Of Gurus, Leeches, Vampires and Thieves

Alex Barrera
4 min readAug 7, 2018


Photo by Rita Morais on Unsplash

I believe in hard work. I’m one of those näive and old school people that still think you can achieve anything if you try hard enough. I was never the smart kid at home. I was the hyperactive one. While I enjoyed learning, I soon realized others could achieve high scores with a quarter of the effort it took me. But I was persistent. I never let that offend me or detract me from keep trying. And tried I did. I scored top grades in school, got a Ms in Computer Engineering and obtained my MBA.

While I’ve been an accomplished student, I never did anything to achieve praise. I enjoy people’s admiration as much as any fellow human, but that has never been my drive. If anything, I tried to avoid any distinctions or awards.

I love my work; I love my wife, children, and family. I have no health issues, nor has my family. I live in a beautiful, albeit scorching, country. This is what I personally recognize as ‘success.’ I don’t need more. I’ve achieved a state of blissful happiness.

And still, sometimes I must confess it itches me to see the mob exalt idiots. These are diverse, and a taxonomy is in order.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

The guru book writer

That has to be one of my favorites ever. Behold the guru. This is someone that goes from show to show spattering rubbish. Spotting them is easy. They always give the same speech. They repeat the same examples ad infinitum. In one-to-one combat, they rarely spar with you. They have one, and only one gear. Their so-called truth tends to be a rediscovered and reframed one. Known for centuries, forgotten for a time, and resurfaced by others. The guru will appropriate himself of the “truth and will repeat it like a parrot.

I have big respect for great communicators. They are people that will share wisdom and expertly tune it to their audience. The guru is different. The guru is a good communicator, but he’s also a shallow thieve.

It seems that writing a book is one of the commandments for the avant-garde douche.

Their book is either an aggregation of affluent blog posts, a poorly written brain dump or the work of someone else. Or all of the above.

The guru will be interviewed and revered by the masses. His or her thievery will be passed as a work of genius, and for a while, they’ll be the center of an industry. It seems that writing a book is one of the commandments for the avant-garde douche.

The Nobel Prize representative

Another animal in this ungrateful zoo is the Nobel Prize Laureate. This person is someone that has been awarded a well-regarded prize in their industry. Sometimes it’s well deserved, others it’s not. As a norm, the non-deserve recipient tends to address, from that point onwards, the world from their ivory pulpit.

The award seems to bestow magical powers that extend to any and all topics. Never mind Physics has nothing to do with Literature or Art. They are a laureated figure. Grace radiates from their godly fingers. They aren’t only entitled to the absolute truth, but people will embrace any comment coming from their aureate mouth and turn it into a credo.

Combatting such Gods is hard. Their awards turn them into shielded knights. Truth and facts won’t dent their gilded armor.

The media Golem

Just below the Olympus, but high within the Ziggurat lies the dominion of the Media Golem. Feared by foes and friends, it’s a creature born out of random echos.

In their search for ‘The’ truth, media companies seek their Faust. One that supports their confirmation bias. The media establishment will then elevate those gurus that take the bargain. They’ll write their Newspeak weekly column and become the voice of Big Brother.

I don’t blame those that want and can join the media conversation. The Media Golem isn’t a person in itself, but the artificial creation of producers. And still, it’s dangerous when the people that serve as a template for the creature become attuned with the Golem itself.

It’s easy for them to lose themselves in the cauldron of influence that the media provides. In some cases, the Golem will end up phagocytizing them leaving no traces of the ethical and wise original design.

The attention vampire and other creatures

I could go on, and on describing the diverse creatures of this ungrateful dimension we call World, but that is beyond the point.

In general, there is a clear difference between doers and attention seekers. People that work hard and change things versus leeches that take other people’s work and use it to advance their egotistic desires.

It’s of the utmost importance that we uphold a necessary critical thinking process.

I am a firm believer in karma, and I know time will fix these moral injustices. However, I think it’s good that from time to time we take a break and call these people out.

It’s of the utmost importance that we uphold a necessary critical thinking process. Let’s give credit when due. Let’s ignore vain and empty awards and celebrate hard work, not with media attention but with grateful words.

An appreciative word at the right moment is worth a thousand awards.



Alex Barrera

Chief Editor at The Aleph Report (@thealeph_report), CEO at Press42.com, Cofounder & associated editor @tech_eu, former editor @KernelMag.