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The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne

SecretThe 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?!


Ted Demopoulos

Interesting Joe.
I've been in 3 bookstores in the greater Boston area in the last few days, must have spent at least an hour in each, and also didn't see it. Maybe it's flying off the shelves everywhere? Maybe one of my books will someday :)

On a side note, there is some guy reviewing books on Amazon who hasn't read a single one of them! As in, "I haven't read this book, but . . ." Maybe he's a comedian?

Joe Wikert

I felt a bit uncomfortable posting my review of a partial read on Amazon. I wouldn't be surprised to see them remove it at some point, especially since I admitted that I didn't read the whole book. That said, when someone openly states they haven't read the book at all, well, I can't see how that should count as a legitimate review!

Jim Minatel

I didn't have to read this book to know what bunk it is. I now have it from 2 trusted co-workers. It's just another in the line of "name it and claim it" and "the prayer of jabez" hoaxes. The only difference is this one trades in classic religion for modern-mysticism and washes clean of ties to specific religions that would limit the audience to that faith.
This book being #2 at Amazon at the moment proves PT Branum right. The not-so-secret here is the author and publihser (and maybe the editor) are laughing all the way to the bank.

Joe Wikert

Jim, funny you should reference P.T. Barnum... I used his quote as my summary line when I posted my review on Amazon!

Justin Kownacki

Agreed. The "positive thinking" side of things I can appreciate. The "block out the outside world and think only of yourself" mentality I can't get behind.

Chris Webb

There was a great Oprah skit on SNL last night involving The Secret. You and Loren Michaels agree :)

Michael A. Banks

Thank you, Joe! I knew I wasn't the only one who didn't see the Emperor's new clothes!

I went through the book at Borders. And this afternoon I pointed it out to my friend, Debbie, on Amazon, saying what a crock it is--along with several similar titles.

As long as people want to believe that you can get rich and lose weight without effort (forever), these books will be on the bestseller lists. The same people go to faith healers.

I keep threatening to write this kind of book, but I'd have to use a penname, something like "J. Wellington Trust." And then I'd have to go on Oprah and confess that the book was a get-rich-quick scam.

Michael A. Banks

Reverend Ike charged a lot less for his Prayer Cloth.

Alison Lee

I wondered if anyone read the Bob Proctor interview? There's more insight to The Secret in this report. By the way, it doesn't cost a dime, I got my free copy here:


you see the problem here is you didn't finish the book. maybe then you'd see.


If you're interested in "The Secret," I highly encourage you to read the book - if for any other reason so not to be manipulated by its brilliant marketing. Read it with a critical eye, you may not learn the secret of happiness, but you WILL learn a lot about manipulation and influence from a master of the subject in Rhonda Byrne.

Pete Koerner

It's not really a review if you haven't first "viewed" the material; it's simply an opinion without real basis. But, it is a good way to get exposure on the internet...

The points made, however, have also been made by people who did finish the book. BUT, others who finished the book figured out how to use the concepts to their benefit. And, there's nothing wrong with more than one person writing their perspective on any given topic. What bookstore or library have you EVER been in where there was only ONE single title on religion, or spirituality, or science, or any other topic?

The book (The Secret), itself, is really not the issue for those who don't like the book. The real issue for them is to try and figure out why their thoughts and emotions allow them to become polarized so easily, or so quickly... True, lasting success and happiness requires slightly greater control of one's mental and emotional faculties.

I don't think the Secret is a secret; I heard the same idea in church as a child: As a man thinketh, so it is done to him... But, I had to study medicine, physics, and psychology (and live a lot of life)before the pieces started to really make sense... I get it now; I can see the immediate physiological effects of thought on the human form and behaviors -- both of which greatly affect and influence your future actions and experiences and perceptions of the world at large. And my thoughts have changed as my awareness has changed.

Honestly, I didn't get a big kick out of the secret, and I didn't see anything new; but the information can indeed be applied very effectively by anyone open to changing the way they think. And, it was definitely a Brilliant exercise in mass marketing -- and the answer to at least one person's prayers...


www direct verzekeren

I find the quote "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".very interesting.

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