Is the Landmark Forum a cult?

Harry Lang
8 min readApr 14, 2020

I went to the induction, so you don’t have to…

We all have crutches to lean on in life. Many people rely on family. Others, exercise or their church of choice. For many, friends prop them up, listen to them and give them a kick in the shins or a hug of encouragement when its most needed.

For some people, however, these support systems are either not available or not sufficient for their needs. So they’re forced to seek guidance, encouragement and motivation in their personal, professional, spiritual and mental lives from another source.

This is the void occupied by Landmark Worldwide, “…an international personal and professional growth, training and development company — a global educational enterprise committed to the fundamental principle that people have the possibility of success, fulfillment [sic] and greatness”, according to their website.

Landmark is most famous/ infamous for its life coaching courses, sold to the public under the sub-brand banner of ‘The Landmark Forum’. The Forum is (initially, at least) sold as a three-day residential seminar during which participants are coached and encouraged to bring about positive developments in their lives. The sales pitch sounds intriguing (if a little New Age, ‘self help book’ mantra) from the outset: -

“The Landmark Forum is designed to bring about positive, permanent shifts in the quality of your life. These shifts are the direct cause for a new and unique kind of freedom and power — the freedom to be at ease and the power to be effective in the areas that matter most to you: the quality of your relationships, the confidence with which you live your life, your personal productivity, your experience of the difference you make, your enjoyment of life”.

If this was the extent of the business of Landmark, I’d have no issue. The problem is, this initial coaching weekender is very much the tip of a much more underhand and ultimately expensive iceberg.

My experience with Landmark came as a result of a colleagues’ involvement a few years ago. Their enthusiastic validation the course’s merits and warm friendships they’d made therein made it sound like a health retreat twinned with a self-help book and a dating agency. It was all too good to be true. Even cursory questioning of…

Harry Lang

VP of Marketing at Kwalee. Author of 'Brands, Bandwagons & Bullshit' - a guidebook to how marketing, advertising, media and PR work.