The Secret Book/Movie/DVD Scam: Blindly Seeking Material Wealth = Tragic Failure

A lot of wealth consultants and self help snake oil hucksters, the type who publish books and movies like Rhonda Byrne's The Secret, would like you to believe that if you believe something it will come true. This review sums up The Secret book/DVD nicely:

Byrne's book is problematic on many levels. On it's face, it's a manipulative marketing tool meant to flatter, confuse and deceive. It's also pseudoscience at its best, the last thing we need to encourage in an increasingly technological world which requires healthy skepticism and critical thought. Most damaging, though, is how the book perverts reality by encouraging people to equate a positive outlook on life with a childish, idiotic narcissism.

Negative thoughts can be a roadblock to growth. And positive thoughts do bring positive influences into your life, but material wealth is hollow, and it never makes you happy if you judge yourself based on it. Unless you print and control the money supply, someone else is richer than you are, and they will systematically eat your wealth via inflation.

In the last 20 years people in the UK became twice as rich but are no happier. Why?

Many of the pyramid scheme marketers will teach that you simply need to visualize yourself owning something and you will get whatever you wish for. They do so because if you have enough intellectual sloth and/or greed to believe that, they know they can keep selling you more worthless crap at higher price points. I only find it fitting that the people who created The Secret, selling the garbage story of limitless wealth, are stuck in legal turmoil. Hey, they must have wanted to waste 5% or 10% or 20% of their earnings on legal fees. They simply closed their eyes, thought of spending lots of money on lawyers, and the lawsuits magically manifested. :) :) :)

The Secret is drivel, The Secret is slimy, and The Secret is a scam. If The Secret teaches you anything, it should be that if you work with greedy people willing to lie to make a dollar, they will eventually show you that they are sleazy and morally deplorable on other fronts as well. Just give them time to manifest that experience for you.

Almost everyone I have known who has become successful online has worked 12+ hour days, learned for years, took big risks, and had a few lucky breaks. By networking, learning your market, investing, and being around for a while, you put yourself in position to have a big lucky break...that lucky opportunity doesn't manifest itself when you close your eyes and think of sports cars. It is hard to daydream your way to happiness and success.

Planet Earth - like the Cosmos - is beautiful, rich, deep, and diverse. But our little planet is not an infinite resource and is not infinite garbage can.

Published: August 26, 2008 by Aaron Wall in book reviews


August 26, 2008 - 10:18am

I just wanted to say thanks for pointing out the cynical fallacies that underpin "The Secret". I've see otherwise quite rational people fall for this nonsense. It promises 'transformation' but it is in fact anything but transformative.
It was a treat to see Noam so on form and a great start to my working morning! The voice of rationality and reason talking about true transformation. What a breath of fresh air!

poster boy
August 26, 2008 - 10:32am

I agree the book/dvd has been modified to appeal to people who want monetary wealth but the underlying message does work from a spiritual and physical point of view. Thinking positive thoughts and being happy makes your mind and body feel good, and cells do react to this and work better - it has been proven!

August 26, 2008 - 11:02am

But there is nothing spiritual about closing ones eyes and thinking of a sports car. The Secret puts materialism above all else.

August 26, 2008 - 2:14pm

Hate "The Secret"

Love Carl Sagan!

August 26, 2008 - 2:33pm

I agree that it definitely takes work to succeed. Visualization by itself does nothing :)

On another note, Is the guy in the video promoting some form of socialism? He seems to be implying that the pitfalls of capitalism will be the source of our destruction. The problem is the pitfalls of capitalism are present in any system. You chase a socialistic ideal and end up with totalitarian rule. Cuba, China, and the former Soviet Union are some examples. So basically you have a lower standard of living than capitalist societies paired with a government that imposes itself on every part of your life. That is not a system I want to live under. Maybe he wasn't promoting socialism at all. I don't know :)

August 26, 2008 - 3:34pm

I don't think Noam Chomsky is socialistic in his philosophy. I think he is more of an anarchist who believes in more of a form of government based on libertarian socialism.

As much as I hate linking to Wikipedia, here is there article on libertarian socialism:

Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that aim to create a society without political, economic, or social hierarchies – a society in which all violent or coercive institutions would be dissolved, and in their place every person would have free, equal access to tools of information and production, or a society in which such coercive institutions and hierarchies were drastically reduced in scope

We don't live in a true capitalistic society...there are already elements of socialism for the rich baked into it.

  • MBNA re-wrote the consumer bankruptcy bill such that if I ever go bankrupt I am screwed and still stuck paying most of my debts.
  • Banks enganged in about 10 different flavors of mortgage fraud (liar loans, no money down home loans, appraisal fraud, shopping mortgage packages to the rating firm that would give them the best rating, etc etc etc) and they did so with significant leverage. When that stuff backfired the US debased the value of our currency to bail out the banks.
August 27, 2008 - 3:17pm

Other examples of socialism in America would be the Post Office and public school systems.

August 26, 2008 - 2:50pm

The only thing worse than The Secret is its cousin.... "What the bleep do we know"

Sadly several of my family have fallen for this nonsense. Reasoning with the sort of people that fall for this is laborious and requires a lot of patience.

August 26, 2008 - 3:18pm

I actually thought "What the bleep do we know" wasn't quite as bad as The Secret. Same sort of metaphysics stuff...but not approached through the lense of raw greed and narcisism that was core to The Secret.

August 27, 2008 - 3:16pm

Yeah, but "What the bleep do we know" attempted to pass certain philosophical/spirtual assertions off as scientifically-based. That's simply not acceptable in my book.

August 27, 2008 - 5:15pm

True. But at the same time it was not as egregious as a whole, because it was not part of an infinitely large package of products used to upsell upsell upsell

August 26, 2008 - 4:29pm

Really though what the secret boils down to is the same thing that can help you - and your business. It's a belief. You must believe in yourself and have confidence in yourself - and your business.

The funny thing about the secret, is that it's no secret at all. Everyone knows it - but nobody follows it. It's much easier to troll around day to day waiting for somebody to hand us a silver bullet.

The bottomline is that if you don't work for something - you won't respect it. This is why most lottery winners blow through their money rather quickly. They have no respect for it.

August 26, 2008 - 4:30pm

The Secret is an introduction to the law of attraction. It is very basic in its content and only talks of one of the ingredients, which is a Burning Desire.

Look at it this way. If I were to make a movie about SEO, there's no way I could fit everything in there. The Secret is simply an intro.

The movie itself is based on books like "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill, who spent over 20 years studying people like:

and more.

The Secret talks about first of the ingredients, while Think and Grow Rich and "The Answer" outline more in detail:
(chapters from the book)

So Burning Desire is the first step the movie talks about. With desire comes vivid visualization of the experience, out of which come the ideas for certain actions towards the attainment of the goal. If one fails to follow ACTION and ACT on ideas, and do WHATEVER it Takes, after temporary defeat, to achieve the DESIRE, nothing will happen.

There's also a degree of reconditioning involved, which "The Answer" by John Assaraf talks brilliantly. By doing the same action and having the same thought patterns over years, we've conditioned ourselves to accept that "this is who I am" and "this is realistic" and "this can be done and this can't be done". Thoughts like that, especially LIMITING thoughts are a huge barrier to the attainment of the desire, so one has to go though self-reconditioning to break away entrenched thought patterns and limiting beliefs.

Let me give you an example. Have you ever looked at something, lets say a car(can be anything, maybe that TOP ranking), wanted it, but could not fit in your head how you can get it, or whether you can get it in the first place? This is a limiting belief, and it the BIGGEST barrier. (some people will even start defending it, outlining all outside barriers)

So The Secret is just a brief intro, designed to spark interest.

I have not ahichieved my definite desire yet, but I can tell you that "Visuzization, of having it in the moment, right not AT THIS SECOND", coupled with "Burning Desire to Have It", "Persistense and DAILY Action", "Intent to do whatever it takes" and "Unacceptapce of temporary defeat", landed me EVEN a BETTER goal than I intenteded, where I was sweeped to the heights in a matter of days. (new high position in a new company, doing the work i love, super trips, highly successful people and positive people). All came after several defeats, hard work, effort, DESIRE and BELIEF. All came rushing like a tsunami.

Since then I spent next several month studing that strange law of the universe.

If you observe yourself you will notice that you first see the project(lets say a site, or a BIG idea) in your mind, before it becomes physical. You visualize the details, the tweaks and how you want to approach it. The next comes ACTION.

The Secret talks only about the the Vizualization and feeling, not so much action and self-reconditioning. So if you are a hard worker, but do not have what you REALLY want, try neural reconditioning, self-seuggestion in order to bring yourself into acceptance that you CAN and DESERVE to have what you want, be it a ranking, a car or a woman. Once accepted in though the next step is do WHATEVER IT TAKES to achieve the goal.

I highly recomend the Book by Napoleon HIll "Think and Grow Rich", where "The Secret" took the basics

Here's a snippet:

WHEN Edwin C. Barnes climbed down from the freight train in Orange, N. J., more than thirty years ago, he may have resembled a tramp, but his thoughts were those of a king!

As he made his way from the railroad tracks to Thomas A. Edison's office, his mind was at work. He saw himself standing in Edison's presence. He heard himself asking Mr. Edison for an opportunity to carry out the one CONSUMING OBSESSION OF HIS LIFE, a BURNING DESIRE to become the business associate of the great inventor.

Barnes' desire was not a hope! It was not a wish! It was a keen, pulsating DESIRE, which transcended everything else. It was DEFINITE.

The desire was not new when he approached Edison. It had been Barnes' dominating desire for a long time. In the beginning, when the desire first appeared in his mind, it may have been, probably was, only a wish, but it was no mere wish when he appeared before Edison with it.

A few years later, Edwin C. Barnes again stood before Edison, in the same office where he first met the inventor. This time his DESIRE had been translated into reality. He was in business with Edison. The dominating DREAM OF HIS LIFE had become a reality. Today, people who know

p. 39

[paragraph continues] Barnes envy him, because of the "break" life yielded him. They see him in the days of his triumph, without taking the trouble to investigate the cause of his success.

Barnes succeeded because he chose a definite goal, placed all his energy, all his will power, all his effort, everything back of that goal. He did not become the partner of Edison the day he arrived. He was content to start in the most menial work, as long as it provided an opportunity to take even one step toward his cherished goal.

Five years passed before the chance he had been seeking made its appearance. During all those years not one ray of hope, not one promise of attainment of his DESIRE had been held out to him. To everyone, except himself, he appeared only another cog in the Edison business wheel, but in his own mind, HE WAS THE PARTNER OF EDISON EVERY MINUTE OF THE TIME, from the very day that he first went to work there.

It is a remarkable illustration of the power of a DEFINITE DESIRE. Barnes won his goal, because he wanted to be a business associate of Mr. Edison, more than he wanted anything else. He created a plan by which to attain that purpose. But he BURNED ALL BRIDGES BEHIND HIM. He stood by his DESIRE until it became the dominating obsession of his life--and--finally, a fact.

When he went to Orange, he did not say to himself, "I will try to induce Edison to give me a job of some sort." He said, "I will see Edison, and put him on notice that I have come to go into business with him."

p. 40

He did not say, "I will work there for a few months, and if I get no encouragement, I will quit and get a job somewhere else." He did say, "I will start anywhere. I will do anything Edison tells me to do, but before I am through, I will be his associate."

He did not say, "I will keep my eyes open for another opportunity, in case I fail to get what I want in the Edison organization." He said, "There is but ONE thing in this world that I am determined to have, and that is a business association with Thomas A. Edison. I will burn all bridges behind me, and stake my ENTIRE FUTURE on my ability to get what I want."

He left himself no possible way of retreat. He had to win or perish!

That is all there is to the Barnes story of success!

A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy's country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave the order to burn the ships that had carried them. Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, "You see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice--we win--or we perish! They won.

Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by so doing can one be sure of main-

p. 41

taming that state of mind known as a BURNING DESIRE TO WIN, essential to success.

The morning after the great Chicago fire, a group of merchants stood on State Street, looking at the smoking remains of what had been their stores. They went into a conference to decide if they would try to rebuild, or leave Chicago and start over in a more promising section of the country. They reached a decision--all except one--to leave Chicago.

The merchant who decided to stay and rebuild pointed a finger at the remains of his store, and said, "Gentlemen, on that very spot I will build the world's greatest store, no matter how many times it may burn down."

That was more than fifty years ago. The store was built. It stands there today, a towering monument to the power of that state of mind known as a BURNING DESIRE. The easy thing for Marshal Field to have done, would have been exactly what his fellow merchants did. When the going was hard, and the future looked dismal, they pulled up and went where the going seemed easier.

Mark well this difference between Marshal Field and the other merchants, because it is the same difference which distinguishes Edwin C. Barnes from thousands of other young men who have worked in the Edison organization. It is the same difference which distinguishes practically all who succeed from those who fail.

Every human being who reaches the age of understanding of the purpose of money, wishes for it. Wishing will not bring riches. But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then

p. 42

planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches.

August 26, 2008 - 4:37pm
August 26, 2008 - 4:41pm

Yes Ivan we understand, "The Secret" is the gateway drug to more products and upsells.

August 26, 2008 - 5:53pm

Aaron, thanks for this post. I used to work with a website like this but had to quit due to ethical reasons. Let me tell you there's a LOT of money in this market - these people want to believe this so bad they're willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money for whatever "manifestation exercises" or whatever other 'universe' BS you can come up with. But it is, literally, preying on the sick and the poor of society. At one point we had some costumer support issues, so I had to handle the emails...this was a big eye opener. There were letters from people who couldn't pay they're bills who would fork over their last dollars in a desperate attempt to buy a miracle...people with terminal illnesses, people who have been abused etc. Basically people who are so manifestly fucked they're willing to pay anything just to have someone tell them that everything will magically fix itself. There came a point where I just wanted to reply "wtf is wrong with you? Stop giving us your money and feed your fucking kids instead" - which was also the point where I knew I couldn't keep on doing it.

Hidden beneath all of the marketing is, as you pointed out, a positive and honest message - and the author's cling to this as a way of justifying taking large sums of money for poorly repackaged ideas. The core message is genuine, but the way it's been perverted to maximize profits is unethical IMO.

August 26, 2008 - 7:32pm

The core message is genuine, but the way it's been perverted to maximize profits is unethical IMO.

That is one of the biggest problems I have with the term optimization...there is a thin line between optimization and fraud and it is really easy to cross it.

And most people who cross it justify their actions and go a bit further...and go a bit further...and etc. There really is no limit for some people.

August 26, 2008 - 6:51pm

We don't live in a true capitalistic society...there are already elements of socialism for the rich baked into it.

Very true. Elements of socialism for everybody I think. I wonder how booming our economy would really be if it didn't have the 800 lbs. gorilla on its back - the government. I mean economically of course. I think government is necessary for certain roles.

You know I am considered in the lower middle class - My family makes about $40,000 a year and I am almost considered poor. In fact, for many years I was in the poor bracket, yet I have always had a standard of living that has been extremely comfortable. It makes me sad to see what it is like for people in totalitarian states. Makes me see how lucky I am to live in even a semi-capitalist country.

August 26, 2008 - 7:30pm

Most of the US's wealth is not from our government...with the bogus wars they created they just plundered out currency and rung up a huge debt. Lying throughout the whole process. If the current president held himself to the standards he held foreign leaders to would he still be alive?

The reason the standard of living in the US is so high is largely due to foreign investment. This data is from 2004...and the numbers have only grown uglier since then:

The United States is currently borrowing $665 billion annually from foreign lenders to finance the gap between payments to and receipts from the rest of the world, an amount equivalent to $5,500 per American household. This borrowing entails serious costs for the U.S. economy. However, these costs have been hidden for the past few years, predominantly by the historically low interest rates, which resulted from the Federal Reserve’s attempts to spur economic recovery after the 2001 recession and from a downturn in domestic investment. This happy scenario will not persist indefinitely, and when interest rates rise, the costs of U.S. borrowing will have serious economic consequences:

  • With no improvement in the current account deficit, the external debt of the United States will rise from 24% of total U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of 2003 to 64% by 2014.
  • The cost of servicing just the additional debt incurred from 2004 to 2014 will rise to 1.7% of GDP by 2014, the equivalent of $250 billion in 2004 dollars.

Housing prices generally went up (for the most part) for over 50 years. And then they stopped.

Foreigners are currently happy holding our debt. And one day they won't be...and then the rug will be pulled out from underneath us.

August 26, 2008 - 9:04pm


The "Secret" is derived from a long American tradition. Today people call it the "New Age" movement, but it's roots can be found in Mormonism, Christian Science, Transcendentalism, Napoleon Hill, and so forth.

What can I say?

America is facing a collision between individualism and reality. Politically, "The Secret", Amway and other sellers of the "Think And Grow Rich" dream deceive people as to the class structure of society. Here are a few facts:

Minority groups oppress majority groups, not the other way around. Let's say there were two kinds of people, pink and teal, and 90% of the pink people took everything that that the 10% of teal people had. That improves the living standard of the pink people by about 10%, while devastating the teal (probably encouraging them to rebel.) On the other hand, if 10% of teal people could steal 10% of what the pink people had, they could roughly double their standard of living.

This isn't to deny racism, but the real axis of oppression is across lines of class.

Certainly some people can become more wealthy, but it's always going to be a small fraction of the population. There's maybe one Sam Walton for every million dreamers.

When I was growing up, I knew a family who came from the "low country" area somewhere between the Netherlands, Belgium and France. They were fortunate enough to inherit some wealth, so they didn't really have to "work" in the normal sense. They felt that they had to "prove" themselves by earning money, but there wasn't any honest way they could make as much money as they started out with.

They frittered away their time and money with Amway, trying desperately to legitimize their position in the class system. When they weren't doing Amway, they were psyching themselves up with the 1980's equivalents of "The Secret." They just couldn't sit back, enjoy what they had, and maybe think about what they could do to give back to other people.

August 26, 2008 - 11:21pm

CureDream, what do you have to say about the 8 out of every 9 millionaires that is first generation rich? I am talking about in the US. All you need is freedom and a system that rewards those that help other people. I think you will find that those brats that inherit all their money and don't "work" are few and far between. And like you said, they usually squander their money anyways.

Ya, Aaron, the government budget is a scary thing. It is too bad they didn't run it like a real successful business would have. Businesses that run things like the government does go out of business quick. You have to think that the whole system is going to collapse soon if they don't take drastic measures to get things turned around. All these government programs like Social Security are like a big pyramid scheme and its about to collapse. Ross Perot has a really good site with pretty easy to understand charts at

August 27, 2008 - 7:16am

I think their point is that you need to set yourself a big goal and visualize it to motivate yourself. Not that daydreaming about cars gets you them.

On a related note, I bought a book by someone interviewed/on the Secret, called Happy for No Reason. Really good, enjoyable read. I really learned some things from it.

August 27, 2008 - 2:11pm

I must say that I have never seen the DVD of the secret, however I have listened to the Audio CD.

You are all crazy because The Secret teaches you how to get the things that you want; health, wealth, friends, whatever it may be.

At the end of the day, if you do not chase you dreams and desires and do not want your "wish" to come true, then it never will. The Secret simply wraps this concept up in a pretty bow and puts a price tag on it.

The Secret is a GREAT product to help enhance your personal motivation.

I have used "the secret", and my "want" was manifested in under 30 days. If you believe you can have what you want and you are willing to do what it takes to get it, you can have anything in this world that you desire.

Have the nards to stop bitchen' and monen' about what you dont have, how life it too difficult, how you dont have enough time, how other people are holding you back etc... and get off your lazy rear end and work for what you really want.

Blog posts and comments like the ones found on this page sicken me. You are telling people that "want, desire and positive thinking" get you nowhere... the people that write things like this are nothing more than people who are affraid of the world, affraid of working hard, affraid of believing and have the belief that if its not easy, its not worth figting for...

This is your life, not theirs... Fight for what you want!

- Rob G

August 27, 2008 - 2:25pm

Hi Rob
This site got enough exposure that you found it and left your comment on it, and I think it is a Technorati top 100 ranked blog, so classifying it as a failure or me as not hard working would both be rather inaccurate .

August 27, 2008 - 3:51pm

At no point in time did I ever say that you or the site is a failure, Im not even sure how you came to that conclusion; you have misread my comment. All Im saying is that I did not like the review on a The Secret.

Belive it or not, but you used The Secret without knowing it. You had a concept for a wesite, you wanted it to be popular, you worked hard for you wanted. You manifested SeoBook!!!

This website is proof that the secret works :)

August 27, 2008 - 4:17pm

Gotta disagree. What Aaron has done (and most successful people do) has more a more academic naming convention (actually several).

You explained it yourself. He came up with a concept, put together a plan, worked hard (and smart) to execute that plan, and reaped the rewards. This progression has been in existence well before The Secret was ever published.

Unfortunately, The Secret presupposes that the wishing/dreaming/thinking phase of this process takes precedence over the other more tangible elements.

So what it leads to is people that sit around wishing/dreaming/thinking about what they want (money, cars, jewelry, etc...) and waiting for those things to just manifest themselves because the The Secret said they would.
August 27, 2008 - 10:19pm

the secret is just a remake of two of the greatest self-help books of all time ... both of which are free, since they were printed before copyright laws (pre 1930's)

1. the science of getting rich
2. the master key system

Everyone interprets The Secret in different ways ... It all depends on what message "YOU" as the reader got from reading it.

The message I got from the Secret is about "inspired action" and "gratitude"... when you feel good about something you're doing, it doesn't feel like work, so it feels like things are naturally coming to you which you are then grateful for.

I ignored the material objects presented in the book because I considered them "placeholders" for whatever I wanted.

August 28, 2008 - 9:52am

Great post Aaron.

But now I finally understand why these kind of posts seem to strike a chord with me; you have exactly the same understanding as I have regarding the money supply.

It all makes sense now :-)


August 28, 2008 - 4:50pm

For me, The Secret's message is this: FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT. Get clear on it, b/c most people aren't.

Once you know what you want, its like the Amish saying.

Pray (aka visualize, focus on what you want/need)...and move your feet!

Life isn't mastered from our arm chairs...unless the arm chair is in front of your computer :p

My stepmom got a hold of the secret...omg she's so...UGG

August 28, 2008 - 10:29pm

Too funny. I especially love the part at the end. So I'll take a stab in the dark and propose you didn't shut your eyes and wish for a lawsuit either.

I do agree with you that positive thinking certainly is a better way of living. And I wouldn't get much done in a day with out goal setting. But to equate money=happiness is a childish way of thinking. Even rappers with all their bling have a saying for that.... how does it go again... mo money, mo ??? problems, that's right.

Anyway, I think you can only really expect to take bits and pieces of advise from what you hear or read. Anyone foolish enough to believe every word needs to take a reality pill.

August 30, 2008 - 6:22am

They simply closed their eyes, thought of spending lots of money on lawyers, and the lawsuits magically manifested. :) :) :)


The Secret Fans,

Napolean Hill didn't ask you to sit on your butt and dream about cash coming in. He asked you to visualize the end, pick a plan of action and take focused continuous action towards that goal. (any action)

While you are asking people to well. Sit and watch the superbowl and wish cheques come flying in.

It's the same with science of getting rich or whatever.


August 30, 2008 - 10:04am

Hi Aaron,

Blimey! You're really on top form at the moment. I did a tongue in cheek review of "The Secret" many moons ago, which you can find here if it's of any interest.

I leave it as an exercise for the interested reader to work out my opinion on "The Secret" crowd.

Cheers once again!


August 30, 2008 - 6:05pm

Hi Jim
Your post was a bit abstract, even for me!

Funny to find there is a children's book by the name of secret wood :)

August 31, 2008 - 12:12am

I'll use good old internet marketing plain speaking then.

"The Secret" sucks!

I knew about the modern jazz, obviously, but not the children's book.

"It is a place where a child can dance on the clouds, brave a tremendous flood, or climb a mountain tall enough to touch the sky. It is a story for parents to read to their children and for children who love to have stories read to them"

Do you suppose it "sells" well in this age of instant gratification, delivered direct to the screen in front of you, whilst you sit waiting for the Universe to manifest all the products of your dreams?

The Secret Wood costs nothing. Is it valueless?

August 31, 2008 - 12:37am

Things that are free still have cost (time, etc.)

I know that crappy The Secret sells well...many people are out looking for a free ride, willing to pay $15 to be told their strategy of intellectual sloth and laziness are the path to riches and personal fulfillment.

August 30, 2008 - 7:33pm

It can never be too often repeated, that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our rules are honest, and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion.

-- Thomas Jefferson, Notes On The State Of Virginia, Query 17

I find it almost disturbing how the founding fathers of the United States so accurately predicted what would happen if the country went down the wrong path. The sorts of people who are behind The Secret are merely the product of a money hungry society. And a deeply ignorant one, at that.

Someone mentioned in an earlier comment that The Secret was a derivative work based on Napoleon Hill's Think And Grow Rich. Loosely, I guess one could say that it is, but they butchered the premise so badly that it's like comparing prime rib to ground beef.

I also find it amusing that webprofessor said, "Yes Ivan we understand, "The Secret" is the gateway drug to more products and upsells." Amusing because Napoleon Hill's book is in the public domain, and thus freely available. Does anyone else think it's disturbing that people are being conned into paying for watered down bullsnot when the original, far superior work is freely available?

That's what these sorts of con artists do. They find great material that is so old most everyone has forgotten about it, then they repackage it and call it their own.

If someone wants to know the original intent behind works like the secret, they should read the books that it was derived from. And stay away from the hucksters who are fronting themselves as modern day gurus.

Check out:

- Napoleon Hill's Think And Grow Rich, and his original masterpiece, The Law Of Success

- As A Man Thinketh, by James Allen

There's lots more to point people toward, but those should be a good start. The point of these books, of which so much has been misrepresented, is not to sit around attempting to "manifest" things out of thin air. But to sharpen a person's mind to be goal- and action-oriented. Like someone said earlier, Napoleon Hill studied as many of the successful people of his age as he could access. The point wasn't to try to connect those findings to some bullsnot metaphysical mumbo jumbo. It was to show the quality and character of people who had achieved success, and how one can model themselves after those individuals in pursuit of like success.

One last thing, and then I'm done. For anyone who will try to say that Napoleon Hill spoke of intention manifestation in the chapter of Think And Grow Rich titled "Desire." The point of that excercise was not to manifest anything other than an acute awareness to recognize opportunity to achieve one's goals. The man, Barnes, was so focused on his desire to partner with Thomas Edison that when the opportunity presented itself, he had no trouble recognizing and acting upon it. That is the exercise which has since been perverted into "intention manifestation."

Hell of a first comment, I know. Thanks for this post, Aaron. More people need to realize that excessive monetary wealth is no reward at all, but a burden.

August 30, 2008 - 10:56pm

Great comment Dan!

I hope to read more like it. :)

August 31, 2008 - 1:30pm

i liked this post..........thanx all of you for taking out time to talk about the evil practices going on in marketing today. This isnt to flatter Aaron but trust me he is one of those rare individuals who do not bend to any pressure to do acts like cheating people and make money. Wheather online or offline all the marketers know what is happening. As Aaron has written in his seobook this isnt the right path we are showing our children that is more money = more success. Any Society needs rich and poor people that is that way our Creator has made things. Earning more money isn't bad. What is bad is cheating people to earn more. Even worse what we see today is if someone doesnt have much money he is automatically considered unsuccessful in life. This is crap. He may be a wonderful human being and happy and content with small work he does (for example lets say he is cobler). But for anyone to think of such a person as unsuccesful is definately wrong and speaks bad about the personality of the person evaluating with such parameters.
When such evaluations become common and a norm among people, there is a lot of peer pressure which makes many people succumb to such tactics of selling and buying such stuff. The root of all this evil is this mentality MORE MONEY = MORE SUCCESS, MODERATE AMOUNT OF MONEY = MODERATE SUCCESS & EARNING LITTLE MONEY = FAILURE. This is crap and people who believe in this i dont know wat to call them.
Y cant someone who doesn't think of sports cars and owns sport cars or for that matter someone who doesnt own a car be successful? If he is content with it nobody has a right to call such a person unsuccessful. Evaluation on such grounds is animalism and not capitalism.

September 3, 2008 - 9:09pm

...a large boulder into his head. Is there anything this guy won't endorse?

Check out the following video for a great spoof on "The Secret"

Jesse Skeens
September 21, 2008 - 8:00pm

"True. But at the same time it was not as egregious as a whole, because it was not part of an infinitely large package of products used to upsell upsell upsell"

It can be argued it was used to market the Rathma 'school' which is a portal for selling quite a few services and products.

September 15, 2010 - 5:40am

Thanks for a valuable post Aaron,

I wish more people would blog on this topic and help make the whole SHAM (self help actualization movement) more transparent. Their is a good baook called SHAM which is dedicated to this, and why the term comes to mind now.

There's another good little book called 'Who Moved My Secret' I think which is a good sarcastic read on these shams, sorry no link but easy enough to find. Like the Who Moved My Cheese book earlier, there are countless stupid get-ric, get-famous, get-more-money, get-whatever books out there for the majority gullible folk out there.

Perhaps I should address this topic on my own site under contruction? Mmmm.. why not. I would link it to the natural brain functions that operate and draw us all into these traps unless we are more self-aware and careful. Reminds me of an internet seminar I attended where all these psychological tricks are employed to influence the welath seekers (mass hypnosis more like).

Thanks again.
Richard, Hong Kong

September 15, 2010 - 9:17am that acronym Richard. Good one! ;)

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