11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Re-Packaged Secret.
A movie first and then turned into a book, "The Secret" is about getting what you want by knowing what you want and keeping it at the forefront of your thoughts. It gets this concept across really well and is a quite entertaining book. The downside is that there is really nothing new here that hasn't already been published many times before, many decades ago (I'm thinking...
Published on Sept. 22 2008 by a reader
148 of 155 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...
Published on March 26 2007 by Dr. Mario E. Martinez
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148 of 155 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Word to the Wise...,
This review is from: The Secret (Hardcover)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.
148 of 169 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,
This review is from: The Secret (Hardcover)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.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fluff, Puff, Smoke & Mirrors,
This review is from: The Secret (Hardcover)I cannot believe I read the whole book but I kept looking for the meat as I read through it. While progressing through this "quick read" I was continuously amazed at the fluffy stories of little credibility (but lots of laughability although it is far from a comedy). I guess if you are looking for some new type of religion or need something to cling to & you can convince yourself that "vapourware" actually exists as a substance, this is the book for you. It gave it one star because I could not go lower.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Didn't Finish It,
This review is from: The Secret (Hardcover)I read this book after many recommendations. The premise of the book is that we can use the power of attraction, through positive thought, to get what we want from life (e.g. a life partner, job, wealth).
This book is a strong example of the current Western Individualism, focusing on our needs and desires. For those with more duty-based morals or a focus on our contribution to society, this book will likely be distasteful.
I did not finish the book as I did not appreciate the self-centered and materialistic values promoted in it.
34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I can't believe this book is on the bestseller list,
This review is from: The Secret (Hardcover)The author presents the (age-old and not-so-secret) idea of positive thinking and presents it with a "sensational" and patronizing format. Do people really believe that all they have to do is think about what they want and it will happen? I thought it was disgusting how the focus was on getting RICH and getting what you want in the material sense. It seems obvious that it's an attempt by the author to get rich herself by appealing to the laziness and greed of us simpletons. Just imagine how many trees were chopped down to print this book. What a waste of squirrel condominiums.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars THE PERFECT GIFT - FOR YOUR...COMPETITORS!,
This review is from: The Secret (Hardcover)Like a dark comet on a fast orbit, once every 7 years or so, there comes a book to sell (once more) the idea of...wishful thinking. I can remember at least two others, the shallow CELESTINE PROPHECY in the early 1990's and the more verbose ALCHEMIST around the millennium.
Right on schedule, THE SECRET came along. It too, peddles the totally unfounded idea of "wishing something into existence" as a good idea to live your life by.
There are a great number of self-help books that encourage the appreciation of what one already has and the understanding of what one really needs - trying to shade some light on the darkness of 21st century frantic over-consumerism. And that is indeed what most psychologists will advise as the road to happiness.
THE SECRET, however, does the opposite: it encourages the reader to wish for even more things - and offers no means in achieving them, other than "really-really thinking hard about them". Most people outgrow this infantile illusions phase by their 5th birthday...
This is the only situation where I can imagine THE SECRET working: if you are competing for a new position in your company, it would be wise to offer this book as a gift to all the people competing against you.
May I be the first to congratulate you on your promotion!
In any other situation though,
DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT...
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Re-Packaged Secret.,
This review is from: The Secret (Hardcover)A movie first and then turned into a book, "The Secret" is about getting what you want by knowing what you want and keeping it at the forefront of your thoughts. It gets this concept across really well and is a quite entertaining book. The downside is that there is really nothing new here that hasn't already been published many times before, many decades ago (I'm thinking of books like It Works).
Thinking is great, but life also requires us to "do" a little too in order to make things happen- recommend The Sixty-Second Motivator for more info on that.
37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I don't think so!,
This review is from: The Secret (Hardcover)I am truly embarrassed that I even read this book, but when something is hyped as much as this book was, I thought maybe there was something in it worth checking out. Like every other person in this world, I want to be in on the secret to happiness, success, health and wealth; however, one of the (many) issues I have with this book is that what she's talking about is not a secret. Everyone from the Dalai Lama to Mary Poppins has known that positive thinking is more helpful than negative thinking, but you can't just will money, health, wealth and happiness into your life by virtue of thinking positively about it. People who have success, health and wealth have worked hard for these things. Most of these people didn't just sit down and think positive thoughts, and "POOF" they were rich, successful, thin, etc. They had a goal, and they worked towards it, without giving up or letting anything get in their way- they were DETERMINED! You will even see this in the anecdotal stories of people in the book who say 'The Secret' has worked for them. If you really look, you'll see it was determination that helped these people succeed at their goals- not just positive thinking. Additionally, I believe there are two things that negate the credibility of this author and her work. One is the assertion that if you want to be thin, don't look at fat people; the other implies that the victims of the Holocaust somehow brought it on themselves. Now what kind of inane drivel is that?! Are people really so desperate and lazy that they will buy into this kind of hogwash as an answer to their problems? The bottom line is this: Yes, positive thinking can actually be beneficial as you try to achieve your goals, but so is a lot of hard work and determination. So if you're truly looking for a secret in all of this, take the word- DETERMINATION- that seems to be what people are lacking more than positive thinking. Use determination as your defining word for future success; I guarantee it will help immensely...and that's no secret...
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fastfood for thought,
This review is from: The Secret (Hardcover)I think this book is popular because it makes everything look so easy to get (example: $1 million or a new car) and everyone's looking for the easy way out- it's human nature. What this book doesn't take into account is good old fashion hard work. People who succeed, work hard and take action. They have a plan and they take control of their lives and don't wait for the "universe" to hand it over to them. Hard work reaps success and there's no way around it. Sure, a positive attitude and visualization can help, but it's not enough to wish it to happen or believe that it has already happened and then wait for it to come. Frankly, I find this ridiculous. One part in the book talks about weight loss. She states that by believing that she is at her ideal weight and "placing her order" with the universe, "she can eat whatever she wants and still stay at her ideal weight". I am sorry, but this is utter nonsense. You can't just will your weight off. weight loss is achieved by eating a healthy and adequate diet and an exercise program- there are no "quick fixes" although everyone hopes there's one. Again, that's why this book seem attractive because it's easy.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I'm Sleeping Already,
This review is from: The Secret (Hardcover)I found "the secret" for those having problems falling asleep, read "The Secret" - it really works!
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The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (Hardcover - Nov. 28 2006)
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