The Secret

In one of my previous articles, I discussed how focusing on what you want (referred to as the Law of Attraction in The Secret by Rhonda Byrne).

I like this concept and explained why it is good to be applied in real life. However, I lost every as soon as I read the author’s example of the Creative Process. This apparently makes the book very fictional and utopian. It completely takes science or common sense out of the equation for success.

I don’t want to repeat myself so if you are interested in getting more acquainted with my reaction to this book, read my review on GoodReads.com.

If you cannot find it there, read it here:

I wouldn’t say I disliked this book but I wouldn’t say it was OK either. However, my overall experience is closer to “didn’t like it” than it was to “it was ok” and due to not being able to give it a star and a half, I chose to give it a star.

The Secret is good motivational book when it comes to your mentality. Thoughts become things and focus on what you want are necessary concepts as part of our efforts to succeed in life on every aspect.

However, Rhonda Byrne lost me with her Creative Process – particularly when she explained the key to losing weight and the key to earning more money. She claims that it is all about belief that you can do it (the ask-believe-receive 3-step process), and completely refutes science from the equation, that is – thyroid function, metabolism and even the way we eat are not decisive in our efforts to lose weight or get better bodies in any aspect. Furthermore, she even recommends liking your body as it is now in order to get to where you want to get. While I can see that as part of the positive thinking phylosophy, in order to attain tangible change there has to be motivation, to say the least. As someone who has done this for a living and is still a gym rat, I cannot disagree more with her.

What I said in the second paragraph is the only good thing about the book. The rest is nonsense. You can be motivated to earn $1 million but it won’t materialize if you merely believe that you can do it. More often than not it requires a lot of effort to attain that $1 million. That claim – that the “Universe” is like a catalogue where you can choose whatever you want – is more utopian than The Communist Manifesto or anything of the likes of imagining a life in perfect harmony. A better approach that Rhonda Byrne should have taken is to be aware that there are obstacles but to believe that you will overcome them, not that you can eat whatever you want and still get that perfect body.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Books, Movies and Analyses

3 responses to “The Secret

  1. I certainly take your side with the criticism on the fictional/utopian concepts in this book! I remember I was so curious to read it back in the day, when the public was so ecstatic about “The Secret” and, boy, was I disappointed. I thought the beginning was okay, although I considered it a somewhat distasteful regurgitation of the original thinking of much earlier philosophers and authors, at least the concept still stands. However, the sections to follow really left me left me lost for words. In fact, I had such a strong reaction (negative) to the overly dramatized nonsense in the pages, that I just had to drop the book at once. It really makes me sad to say that I hated this book, but it’s true. I am sad to see this field of self-help literature regress so much.
    Ironically, the case of ‘The Secret’ reminds me of the commentary of J. K. Chesterton (1908): “There has appeared in our time a particular class of books and articles which I sincerely and solemnly think may be called the silliest ever known among men. They are much more wild than the wildest romances of chivalry and much more dull than the dullest religious tract. Moreover, the romances of chivalry were at least about chivalry; the religious tracts are about religion. But these things are about nothing; they are about what is called Success. On every bookstall, in every magazine, you may find works telling people how to succeed.”
    “They are books showing men how to succeed in everything; they are written by men who cannot even succeed in writing books.”
    It seems the trend has been unfolding for more than a century now. It’s sad and I’m sorry, but I just reproach literature that undermines my status of a thinking human being.

  2. I remember having read a motivational book about 6 years ago but… maybe because I was not old and experienced enough to know better I really liked the book. However, I can tell that The Secret is a complete failure, and I am inclined to agree with you and with J.K. Chesterton on that kind of literature.

    Meanwhile, Rhonda Byrne apparently was either not thinking positively or was most likely not imagining the amount the money she owes. Click here (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/the-secret-of-rhondas-success/story-e6frg8h6-1111117271174) for more information.

  3. Oh dear, I didn’t know about all the drama surrounding Rhonda Byrne. Let’s rest our case, shall we!
    I am a ‘helping professional’ and I do believe in literature as a powerful source . . . for motivation, inspiration, etc. However, it is saddening to see the ‘self-help’ literature section being (or becoming) such disappointment. This is an especially sensitive topic to me, since I know there are many people who reach for the self-help shelf, long before consulting a helping professional. Sadly enough, the self-help book could send them on a wild goose chase (My apologies to those who have found self-help books being very useful and life-changing). Nowadays, we have a marvelous body of literature (based on the scientific method and empirical research) that provides wonderful insight and information. However, there are plenty of authors who seem to be eager to ignore all that and write out a story based on their personal beliefs. Now, there is nothing wrong with that, but it is better off suited as ‘personal’ of ‘fiction’ than ‘self-help’.
    [One last thing, I wanted to correct myself on the quote above: it is G.K. Chesterton = Gilbert Keith Chesterton (among my favorite thinkers)]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s