Gary Halbert Reveals: Are You a Power Player or a Laughed-at Loser?


More than a year ago, I finished reading 1,000+ pages of single-spaced, Courier-font, paper-gold — known as the The Gary Halbert Letter. I read all the back issues from 1986 to 2000. It took me about a month or two of hardcore reading to do so, but it was well worth the effort.

As you can imagine there are lots and lots of rock-solid advice on copywriting, marketing, and business. But there was one letter that stood out higher than the rest. By reading this one letter, you can learn 50% of Halbert’s lesson.

(This is the 80/20 rule to the third power. Basically, the 80/20 rule on insanely-anabolic, fast-acting steroids.)

This letter sets the criteria of success. If you meet the criteria, you will become someone … and eventually satisfying your little greed glands. Without meeting the criteria, it doesn’t matter if you read another 1,000+ pages of Halbert gold …

You’ll still be a nobody — a perpetual, laughed-at loser!

So what is this criteria? Well, it is none other than the …

The Halbert Index

Since I would not dare water down the legendary copywriter’s words, let me present to you the index in his own words:

Today, we’re going to discuss the “Halbert Index.”

The Halbert Index is a totally unique way of classifying people. To be at the top of the Index you must have the following:

(1)     You must have a life, and

(2)     You must have a sense of humor, and

(3)     You must have intelligence and be an independent thinker, and

(4)     You must be a generous and giving person but… at the same time…

(5)     You must refuse to take shit from anyone who doesn’t have a gun to your head, and

(6)     You must be willing to take chances and cheerfully accept losses, and

(7)     You must have the capacity and courage for true intimacy with your loved ones, friends… and sometimes… even your associates and strangers, and

(8)     You must be wealthy always in your mind… and therefore… very often… in your pocket, and

(9)     You must be honest and have integrity not defined by laws but rather, by the inner-core of your being, and finally

(10)     You must have a relationship with a higher power (nicknamed “God”) that does not necessarily include and/or often transcends any association with an organized religion.

What have I described here? Simply this:

A Player!

Listen, I have found my newsletters, my speeches and my personality seem to be like a giant meat cleaver cutting through the sea of humanity… separating those who have any type of contact with me into two very distinct groups. One group is made up of zestful, hard-working, risk-taking, fun-loving Players. The other group consists of losers unable to laugh at themselves and who are scared witless at the idea of taking risks.

Losers (those poor souls at the bottom rungs of the Halbert Index) have a number of common characteristics:

(1)     They are generally spectators instead of players, and

(2)     They are usually critics who revel in grading people with whom they can’t compete, and

(3)     Sometimes, they have financial wealth (most often they don’t) but they are always poor in their minds, and

(4)     They get their pseudo self-esteem from the grades given to them by others and have no innate “sense of being” nor a core of natural integrity, and

(5)     They think they have a sense of humor but they don’t, since they can only laugh at jokes made at the expense of others and they always fail to see the ludicrousness of much of their own endeavors, and

(6)     They often have intelligence in a technical way but almost no ability whatsoever for true independent and innovative thought, and

(7)     They lack courage and will study and “rehearse” endlessly but, will avoid at all costs ever letting the curtain come up… unless… someone else has agreed to star in the play, and

(8)     They don’t understand true morality. Therefore, they are much more concerned with what’s legal rather than with what’s right, and

(9)     They will be as obnoxious and abusive as possible to those under them but, will kiss ass like crazy to curry favor with their superiors, and finally

(10)     Many of them will have college degrees but will never recognize these degrees as the silly jokes they are… and… they are unable to grasp the vital fact all true education is self education.

Basically, what we have here is a group of losers who are permeated with a small-minded, mean-spiritedness that vacuums out the vitality and zest of those around them. You may be interested in knowing there is a scientific way of describing these people…

They Suck!

If you want to read the entire newsletter for free (and you should), The Halbert family was kind enough to let you access it here! I strongly recommend that you scurry your little butt over and read it — from top to bottom, and then from top to bottom again.

It could be the most important thing you’ve ever read. (It certainly was for me!)

I always like to end my messages with a positive note. So …

If you’re a loser, it isn’t too late to change. I would know … I used to be one.

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  1. ” You must refuse to take shit from anyone who doesn’t have a gun to your head”

    I like this one, Alex.

  2. I read the Halbert newsletter too. Very good stuff.

    “Smart people (winners) are always ready to cheerfully cough up fungolas to buy time. For example, I went to the last Rolling Stones concert in Miami. I sat center stage in the second row. My tickets (obtained from a ticket broker) cost me ten times as much as most of the people around me paid because… they were willing to stand in line up to 14 hours to get the seats they wanted. Poor me. I guess I blew around $8.00 per hour. What a sucker I am!”

    Great quote.

    Keep the good books and texts coming!

    • Alex Ding says:

      Halbert is someone who definitely knows the value of time.

      That is why I do not shop during Black Friday. I value my time at $200 / hour. So if I wait 5 hours to save as much as $400, I’ve already lost out. Better to pay full price and save my time.

      • I like that. I’ve only had one job (the one I have now) and I only go because I don’t really work. I just get paid to put stuff away after an event is done. So I pretty much get paid to do whatever I want.

  3. Damn,Gary Halbert the legend.Thanks for writing about.I wish he was still alive.

  4. Gary Halbert was a genius in his own time! Great post Alex!

  5. Matthew O'Connell says:

    How do you recommend approaching such a massive volume of reading? One at a time? Lol

    • Alex Ding says:

      Hey Matt,

      If you are really serious about copywriting, then tackle the monster reading. And yes, read one page at a time. But it is easy. Gary is a great writer and is easy to read.


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