Book Review: Don’t Call It A Cult

DON’T CALL IT A CULT | Sarah Berman
04.20.2021 | Viking
Rating: 4.5/5 stars


They drew you in with the promise of empowerment, self-discovery, women helping women. The more secretive those connections are, the more exclusive you feel. Little did you know, you just joined a cult. Sex trafficking. Self-help coaching. Forced labor. Mentorship. Multi-level marketing. Gaslighting. Sarah Berman explores the shocking practices of NXIVM, a global organization run by Keith Raniere and his high-profile enablers. 

I didn’t know much about NXIVM before picking up DON’T CALL IT A CULT and now I’m beyond obsessed with finding out everything I can about this group! Berman has put together a intricately detailed breakdown of who NXIVM is, how they started, and the wild directions that members took. Some of the stories are mind-blowing to me that they happened in real-life. I was basically in a state of shock reading most of this book, unable to understand how people believed what NXIVM was selling. After I finished the book I immediately started on the HBO mini series, The Vow, in my quest to learn more. If cults are something that fascinate you, this needs to be in your TBR!

🎧: The narration of this audiobook is fantastic! I will warn those taking the audio route that there is a massive character list in the front of the physical copy of this book. It takes a bit of time while listening to figure out exactly who everyone is, so I suggest adding in a physical version for clarity.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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