Storr provides an interesting review of common attitudes and characteristics of historical figures that have had uncommon personal influence over other people. What he misses, however, is how they attain their power. Storr focuses on their absolute certainty, and indicates that other people believe and follow them because their certainty fills some need. He completely misses the role and techniques of brainwashing that are commonly employed to achieve control over other people's thinking processes.... even over the educated and intelligent. Missing that, he focuses on differentiating between "good" and "bad" gurus, using their propensity to abuse their power as his measure. Those of us who don't believe that the end justifies the means will also wish to reject this accessment: the deliberate effort to confuse other people's thinking and induce compliance through deceit can never be acceptable. This book fills a need, but don't miss Margaret Singer and Janja Lalich's book, Cult's in our Midst, for an understanding of the mechanisms by which gurus acquire and wield power.
This book takes a obscure look at some people that we may build ourselves upon in this case are classified as gurus. Jesus is mentioned as a guru because he believed he was son of God and he was crusified for believing is his truth. Ignatius was a guru who thought that the hallucinations the he had were revelations that came from God and were called consolations. what is considered "normal" at an internationnal scale? I think that it's an obstacle set by the different societies of the world andcultures that we live in.