Handling ANEL Disease

Posted on August 13, 2018 by Robert Ringer


I was talking to my friend Bill a few weeks ago, and in the course of our conversation he happened to mention something about the business troubles Dexter Windbag (pseudonym) had encountered in recent years.  I had no idea the guy was still alive, and had no interest in hearing about his troubles.

Nevertheless, my friend proceeded to tell me how Windbag had been ousted as a director and spokesman for a multi-level marketing company for misstating his academic credentials.  In Windbag’s official bio, which he used to rise to the top of the professional speaking world, he claimed to have both a master’s degree and a Ph.D.  However, investigators apparently found that the school from which he claimed to have acquired his master’s degree had no record of him ever attending that school.

Further, the university from which he claimed to have a Ph.D. was not accredited and closed down after only sixteen years of existence.  Conveniently, the former president of the university claims that Windbag’s records have been lost, and Windbag himself says that for some strange reason he doesn’t have a copy of his doctoral dissertation.  Not a very good way to end a supposedly sterling career.

Why was my friend telling me all this?  Because clear back in the 1970s, Bill, who also was a professional speaker, had called me one day and asked if I had heard what Dexter Windbag had said about me on his new audio album.  I told him that not only had I not heard it, I didn’t even know who Dexter Windbag was.

Whereupon Bill informed me that Windbag was a highly successful professional speaker with impeccable credentials — former military officer, high-level education credentials, and lots of big-name endorsements.  He explained that he had made a lot of money preaching about such qualities as virtue, character, morality, and integrity — which is almost always a bad sign.  As Thoreau observed, “There are nine hundred and ninety-nine patrons of virtue to one virtuous man.”

Bill volunteered to send me the audio tape that contained Dexter Windbag’s remarks about me and my first book, Winning Through Intimidation.  I probably should have told him not to bother, but I was curious as to why a supposedly highly respected person would make nasty comments about someone he had never even met.

When the tape arrived, I put it in my cassette player and began listening to it.  The first thing that surprised me was that Windbag, notwithstanding his reputation as a big-time professional speaker, was not even an average speaker.  (In a later article, I’ll address the phenomenon of how low-skilled, untalented people sometimes stumble into situations that lead to their becoming accidents of history.  It occurs more often than people might think.)

After listening to the tape for ten minutes or so, from out of nowhere — Bam! — Dexter Windbag, the epitome of virtuousness, suddenly blurted out my name and the title of my book.  Even though Bill had told me about it, it still took me aback.  It was a long time ago, so I don’t recall Windbag’s exact words, but the sum and substance of his chest-pounding rants was:

“Can you imagine someone writing a book with a title like Winning Through Intimidation?  What kind of person would promote the idea that the way to get ahead in life is to bully others?”

Obviously, Dexter hadn’t read my book, but I had already gotten used to critics taking shots at me without even going to the trouble of actually reading my words.  (Yes, the Fake News Media was alive even then.)  But this guy wasn’t a critic.  He was a motivational speaker who had clearly succeeded in creating an image of being beyond reproach.

Yet here he was, this paragon of virtue, using my good name to puff up his own image by feigning disgust and moral superiority.  My first thought was, “Who in the hell is this self-righteous jerk?”

I would be inclined to say his remarks were just a result of jealousy, but I think it was even worse than that.  Rather, I believe that people like Dexter are so narcissistic that they are constantly in search of ways to pump up their own egos — whether it’s lying about their credentials or lying about a person they don’t know or lying about a book they’ve never read.

Unfortunately, Dexter Windbag is not an isolated case.  There are a lot of self-important people in this world who not only will do anything to feed their narcissistic appetites, they also come to believe their own B.S. to such an extreme that they live in a self-righteous fantasy world created in their own minds.

You might think that I’m smiling at Windbag’s fall from grace, but I am not.  I’ve been around far too long for things like this to surprise me.  On the contrary, being the kind-hearted soul that I am, I have the utmost sympathy for people who are afflicted with serious diseases.

In Dexter’s case I’m talking about the dreaded ANEL Disease — ANEL being an acronym for arrogance, narcissism, egomania, and lying.  ANEL-afflicted people are almost as dangerous as serial killers, because their self-love gives them the justification for resorting to anything that will fuel their insatiable appetites for self-aggrandizement.

David Ogilvy, “the father of advertising,” once gave the best advice I know of when it comes to handling people afflicted with ANEL Disease when he said, “When a man boasts about his integrity, or a woman about her virtue, avoid the former and cultivate the latter.”

Excellent advice if you have one or more Dexter Windbags in your life — which I suspect you do.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

48 responses to “Handling ANEL Disease”

  1. TheLookOut says:

    Great article RJR, have known a few of the "ANEL" types i my time.
    Alas the poster boy for "ANEL"s is Barack H Obama.

    • WeatherKarkinan says:

      You completely miss the point. There's nothing unique about Obama. He's one of many. To single him out suggests you still don't get it.

      • saintquinn says:

        Obama was simply a lowlife community organizer who became the "puppet in chief"….
        The only thing he did on his own was destroy Whites in whatever ways he could, such as have HUD build low income housing for dusky criminal savages in upscale White areas…..

        • notpropagandized says:

          We should have discovered by now that Community Organizing, done well, is extraordinarily effective and mobilizing otherwise disinterested voters to cancel interested voters. Furthermore, community organizing provides impressive sources that serve as a smoke screen for election fraud such that disinterested voters don't really have to do anything. And of course, relentless propaganda that is part and parcel of community organizing builds nearly impregnable fortress of bigotry against the fundamental institutions of USA and the freedoms and justice it represents when properly led by righteous and observant people.
          Obama was a funnel for the seemingly limitless numbers of (dirty Dim) ANEL deferrents to his Fundamental Transformation.

      • TheLookOut says:

        You miss the point, who else duped millions of Americans to vote
        him into the Presidency twice..

      • GCHarmon says:

        No he hasn't missed the point. Obama fits the category to a tee. Arrogance, narcissism, egomania and lying, and that was his best attributes.

    • Rocketman says:

      Barack H Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi…….

    • Peter says:

      It is certainly tempting to name BHO as the classic example of ANEL disease (and I am sure it came to his mind, as RJR was writing the post). It would be hard to find a better example.
      Just one question that keeps gnawing at my brain: The people who support, are fooled by, follow, and believe in the person afflicted with ANEL disease…who is worse, them or the ANEL diseased one?

    • lee says:

      Anel Are you sure you are not talking about donald trump?

  2. Paul F Carter says:

    "It's important to deal only with people of integrity – like me, for example". Yes, I keep a copy of Winning through Intimidation on my desk. Best book I have ever read, and 40 years later, well, thank you Robert.

  3. Whodat says:

    Is ANEL disease related to being ANAL?

    Some folks are of that persuasion as well.

  4. turtleman2 says:

    More terrific insights into human behavior, Mr Ringer. Been a student of yours since buying "Winning…." in the 70's. Have all your books and refer to them often. I look forward to each and every one of your essays. Always interesting, thoughtful, and provocative. Thank you for the many life lessons I've learned from you that have helped guide my life.

  5. Scott theczech says:

    I can't wait to read your article about professional public speaking. Thanks for this reminder about these very deceptive folks.

  6. Richard Lee Van Der says:

    Yes, WINNING was a very catchy title at the time, and I loved it! I based an entire career on a Ringer assertion: BE THE EXPERT FROM AFAR!

  7. patg2 says:

    I'd be suspicious of that guy just learning he's involved with multi-level marketing. The business model of MLM is fundamentally flawed, such that anybody who gets involved is GOING to be defrauded. And I would have to say that many people in higher positions with MLM likewise undoubtedly have ANEL disease. It takes a certain mindset to cheat your fellow man like that.

    • Scott Theczech says:

      Isn’t all marketing multi-level, on some level (pun intended)? The real question isn’t that it is multi-level, rather what type of multi-level and how is sales revenue allocated. Generally speaking the biggest “expense” in any sales organization is payroll, specifically sales payroll. I place the word expense in quotes because from an accounting standpoint, cost of sales is an expense. However, sales which generate profits is actually the only expense which sustains itself. For example, research and development is pure expense, yet necessary. Cost of goods sold is pure expense, yet necessary, etc. So called MLM organizations are no exception and there are good and bad actors in all areas of business and life.

      • patg2 says:

        The business model of MLM is fundamentally different from any other type of sales. As I said, the business model is FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED. It CANNOT provide a living for anyone below the top few tiers. It is like having not just ONE warehouse for distribution, which must be paid for its services, but MANY. Each person in the chain gets a cut. The other problem is the pyramid nature of the structure. The only way to make money in MLM is to recruit, and it doesn't take long for the market to be saturated for that particular MLM. I have seen many in operation close up and personal. They ALL have the same business model. In the case of MLM, the cost of sales includes all these people in between. Most things, you have the manufacturer, the wholesaler, and the retailer. That's it. If you cannot see the problem, I am not sure how better to explain it.

        Spend some time reading here. Maybe you will understand their explanations better than mine. https://pyramidschemealert.org

        • Scott Theczech says:

          Pyramid schemes are illegal. MLM, Network Marketing are not. There is a difference. MLM in this country and Europe has a long established history and the model is now refined to the point where the states attorney generals do not pursue prosecution as long as the organizations follows clear and well established guidelines. Like all things in life there is a price to be paid for sucess. In most MLM models there is very little cash type capital required to begin operations therefore the capital is hard work and persistence. Or, one can chose to put a lot of cash into a venture and less work is required.

          • patg2 says:

            Sorry, the reason MLM is not illegal is that the government is full of people with conflict of interest, having been involved in MLM themselves, not to mention the political contributions and the lobbying. Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's not fraud. Concerning Amway, for many years considered one of the best MLMs, it is reported that a person selling Amway is lucky to clear $1.50 an hour. That's fraud by any standard. MLM also destroys families. It nearly destroyed mine. Most people who start in MLM leave within a year. If it were a real business opportunity, they would stay.

          • Jim Hallett says:

            The real problem with MLM (besides the fact that most of us inherently do not like the idea of hustling our friends, relatives, acquaintances, etc. into an "opportunity" which they did not voluntarily seek out) is that you eventually run out of people to fill the downline. I ran into an early-entry couple (into Amway) that got checks for $1M every month (they showed me the copies) at a real estate conference, so I know a few folks have been made very, very rich through some of these companies, but the vast majority get hooked in with lots of enthusiasm and wild dreams, only to have a stockpile of product in their basement or garage, and net less than $100 total for all their effort. The official legal reason is that if a company has a product, it does not fall into the technical "pyramid scheme" definition, but it is simply IMPOSSIBLE for the vast majority of people in any downline to ever earn much money, as there are only so many potential buyers for whatever product(s) are offered, and of course, the reason most companies choose consumable items is that the potential for reorder exists, but again, it is the few top levels that reap ALL of the benefits and they are dependent on constantly recruiting more disillusioned folks into the game. Not for me, that is for sure!

          • patg2 says:

            Well said. It's "selling product" that provides the loophole that keeps MLM technically legal. But people don't make money off selling product, and it is a VERY INEFFICIENT way to sell anything. Usually, these are products stores refuse to carry, and are often substandard. The health products I reviewed are clearly NOT state of the art, and they are not terribly effective. Most money to be made, if ANY, comes from recruiting. It's a few people really milking a huge number of others. I went to Amway meetings. They are full of propaganda, cult mind control techniques, and true statements that will influence people to jump to false conclusions. It made me sick. That's why I quit Amway after 3 weeks. It's why I talked one of our sons into having nothing to do with it. A girl he was interested in invited him to a meeting. That was the only reason she paid any attention to him. But it was another son who got heavily involved. He lost so much money he had to sell his car just to eat, and it truncated his music career. He has yet to recover. The money he borrowed to stock inventory will never be repaid. His in-laws drug him in. Later, the company, Equinox, was shut down by the government. He tried two other such, without telling us, and then he tried to recruit me for Herbalife. When I told him of a few of the problems, he chewed me out for an hour on the phone, and then my husband for another hour, and then refused to speak to us for a year. But he learned his lesson.

  8. larajf says:

    There are so many people out there suffering from ANEL disease. They got too many participation trophies and their mommies made them think that everyone gives a damn about their opinions.

  9. Gordon says:

    Such people always self-destruct, eventually. In the meanwhile, it is best to ignore them. There are rare occasions in which we must confront them, or at least address their charges to anyone who asks (In your case, simply saying that it was clear he had not read your book would be sufficient), but generally, ignoring them is best.
    Before responding in any way, we should always ask if we are acting to defuse a real threat, or simply reacting to an insult or bruised pride. In these latter cases, it's better to move ahead without responding in any way to the insult, and let the offender continue on his/her path to self-destruction.

    • TheLastConservative says:

      I love the wishful thought that they always self destruct in the end. No they don't. Clinton didn't, Obama didn't, two of my former CEOs didn't, my drunk brother didn't. They just keep chugging along, lying and find new people to steal from. Their companies fail but they have already stolen the money. Investors lose but they don't. We don't win in the end and justice rarely prevails. Their conscience is just as clear as ours because they have no morals to keep them up at night. This is the real world we live in.

    • lee says:

      That is true.just let donald trump to self destruct.

  10. Ivan says:

    Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo Di Caprio. That movie reminds me of how easy it was to self proclaim. The recipe ingredients are exactly ANEL with gobs of confidence and guts. If Thoreau observed "there are nine hundred and ninety-nine patrons of virtue to one virtuous man" he would be calling it in the half million to one today and rising steadily. One of my favorite true life programs on TV is American Greed.

  11. Gordon says:

    I hear where you are coming from, but would suggest that your time-line is not long enough. They often/usually don't self-destruct as soon as our sense of justice would demand, and they often continue to cause pain and damage for many years. My point is that I simply try to remove myself from their zone of control or influence and proceed to do the best I can in my life.
    The sycophants and followers who are close to them may appear to reap benefits, but they are also the most likely to be stabbed in the back, bullied, or thrown to the wolves when justice threatens. I cannot avoid their influence completely, but I minimize it as much as I can.
    With regard to the Clintons and Obamas, they are beholden to powers behind the scenes, and are likewise likely to be thrown to the wolves if/when they can be used as a useful foil or distraction from some new catastrophe, or when some previous action or lie comes to light. It may not happen, but Damocles Sword is always dangling over them, whether they are aware of it or not, and their current behavior continues to sow mines.

    • lee says:

      When putin finishes with donald trump and the republicans that is exactly whats going to happen to them.

  12. Rick G. says:

    I'm almost willing to bet that poor, pitiful Dexter was a Hillary supporter in the last presidential election.

  13. Rick G. says:

    There are a lot more Dexter Windbags running around loose in society than you might think!

  14. Paul Herring says:

    Interesting post, RJR. I believe I know the Dexter Windbag you're referring toand I've read at lease one of his books. This person obviously has the same initials as the DW you speak of here. Disappointing to learn of this development in respect of his negative critique of Winning Through Intimidation, seemingly through petty jealousy or rivalry. In this world we all need all of the support we can get and we should do that rather than become, not just competitors, but opponents.

    Still, if he’s been a fake Ph.D and has a fake Army record it’s only a small step from opening the floodgates thereafter becoming a complete fraud. What a comedown. Pride, it seems, does lead to a fall.

    • Paul Herring says:

      Oops, too may errors and typos – pls see Take 2…

    • saintquinn says:

      I remember Dexter Windbag stating in one of his old Nightingale Conant audio tape series that he was a decorated fighter pilot with XXX missions…..
      I'm guessing he's a war hero in the same vane as John McCain…..

  15. Paul Herring says:

    Interesting post, RJR. I believe I know the Dexter Windbag you're referring to and I've read at least one of his books. This person obviously has the same initials as the DW you speak of here. Disappointing to learn of this development in respect of his negative critique of Winning Through Intimidation, seemingly through petty jealousy or rivalry. In this world we all need all of the support we can get and we should do that rather than become, not just competitors, but opponents.

  16. Mark says:

    I've been a Ringer fan for decades.
    Denis Waitley

  17. lee says:

    When whodat asked if anel disease is related to anal.then i knew that he was discribing donald trump.

  18. saintquinn says:

    It took me 2 minutes to figure out Dexter Windbag was Denis Waitley….
    (even before I saw that Mark already solved the riddle above)….
    I remember listening to one of Waitely's Nightingale Conant recordings in the early 90s and thinking after a few minutes what repulsive moronic jerkoff he was…..He looks and sounds like an idiot as well…..
    I remember this Waitley incident (being exposed as a fraud) happening a distant while back. I think Mike Savage reported that story at the time. I just found this on wikipedia:
    In 2007, Waitley was one of the defendants named in a class action suit against Usana, which alleged that he had "falsified his educational credentials" to potential associates of the company and to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, stating he had a master's degree and Ph.D when in fact he did not.[9

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