This book is a study by a psychiatric historian of a potentially dangerous human need - the need for certitude, as it applies to gurus.
The book considers Georgei Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, Bagwam Shree Rajneesh, Rudolf Steiner, Carl Gustav Jung, and Sigmund Freud to be all variations of the guru phenomenon, and presents detailed biographies of each person.
The author defines a guru as a person who claims to have been granted a special or spiritual insight that has transformed his life. Most gurus insist that their special insight applies to all humanity, an that everybody should accept their vision.
The gurus to be regarded as dangerous are those who are deeply self-absorbed, authoritarian, or paranoid. Also the capacity for oratory is a danger sign. Gurus who exercise personal control over their disciples' dress, money,personal possessions, and sexual partners are particularly to be avoided.