Money Map Press: Pyramid Scheme Video

I recently spent three days with a 12-member film crew, Dr. Kent Moors, Keith Fitz-Gerald, and the Money Map publishing team to create a 78-minute video organized around the central ideas in the Crash Course.

It is now live and being marketed to the world, and it is important to me that you understand the reasoning and context behind this effort. Before I do, I just want to say that I am quite pleased with both the production quality and message fidelity of the final product. 

You can watch the video by clicking on this link or the image below (get some popcorn ready beforehand: it’s 78 minutes long!):

Our mission at Peak Prosperity is to create a world worth inheriting.  One element of achieving that mission is reaching enough people to make a difference.  The Money Map shoot was perhaps the most significant experiment yet in our quest to reach a critical mass of people with our message. 

Here's the context: They approached us and asked if we were interested in having the Crash Course be the centerpiece of a new bold approach they were taking in their marketing efforts designed to introduce people to their newsletter offerings.  We carefully considered the opportunity and noted that the book they did this for last year, Aftershock by Bob Weidemer, ended up on the best-seller list as a consequence. 

While we could not control the final positioning, we reviewed the entire script, word by word.  In terms of messaging, we felt that the core concepts of the Crash Course were faithfully represented. I wouldn’t have participated if they weren’t.

But we knew that one potential risk would lie in the incongruity of styles.  Our approach is what you might call 'self sell,' where we count on the attractiveness and clarity of our message to entice enrollments with very minimal marketing on our part.  Money Map has a decidedly more mainstream ‘hard sell’ approach -- one that focuses more stridently on our collective anxieties -- that works very well for them.  Regretfully, a few people who have seen the video mistakenly assume that I am now switching over to a hard-sell approach. That's not the case.

My involvement with the Money Map shoot was and will remain an unpaid gig.  They did buy some books, at wholesale, and I suspect I might get a few cents per book in royalties from my publisher. But if this ends up covering one week's worth of server hosting costs for Peak Prosperity, I will be pleasantly shocked.

So why did we do this?

My motivation for doing the shoot was simply this:  I want more people to be exposed to the ideas in the Crash Course.  The other co-presenters, Dr. Kent Moor and Keith Fitz-Gerald, are very solid and well-respected individuals with their own large and devoted readerships.  And their collective audiences are almost entirely new to our message. Every person who signs up for the free Money Map trial gets a copy of my book.  And perhaps even a greater number of folks who watch the video will come over to our site to check out the Crash Course videos and learn what we’re about.

And if Money Map Press’ different style of presentation is more effective for a certain audience – well, that’s just one more arrow in our quiver. If you know of somebody who may be more receptive to our message when packaged this way, by all means share this video vs. the Crash Course chapter series.  There will be people for whom this style works better than the Crash Course, possibly because it is an obvious sell vehicle, which, for some, will be easier to accept.  Perhaps it's just because we are all practiced at being pitched to and some prefer it this way, perhaps it's because it's a motivation that is better understood than my 'give it away for free' decision around the Crash Course, or perhaps it will be the presence of Kent and Keith that will add the necessary credibility to the message.  I have no doubt, however, that this vehicle will reach people that cannot and would not be reached via the Crash Course alone, for whichever reason(s).  

Believe me, Adam and I will carefully monitor and assess whether this effort ends up being a net positive for this site and its mission, and we will continue to experiment with other uses of our time and additional external partners.  We'll certainly make both mistakes and the right moves over time....that's life and business.  

You try things, and you learn, and you keep moving.

Our promise to you is that we will continue to value all of the same things that we always have.  Our values of integrity, honesty, and trust are not negotiable, and nobody here at Peak Prosperity is here for the money.  Yes, we need to make a living, and we are attempting to do that as we operate this business, but our primary motivation is being able to get up each day knowing we are making a difference and going to bed knowing that our actions were in alignment with our mission.  I wouldn't trade that circumstance for all the money in the world.

So, I suppose I’m saying thanks in advance for your support and constructive feedback for us as we enter into bold new territory in spreading our message. We rely on you to make sure we are charting the right course in pursuit of our mission.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Hi Chris. Indeed this is a great video, with excellent production value, and in an easy to digest format. I will recommend it to my friends. And you are unquestionably the star here – it seems like 90% of the content is directly from your own material.
However I actually like your 45 minute presentation of the original Crash Course even better. Mainly this is because it's just you and your style, and you are a gifted teacher.

The main problem I have with this is the collaboration with Money Map Press itself, and how they promise a "free" set of materials for a non-free 12 month subscription. It's a gimmick and insults the viewers' intelligence.

Finally, I would tell my friends to also ignore all the talk about investments and how to "protect your wealth". Most of the world isn't thinking about protecting any kind of wealth in the context of this material. A first-time viewer of this video would really need to know simply how to survive, then how to thrive, and our mainstream concepts of "wealth" (namely assets stored for future liquidation) will have no bearing in that future.

Make no mistake, I admire you and your team and your desire to educate immensely. Please keep up your great work.

I swear I've seen this before, down to the exact same pitchman.  Have you worked with this company before, or have they done a similar product before?  Did you post an earlier version of this that I've already forgotten about?
But even two minutes in my antennae twitch:  what if the only people to survive this collapse unscathed…

If there's one thing that's clear to me, it's that no one is going to survive unscathed, and though your goal is to help people emerge with as little damage as possible, unscathed is a promise that no one can fill.

And other sources are already linking to it:  I stumbled upon this entirely by accident at another site that aggregates news links.  However, it looks like a site run by the publisher of the video.

Was drawing the exponential growth curve on a napkin a riff on the Laffer curve?laugh

The Laffer curve is associated with supply-side economics, where its use in debates over rates of taxation has also been controversial. The Laffer curve was coined by journalist Jude Wanniski in the 1970s, with Wanniski naming the curve after an idea sketched on a napkin in a restaurant by Arthur Laffer. Laffer later pointed out that the concept was not original, noting similar ideas in the writings of both 14th century Muslim philosopher Ibn Khaldun (who discussed the idea in his 1377 Muqaddimah)[5] and John Maynard Keynes.[1] Numerous other historical precedents also exist.



Chris, This may seem like nitpicking, but are you endorsing their Money Map product?

[quote=Doug]Chris, This may seem like nitpicking, but are you endorsing their Money Map product?
No, I can't because I've never been a subscriber so I can't do that, and I am not in the business of trading or attempting to trade these markets so I haven't tracked their products closely enough.  I do, however, really like their contributors Kent and Keith and I am sure their offerings have utility to folks who trade and manage money.  
First, they are just really solid and experienced individuals.  Second, they have very large and long-term followings which is something you only get by being good and useful at what you do.  The useless and the scammers are rather quickly weeded out in the newsletter business.  Thery come and they go.  Anybody with a lengthy, multi-year track record is someone I trust (until I hear otherwise) and obviously adds value to their specific audiences.
Again, judging from some of the comments above, I feel called to reiterate that we felt the opportunity to have millions of new eyeballs on the main ideas in the Crash Course was well worth the risk of letting go of some message and tactic control.
Everybody has their trusted source(s) and to align our message with their obviously successful products means that we get to leverage their trust and they get to leverage our work.  That is, Money Map is a trusted source for a very large audience.
So we'll see, but I am quite hopeful that quite a bit of good will come from this initiative.

Well, I liked the presentation.
I hate to say it, but since Dr. Martenson is a Pathologist it is very useful to his/our message that he partner with others who have more "relevant" credentials to the Crash Course (although I could easily liken the cancer in our financial system to a pathology.)

Chris, you might also consider John Mauldin's audience. He not only has 500K+ subscribers to his free "Thoughts From the Frontline" but runs another newsletter for different voices and contrarian views: "Outside the Box." You'd be a natural there. Mauldin is ethical and intelligent. 

safewrite, you never disappoint me, and your word usage is pointed and frugal ( a gift over time I hope to emulate). Your magazine experience I suppose with your obvious intellect.
Chris, as you and Adam are aware I downloaded this (viseo) to Peak Prosperity a few weeks ago (?). I was neither offended that it could be viewed as a pitch man set up because Keith and Kent are truly outstanding and intelligent individuals. Your message still came through loud and clear, and I never consider your character at risk. The message: SOLID.

A cautionary note from the 'B-' student in a class room of really intelligent 'A' students. Many new folks may appear sounding like me on this site, They are highly motivated, have an understanding of math, politics and such, and do not have many of your over-all and refined approaches to our subject matter. These folks will NOT take kindly to having what they say, highlighted, and dissected for this board to comment on.

The reason why is that they are gathering pieces, and this is a long process when all you have done is put the same bolt through the same hole the last 30 years as it was the best job to take care of a family of four, and education was put off until the kids finished school, and all parenting obligations had been completed.

So give everyone a classy reception and leave some of these folks for those who have a little more patience, and an understanding of where they are at. Frankly, it will help us that are still learning to form our thoughts and challenge ourselves in an attempt to counsel. Hoping of course that where we error someone will be patient and explain where our thoughts may have been wrong, or could have been a little more solid.

We are consensus building, not trying to show just how intelligent we are, and thus sending these folks out into a world where they will absolutely, positively, get run over by a bus if turned off. Frankly, some of these people are family members, come to think of it, they are ALL family members. TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More. A truism, so simple.

We must help in the very least to get as many folks to fill up their pantries, get wood in for the winter and fresh water stored as possible before the blizzard hits. Hopefully it's not an early winter. This way, what we have to share (our extra's) will go so much further.



Well, I lack the bonafides of longtime posters on this site, but my first question was a question:  haven't I seen this before?  Mr Essian, you answered my question, thank you.
As for my use of the term "pitchman," well, that's a pitchman introducing the production, implying he knows how to get me through the decline (if not collapse) of our civilization "unscathed."  As I noted, that's a promise no one can fulfill.

I wish Martenson the best in achieving the goal of reaching the MoneyMap audience.  I doubt it will reach the skeptics in my circles who will just see the sales pitch and not stick around for the evidence behind it.  That is a risk I think Martenson understood when undertaking this; this medium is not for everybody.  My apologies if anyone took offense at that.

Hello, I watched the video and went to order the Conquer the Pyramid package. I did not complete the order as the order form was asking for a password. A password that followed the field of where I just entered my email address.  Why is a password being requested in the order form or was that for promotion code?
Thank you.



I couldn't watch more than about 5 minutes of this - it's so slick and - sorry - cheesy. I am an ardent supporter of Chris and his work. I trust him and this site more than any other source out there. But I think this approach is really harmful to the Chris Martenson "brand." As poster OITW commented, my antennae were also twitching from the get-go.

This video has made one thing crystal clear for me…I'm just a fool being marketed to. 
I'm sorry Dr. M, but after watching this infomercial, I can no longer respect your work. I understand that you are actively expanding your business model, but the use of this blatent fear-based marketing has stripped your arguments of any credibility in my eyes, and hopefully, also in the eyes of any thinking individual.

Think about what is being sold here…it's just another pyramid scheme. People watch this crap and then invest in energy, gold, and food production, raising the prices of the very things they are worried about becoming too expensive. Then the bubble pops and the rich get richer. Meanwhile you are selling shovels to the goldbugs, brilliant.

Instead of offering a solution to the many problems that this video generated out-of-thin-air, the "call to action" only adds to those problems while enriching the producers of this snake oil marketing.

I'm extremely dissapointed that you took part in this scam. You have destroyed the credibility of your message, but hey, it's a proven business model. 

You must really think we are idiots, and I'm ashamed to say that I have proven you right.

[quote=JAG]This video has made one thing crystal clear for me…I'm just a fool being marketed to. 
I'm sorry Dr. M, but after watching this infomercial, I can no longer respect your work. I understand that you are actively expanding your business model, but the use of this blatent fear-based marketing has stripped your arguments of any credibility in my eyes, and hopefully, also in the eyes of any thinking individual.
Think about what is being sold here…it's just another pyramid scheme. People watch this crap and then invest in energy, gold, and food production, raising the prices of the very things they are worried about becoming too expensive. Then the bubble pops and the rich get richer. Meanwhile you are selling shovels to the goldbugs, brilliant.
Instead of offering a solution to the many problems that this video generated out-of-thin-air, the "call to action" only adds to those problems while enriching the producers of this snake oil marketing.
I'm extremely dissapointed that you took part in this scam. You have destroyed the credibility of your message, but hey, it's a proven business model. 
You must really think we are idiots, and I'm ashamed to say that I have proven you right.
I too, admittedly, was a little disappointed; it's not Chris' best work. But to state that Dr M. has lost all credibility? Not even anywhere close. This video didn't generate problems out of thin air as you accuse. These problems are empirically provable, have been well known for a long time and have also caused many other respected voices to sound the alarm bells long before this video.
Blatant fear based marketing?? How does one sound the alarm bells, warning of something fearful without being fear based. And to lump Chris in with the marketing aspect when he derives nothing from the product is unseemly in light of his history of giving away his work product for free for many years.
Your description of this as a pyramid scheme displays a lack of understanding of what a pyramid scheme is. How would an invester in food, energy, gold etc. be dependant on subsequent investers to recoup his investment (definition of a pyramid scheme). Such an investor recoups on the sales of a product (food, energy) that would (presumably) be in great demand, not from subsequent chumps. You state that  "…then the bubble pops…".  Are we to conclude that you believe that the price of food and energy is going to collapse in a bubble-like fashion the way that the housing bubble did? If so, then make your case before you disparage Chris' intergity. [WRT gold: To quote Nathan Rothschild "gold is money, nothing else". It's not an investment, but a means of preserving wealth in the face of currency debasemnet. The role of gold is a never-ending arguement that you are familiar with, and therefore it's disingenuous to lump it in with the 'ponzi/pyramid' charge.]
To castigate Chris with such inflammatory rhetoric is unfair and leaves intact your self-accusatory charge of idiocy.

It seems to me that CM's Peak Prosperity is following the standard internet business development model.  The first step is to develop an extensive internet following. You do this by  providing good, logical, well researched opinion and information, for free. It is best if your information subtly keys into strongly held emotions.  In these  times of great uncertainty  fears of scarcity and for safety are close to the surface for many people. As your email contact list expands you add registration requirements, and a low cost subscription for those wanting 'Premium' content, which provides critical information not available for free. To become better known you offer comments and do interviews on related sites.  Having a book, videos and doing workshops further grows your contact list. Testimonials and endorsements increase credibility, and more people jump on board.   
we live in a virtual tower of Babel.  The amount of information, and conflicting opinion, is overwhelming.  Sorting and organizing according to a coherent theme that gives meaning  is very gratifying, and builds attachment.   Individuals feel connected to a group, that becomes a community, with a shared view.   

There is no question that Chris Martenson has earned all the praise, attention and large following he has captured.  He is a forward thinking, insightful  solid analyst. But now I sense a turn in where Peak Prosperity is headed.  I wonder, has it become time to cash in?  More and more, we are being sold - advisors, workshops, books, subscriptions, products and services. Doesn't it seem  ironic that this is happening here when in our hearts we all know that consuming less and living more simply may be the best solution we now have to offer our world?

In the new economy, to restore faith in capitalism, there will need to be a great deal more transparency.   Does Peak Prosperity have a business plan? What are the targets and goals for members and income? Could a new business model  be developed here? More and more members are contributing to the dialogue at Peak Prosperity. Could/should we be able to participate on the business side of things as well? 

Ron's comments are well-thought out and I suspect he is right.I tend to agree.

I have found Chris, the website and his team to have high standards and have integrity. Chris doesn’t need to share his business plan, provide an explanation (though I appreciated it) or get our permission or approval to try new things. Personally, I don’t like the FUD sell either FUD being fear, uncertainty, and doubt. However, Chris was obviously the backbone of the presentation but it was his friends that were the salesman. Remember, a lot of people have to be smacked up-side of the head with a rotten fish before they realize that there is a bad smell surrounding them. How is a nice guy like Chris going to wake people up if he doesn’t try new things. Also, it was obvious the presentation took a lot of work. So put your big boy and big girl britches on realize that life and business is a journey and we all learn from doing not criticizing. Chris, if you have to write your message on the walls with crayon then go for it. It could mean that a child or perhaps many children might not go hungry one day.
Atta-boy from AK Granny

Chris and company's goal is truth and compassion - to get the truth out to as many people as possible to reduce loss and pain. It doesn't matter how the truth is packaged, it is still the truth and so it will do good.
Chris made it clear that this new packaging will not benefit the Peak Prosperity mission significantly and that financial gain was irrelevant and that the facts and observations of the Crash Course were not compromised - he shared the insights of Crash Course and lent his integrity to the video by participation to help more people of a different media bias. If more money did come in to further the Peak Prosperity mission, even if others were capitalizing on this truth, would that not be good and would it lessen the truth and its benefit to people?   Maybe some would be put off by the medium of the truth, but if they are seeking the truth they will dig further and perhaps discover Peak Prosperity or at least view They Crash Course.

Would we all be disappointed in Chris and company, and reject the Peak Prosperity message if Fox News took it up? Look how many people would be enlightened by such an event, however immature we may consider their mentality for even tuning into Fox News, and however immoral has been the past behavior of that company?

And will any of those here coming down on Chris for this supposed cardinal sin tune out of future Peak Prosperity wisdom?   Probably not, because we all sense that he and his colleagues are sincere seekers after truth, and they care - they are working from both the intellect and the heart.

I hope we all know that the truth is not owned by nor does it depend on any one person - it stands of itself and it belongs to all of us. Chris had the intellect, dedication to objective scientific inquiry, sober engagement of reality, and the toughness to explore the truth fearlessly and the compassion to share his findings with all of humanity in a way that has helped crystallize into a useful understanding the growing sense we all already had of what is happening, but he did not create the reality. Did Galileo make the reality that the universe does not revolve around the earth? He just gave us one more piece to the puzzle that helped us all put together the real picture.

Although we are grateful for Chris, his wife and the Peak Prosperity team's critical contribution to the evolving understanding that is helping us and others, it is unfair and false to lay the weight of our "faith" on their shoulders as the guardians of truth - that is a burden no one can or should try to bear. Although Chris and company have a "following" of sorts, they are not responsible for our welfare, for our destinies,  nor for making the final determination of what is the truth. We tune in to what is expressed on Peak Prosperity because it usually rings true in our own heart.

I am expressing all this because some of the negative comments here imply a confidence in Chris and company's analysis of reality that borders on blind faith and dependence for moral light, which is wrong and leads to unreasonable, unfair, untrue and unkind misgivings such as those expressed in comments here. Chris cannot betray us because it is the truth that we are loyal to.

Another thing: Those who stand up and make a commitment to the truth are always going to draw criticism, draw fire. But they know the truth stands no matter if the whole world condemns them because they care for the truth and the welfare of others, and that's all that matters. I am sorry that the Peak Prosperity team has to expend precious energy and care, and I hope not worry, to deal with the persistent misgivings of subscribers whose "faith is shaken" (and faith is the problem), and I hope they are not discouraged by all this.

Keep up the good work at Peak Prosperity, and more power to you all!


     I applaud you for giving this a try.  I didn't watch the whole video as this type of presentation doesn't appeal to me personally.  What I appplaud is not the style of the presentation but the effort to reach more people.  Unfortunately, it has been show repeatedly that people make decisions based on emotions more so than facts.  This type of marketing works along those lines.

     We need more of an exposure of these ideas and facts.  I don't know if we have two weeks or twenty years before we hit the wall(I'm pretty sure it won't take twenty years but I keep on being amazed at how it keeps going), but I want an awareness of these important issues to take some hold before it does.  That seems to hold out the most hope for finally responding intelligently versus following some demagogue who plays on anger and fear. 

     Keep doing what you're doing.  I may not personally respond to all of it but I appreciate what you are trying to accomplish.


I agree with JAG.  I can hardly express how disappointed I am in Chris Martensen.  I was a believer!  I have followed this blog for a long time.  No, I didn't pay to be an "insider", but I didn't fault Chris for going to that model.  Afterall, he gave up a high standard of living to warn the world of the coming economic collapse.  He needed income to continue to get the word out.  Right?  I could read his free articles and scour the internet to educate myself.  And I did.But after watching the first part of that "slick, cheesy" infomercial, I cut it off.  I could cry, Chris.   Why did you sell out for a mess of potage?
I would say you didn't get paid nearly enough for doing the infomercial.  Good luck to you.  I'll check back on your website from time to time.  "Peak Prosperity" indeed.  When you go back to "Chris" maybe I'll believe you've come back to your mission again.

Would you please give a link to the "unpublished chapter". If it has vital information, I'm sure you want your paid subscribers to have it.