Rhonda Byrne: “The Secret”

The Secret by Rhonda ByrneA salute to Rhonda Byrne, the author of “The Secret”, for superbly over-promising and under-delivering on every single page of this trite book. The transformation that I experienced was being awed at the mastery of her powers of influence by connecting dots where no dots exist except for her say-so and by attributing an effect to a cause, where a million other effects could be just as valid. The nonsensical writings of Byrne seem to know no end. It is fascinating to read how she claims to know the key to the minds of Albert Einstein, Aristotle, Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright Brothers and men of such intellect and accomplishment and to proceed to explain to us mere mortals just how all of those fantastic achievements of our age came together as a result of her breakthrough in understanding their thought process. She gives the reader this unfounded claim and she has packaged it all into this book for benefit of masses. So strong are her claims to such “truths” that I wonder if she made use of telepathic channels of communication with the diseased to arrive at her conclusions.

The law of attraction is “The Secret”, claims the author. This law, first expressed on page 4 of the book, and before being explained, is considered common fact and applicable to the world at large. It is brilliant really to read so much non-ascertained “Secrets”. Everything and everyone comes together in perfect harmony as a result of Ms. Byrne’s fascinating “Law of Attraction”, or more accurately, her voodoo magic.

Before you learn more about this law, you learn that the best musicians, poets, artists, thinkers and religion leaders of our time already knew and used it skillfully in their legendary achievements to all mankind. There is so much self-righteous credit to the author without any proof or any solid reasoning. I found this to be hugely a turn-off in attracting me to her work, no pun intended.

The Law of Attraction takes on the character of the universe for the rest of the book, and you and this universe play two characters in this exchange of make-believe dialogs. You think something and voila, the universe hears it, and acts on it. Byrne kindly makes all the translations for us, lest we send the wrong signal up!

It goes without saying that the book draws on some of the best practices in life for leading a good positive life. There is no arguing with the obvious factoids: Positive thinking and positive energy, meditation and relaxation, believing in your dreams and in achieving your goals, and the numerous effects of negative thinking on our mind, body, spirit. Perhaps I am thankful that the readers of this book will be encouraged further to believe in positive thinking, regardless of the absurd and strange means explained to achieve it.

The major flaw in her theory is simple: Whatever life you live, regardless of how you came about your current situation, is entirely your own damn fault!

While I am a proponent of responsibility for our own actions, there are events in our universe that are slightly out of our control. Take for instance a world war, an earth quake, a flood, a car accident, cancer, and a few others that run through the imagination. If “The Secret” can control and create the reality with our thoughts, is it even possible to imagine a world built on millions of instantly changing, evolving, conflicting and omnipotent thoughts?

According to the book , there is a concept called The Creative Process – It is to create what you want and whole of this process consisted of 3 steps:

  1. Ask
  2. Believe
  3. Receive

Reading is the best pastime for an active mind! If you like to see the other book reviews, check the index of In Print.

The most ludicrous parts of the book comprise of instances where this Law of Attraction is tied to the laws of the universe, physics, and the creative process, and even the Bible. Byrne claims that if you only know how to use the process, the body which is a temple, can heal itself of a manifested disease. For clear purposes, the messages here as well as rest of the book are very vague, so that nothing conclusive can be drawn. Yet the anecdotes deliver the message we all want to hear:  A breast-cancer patient rids her body of cancer and attributes her healing to “The Secret”. Ask yourself please if Rhonda Byrne had the answer to cure cancer, would she waste her time writing a book instead?

As to the writing style of the author, it is written and to be read, for reasons aforementioned, by the masses. The simplistic, conversational style of writing, carrying on a dialog with the reader in a condescending patronizing  tone of voice is distasteful, lacks intellect, and bores me to pieces.  The message behind her poor quality writing is an appalling amount of nonsense, as I mentioned before. Ironically enough, her writing style perfectly suits the content which it endorses.

Perhaps I am being too harsh. After all, the brilliance of a mass-marketed book has to earn some respect even from the harshest critics. Clearly, the author’s quest for fame and fortune is fulfilled – a worthy quest for anyone – but at the expense of what: our society’s terrifying abandon of common sense and plain thinking? No, this is not the fault of the author – after all, we are the thinkers and the decision makers of our own life. We decide what to believe and what to discard. The fear sets in when a society abandons that innate skill and blindly follows everything that which is popular and accepted as the norm by a large population.

Why should I post such a book review and how does it help promote my vision of prolific living? The most prolific life would be filled with a positive spirit, and resistant to negative thoughts and emotions. I believe and aim to live with that mindset. Nonetheless, it is important to be true to all of our emotions and suppress them, I will not.
The message I have intended to deliver to my readers here is to think for yourself, to look for logic and sensibility of the information you are given, and to be true to your own conclusions and strong enough to recognize the difference between authentic and genuine advice, and one that comes short on that scale.

  • Scott Hedrick

    I had to watch a video about this in a college class. You were far more eloquent than I was in describing “The Secret”. Now, the three steps, Ask, Believe, Receive, are necessary, but she left out a whole bunch of other stuff, like Work Hard, Stop Doing Anything that Keeps You From Receiving, Be Patient Because “The Secret” Works in its own time and not yours, Wishing Isn’t Enough, and so forth. Receive is not #3, it’s more like #47. But saying that doesn’t sell books.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Oh great, now colleges are showing the video. Yes, she did not exactly go through what it takes to get the universe to hand us our wishes. I did not care for Rhonda Byrne at all as you can tell from my reasons here. Thanks for your thoughts, Scott.

  • Mila

    Hello,

    I have read all her books and I am now reading The Magic. I love them all and they have helped me to a better life and to feel much better, be a better person, having a better job, having better relationships and so on. For me it works perfect! She is absolutely GREAT and I am thankful every day the day her books crossed my path ;)

    It works, do no harm, makes me feel good, not hurting anyone and making me a better person – so for me it can´t be wrong.

    Mila

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Mila,
      It’s been years since I wrote this review and I’ve really come to see things differently now. I really see more of what Rhonda was talking about. Even though her method of sharing it didn’t resonate with me, I am learning that the law of attraction does work wonders. So glad to see your kind comment here, thanks so much.

  • http://rohanwrites.wordpress.com Rohan

    Hey Farnoosh,

    I have also read and heard about ‘The Secret’ : as you said there is a difference in how you reacted to the book and its content earlier – but now you have learned that law of attraction works.
    I would like to request honest suggestion whether one should read this book or just avoid it (may be you can suggest better books)
    I liked your blog and recently also subscribed to it.
    Thanks for all wonderful articles.
    Regards
    Rohan

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Rohan, what a great question. I’ve come a long way since I read this book years ago and I can tell you that I’d gladly read it now, I think one thing that bothered me about The Secret was that there was no call to action. Almost more like wishful thinking without any work to follow, you know? I don’t plan on re-reading it as I’ve read much better books since then. One of my favorites is Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is. And I’ve got more favorites on my Goodreads profile. I hope this helps.

      • http://rohanwrites.wordpress.com Rohan

        Farnoosh,
        Thanks a lot for the reply and suggestion.
        I checked your Goodreads profile and going by the amount of books you have read,i am sure i will find some that interests me too.
        Again happy writing.
        Regards
        Rohan