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Not a doctor

Paul Ingraham ARCHIVEDMicroblog posts are archived and rarely updated. In contrast, most long-form articles on are updated regularly over the years (see updates page).

I’ve always had quite a personal style on That’s mostly been a good thing, but there is one consistent and frustrating side effect: it gives many readers the impression that I am much more available and helpful than I can ever actually be. A small but steady supply of my customers seem to think that purchasing my books entitles them to free clinical consultations with the author. Some actually write to ask me for my opinion and advice on their cases before they even read the book! 😬

And many of them treat me as if I’m a doctor. I even get called a doctor (and there is nothing on that misleads people into this belief).

My chatty style obscures the reality that I am one man using the miracle of the internet to deliver a website to more than a million people a month. Even though only a tiny fraction of those visitors seeks my help, that fraction is still so many people that it’s logistically impossible for me to even try to help them all.

And it wouldn’t be a good idea even if the numbers were manageable. There are many legal and ethical problems with trying to help people with their medical problems remotely, obviously.

For whatever it’s worth, my policy is simple: I’m always happy to try to clarify something I have written about. But if such questions start to stray into “consulting,” I bow out. I’m a writer, not a doctor!

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