The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, is the latest rage in the book publishing world. I kept hearing about the book and got curious one day in a local store when I didn't see it; it turns out they couldn't keep it in stock and more copies were on order. Heck, even Oprah is all over this one, and aside from that little issue with that James Frey book, A Million Little Pieces, she's never wrong, right?...
Up to now I've never reviewed a book that I didn't finish reading. I'm making an exception in this case because I'll never finish reading it. I got about 10 pages into it, saw what "the secret" is and couldn't believe anyone bothers reading any further. Harsh words, I know. Let me explain why I'm so disappointed...
As I sat down to read this one I kept thinking how I've already read the same book before. I did, and it was called The Power of Positive Thinking. Good book, btw, and I'm all in favor of trying to maintain a positive attitude regardless of the situation, but... The Secret would have you believe there's some mystical power involved.
How about this excerpt from page 6:
People who have drawn wealth into their lives used The Secret. Their predominant thoughts are of wealth. They only know wealth, and nothing else exists in their minds.
Then, a bit further down that same page:
You may know of people who acquired massive wealth, lost it all, and within a short time acquired massive wealth again. ...their dominant thoughts were on wealth...then they allowed fearful thoughts of losing the wealth to enter their minds, until those fearful thoughts of loss became their dominant thoughts.
Um, OK... So you're saying Bill Gates, for example, has been obsessed with wealth all his life and that's how he's gotten to where he is. Uh huh. I suppose being a brilliant technologist with a passion for software had absolutely nothing to do with it. As he donates more and more of his wealth to his foundation he becomes less wealthy. Does that mean he's let a bunch of fearful thoughts enter his mind?
Or how about the person who lost a small fortune in any of the stock market downturns over the past 30 years? Was this also the result of being overcome with thoughts of fear before the downturn?!
How about this example: There's a local fellow here in Indianapolis who owns a small business that was cruising along just fine until one of his employees embezzled several hundred thousand dollars. He's now on the verge of bankruptcy. Can we blame some sort of fear that apparently overwhelmed him prior to this employee's embezzlement?
Just how gullible is the book-buying community? I too get a kick out of get-rich-quick stories and magicians, but I always try to keep in mind that the girl isn't really getting sawed in half and the audience volunteer didn't really catch a speeding bullet in their teeth.
I think the real "secret" here is this: "Buy the book, lose $20." Oprah, how did you get duped on this one?!