The Secret (book)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

The Secret
Cover
Hardcover edition
Author(s)Rhonda Byrne
CountryAustralia, USA
LanguageEnglish (available in 44 languages)
Genre(s)Self-help Spiritual
PublisherAtria Books
Beyond Words Publishing
Publication dateNovember 2006
Published in English26 November 2006
Media typePrint (hardcover, paperback), audio cassette and CD, ebook ([Kindle])
Pages198 pp (first edition, hardcover)
ISBN978-1-58270-170-7
OCLC Number76240921
Dewey Decimal131 22
LC ClassificationBF639 .B97 2006
Followed byThe Power
 
Jump to: navigation, search
The Secret
Cover
Hardcover edition
Author(s)Rhonda Byrne
CountryAustralia, USA
LanguageEnglish (available in 44 languages)
Genre(s)Self-help Spiritual
PublisherAtria Books
Beyond Words Publishing
Publication dateNovember 2006
Published in English26 November 2006
Media typePrint (hardcover, paperback), audio cassette and CD, ebook ([Kindle])
Pages198 pp (first edition, hardcover)
ISBN978-1-58270-170-7
OCLC Number76240921
Dewey Decimal131 22
LC ClassificationBF639 .B97 2006
Followed byThe Power

The Secret is a best-selling 2006 self-help book written by Rhonda Byrne, based on the earlier film of the same name. It is based on the law of attraction and claims that positive thinking can create life-changing results such as increased wealth, health, and happiness. The book has sold more than 19 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 44 languages,[1] but has nevertheless attracted a great deal of controversy, as well as being parodied in several TV programs.

Contents

Background

The Secret is based on the earlier film of the same name that was released in DVD format in March 2006. The tenet of the film and book is that the universe is governed by a natural law called the law of attraction which is said to work by attracting into a person's life the experiences, situations, events, and people that 'match the frequency' of the person's thoughts and feelings. Therefore, positive thinking and feeling positive are claimed to create life-changing results such as increased wealth, health, and happiness.

The book is very much influenced by Wallace Wattles' 1910 book The Science of Getting Rich,[2] which Byrne received from her daughter during a time of personal trauma in 2004.[3][4] Byrne read and synthesized several classic books and the words of modern-day teachers who spoke about ancient wisdom and the ways for people to attract what they desire into their lives.[citation needed] The book includes many quotes from these people.

After being featured in two episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the book reached the top of the New York Times bestseller list, where it remained for 146 consecutive weeks. The book has been translated into 44 languages,[5] and has over 21 million copies in print.[6] The book and film have made $300 million in sales, according to a January 15, 2009 article by Forbes.com.[citation needed] Thanks in big part to the appearance in the Oprah TV show, the book was one of the biggest sales in the self-help field.[citation needed]

In 2009, a book for teenagers called The Secret to Teen Power, written by the film's producer, Paul Harrington, was released. Byrne has also released a calendar and several follow-up books, including The Power in August 2010.

The law of attraction

The Secret describes the law of attraction as a natural law that determines the complete order of the universe and of our personal lives through the process of "like attracts like." The author claims that as we think and feel, a corresponding frequency is sent out into the universe that attracts back to us events and circumstances on that same frequency. For example, if you think angry thoughts and feel angry, it is claimed that you will attract back events and circumstances that cause you to feel more anger. Conversely, if you think and feel positively, you will attract back positive events and circumstances. The law claims that desirable outcomes such as health, wealth, and happiness can be attracted simply by changing one’s thoughts and feelings.

There is no scientific basis to these assertions.[7]

Book synopsis

The book begins by introducing and explaining the mechanisms of the law of attraction, then goes on to describe its historical applications and the great men and women in history who are claimed to have harnessed its power. The book describes the law as a magnetic power emitted through one's thoughts. The power of thoughts is likened to a transmission tower that sends out a frequency to the universe and then returns the same frequency in a physical or experiential form.

Next, a three-step creative process for manifesting dreams is introduced: Ask (visualize in the film), Believe, and Receive. This creative process is based on a quote from the Bible:[8] "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:22)

"One of the most powerful uses of gratitude
can be incorporated in the Creative Process
to turbo-charge what you want"

The Secret, p. 80.

The Secret highlights gratitude and visualization as the two most powerful processes to help manifest one's desires. It asserts that being grateful both lifts your frequency higher and affirms that you believe you will receive your desire. Visualization is said to help focus the mind to send out the clearest message to the universe. Several techniques are given for the visualization process, as well as examples of people claimed to have used it successfully to manifest their dreams.

As an example, if a person wanted a new car, by thinking about the new car, having positive and thankful feelings about the car as if it were already attained and opening one's life in tangible ways for a new car to be acquired (for example, test driving the new car, or making sure no one parks in the space where the new car would arrive); the law of attraction would rearrange events to make it possible for the car to manifest in the person’s life.

The following chapters describe how to use the law of attraction specifically in the areas of wealth, relationships, and health. The book provides examples and ways to use the law of attraction for each. The final chapters offer a more spiritual perspective of the law of attraction, and of how it relates to one's life and the world.

Criticism and parody

The claims made by both the book and film have been highly controversial, and have been criticized by reviewers and readers in both traditional and web-based media. The book has also been heavily criticized by former believers and practitioners, with some[who?] claiming that The Secret was conceived by the author and that the only people generating wealth and happiness from it are the author and the publishers.

Others assert The Secret offers false hope to those in true need of more conventional assistance in their lives—for example, in 2007 Barbara Ehrenreich, an author and social critic, ridiculed the book's weight control advice to "not observe" overweight people.[9] According to the Religion Dispatches, Byrne argued that natural disasters strike those "on the same frequency as the event" and implied the 2006 tsunami victims could have spared themselves.[10] In businesses using the DVD for employee training or morale-building, some reacted to it as "a gimmick" and "disturbing" like "being indoctrinated into a cult".[9]

In 2009, Ehrenreich published Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America[11] as a response to "positive thinking" books, like The Secret, that teach "if I just change my thoughts, I could have it all".[12] She worried this was delusional or even dangerous[10] because it avoided dealing with the real sources behind problems.[13] It encouraged "victim-blaming, political complacency, and a culture-wide "flight from realism" by suggesting failure is the result of not trying "hard enough" or believing "firmly enough in the inevitability of your success". Those who were "disappointed, resentful, or downcast" were 'victims' or 'losers'.[10] Ehrenreich advocated "not negative thinking or despair" but "realism, checking out what’s really there and figuring out how to change it".[12]

The Secret was parodied, along with Scientology, in an episode of The IT Crowd. It was combined with Scientology into "Spaceology", whose followers believe that wishes come true because of the made-up sciences of "Spacestar Ordering" and "Wishy Thinking". It has also been parodied in The Simpsons episode "Bart Gets a 'Z'," where Bart gets his teacher a book entitled The Answer, which is supposed to change her life after he unintentionally ruined it, by the Family Guy episode "Brian Writes a Bestseller", as well as the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "The Gang Gets Extreme: Home Makeover Edition." The Chaser's War on Everything, a satirical comedy news program on Australia's ABC TV network, also parodied The Secret on May 16, 2007 by testing out the ideas put forward in the book.[14]

On the Adam Carolla Show (podcast), Dr. Drew proclaimed that "The Secret" is responsible for people to use "primitive thinking" as opposed to actually earning esteem.[15]

See also

References

  1. ^ The Hindustan Times on The Secret: "The book became an international best-seller, with a reported 19 million copies in print and translations in 46 languages, and continued to hold spots on best-seller lists through 2009." (16 July 2010)
  2. ^ Jerry Adler (2007), "Decoding 'The Secret'", Newsweek, http://www.mindstudio.net/downloads/Newsweek%20Article%20on%20The%20Secret%20-%20Law%20of%20Attraction%20DVD.doc
  3. ^ The Secret, p. ix.
  4. ^ "Making of The Secret :: Official Web Site of The Secret and The Power". Thesecret.tv. http://www.thesecret.tv/making-of.html. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  5. ^ "The Secret Book - World Languages :: Official Store for The Secret and The Power". Store.thesecret.tv. http://store.thesecret.tv/content/BookLanguages.htm. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  6. ^ "Creative Biography :: Official Web Site of The Secret and The Power". Thesecret.tv. http://www.thesecret.tv/creative-biography.html. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  7. ^ Carroll, Robert Todd (12 September 2010). "law of attraction". The Skeptic's Dictionary. http://www.skepdic.com/lawofattraction.html. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
  8. ^ The Secret, p. 47.
  9. ^ a b Ehrenreich, Barbara (27 February 2007). "The Secret of Mass Delusion". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-ehrenreich/the-secret-of-mass-delusi_b_42212.html. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  10. ^ a b c Goldberg, Michelle (11 October 2009). "Barbara Ehrenreich’s Bright-Sided Explores the Dark Side of Positive Thinking". Religion Dispatches. http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/rdbook/1849/barbara_ehrenreich%E2%80%99s_bright-sided_explores_the_dark_side_of_positive_thinking/. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  11. ^ Ehrenreich, Barbara (2009). Bright-sided : how the relentless promotion of positive thinking has undermined America (1 ed.). New York: Metropolitan Books. p. 235. ISBN 978-0-8050-8749-9. http://books.google.com/books?id=wxJlvB7bCO4C. Retrieved 4 April 2010.
  12. ^ a b "Author Barbara Ehrenreich on 'Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America'" (Transcript). Democracy Now!. 13 October 2009. http://www.democracynow.org/2009/10/13/author_barbara_ehrenreich_on_bright_sided. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  13. ^ Robb, Amanda (October 2009). "Barbara Ehrenreich on the Downside of Optimism". More.com. http://www.more.com/2053/8805-barbara-ehrenreich-bright-sided-optimism-the-secret. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  14. ^ "Nut Job of the Week". The Chaser's War on Everything. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sydney, Australia. 2007-05-16.
  15. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psiUk8IA_10

Sources

External links