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Customer Review

1,001 of 1,109 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A RECOMMENDATION WITH RESERVATIONS, March 2, 2005
This review is from: The Power of Intention (Hardcover)
I'm going to end up recommending this book with one major and two minor reservations. If you can get past the reservations (which I will explain), I believe there is something here that might make a difference in your life and mine. You'll notice that the majority of reviews give the book 5 stars, but a significant minority give it 1 star. I'm guessing that the wide disparity of reactions is based on how surmountable or insurmountable the reservations were to each reviewer. My purpose is to help you decide whether for you it would be worthwhile shelling out the $18-$25 price of the book

Here's the major reservation: in Calvinism, you could tell who was saved and going to heaven by how successful and prosperous they were. In Social Darwinism, successful people were evidence of survival of the fittest. In the Power of Intention, people create the lives they want based on being "aligned with Intention". The implication is that if they are poor, diseased, homeless, or victimized, they are not aligned with Intention. They may not be sinners (Calvinism) or unfit (Social Darwinism), but they are unenlightened and somehow responsible for their unhappy fate. I wonder what advice Dyer would have had for the victims of the recent tsunami.

If Dyer's theories are correct and universal, should we be translating his book and dropping it into distressed areas like Darfur in the Sudan or perhaps in the Sunni triangle? Personal responsibility is a powerful and often overlooked factor in the human condition, but Dyer seems oblivious to the possibility that there might be other factors at work, as well. His five words "I want to feel good" would be a tough sell for the sole survivor of a family that has just been murdered.

The first minor reservation is, pardon the big word, epistomological: how does Dyer know what he says he knows? For example, how does he know that there are precisely seven "Faces of Intention"? Why not six or eight or ten? Is he the Chosen Receiver of Spiritual Truth with his own private Mount Sinai, or more likely, is he simply inventing a systematic break-down of Intention or figuring out what Intention should include? The system and the seven faces are plausible and useful, but where and how did he get them?

The second minor reservation is that Dyer does not really share with us how alignment with Intention has made a difference in his life. For example, how did it help him overcome addiction to cocaine or alcohol? How did it help make his second marriage better than his first? These stories would help him connect his theories with his life and help the reader do the same.

All that said, I still think Dyer is onto something. I have a vague awareness of the power of Intention in my own life, and after reading the book, I now intend to pursue it in a conscious way and see what turns up. The possible benefits of this experiment far exceed any conceivable costs. And this is why I end up recommending the book to you, IF you can get past the reservations.
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Showing 1-10 of 57 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 21, 2007, 10:21:11 PM PDT
yogamm_indy says:
Excellent presentation of reservations, for with these reservations being articulated I can better understand if I wish to go ahead with making a purchase of Wayne's book. I too had been concerned of his assumption that the successful people have just got the "higher" stuff right!!

Posted on Sep 8, 2007, 10:59:50 AM PDT
Jerry Katz says:
Every book has an audience, and my sense is that the audience for this book is not intended to include people currently experiencing extreme crisis, such as the instant loss of one's entire family, a tsunami, starvation, utter poverty, or some condition that implies serious mental illness. The audience for this book, as I see it, is intelligent, spiritually-inclined, middle to upper middle-class (mostly white) North Americans who are somewhat dissatisfied with their lives, perhaps living in crisis, but not extreme crisis, and holding the intuition of a higher, accessible power. That is a legitimate audience. There are books on grief that are appropriate for people who have recently lost loved ones. For homeless people there are books on accessing social systems or surviving on the streets. For victims of tsunamis, if they can read any book at all, they're doing okay.

Dyer doesn't claim that he knows there are exactly seven faces of intention. He calls the listing a "concept" and a possibility: "I'll describe what I think our view might be if we could be outside ourselves...," he says, and then proposes the list. He says explicitly that the list comes from his imagination.

In places throughout the book, Dyer does speak of how intention has been and is important in his life.

This is a good book for anyone too wrapped-up in themselves, who needs to kick back and see the bigger picture, and who is willing to allow the "universe" -- or whatever you want to call the actuality that is bigger than one's self -- to run things.

Posted on Jun 1, 2008, 12:21:06 PM PDT
rkveale says:
I agree with the reservations in this review. If a worldview does not work in the midst of the negativity of life, then it simply doesn't work. I am also concerned that Mr. Dyer's book sounds like the the prosperity gospel. Align yourself with the source(?) and you will heal yourself and experience abundance in your life. This kind of false expectation can be very cruel. Even Mr. Dyer will someday enter into his time of suffering and death. The statistics are clear: one out of one, dies.

Posted on Jun 6, 2008, 9:02:05 PM PDT
Francois says:
A very fair review. But I would say that one author can't be all things to all people all the time. Another reviewer brought up the likely demographics of his audience, and that has merrit as well. I think even DR. Dyer wouldn't have any issues with anyone taking what they can use constructively in their lives from what he presents, and leaving the rest. Like many self help and spiritual books, they speak to us where ever we are when we read them. When we re-read the material at another junction in our lives, perhaps what was useful before is no longer as relevant, and a different part of the text now has something we're drawn into.

Posted on Aug 9, 2008, 9:49:07 AM PDT
Steve Hughes says:
The alignment with Intention is the power of the unconscious mind; the unconscious mind is so powerful that it can create a phobia that cannot be overcome by conscious thought no matter how logically it can be explained away. Anyone with a phobia can contest to this. The phobia was put in your mind unintentionally and so can everything else you want in life, which empowers the strength of the unconscious mind.

Posted on Oct 21, 2008, 7:29:51 PM PDT
This is a very lucid analysis. The reviewer articulates many of my own reservation concerning similar philosophies (such as the one I encountered in "The Secret"). Kudos, Jack Rosenblum! Almost makes me want to click on your other reviews. Very professional...

Posted on Nov 18, 2008, 8:49:46 AM PST
Bob Dukes says:
Thank you, Jack, for what I consider to be a very helpful and intelligent review. I think quality reviews like yours are a big part of what makes Amazon such an attractive resource.

Posted on Nov 20, 2008, 9:40:22 AM PST
Joseph Davis says:
Very nice review and points well taken. But I would agree with others that this book, and the concept of connecting to intention, is a long-term approach to improving how you feel. Not a short-term treatment to a disaster victim. I feel better after I exercise, but I would not tell someone who's family was just murdered "have you tried exercising?".
I don't understand the point of translating and dropping the book in poverty-stricken areas either. I can think of at least 20 books, inculding this one (and the bible), that could change the lifes of many people. But who is the "who" that is supposed to go drop books from a plane? That's like saying "If Walden Pond is so life changing to some, then why not drop them from planes?". Absurd
Also, if you are going to question his capacity to "know" these things, then I don't see how you can appreciate any book on developing spirituality. I suppose many people asked Gandhi "now, how do you know?". That was a very common theme in questioning Jesus as well. You either believe that someone is speaking with divine intervention, or they are full of it. For ehat it is worth, Dyer often talks about "only being an instrument and not being the one to write" in his books. If that helps.
Lastly, I appreciate Dyer's work BECAUSE he does not constantly talk about himself. Maybe some need that validation, but that is the complete opposite of what I am looking for. The "do this, because this is what happened to me...and I'm great" are a dime a dozen. You would really like Rich Dad...Poor Dad

Posted on Apr 15, 2009, 7:33:40 AM PDT
Jack Rosenblum,
Thanks for the very well-balanced description! I am thinking of trying out this current Secret/Law of Attraction rage, probably more with the help of others than Dyer (and recommendations?), and along with taking a look at A Course in Miracles, with the help of some Marianne Williamson writings. I am offended by the idea, as you expressed it, that poor inner city young people, are SOLELY responsible for their own circumstances. I would go so far as to say that this is Evil in addition to being the furthest thing from the "Compassion" one is supposed to also develop with The Secret, etc. Also, I do not know if it is true of "the Course" and Williamson, but I also find very unnecessary and charlatanism this idea of unified fields of energy and this idea that the Law of Attraction is a genuine Law of the Universe and that it is shown by Quantum Mechanics. We have so much trouble getting people to study and learn REAL science that it is also very bad for society to present such false psuedo-science so cavalierly. I had to work hard to find this out; but, it is clear to me that true Quantum Mechanics ("reality" determined by observation (intention?)", etc., ONLY applies to particles and other objects about the size of an electron or atom. As with relativity theory, which applies, but which has no effect on our human perception, given our perception abilities, because the math calculations show that unless one is traveling close to the speed of light, the effect is infinitessimal, Quantum Mechanics' calculations are such that it only has a meaningful effect at the electron / atom level of size. So, for me, reading about the seven forms of Universal Energy, makes me want to bring a fraud class-action lawsuit against Dyer and, like him through his guru trip, "prove" The Secret" to be right as, like Dyer, Jack Canfield and all the others, I could claim, "Eureka, it works.", after I get rich!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 5, 2009, 7:46:36 PM PDT
Yeah, I agree with you. The effort at scientific validation is nonsense. But quantum mechanics aside, I have noticed that when I really want something, the universe rewards action, and if my actions are focused and consistent, although there may be a delivery delay, more often than you would think, the universe comes through. Make of it what you will.
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