These products promise to make you "legendary" or a "gladiator" or a "lion among sheep" or a "Spartan" because getting a promotion is just like putting down a Helot revolt. Whatever the terminology, you're told you'll transform into a fitter, smarter, sexier you. There may be graphs.
But all this crap exploits the same self-esteem issues they claim to solve. One book warns that men over 25 "have already peaked." A course says your "misguided" beta thinking has given you "a false sense of how life works." Another book says the world is built for alphas, and everyone else has to "settle for scraps." The message, over and over again, is that if it feels like there's something wrong with you, you are absolutely right.
Much of this is framed around affluence; a $500 a month course unironically claims "Beta men are continuously preoccupied with saving themselves from scarcity." But it inevitably comes down to getting laid. They're not talking about "building charisma" and "the power of mental programming" so you can charm the gals at your grandma's bingo hall; they want to teach you "the seduction game."
That makes them sound like douchebags, and, well, if it quacks like a duck that argues "females" are inherently manipulative, maybe it's a duck you wouldn't mind seeing take a football to the cloaca. But we've come a long way from the days when Mystery (remember him?) told you to put on an ugly hat and emotionally manipulate women. Some of these products are quick to draw the line between confidence and bullying, and "you can still be a sweet, caring guy and still be an alpha" is a common sentiment. There are still plenty of creeps, and even the best of them probably aren't reading a lot of Roxane Gay, but it's progress.
Laugh at this all you want (no, seriously, anyone who promises to teach "the basic Universal Truth that all Alpha Men know" deserves your scorn), but it exists for a reason. When mockery of this goes viral, the accompanying joke is often "Do men have a problem?" and the answer is "100% yes." All these books and courses and videos and podcasts start from the premise that men are struggling, but instead of asking why that is and what the implications are, they tell you that all you have to do is devour pseudoscience until you get everything you want.