Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Oh dear, yet again I have fallen prey to my rule that if I begin to spout opinions about a book on the basis of what other people have said, I have to read it. It's a very inconvenient rule, but I believe it's intellectually dishonest to do otherwise; hence, The Secret. And now I have to think very hard about how to phrase this review without actually saying "steaming pile of New Age BS." Oops.

The Secret says this: if you think positive thoughts, positive things will be attracted to you from the Universe. If you think negative thoughts, you--frequently known as You--will attract negative things. And--get this--it says it over and over again, for 184 pages. I waited in vain for a deep thought, but all I got was this:

You are God in a physical body. You are Spirit in the flesh. You are Eternal Life expressing itself as You. You are a cosmic being. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are all intelligence. You are perfection. You are magnificence. You are the creator, and you are creating the creation of You on this planet.

Gosh, I feel so powerful and... validated. The Secret is larded with quotes from a variety of gurus, or as Byrne would say, "teachers and avatars." Because they are never just one thing. The Secret is, above all, a wonderful example of how never to use one word when two will do just fine.

I could go on and on... probably for 184 pages. But the sum total of this book is "think positive." I have nothing against positive thinking; I'm a glass-half-full person myself, and it serves me well. But elevating positive thinking into a Great Secret of the Universe, without giving the reader any clue as to what to do next (other than watch The Secret DVD, which is plugged several times, and no doubt buy all the other The Secret merchandise) is snake oil, dear friends, and nothing more.

That, of course, is just the opinion of this humble blogger, and you are free to differ. The only thing that got me seriously worried was the idea that if you want to be rich, you should act like you're already rich. Isn't that why we have a debt crisis? Otherwise, read it and enjoy. Maybe it will make you wealthy, healthy and eternally young (it promises all those things; I should make a note to check on how Byrne looks when she's 70). OK, I'll stop now.


Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

You have just talked about the one thing I hope I never do. You cannot empower people by telling them to think positive, you have to guide them to that state, and sometimes kick them in the behind.

My word verification was sucks p.

Lydia Sharp said...

Is it wrong that I enjoyed reading that review? ;)

Claire Dawn said...

I love Lydia!

Seriously, I can't believe that's all their is to it. I'm not really into new age- although I did love Eat, Pray, Love, does that count?- but the "educated" friends who swear by the book had me kinda convinced I was missing something.

I do believe that positivity attracts positivity, but I know better than to think it repels ALL negativity. That's just silly.

Jane Steen said...

Thanks for the comments everyone! I was also surprised by how empty I found the whole "Secret". I was a bit naughty with the review, but I'm sure that Byrne's had much worse than that. If you put yourself forward as a provider of answers to life's questions, you'd better be ready for a rough ride.

Felicia Monique said...

I was bored right away, and quite surprised at all the attention the book received. Have we stopped thinking for ourselves, folks?

stacy said...

I saw this tweet the other day I think you'd appreciate, Jane:

@Carrie Was thinking about how many Bloody Marys I could get away w/drinking before work & got a spontaneous/copious bloody nose. The Secret works!