818 of 1,008 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great DVD...Book gets a little mean spirited.
I liked the DVD much better than the book. The DVD was totally positive, but like Ms. Boyer, I found some of the books comments made my energy take a dive. Here is why:
Ms. Byrne says that those of us who suffer weather disasters have created the disaster or adversity. Like the power of certain prayers, some things happen because of energies that have been...
Published on December 10, 2006 by bunnyrabbit4
4,590 of 5,129 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Review "They" Don't Want You To Read
Catchy review title? Thought so. Robert Cialdini, renowned psychology researcher and author of Influence: The Power of Persuasion (perhaps the best book ever written on the subject) identifies six basic rules employed by politicians, advertisers and scam artists alike to persuade others. Each of them are employed quite adeptly by Rhonda Byrne in this book...
Published on March 6, 2007 by longhorn24
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4,590 of 5,129 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Review "They" Don't Want You To Read,
Catchy review title? Thought so. Robert Cialdini, renowned psychology researcher and author of Influence: The Power of Persuasion (perhaps the best book ever written on the subject) identifies six basic rules employed by politicians, advertisers and scam artists alike to persuade others. Each of them are employed quite adeptly by Rhonda Byrne in this book.
Cialdini's first principle is SCARCITY; people want what's expensive, exculsive, or otherwise attainable. Byrne's mastery of this principle is clearly shown by the very name of the book: The Secret. We all learned this the first week of kindergarten as we felt the jealousy of watching two classmates, hands cupped over ears, sharing a secret out of earshot.
This message is reinforced throughout the book and its advertising campaign which pitches "The Secret" (whatever it actually is) as jealousy-guarded information hoarded by the happy, wealthy and successful. Whenever someone tries convincing you of something, whether it's a way to make enormous sums of money, to lose weight, etc - be wary of when it's pitched as "the knowledge THEY don't want you to have." Think about it - everything from the "secrets that Wall Street doesn't want you to know" to "uncovered - celebrities' secrets to staying young" are phrased not simply to pique your interest but to make you jealous. Appeals to our emotion are far more powerful than appeals to reason, and Byrne demonstrates mastery of this principle throughout "The Secret."
Cialdini's second principle is LIKING. We like those who like us, and in turn, we do business with them. Positive thinking and emotional intelligence has been linked to strong interpersonal relationships, academic and professional success, and good health, but there is a fine line when positive thinking crosses over to unjustified exuberance. Instead of simply noting the substantial benefits of positive thinking (a well-accepted principle which wouldn't sell books), Byrne crosses the line so blatantly that anyone with a modicum of modesty would find it blasphemous.
AUTHORITY is another Cialdini principle, also in play in "The Secret" in quite subtle ways. Another technique which differentiates this book from just another book of positive thinking is the heavy use of quasiscientific language, which gives the impression that the "law of attraction" is (or will become) an accepted scientific principle, just like the law of gravity or the law of attraction of oppositely-charged particles in chemistry. Many people are both intimidated and confused by the authority of science, a fact exploited by manipulators ranging from Byrne to peddlers of magic weight-loss pills.
Since no respected physicist would ever publish a paper on the universality of the "law of attraction," Byrne indirectly seeks experts in other ways. She attributes the success of people ranging from Einstein to Beethoven to adherence of "The Secret," thereby manufacturing experts. After all, if Einstein and Shakespeare mastered "The Secret," who are YOU to question it?
The last two Cialdini principles are CONSISTENCY and SOCIAL PROOF. The success of this book should leave little doubt it will be followed by more (and more expensive) forms of media peddling "The Secret." The audio recordings, weekend seminars, advertising tie-ins, and other follow-up products certain to follow will exploit these two principles. Once people commit themselves to believing happiness will come from "The Secret," they will attribute future successes, whether a promotion or a great new relationship, to adherence to it. Conversely, setbacks will be even more powerfully in committing people to "The Secret," as people will attribute their failures to not living up to "The Secret" (and buying more of Byrne's books). Consistency dictates it will be less painful to buy more books and immerse one's self further into "The Secret" than to accept the whole premise is a quite ridiculous; while not as pernicious as a domineering cult, "The Secret" promises to charge you handsomely for a positive outlook on life.
Byrne's book is problematic on many levels. On it's face, it's a manipulative marketing tool meant to flatter, confuse and deceive. It's also pseudoscience at its best, the last thing we need to encourage in an increasingly technological world which requires healthy skepticism and critical thought. Most damaging, though, is how the book perverts reality by encouraging people to equate a positive outlook on life with a childish, idiotic narcissism. Ayn Rand must be rolling in her grave hearing about the modern manifestation of her objectivist movement reduced to the intellectual equivalent of canned pork.
If you're interested in "The Secret," I highly encourage you to read the book - yeah, READ the book - if for any other reason so not to be manipulated by its brilliant marketing. Read it with a critical eye, with a copy of Cialdini's book in the other hand. 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.
1,621 of 1,821 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Reaches Too Far, Oversells, Underdelivers,
I think a book like this, which makes some really big claims, should, roughly, do the following:
1) Present it's premise clearly
2) Since it's a self-help book explain clearly what you need to do
3) Provide compelling evidence that it's ideas work
4) Be credible.
The book does a decent job of explaining its premise, which is that everything in your life is the result of the law of attraction. I quote, "the law of attraction says like attracts like, so when you think a thought, you are also attracting like thoughts to you." In other words, think good thoughts and good things will come to you and if you think bad thoughts then bad things come to you. I've simplified this a bit but not a whole lot as the concept isn't rocket science.
Now, does this book explain clearly what you need to do? Actually, for a self-help book it does a very poor job of this. How do you control your thoughts? What kinds of practices and thinking produce the best results? The author and contributors basically tell you a bunch of stories about how "so and so did something and you can too by changing your thinking".
And that's it for the "how to" part of the book. There isn't any.
Now, if I wanted to prove something worked from a scientific perspective it would seem to be easy to test this stuff out. You take two groups of people, teach one the secret, let the other go on with their lives and see what happens. In theory those that know the Secret would be happier and more successful than the control group. It might not be perfect but it'd be a whole lot better than what we get in this book. But, of course, you'd have to have an actual methodology to test.
Instead the authors cite numerous anecdotes of how the Secret worked. One person's cancer went away. Another individual walks after a brutal accident. Still another finds romance. That's all fine and perhaps it's evidence but it's not proof. Cancer can be misdiagnosed. How many people who were injured like the "Miracle Man" never walked again despite the best attitude and trying the approach perfectly? The problem with anecdotes is that it's easy to start with a result, work backward and assume the conclusion. It's also very easy with anecdotes to only present the ones that make your case and ignore those that don't (when someone dies of cancer while practicing the secret for instance). It's just not good enough to use anecdotes for large claims like those made in this book.
The following quote struck a nerve.
"People hold that for awhile, and they're really a champion at it. They say, `I'm fired up, I saw this program and I'm going to change my life.' And yet the results aren't showing. Beneath the surface it's just about ready to break through but the person will look just at the surface results and say, `This stuff doesn't work.' And you know what? The universe says, "your wish is my command,"
I thought it was interesting that the universe instantly manifest failure but isn't quite so fast with success. In fact, a cynical individual might conclude that what they are really saying is, "when this program works it's because the secret always works, but, on the off chance it doesn't work, well, that's your fault." An even more cynical person might think, "gosh, I wonder what would help a person who failed? Maybe, a seminar with Bob Proctor would be just the thing to get them over the top?"
Lastly, is the Secret credible? On the one hand, I think a lot can be said for the idea that if you change your thinking you'd change your life. In many ways that seems obvious to me.
On the other hand, if the secret actually was true, especially at the scope claimed by the book it would mean that everything that's happened is the result of your thinking. So, when a child dies of pneumonia, well, it's because they brought pneumonia into their lives. Michael J. Fox, not only did you bring Parkinson's into your life but change your thinking and it will go away. Obviously these things aren't true and they obliterate, in my opinion, any credibility in the book.
Not only does the book go too far but most (I'd argue nearly all) of the contributors aren't credible. On a topic of this scope: the ability to 100% change your life and the world in an incredible fashion, does anyone really think you couldn't find psychologists, top flight scientists, therapists and thousands of mainstream individuals to support it, if it worked? Wouldn't there be tons of research instead of anecdotes? Instead we get a Feng Shui Master, a chiropractor, motivational speakers (err trainers), a metaphysicist, etc. combined with a half dozen anecdotal stories. So the most powerful like changing idea ever and you get it from the crew in this book presented in this fashion? I don't think so!
If this idea really worked, at anything other than giving material to self-help speakers and generating repeat students, it just wouldn't be found here. The book wouldn't even have to be written because we'd all already know it and be practicing it. Remember, this is not a new idea, it's been around for a very long time, and it's been the topic of literally thousands of seminars and hundreds of books.
In conclusion, I'm not opposed to the idea on a small scale but this book just goes way too far and I'm left with the feeling that all that's really going on is a bunch of people trying to get their name out and get you to pay for their seminars.
326 of 369 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Think for a minute with me before you buy,
Let's say something first: if it makes you feel better, you can even believe in Santa Claus, and there's no problem with that.
So, if you want to believe what Rhonda says, it's up to you.
For me, there are too many lies in this book.
They are appealing, because we all search for an easy way out. They sounds beautiful, like birds in the sky. But they remain lies.
They are also immoral: I think one of the best teaching in christianity is compassion. Compassion means to feel the suffering of another, to understand him deeply. It's the feeling we all feel when we see a baby cry for apparently no reason, so cute and so defenseless.
We feel his pain, we think we have to help.
But if you believe that feeling (mental) pain attracts to you disgrace, how can you embrace compassion?
Also, why help others if when they are in struggle it's all their fault? Why try to help them if you believe that their minds are responsable for that?
When we think of World War II, and Nazism, are we going to say that all the Jews were vibrating in a bad mood? I don't think it's a good answer to the evil that men do (and what about 9/11, or Katrina?).
Were all the people in the '60 anti-war movement creating more war? Vietnam was caused by John Lennon? Don't be a fool.
The poet says: the good sailor moves the sails, for he knows he can't control the wind.
I take this very personal. When I was just a kid, a friend of mine died. He was the happiest child in the world, we were shocked and thought about death for a long long time. He didn't attract his bad destiny, and we didn't attract anything, except tears.
Leave this book alone.
There's no need to say that the quotations of great men in the past are largely distorted. Take Bhudda: he spoke all the time against desire of material things, and he thought a lot about illness, aging and death. It's easy to take a quotation out of context and gain noble fathers for a poor idea.
939 of 1,072 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a best-seller; folly of the masses,
This book was given to me as a gift on father's day. I started reading it the way I read any book but soon I started reading faster and faster, more like scanning, with speed-reading techniques, and finished it in 2 hours, while taking notes at the same time.
I have no interest in self-help books or concepts like power of positive thinking. This book combines the two, with the main thesis being that the "secret" to anything in life, wealth, health, success, love, romance, happiness is positive thinking, thinking positive thoughts. More specifically, imagining things that you want to have and really, truly believe that you already have them, and feel good about having them now!
For example, if you want to be rich, you should first imagine that you are already rich; second, you should really believe that you are already rich; and third you should feel yourself in a rich life style, feel happy about it. If you keep doing this for awhile, miraculously the doors of wealth will open to you, all the opportunities will line up at your door and you will be well into your way to becoming that rich person you are imagining. Similarly, if you want to loose weight, you should imagine yourself in your ideal weight, really focus on that, only allow yourself "thin thoughts" and avoid "fat thoughts", and you will get thin. I quote; "if someone is overweight, it came from thinking fat thoughts". Another one; "Food cannot cause you to put on weight, unless you think it can."
I felt like putting a smiley face right after the last sentence as I am smiling now, and was smiling throughout the book. All you have to do is just ask (oh, and believe, and feel) for the thing you want and lo and behold, thou shalt have it! I quote: "Make a command to the Universe. Let the Universe know what you want. The universe responds to your thoughts." Another one: "The Universe will start to rearrange itself to make it happen for you." Really? I didn't know the entire universe cared so much about me!
The method even works for some frivolous things. Like always finding a parking spot, never having to wait in lines, never being late etc. And a lot of people are, allegedly, already doing it: "We have received thousands of accounts of The Secret being used to bring about large sums of money and unexpected checks in the mail. People have used the secret to manifest their perfect homes, life partners, cars, jobs, and promotions, with many accounts of businesses being transformed within days of applying The Secret."
One look at the titles of the co-authors of the book says a lot: Metaphysician, moneymaking expert (ha?), healer, life coach, law of attraction specialist, feng shui consultant (sure)... How about gullibility specialist, swindling expert, or snake-oil salesman?
Actually I shouldn't be so hard. At least one person, the main author of the book made her wishes come true. In the foreword of the book, and elsewhere inside, she says that she was going through a very bad time, her company of 10 years was about to be history. In desperation she looked everywhere for answers and that's how she discovered "the secret". Judging from the success of the book and the film, it must have worked for her. I suppose she must have thought, believed, and felt something like this: "I want a large number of credulous people to buy what I am saying (and the book, and the dvd) so I can make a lot of money".
290 of 328 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Here's the REAL Secret..............,
The wealth that is bestowed on the small percentage of people in this world is acquired through heredity, ingenuity, hard work, or just dumb luck.
No one obtains wealth or cures cancer by simply obsessively wishing for it.
The first step in increasing your wealth is to take the money you would have spent on this mindless drivel, and put it in your pocket. See? You're doing better already...............
137 of 153 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Word to the Wise...,
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.
200 of 226 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Think and Grow Rich Meets The Power of Positive Thinking in Brief Quotes,
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.
247 of 280 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book not taste like racoon.,
One day Sasquatch find book in Ranger outhouse. Book called The Secret. Owl say book is self help book. Book say only you can help you. Book say to visualize what you want to achieve it. Me hungry and cold so me try. Sasquatch close eyes and think of warm fire which is warm from sticks. Me open eyes there no warm fire which is warm from sticks. Sasquatch close eyes and think of fat, slow raccoon that is easy catch. Me open eyes there no fat, slow raccoon.
This make Sasquatch give up. Me eat flesh of book which not taste like raccoon.
200 of 226 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unscientific Blather,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Latin phrase, Ad Ignoratium, is apt: the statements made in this book are true only to the degree of the reader's ignorance.
Hmmm, I can win the lottery just by thinking positively about it? What if everybody around me has the same thoughts? Can we all win? If I want a college degree, can I get one just by thinking really hard or do I have to actually attend classes? I have cancer; can I will it away by envisioning smiling faces? Or should I get chemo first?
The bulk of the book employs pseudo "experts" to elevate the very real power of positive thinking to the status of a wishing well. As most of us learned as children, wishing alone rarely makes things happen. Action makes things happen, and tragically little about action is talked about in this book.
Lots of people report great things coming to them after practicing the "Secret." But it's unlikely that anyone will report how often it doesn't work. Like psychic predictions, we breathlessly report the "hits" and ignore the misses.
I'm a believer in positive thinking, but not magical thinking. There is a difference. Keep that in mind when you read this nonsense.
121 of 135 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pantheism in drag,
This book is skilfully marketed to convince people that some new truth is about to be revealed here. But nothing of the sort takes place. It is simply a flashy repackaging of some very old ideas: new age thought, eastern religions, the human potential movement, positive thinking, pantheism, cosmic consciousness, and so on.
The message is simple: you and I are God, are energy, are the universe, are perfection, are spirit, etc. As such, "you can have, be, or do anything you want". That's it. Want a brand new car? Visualise it and receive it. Think and feel that you already have it.
Want a perfect partner? A new home? Perfect health? A new job? A million dollars? It's all yours. Just claim it. Receive it. No more negative thoughts. Just think happy, positive thoughts and anything you desire is yours. It is the creative visualisation message made popular in the New Age Movement: you create your own reality. You script your own destiny.
Of course this mind over matter thought has been around for ages. Indeed, Byrne assembles 24 "great avatars and amazing teachers" here whom she quotes and rephrases. Some have already passed on, however, which is curious, since we are promised in this book both perfect health and "eternal youth". So why have they carked it?
Indeed, many such questions arise. We are told we should always be grateful; we should always say `thank you'. But to who? It seems to ourselves, since we in fact are God, the universe, energy, the all. We are the ones who make our own reality. Everything that exists is the product of our thoughts, our feelings.
And given that "you deserve to be happy," then just claim all those goodies you have always longed for. Got bills to pay? No probs! Got cancer? No worries. It will all disappear if we simply want it to.
But wait, there's more. It is not just personal greed that is being pandered to here. It is not just my own dreams that can come true. The big issues of life are also a piece of cake. Want to end global hunger? Easy. Just think happy food thoughts. Want to end all war? Couldn't be simpler. Just feel and think peaceful thoughts. And you thought some problems were just too intractable. Foolish you.
Indeed, you can have a lot of fun when you are the centre of the universe. You can have a blast being God. You can really groove on being perfection. Isn't it great that it is all about you? Consider this closing thought of the book:
"The earth turns on its orbit for You. The oceans ebb and flow for You. The birds sing for You. The sun rises and sets for You. The stars come out for You. Every beautiful thing you see, every wonderful thing you experience, is all there for You. Take a look around. None of it can exist, without You. No matter who you thought you were, now you know the Truth of Who You Really Are. You are the master of the universe. You are the heir of the kingdom. You are the perfection of life. And now you know The Secret."
And her very last line? A paraphrase of Stars Wars, no less: "May the joy be with you!" Gee, almost makes me feel like soaring through the air, forming some new galaxies, and creating other worlds.
If it all seems a bit familiar, that is because it is. It is just old-fashioned Eastern thought, repackaged and resold to a gullible new generation. It is plain old monism and pantheism with a facelift. It is just more New Age thought in drag. It is simply positive thinking in a new dress.
Oh, and one final thought: I tried to do what the book suggests: use the Law of Attraction to get whatever you want. Unfortunately it did not work for me. I told the gal at the counter I wanted to get the book for free, and was using the Attraction principle to create my own reality.
She did get a chuckle out of that, but still demanded cold hard cash, insisting that moolah, not some Attraction mumbo-jumbo, was the only way I was going to get the book. Thus I am $30 poorer, and still not able to script my wishes into reality. Oh well, guess I just gotta try harder.
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The Secret (Unabridged, 4-CD Set) by Rhonda Byrne (Audio CD - November 28, 2006)