Amway: The Cult of Free Enterprise


184 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-920057-65-9





Reviewed by Robert B. Shortly

Robert B. Shortly was a chartered accountant in Toronto.


The Amway corporation is a privately-owned, debt-free company which has been in the business of manufacturing and marketing a variety of products (soap, cleaners, vitamins, food supplements, cosmetics, etc., etc.) for over 20 years. All of this has been accomplished by a corporate onganizational structure which both offers its non-unionized employees a sense of status and belonging and its distributors not only the dream of wealth but also a born-again religious experience, “a faith to live by, a purpose to live for,” a new set of friends, goals, associations, and beliefs, a total prepackaged pursuit of happiness in which all authority comes from the top down.

The author, now a professor of English, was one of those distributors for over five years. He describes, based on his own experience, how the Amway system works to get people hooked into the Amway lifestyle, including its rallies, products, and cult doctrine. In essence, Amway is a pyramid selling technique with a “true believer” basis.

Anyone familiar with religious television programs, “how to get rich” real estate seminars, fad diet techniques, and so on will find this a fascinating account how individuals can put their intelligence to rest in the search of a “better life.”


Butterfield, Steve, “Amway: The Cult of Free Enterprise,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed March 29, 2023,