child — had been singled out for a bona fide honor. Humble and grateful, they were ready to hand over their credit card number. It is not easy breaking the truth to them.
Despite my use of the word “scam,” what these folks do is not illegal. They deliver exactly what they promise: they print your name in a fancy book. But the greatness of this so-called honor is entirely manufactured and vastly exaggerated. Which in my view makes their sales pitch look a lot like what ordinary people call “lying.”
I am a direct marketer. I enjoy the craft. But I wish only practitioners with integrity would avail themselves of it.