I am in the middle of James' backlink course right now. He has shown us several of his sites that have been online for years and they rank extremely well for many highly competitive keywords. Although his linking strategy is all done manually and takes quite a bit of time, it seems to be very effective.
I have been using software such as seo elite to analyze my competitors and he actually copies every backlink going to his competitors sites and examines them manually.
I certainly don't reget putting the money out for this course. I knew quite abit about backlinking before this course (at least I thought I did) and I wanted to know for sure if what I was doing was right or not. Only half way through his course, I found many mistakes I was making and ways that I could improve what I was already doing. This is the only course I have taken from him, but so far, it has helped me in many ways.