Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Psst...there is no Secret, says Michael Bourret

I think, at this point, that everyone is familiar with The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. It’s a runaway bestseller, Oprah loves it and Boston Legal (the second-best show on television that nobody watches) even poked fun on a recent episode. Someone I know was even told to read The Secret for work. But you know what the real “secret” is? There is no secret. There is no magical way to make your life better. If there were, don’t you think someone would have discovered it by now? Oh, wait! Someone actually discovered “the secret” in the ‘50s, when it was The Power of Positive Thinking. The self-help industry is amazing. Despite the fact that they seemingly haven’t even cured one person – how else could they keep coming up with new ideas about changing your life? – they continue to be some of the biggest money makers around. One of my clients, Dr. Paul Pearsall, discusses these ideas in The Last Self-Help Book You’ll Ever Need. As Paul so aptly points out in the book, the industry first convinces us that there is, indeed, something horribly wrong in our lives, and then it offers up a nicely packaged solution that usually comes in several formats, including books, CDs, and now DVDs. You need all three to really make a difference. So is it all just a big scam?

Not necessarily. Plugging another book of ours, Joachim de Posada’s Don’t Eat the Marshmallow...Yet is a terrific book about how delaying gratification makes one a stronger person. And there are certainly good books on overcoming shyness (Goodbye to Shy by Leil Lowndes), sex (anything by Sue Johanson), nutrition (Joy Bauer’s Food Cures), networking (How to Work a Room by Susan RoAne), and the list goes on. These books, however, have a few things in common: they generally only tackle one specialized subject, the author is already an expert in said subject (or the information is based on a study), and the books don’t claim to fix your entire life. In fact, I’d say the authors are rather humble about what they can help you accomplish. They’ll tell you that it’s going to take hard work to make an improvement. They don’t suggest that merely thinking something will make it happen.

I think what we like about The Secret and other “big fix” books is the promise of a better life. The fact is that things aren’t great for most Americans. Our economy is weakening. The poverty rate is increasing. Many of our citizens are without healthcare. We’re stuck in a disastrous situation in Iraq. We can’t trust our elected officials. Corporate crime seems to be at an all-time high. Global warming turns out to be more a current reality than a future threat. We’re warned that another act of terrorism could be around the corner. No wonder we need fixing! But the help we need won’t come from The Secret. It’s not going to happen just ‘cause we wish it so; if it were that easy, wouldn’t it have already happened? It will come from pulling together and working hard for a common goal. It will come when we decide to make a change.

Okay, that was me on my soapbox. What do you writers think? Do you spend all day picturing your manuscript, or do you actually write your books?


  1. Anybody got a spare Prozac?

    Haste yee back ;-)

  2. Global warming and Iraq issues aside, most of us still live in relative splendor compared to the rest of the world. Many of the problems we have on a daily basis stem from luxuries unheard-of in developing nations.

    I think it's hard for people to admit that there's not a way to achieve that mythical sublime happiness. It's even harder to admit that once you realize that, you can work on enjoying what you have.

    Self-help books are great if they really help. But perhaps the key word is "self"? Maybe the person who really changes his or her life would have done so with any of a hundred books, and just happened to buy "The Secret" first.

  3. "The Secret" is recycled hogwash; "The Power of Positive Thinking" had a lot more substance to it and a lot less hype. Remember, when it came out, there were no such things as CDs and videos and massive "self-help" seminars with celebrity speakers. There was Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, his psychologist associate, and a strong belief in God's power to do anything in our lives, once we harness it. And that's where the great majority of "self-help" books and programs fail miserably--they fail to acknowledge that, in the end, it's not US who fix anything; it's us putting our hands, our lives, and our minds into God's care and tapping into God's power that way. Too often, Normal Vincent Peale is cited as the father of some of this other New Age claptrap...when in reality, nothing would be farther from his intent than the notion that "all you have to do is think something" to fix it. Dr. Peale advocated prayer, visualization, positive belief, AND hard work. And he didn't shy away from telling you point-blank that you needed all four, plus a generous amount of faith and prayer, to get any real changes made.

    That's why the old saying still holds true: "Accept no subsitutes." Dr. Peale's work is still the best, still rings true today, and, if his advice is taken seriously...WILL help "heal" many things for which people search in vain elsewhere to cure.

    As far as (mankind-caused) global warming and failing economies (when the Dow is over 13,000) go...those are just two more examples of claptrap. But again, as with "The Secret," it's amazing how much claptrap people will believe when it's presented with enough bells, horns, whistles, bad science, bad numbers, bad "facts" and/or money behind it. It's all the same inferior stew, and we owe ourselves better than to believe in much of it.

    My take,

  4. I don't want to sound like I'm just being nasty, but it appears that, well, the only self-help books you like are the ones you guys rep.

    Me, I don't like any, so I'm not defending the species. But I find it funny that you take a swing at the self-help industry and then cite a bunch of examples. All your clients?

  5. I really wanted to contrast the difference between "big think" and more specific titles. I mentioned a few in this entry (some represented by the agency, some not), but there are many others, of course.

  6. I posted on the same topic just the other day on my own blog. Great minds think alike, I guess.

    The thing about "The Secret" that really bothered me (regardless of whether one can really "manifest" things or not) was the meta-message that stuff and situations can make you happy. They can't. One look at Mel Gibson, Britney Spears and David Hasselhoff will tell us this.

    All of these people have acheived their "dreams of success" and yet they are walking disasters (or driving disasters in the case of Paris Hilton). These people are miserable in spite of all of the celebrity and money and professional accomplishments.

    The Secret isn't a secret. It's a delusion. There is nothing outside of us that can make us happy or give us peace. We find happiness when we let go of out attachments to stuff, when we let go of our loveless attitudes and when we connect to our inner selves, with others and with our spiritual source (however we choose to define that).

    And that's not a secret either. It's the same thing that has been shared by enlightened teachers for ages. Jesus taught it. Buddha taught it. The Sikh gurus taught it. The Bhagavad Gita taught it.


  7. Okay... a Vodka and a spare Prozac?

    Haste yee back ;-)

  8. Occasionally I will lift my nose up off the grindstone, gaze heavenward and indulge in a little
    Newbery-Award-Acceptance-Speech fantasy.

    But then it's back to work for me;)
    `Cuz how else am I going to win it?!

  9. Do you spend all day picturing your manuscript, or do you actually write your books?

    I play Minesweeper. Is that not how everyone does it?

  10. I once attended a writing workshop in which we were invited to share our idea of "the perfect writing day." One participant described in gushing detail the entire 24 hours, from waking up to summer breezes to picnicking with friends in a meadow to the sublime dinner with a specific wine and menu and profound late-night conversation over sherry. All this was to "prepare her mind" for the writing that was to come. Nowhere in her ideal day did she know...WRITE. I also found it interesting that the house and meadow in which all this was to occur was also a fantasy, not resembling anything in her real life. And yet she claimed to be a "serious" writer. Why am I not shocked she's not yet published?

    Visualization is great, I do it all the time (although I call it daydreaming). It opens up possibilities. But at the end of the day, it's the tangible pages that count.

  11. Huh. I thought chocolate was the secret...

    Really, there's no way around hard work and really only one secret (that's really not a secret at all): butt + chair = writing. :)

  12. I believe how a writer uses his or her time is one of the keys that opens to the door to success when it comes to composing a great novel be it via a picture in his head, a voice in his ear or through inspiration. And be warned: Time is the one thing you can never get back once it is gone.
    I read "The Power of Positive Thinking," and most of Dr. Peale's books by age 13 and all did help my self-esteem, greatly. Dr. NVP did help me help me along my way. However, as Time rolled by me like the hands on a clock ticking down, I came to discover that if whatever I was asking for or believing God for wasn't part of His will or plan for my life no matter what I did, how hard I prayed, NO MATTER WHAT, in the real world--reality--there was no such thing as name it and claim it or think it so or believe it and it's yours...
    Make sense?!
    It does help a body to be +++ and believe and do all that he/she can to make their lives count for something be it through writing or being kind to a stranger--to meet a need, to help another along his way...but still, in my opinion, regardless if I live or die tomorrow, I just want to be happy while I'm here--to make good use of my Time while I'm here as a writer. And Time is the most difficult thing to master and make a good use of.
    Literary agent, Roger Jellinek, Dr. Paul Pearsall's editor for a "Miracle in Maui," sent that book to me for a gift a while back so I suspect I better give it a closer look ~
    But again, in my opinion, when it comes to real life no author--self-help or otherwise--holds the secret key that unlocks the power in making another's life count for something.
    We writers are on our own save for our faith and those that love us--until we land an agent then a great editor to lead, guide then direct us what to do with those pictures in our heads, those words whispered in our ear, and the understanding and how to make the best use of our talents through inspiration and imagination. Both of which, can be viewed as one and the same.

  13. I've tried envisioning my novel and wishing it were done already (skipping through all the painful fixing) but by bedtime, I still don't have a novel. Rats.

    When I sigh and put my butt in the chair and write anyway, I hit my minimum word count for the day and thereby bring about my fervent wish that I will have a finished novel before deadline. Unfortunately, that's with the painful editing out of the bad bits. Well, rats again. But at least there's a check or two afterward.

  14. You mean that lying around all day, dreaming up stacks of typed pages won't help accomplish my goal of becoming a published author? Curses! :)

  15. Bob Proctor, one of the people featured in the film, has an interesting take on this in a recent interview - including some of the stuff they left out of the film. Worth reading.


  16. After food, shelter, clothing, and general safety, happiness is basically what you make of it.

    Have what you want and want what you have and turn off the TV. All it does is feed our anxieties about what others have or that victimization is around every corner.

    I'm going for a walk with my dog. She's a far more enlightened creature than many people I know.

    A tennis ball. That makes her happy.

  17. Do I actually write? Oh, yes. Yes, indeed. Even when I'm thinking, I'm writing.

    It's not writing that is the trick.

  18. I envision my next chapter or plot point, that it's interesting, entertaining, and not full holes, poor grammar, character inconsistencies, and missing any other traps I might fall into. That's enough for me. Envisioning the whole damn thing at once is more than I can deal with generally. There's probably some 'baby steps' book out there for this :p

  19. I always imagine a foxy lady (sometimes a man) reading my book in the subway before writing. It helps. Really.

  20. I'm going to go in my room––right now––lay down, and concentrate. I'm going to imagine, one, that I own The Secret, and, two, that I've read it. I fully expect to know it inside and out by the end of the day.

    While I'm at it I'm going to stash a ream of paper under the bed and wish that there were words on the paper.

    Wish me luck.

  21. I love boston Legal. It's my favorite show.

    I'm big into self help too. If I want to have a published novel, I sit and writer, edit, rewrite, vett, make lists of agents and send. If I'm upset at the shape my house is in I research how tos on HGTV, DIY and the web and I make it better. If I'm frustrated because I seem to be getting nowhere in my long term plants/goals, I play a video game. Sometimes just winning those points/finding the princess/beating the boss can make me feel like I reall have achieved something. It eases the frustration.

    That said, sometimes it take a little time for idea and plots to come together in my head. I felt guilty because I didn't write for three days, unwilling to go to the next chapter until I got this one decent. And then it just hit me as I looked at it what it needed. So work is good, and sometimes so is a break.

  22. The Secret of The Secret is that kick-butt, slick marketing package. They're cashing in, and laughing all the way to the bank, on the popular fascination with the idea of arcane knowledge or gnostic secrets, whether or not such secrets actually exist.

    I see the packaging and think DaVinci Code, Gospel of Judas, The Red Tent, Rule of Four, National Treasure, Girl with a Pearl Earring, etc. They snag the buyer with a visual that suggests, "Here's the real story behind history." (And, in the case of this "non-fiction" book, the real key to your destiny.)

    "Lift up your eyes -- the fields are white for the harvest." Re-envisioned history -- or even the dusty whiff of it -- sells like hotcakes. The content of The Secret is vapid, but the cover and the cover copy sell the book.

    Just think how the market would respond to a book with real substance and that kind of presentation.

  23. I think the secret behind the secret is to just do it! But in the world of stress, little time to think or plan and all those annoying little life things that get in our way I think sometimes we get lazy and forget to just sit down and do it. The book (The Secret) just reminds us we need to think positive to move foward.
    Of course getting up two hours early to pump out a few pages on the old manuscript before heading to the day job doesn't hurt either...

  24. My cousin claimed The Secret changed his life. For me, I guess if there is a secret, I already knew it. I work really hard and don't let the little things get me down. More than anything though, when I want something, I make it happen. If that's The Secret, I don't think it's that much of a secret. Maybe I should start charging $30 to tell people that...

  25. Self-help books are awesome. A global approach to understanding yourself though, has strong religious overtones. The philosophy of special interest works well in this case. Specialists do breed confidence. At least somebody knows what they are doing.

    I write every day, and make short projects out of everything I do. I learned to do this as a young aspiring scientist before getting my PhD in Chemistry at Columbia U. This has always kept me from being a generalist. As a generalist, it is easy to be overconfident. Doing short projects frequently reminds me that humility cuts overconfidence and... arrogance. How how can one feel arrogant or overconfident about a series of small projects?

    For many writers, targeting and achieving output as a daily word count works. While revising, I sometimes create notes right in the manuscript. Or, I add them at the end of my writing-editing day. Effectively, this kills Writer's Block, since I always have new details to work on.

    Revising is one of the most important things I do. Motivation is the key to revising manuscripts. Only a real zealot for the English language would revise a chapter more than ten times. I often do this. After many years of writing, it's easy.

    I must credit variations on self help advice for training me to be more involved with my writings. A long time ago I learned the maxim... love your characters.
    In recent years, I've learned to create scenes more vividly.

    To accomplish this, I apply a few nuances of screenplay writing. The basic principle is very simple to understand. It involves potential backers. If someone is going to plunk down millions to create a film from your screenplay, you better know a great deal about it. As the writer, always know when, where, and why something is happening. If this works to sell screenplays, and make great movies, it should work in a lesser way to create interesting marketable books. So I revise a lot to enrich chapters.

    Maybe it's the scientist in me that likes this kind of thoroughness so much. Whether you like it or not though, the method works. Relatedly, some of us may not actually like being tied to a daily word count, but that works too. We don't have to love self-help to get benefits from it.

    A few months ago I started reading Lit-agent blogs. They teach us to be mindful of many worthwhile things. I think there is a great element of self help advice in them. Viva Lit-bloggers!

  26. The last book to hit like this was the Prayer of Jabez. Then there were all the derivatives.
    People learned it didn't work for them, the buzz stopped, readers moved on.
    It's a sad commentary on our society that a book that promulgates selfishness is such a big seller.

  27. What do you writers think? Do you spend all day picturing your manuscript, or do you actually write your books?

    What I picture is a masseuse, someone doing my nails, a personal trainer and a staff who will anticipate my every need.

    It's funny. I think when every writer decides to start a novel or a non fiction book, they have certain things they envision. Invariably, they all involve making their living off their writing, a limo, people who ask them deep questions, and lunches at trendy eateries. They see themselves as Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand walking on the beach, in their house, with fabulous friends.

    And they think it'll take them six months to nail out a book.

    But here is the secret. There is stuff they cannot envision. Such as having the first things you write edited, learning how to put together coherent, original sentences, taking something in front of a writers group and having it critiqued. Trying, failing and trying again. Making enormous mistakes that cause you and others to laugh, and then having times where you feel like chucking it all.

    And what we envision changes because our experiences make it so. We hope for a decent sentence, then enough to make a paragraph, and finally a page, a chapter and so on.

    The Secret is that while you may want something very bad, you have to work for it, and it takes time.

    Now back to my masseuse envisioning time. Would you please move? You're blocking my view.

  28. I have to say, that after sitting in numerous writing classes with screenwriters that the Syd Fields's rules of screenwriting do not apply to the art of writing a novel.

    It's a different gig. Tonight I listened to a recovering screenwriter tell us that she was applying the same principles of SW to her novel. That is, everything about the book would be laid out in the first 3 pages.

    She also wanted to know what we thought of this or that. Where shall I start the book?

    She has asked this time and again, and finally I said, "You know, you don't write a book by consensus, the way you do a screenplay. Decide what you want, try it, fail, come back and try it again."

    So no, William. You will have to learn new skills. Abandon what you think you know. If you don't, you'll have a mess.

  29. I've always wondered how the self-help books would play to an audience in a developing nation. It seems that "The Secret", et al, can only seem to make since in an essentially rich nation.

  30. Ms. Jones, I agree.

    Finding and freeing your inner child is tough in Mogadishu!

    Haste yee back :-0

  31. Ms. Jones, I agree.

    Finding and freeing your inner child is tough in Mogadishu!

    Haste yee back :-0

  32. Actually, I think you are way off base about what the mainstream public needs and craves regarding books like The Secret. And this may be one reason why books aren't selling. Clearly, Oprah and her producers know something a great deal of agents and editors don't because they are making the public happy, and making a lot of money as well.

    While I happen to agree with everything you wrote on a subjective level, Mr. Bourret, I don't agree that you are objective, and I think you're missing the all important point of giving the public what they want. People are actually craving something that makes them feel good these days, whether it be fiction or non-fiction. And they aren't getting much.

  33. I can often be heard saying that The Artist's Way changed my life, but truth be told, I changed my life. It just told me how.

    And as for your last question...well...It's 1:37pm, I'm still in my pajamas, I've updated my website, read a bunch of blogs and comic strips online, answered email, and read a few chapters of the first Harry Potter book but I still haven't written yet! On the other hand, I'm doing a first draft and so I'm only good for about 1-2 hours and five pages anyway. I try to enjoy the rest of my life during first drafts because I get lost in revisions and work for hours. So in answer to your question...yeah, I write the book...eventually.

  34. no longer married to my cynicism15/5/07 5:00 PM

    I don't have much of a problem with the self-discipline of just sitting down and writing. That said, what problems I've had over the years came from the fact that the same dysfunctional/colorful background that put me on the outside-looking-in from an early age and led to a career in writing were accompanied by an expectation of more abuse and rejection.

    I'm not generally a fan of self-help books or books about writing, either, because both are associated with much abuse in the reading-about-vs.-doing vein. But, I do believe that a select few bks. in each category can definately make us all better people and much better writers.

    I'm glad I read The Secret before all the hype built up, with its attendant cynicism.

    The Secret made a point of not claiming to be new, definately not claiming to be easy, and really not claiming that "stuff" would make one happy. The objections along these lines that I read here are puzzling.

    If you already live your life expecting and attracting good things to you, hooray. But why bother begrudging the rest of us something that has obviously hit a chord?

    There is an epidemic of diabetes in this nation also. If a best seller appeared that simplified the message that so many of us already know, but obese diabetics don't seem to, and began lessening the numbers of diabetics that overburden our health-care system, would you call this info. a rip-off, too?

  35. You said that things aren’t great for most Americans! I think your perspective suffers from limited experience. There certainly are ills in our society but they are cyclical and they have always been here. I have to respond to each of the points.

    Our economy is weakening and the poverty rate is increasing? At any point, there will be individuals who have less economic power and others who have more. But the major indices are at or near all time highs. Poverty is always increasing or decreasing, sometimes only reflecting changes in measurement technique or attitude of whoever has decided that things are bad or good. The reality is that times are great now, whether or not they have been recently better.

    Many of our citizens are without healthcare? It’s true that many Americans don’t have health insurance. Health insurance is definitely expensive because it reflects the cost of health care service. Health care service is expensive because of the wonderful range care and treatments available. The cost is why some people make personal decisions to not buy insurance, reasoning that they are healthy so it is unlikely that they will require treatment. And if they do, they will depend on the ER at their county hospital.

    It would be more accurate to say that access to healthcare is uneven. Small towns usually don’t have hospitals with the same capabilities as large hospitals in large cities, and most small towns don’t have a cadre of doctors with extensive specialties like large cities. However, there isn’t an ER in the land that won’t provide a useful level of emergency treatment. In fact, Dallas has a county hospital (Parkland) that is a world-class institution.

    We can’t trust our elected officials? We’d better not! But this isn’t a recent development. Self-help books can be useful in some areas, but we need to study the history books to help us select leaders.

    Corporate crime seems to be at an all-time high? Perhaps. It is also possible that publicity has made us more aware of some of the cases. At any rate, corporate crime is not new.

    Global warming? Terrorism? We used to worry about the bomb (and perhaps should still worry). Nuclear attack would be the absolute worst case for either environmental disaster or terror.

    Since I was born in a shack in a cotton patch many years ago, I’ve been extremely blessed. But I’m not talking about being blessed with material advantages. My blessings come from the freedoms our nation affords. I’ve been able to work for myself and for my family. I’ve been able to read and speak and think freely. And I have been able to worship freely, according to the dictates of my own conscience.

    Okay, that was me on MY soapbox. But I’m still not sure what any of this had to do with your question. I think a lot about how my writing will turn out, and I write fairly often. I also work on a lot of other projects. I’m just glad I don’t have to punch a time clock.

    Best regards,

  36. "The Secret" makes Oprah believe that somehow she achieved her status and success because she was able to think herself into greatness. Which means the rest of us 'normal' people with boring, dead-end jobs and living paycheck-to-paycheck just must not be thinking positively enough!

    It reminds me very much of Scientology.

    Good things do not always happen to good people. Just as bad things don't always happen to bad people. Your perception of the world colors a lot of how you perceive your life. For example, an optimist (like myself) will always be able to see the good coming around the corner. I will always know, even on the worst of days, that things WILL get better. That is life.

    But you can't WILL yourself into a better life. What you CAN do is be able to see your life as a whole is the sum of good parts and bad, and without the bad, you would never appreciate the good.

    I hate self-help stuff.

  37. Do you spend all day picturing your manuscript, or do you actually write your books?


  38. I'm so glad to finally find someone who doesn't think "The Secret" is the true path to success and happiness. If it were true, I'd have won the lottery long ago, I'd have several published novels on the shelves, gas prices would go back to twenty-five cents a gallon, and my husband would take the trash out without being told.

    There's no way around it. Life is hard. It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor; the problems are still there, just different. And writing is hard. Whether the words flow in the first draft and the rewrite is murder or the first draft is like pulling teeth but the rewrite is a breeze, it's still work. You still have to plant your butt in the chair, turn off Pogo, and write.

  39. Thank you very much for speaking what's been on my mind for a long time. Too often, people look for a quick solution in a book, a DVD, etc.

    For too long, I bought every "how-to" and inspirational writing book on the market. Then, one day it occurred to me that I spent more time reading about writing than actually writing.

  40. Most self-help books are probably not very good. But then, most TV shows, movies, novels etc. aren't very good, either. Remember (Theodore) Sturgeon's Law: "90% of everything is crap."

    Personally, I recommend the following self-help books:

    How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, by Dale Carnegie (yes, Dale Carnegie!)

    You Can Be Happy No Matter What, by Richard Carlson

    The Power of Now and A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle

    Love Without Conditions, by Paul Ferrini

    For fiction writers, I also recommend Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass

    All of these books have been genuinely valuable to me.

    I haven't read The Secret, but if there is a secret to contentment, it's found in the Bhagavad Gita: Commit to the process, detach from the outcome.

  41. To be honest, I think "The Secret" is a dangerous book and highlights many of the issues this country is currently facing. From a social work perspective, it really highlights the "American Idol" expectations this nation seems to be obsessed over. One woman who had breast cancer decided to stop taking her medicine because she figured she could just "think" herself healthy. At least Oprah took back some of the things she claimed about the book.

    The real problem with that piece of crap work, or the book, is that it blames the victim - just another dressed up version of social Darwinism. Like by saying, people are poor because they deserve to be, ppl have shitty lives and it's their own fault. Any educated person knows that there's more to it than that, that there are social, economic, political, etc, other factors to play into what happens to your life.

    Albeit, there are very positive messages in the book, and people could use less negativity in there lives. However, taken to the nth degree… no one ever got rich, got a mercedes, got their dream job, by sitting around and thinking about it.

  42. Reisa Stone26/7/07 4:28 AM

    I visualize my fantasies on the blank screen. Then I type them. It sounds boring, but it works.

    I haven't been able to stomach anyone I've met who tries to tell me about The Secret. There's a smugness to them, coupled with thinly veiled judgmentalism.

    I like to interrupt them with, "I have a secret, too." I can usually think of something that makes them go away.

    This gives me more time to write.

    I liked Dr. Peale, Dale Carnegie & Napolean Hill. They worked extremely hard, were sincere about their faith/ideologies, & demonstrated direct, practical action. The Secret people make me nauseous. As I said to one New Age preacher, "You're not psychic. You're just codependent."

    Thank you for the opportunity to get this off my chest :-D

    Reisa Stone

  43. I visualize my fantasies on the blank screen. Then I type them. It sounds boring, but it works.

    I haven't been able to stomach anyone I've met who tries to tell me about The Secret. There's a smugness to them, coupled with thinly veiled judgmentalism.

    I like to interrupt them with, "I have a secret, too." I can usually think of something that makes them go away.

    This gives me more time to write.

    I liked Dr. Peale, Dale Carnegie & Napolean Hill. They worked extremely hard, were sincere about their faith/ideologies, & demonstrated direct, practical action. The Secret people make me nauseous. As I said to one New Age preacher, "You're not psychic. You're just codependent."

    Thank you for the opportunity to get this off my chest :-D

    Reisa Stone

  44. Reisa Stone26/7/07 4:37 AM

    What is the secret of blogger not posting my comment twice?

  45. The secret is that the Secret isn't about how to get more stuff; it's about how to justify what you already have. If getting the things you need to survive is that easy, then you don't have to feel bad for people who can't get what they need to survive.

    Like most ideologies and theologies, the Secret is more about justifying the status quo than it is about changing things.