on 20 May 2008
The Secret is just the latest in a long line of Law of Attraction books that have been published through the years. I've read most of them, this one is a huge seller and made the author a millionaire because of the way it has been marketed. And it's a cynical marketing ploy too, and ruthless in its determination to be unopposed by any dissenting voices.
When I first heard about the LOA (Law of Attraction) I truly believed I had found the answer to everything and totally believed in its validity, only to look around many years later and see that nothing had actually changed. I didn't manifest the things I believed I would and don't know anyone else who has done so either. One friend who was singing the praises of The Secret when he first read it two years ago, has now given it away, completely disillusioned and feeling worse than he did before he read it and started following its 'advice'.
When all the affirmations, visualising, asking, believing, etc, doesn't work, or only in very limited or small ways, then the person who had grasped onto what seemed like the answer to their prayers, ends up feeling betrayed and without the false hope they had been given by this money-making spinner for the people selling it to gullible and vulnerable people, who, by their purchasing of the book, the CD, the DVD, the follow up books about what to do when it doesn't work or things go wrong(!) are putting money into the bank accounts of the people responsible for this 'spiritual marketing' as it is known in the trade.
When I see people unhappy because they believed in 'The Secret' only to find out much further down the line that it never delivered, that they never got richer, didn't look younger, didn't get the love interest they wanted, then it makes me want to warn others not to be sucked into it through them giving even more money to already extremely wealthy people. And make no mistake, when it doesn't work out how you believed it would, then they will tell you that you have done something wrong, or you must have blocks somewhere in your subconscious that need removing, (you can then buy more books to 'help' with this) or you need chakra clearing, (more books, and CDs too to buy!) or it must be that you need to love yourself more, because you can't love yourself properly or it would work for you.
Then you get told that you need to stop wanting anything and be 'spiritual' instead and believe that you have it all already, because once you get to that stage then you will be so content that you will realise that you have all you want already and won't need any more, because if you continue to want things, or conditions, then you just continue attracting more things or conditions to want, therefore you mustn't actually want anything! And so it goes on. I could say more and believe me I have long experience of dealing with these kind of people so I know what I'm talking about, but knowing how they operate, this would just get removed, as they are very protective of their money spinner and try to stop anyone from questioning it.
Just believe in yourself and try to think positive thoughts, (worrying unduly about anything doesn't actually change whatever it is you're worrying about) building up self-confidence and loving yourself truly and looking for anything at all you have to be grateful for, no matter how small, is the best advice I can give you, and I'm not charging anyone anything for saying that, or spinning it out into a whole book and marketing it in such a way that people will be sucked into buying it and making me very rich as a result of appearing to answer a need in people who are struggling.
on 4 July 2007
I work in personal development and this book is a rehash of about thirty others. Save your money.
Self help is like self abuse....you have to do it yourself. You can wish for things as long as you like but unless you take action, nothing happens.
If you want to know what the secret is...I will tell you...
the secret is, people want to get on in life. If you tell them you can help them...they will bite your hand off. If you can dress up a lot of ideas and tips and techniques and pitch it in a style and manner that is different then people will buy it, in droves. This book is nothing more than a placebo. File it under snake-oil.
By the way, some very respected people are in this book and are quoted. Please do not think they believe it....it's a form of marketing for their own books and websites.
Cosmic ordering? Pah!
Heres an example. Sit and wish for a copy of 'the secret'. You could do that from now until doomsday and you wont get one. Order it from Amazon and youll get it next day. Thats the difference, you have to do something to get something. Thinking about it wont make it happen.
I am in complete agreement with the idea that our thoughts need to be carefully marshaled and focused on what we want. My comments focus on how Ms. Byrne has expressed that point in this book.
Everyone I know swears by the DVD version of The Secret. I decided to read the book first and then look at the DVD.
In grading this book, I am comparing The Secret to the many books that encourage you to create your own reality through mental focus including books written by those quoted in The Secret.
First, what is the secret? As stated in a quotation by Bob Proctor:
"The Secret is the law of attraction!
Everything that is coming into your life you are attracting . . . by virtue of the images you are holding in your mind."
Second, what causes the law of attraction to work? According to Ms. Byrne on page 11:
"You are the most powerful transmission tower in the Universe. Your transmission creates your life and it creates the world . . . . And you are transmitting that frequency with your thoughts."
Third, what's the evidence that this secret is true? Each of 24 authors tells anecdotes of people who overcame hurdles after envisioning a more positive result. A few claims are made that quantum physics supports this conclusion, and Ms. Byrne confides that she understands a great deal about this subject.
Fourth, why is this a secret? Because Ms. Byrne had never heard of the law of attraction prior to a year or so ago.
Let me make a few observations about the development of this idea in the book:
First, science has shown us that we ignore almost all of the sensory input we receive. Our minds focus on a small percentage of what's considered relevant through something called the reticular activating system. Change what you focus on, and you notice things for the first time that have been there all the time. That's one reason why envisioning what you want works: You notice helpful resources around you that you've been ignoring. That observation, however, has never been tied to any evidence (to my knowledge) that we physically create anything with our minds beyond our own bodies, except by manipulating the physical world in various ways.
Second, religion points to a different phenomenon. Christians, for example, read in the Bible that God has filled those who have been saved by repenting their sins and believing in Jesus with the Holy Spirit which permits good works (including miraculous works) to be done by the desire of the believer. The source isn't the believer's mind, but rather God's spiritual resources which are greater than the physical world. Anyone who read these Biblical texts would say that an individual is far from a powerful source of creating reality: An individual can do nothing to change reality without God, but can do anything good with God's help to change reality.
Third, in Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill reported the results of many years of intensive interviews with the most successful people on Earth of his day. Many of them believed that their thoughts physically changed the exterior world by opening the door to possibilities that otherwise wouldn't have existed. But Mr. Hill presented the idea as expressed opinions, rather than as a proven fact. He also pointed to many other things that these people had done that helped them succeed. Mr. Hill reported that it takes more just focusing on what you want: There are other steps involved such as working with a mastermind group.
Fourth, our own bodies are very strongly affected by our thoughts. Scientific research keeps showing new dimensions of that fact. Think certain thoughts and your immune system is stronger. Think other thoughts and your immune system is weaker. In addition, placebos do heal people who think they are getting real medicine when they are not. Why? Because people are really healing themselves. You can extend that influence by behaving well or badly towards others, causing a mental reaction in them, which in turn creates a change in their body chemistries.
By comparing those earlier works, my sense is that what The Secret really represents is one woman's quick attempt to make sense of this kind of information. In doing so, she seems to have oversimplified and misstated what is known about the role of thought in creating life experiences. I doubt if the intent was deliberate or not well intentioned. But after all, she is a film maker, not a student of thought.
By ignoring the full range and roots of the evidence, Ms. Byrne runs the risk of discouraging some people who feel like they are real losers because they cannot evince a perfectly positive reality. If it were as simple as The Secret suggests, we would have billions of people living trouble-free lives. To my knowledge, even the most successful practitioners of The Secret aren't as wealthy as those the most successful people who don't. That would make an interesting study, and a far more valuable book than this one.
Here's an example of a misleading example. Ms. Byrne argues that food doesn't make you fat; it's what you think about food that makes you fat. The punch line of her story is that "I now maintain my perfect weight of 116 pounds and I can eat whatever I want." Every person I have met who is an authority cited in this book is noticeably overweight. Why don't any of them want a perfect weight and be able eat anything they want?
My point for you: Avoid this book.
I encourage you, however, to think positively and learn about how your thoughts can improve your life!
If you want to learn about how to improve your life through your thoughts, consider reading more reliably based and carefully presented sources. If you prefer a secular book, try Think and Grow Rich or The Success Principles. If you would like a book that half-way between a religious and secular focus, try Your Best Life Now. If you want to draw totally on the Christian or Jewish religious roots, read the Bible.
I'll look at the DVD now and let you know what I think of that.
on 2 February 2014
The negative reviews caused me to very nearly give this a miss. I have been on a constant journey throughout my life. Every day was a constant struggle with inadequacy and self-esteem, being caught up on the past, and believing that the past will repeat itself in the future. I have been sad and depressed, hurt and lonely more times than I can remember. Though did I even experience overly difficult hardships? No.
The truth is that I always thought that I was missing something others had. That magically other people had the tools and ability to get what they want, gain prosperity and receive love. In reality, I have everything I could ever need to do it. I have more than those who achieved more than me. How can they get so much with so little resources?
Now let me tell you that I am a very cynical, logical and most of all realistic person. I also tend to criticise everything - You could almost say I'm a killjoy. Therefore, the reviews gave me an impression that the book was completely without basis, that I'd have to roll my eyes every few lines, and that it was complete quakary. Now there are some sections or paragraphs that I consider utter dogs faeces. But there are other, very, very valuable and powerful insights scattered around that more than make up for it.
These are things that we would all say, "Oh I already knew that." or "That's so obvious." But the point is, are you aware of them every single day of your life? Do you know how to put this knowledge into action? One of Byrne's points was basically "The law of attraction", and if you think something it will be. I interpreted this to be equivalent to undertaking a self-fulfilling prophecy. And how true is this? If you think you are bad at school, you will be bad at school. Byrne want's us to think we are positive things instead, and therefore, we become those positive things. It happens with events and actions as well! If you are constantly thinking "I'm so scared I will mess up this presentation" you will most likely mess up. Also if something positive happens, you automatically become in the mindset to receive and do more positive things (or as she puts it, you are emitting that frequency now and thus attract more of it) How many times have you had one of those days where everything seems to go wrong?! Have you ever wondered why everything goes wrong at once? You wake up late, stub your toe, get toothpaste on your shirt, lose your car keys, your car breaks down, you're late, you do badly in a test....... Well this is why. These principles help you break free of this cycle. And basically in my view, Byrne is explaining concepts that already exist but is choosing to describe them in a fancier way. She does say at multiple points; we are able to chose what to call it, be it God, Quantum Physics, A Higher Power, Energy - whatever. And we also have the freedom to chose which sections to believe.
I also really like the point about living as if things are in abundance, especially with money and relationships. You'll always be able to earn more money, and there is always more fish in the sea. How nice are those thoughts? Also giving gratitude for every little thing in your life is something we should all start practising, and actually reminded me of the importance of prayer. Positive thoughts at all times is encouraged and I totally agree in order to ensure you are moving forward. Name me one time when negative thoughts and wallowing in self-pity ever did anyone any good? (It certainly didn't do me any.)
For the people arguing that no one ever got a chocolate bar by just wishing it into existence, you are correct. But did you even read the whole book? She explains that the "universe" (or whichever you want to substitute, eg. God) creates opportunities and doors and shows them to you naturally in order to lead you to that thing. Also on top of that, she explains we have to act like we already have that thing, and do all the things someone with that thing would already do. Now in the case of say earning more money, you'd have to work hard, and have dedication and determination in whatever you do. Those are traits of people who make money. And as you can see, adopting those traits ain't easy. But that's the beauty. If you truly wanted something, you would do it. It weeds out the people who simply can't be bothered.
But she does claim that sometimes you simply can "wish" something to be there. Byrne included an example of someone always expecting there to be a parking place. I was highly cynical of this. But I decided to try and be open minded as I had nothing to lose. Next time I went out, I used the principles in order to ensure a parking place near the venue. Usually on a Saturday night it is impossible to even move from the traffic, let alone for there to be free places. To my utter astonishment, when I arrived, there was a free space directly in front of the place! I went into it with ease as if it was meant for me, the traffic was horrific and it was the only space there was. I will just go ahead and say that I am just a tad creeped out right now.
There is so many things that fit in with religion for me, and that is how I chose to take most of the stuff. You could of course take and interpret it a different way that's personal to you. What really opened my eyes is when she directly asks me what I want. If I could have anything in this world without any limits, what do I want?! I sat for about 10 minutes and was completely stumped. I had no clue. Not even that, I couldn't even bring myself to think of anything! I had believed for so long that I wasn't important and I should be constantly giving to others. Like most religious people would, I felt utterly selfish thinking me me me. But this isn't the case. Because when I don't take care of myself first, I have nothing to give to others. This has completely opened my eyes and made me realise that I am in fact a worthy person. I realised that all this time I wasn't getting/feeling prosperity and love, because I simply didn't allow myself to.
All-in-all its a lot of stuff thats already out-there and common sense, but is packaged in a way to make it seem special and to sell as many copies as possible. But that doesn't detract from the fact that there are people out there for which these principles will do the world of good. Most of the negative reviewers acknowledge that the stuff in here is useful and does actually work but then say its in millions of other self-help books and don't give examples of any. This one out of all the ones I've read, makes the largest impact. I would encourage everyone to read and try it - It makes for more comfortable reading to remember you can manipulate the "rules" to your own understanding, and take whichever you want with a pinch of salt.
on 20 March 2007
I am commenting on The Secret as a clinical psychologist who specializes in how cultural and spiritual beliefs affect health as well as the author of a book about converging science and mysticism to navigate our personal journey. First, The Secret is a compilation of opinions from a group of professionals in several fields, rather than a book by the author. It would be more accurate for Ms. Byrne to present herself as the editor, rather than the author of the book. Having said that, it is important to distinguish between wishful thinking and mind-body science. Although the concepts expounded in the book are beautiful examples of what we could achieve if we explored our potential, it leaves the reader with "feel-good" platitudes, by failing to convey that simply wishing something does not attract anything other than expectations that lead to disappointment. As a scientist, I have seen the mind bypass biology in miraculous ways, but this does not happen by just wishing and waiting for "the laws of attraction" to work. Instead, change requires honoring commitments, not blaming others for our failures, assessing the self-sabotaging that surface when self-esteem is compromised, and realistically defining goals.
The success of this book shows how hungry we are for someone to tell us that change happens magically without having to confront our demons and without taking responsibility for the life we created with our actions.
While I wish Ms. Byrne the greatest success, I want to caution the reader that if "wishful thinking" does not attract what you want, do not blame yourself, because it was only thoughts without action.
on 6 April 2013
I was initially lent this book at a time in my life when I was suicidal through a broken marriage, depression, illness and a total lack of self-esteem. I understood immediately it could help so bought it for myself even though I had very little money to spend on myself at the time,.
Whatever else the denigrators choose to say about it, this book DID change my life. I am not substantially richer in monetary terms, but I do realise that learning to think more positively can make a real difference. Even down to silly little things like telling myself that when I get to a destination, there will be a parking space exactly where I want one, things happen more the way I want them now. I can't explain it, but it works.
I'm not suggesting I can influence the numbers on the lottery or anything like that, just that positive thinking does seem to materially change the world around you. It may be an illusion, but if it has prevented me taking my own life, restored at least SOME of my self esteem and helped my depression to lift, it must have some influence for the good.
on 26 September 2007
I am truly embarrassed that I even read this book, but when something is hyped as much as it was, I thought maybe there was something in it worth checking out. Like every other person in this world, I want to be in on the secret to happiness, success, health and wealth; however, one of the (many) issues I have with this book is that what she's talking about is not a secret. Everyone from the Dalai Lama to Mary Poppins has known that positive thinking is more helpful than negative thinking, but you can't just will money, health, wealth and happiness into your life by virtue of thinking positively about it. People who have success, health and wealth have worked hard for these things. Most of these people didn't just sit down and think positive thoughts, and "POOF" they were rich, successful, thin, etc. They had a goal, and they worked towards it, without giving up or letting anything get in their way- they were DETERMINED! You will even see this in the anecdotal stories of people who say 'The Secret' has worked for them. If you really look, it was determination that helped these people succeed at their goals- not just positive thinking. Additionally, I believe there are two things that negate the credibility of this author and her work. One is the assertion that if you want to be thin, don't look at fat people; the other implies that the victims of the Holocaust somehow brought it on themselves. Now what kind of inane drivel is that!? Are people really so desperate and lazy that they will buy this kind of hogwash as an answer to their problems? The bottom line is this: yes, positive thinking can actually be beneficial as you try to achieve your goals, but so is a lot of hard work and determination. So if you're truly looking for a secret out of this, take this word- DETERMINATION- and use that as your defining word for future success. I guarantee it will help immensely.
on 14 June 2008
I agree with most of the high rating reviews, the book is a good reminder of already available materials around self motivations.
The promise of the book is highly exaggerated, the materials is not new; in fact you will come across it one way or another in most self development books. I just found it very commercial and the whole fiasco of the name and the way marketed is misleading and exaggerated for what actually can provide.
For example, it mentions "it's scientifically proven that a positive thought, 100s times more powerful [Electronically/plus strength] than a negative thought". Now, I can tell you that there are no researches or any scientific fact currently available which support this statement.
In a nutshell: Strong marketing techniques, positive thinking and goal setting contents. All blended together then exaggerated.
Not recommended by me.
on 21 February 2008
A friend leant me this book with the best of intentions. It contains some of the stupidest and most unsubstantiated claims about human thoughts I've ever read.
Yes it's true that many people go around in a negative mindset, which is unhealthy. We should all aspire to lead a positive thought-life (though this seems to require more effort in some folks than in others). Some modern psychotherapists would even claim that the connection between positive thoughts and general wellbeing is a recent discovery. Sorry folks, it's old news! Indeed it's been known for millennia (ref Philippians 4:8 written circa AD 61). As a general rule, our lives will move broadly in the direction of our most dominant thoughts. So yes, if you're struggling with an illness then focussing on the recovery rather than the condition will "set the tone" for your subconscious mind. No-one is disputing that.
Why this book loses all its credibility is the candour with which the author dismisses ALL other forces in the universe. For example, she would have her readers fantasise that you can ingest a large number of calories and remain slim merely by "thinking". Duh. Hello? With respect, this is balderdash! A calorie is an amount of energy required to heat a substance to a particular temperature. If you eat three mince pies you'll ingest about 1,000 calories. You can't eat 3 mince pies and ingest only 200 calories merely by "thinking". Get real!
The Secret is probably helpful material for anyone who lives in a fantasy world. Otherwise, save your money!
on 28 March 2007
Well THE SECRET is one of those books you both love and hate. At one level, you respect its positive message and it's ability to help overcome negative self-talk. It also correctly points out that through focusing on positive things i.e. "what we want" instead of negative things i.e. "what we don't want," we can create change in our life. This is a very empowering message.
Nevertheless, THE SECRET also has a dogmatic tone to it, which cannot be separated from its message. Its premise is presented in an authoritative voice when in fact it is merely pseudo-science and in some passages filled with New Age jargon.
THE SECRET makes the assumption that EVERYTHING is the product of our thinking, including accidents, diseases, disabilities and even horrific events such as the Holocaust. I found this extreme perspective highly disturbing, since we can readily use "the law of attraction," which proposes that through our thinking we attract everything to ourselves, as a perfect justification for blaming victims. I believe people who suffer regardless of the cause of their suffering require our understanding, love and compassion instead of just being insincere around them or avoiding them as if they had the plague.
As a manual for positive thinking similar to Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Techniques or Hypnosis, THE SECRET presents some accessible but basic ideas. You will not find anything new or interesting in this book that you haven't heard before. So it really isn't a secret at all.
THE SECRET lacks nuanced thought, and therefore rather than encouraging debate and conversation, it seems to stifle deeper analysis with unyielding views. My greatest concern with the message conveyed in THE SECRET is that it lacks ethical values, instead it presents the idea that gaining personal desires through happy thoughts is all that matters in life.
I believe development of character qualities is most important in our journey as human beings. We need compassion for each other and any message that discourages development of compassion for personal gain needs to be carefully assessed in terms of its societal impact. Do we really want to blame people for their suffering? Or is it better to respond unconditionally with love and kindness such as during Katrina or the Asian Tsunami?
I am glad that I was reading NEXUS: A NEO NOVEL by Deborah Morrison & Arvind Singh, which offered an inspiring story about love and compassion. NEXUS presents "the secret of all secrets" as it explores: "What is the bond, the connection between everyone here, between everything, everywhere in the entire creation?"
I really loved NEXUS for its depth and unlike THE SECRET it touched both my mind and especially my heart with a powerful journey of transformation.