The Secret is a best-selling 2006 self-help book written by Rhonda Byrne, based on the earlier film of the same name. It is based on the law of attraction and claims that positive thinking can create life-changing results such as increased happiness, health, and wealth. The book has sold more than 19 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 46 languages. It has attracted a great deal of controversy and criticism for its claims, and has been parodied on several TV programs.
The Secret was released in DVD format in March 2006. The tenet of the film and book is that the universe is governed by a natural “law” called the law of attraction, which is said to work by attracting into a person’s life the experiences, situations, events and people that “match the frequency” of the person’s thoughts and feelings. From this, the book argues that thinking positively can create life-changing results, such as increased wealth, health and happiness.
The book is very much influenced by Wallace Wattles’ 1910 book The Science of Getting Rich, which Byrne received from her daughter during a time of personal trauma in 2004. Byrne states that she read and synthesized several classic books and the words of modern-day teachers who spoke about ancient wisdom and the ways for people to attract what they desire into their lives. The book includes many quotes from these people.
After being featured in two episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the book reached the top of The New York Times’s bestseller list, where it remained for 146 consecutive weeks. The book has been translated into 44 languages and has over 21 million copies in print. Thanks in large part to the appearance on the Oprah TV show, the book and film have grossed $300 million in sales, according to a 15 January 2009 article by Forbes magazine.
In 2009, the film’s producer, Paul Harrington, released a book for teenagers called The Secret to Teen Power. Byrne has also released a calendar and several follow-up books, including The Power in August 2010 and The Magic in 2012, both of which also reached number one on The New York Times’s bestseller list.
The Secret posits that the law of attraction is a natural law which determines the complete order of the universe and of our personal lives through the process of “like attracts like”. The author claims that as we think and feel, a corresponding frequency is sent out into the universe which attracts back to us events and circumstances on that same frequency. For example, if a person thinks angry thoughts and feels angry, the author claims that said person will attract back events and circumstances that cause them to feel more anger. Conversely, if the person thinks and feels positively, they will attract back positive events and circumstances. Proponents claim that desirable outcomes such as better health, wealth, and happiness can be attracted simply by changing one’s thoughts and feelings. For example, some proponents believe that using “the Secret” can cure cancer. However, there is no scientific justification for such a claim.
The book begins by introducing and explaining the mechanisms of the law of attraction, and then describes historical examples of its application and great men and women in history who are claimed to have harnessed its power. The book describes the law as accounting for a magnetic power that is emitted through one’s thoughts. The power of thoughts is likened to the power in a transmission tower, which sends out a frequency to the universe and then returns the same frequency in a physical or elemental form.
Next, a three-step creative process for making dreams manifest is introduced: ask, believe, and receive. This creative process is based on a quote from the Bible: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)
“One of the most powerful uses of gratitude
can be incorporated in the Creative Process
to turbo-charge what you want.”
The Secret, p. 80.
The Secret highlights gratitude and visualization as the two most powerful processes to help make one’s desires manifest. It claims that being grateful both lifts your frequency higher and affirms that you believe you will receive your desire. Visualization is said to help focus the mind to send out the clearest message to the universe. Several techniques are given for the visualization process, as well as examples of people claimed to have used visualization successfully to make their dreams manifest.
For example, if a person wanted a new car, by thinking positively about the new car, having thankful feelings about the car as if it were already attained, and opening one’s life in tangible ways for a new car to be acquired (for instance, test-driving the new car, or making sure that no-one parks in the space where the new car would arrive), the law of attraction would rearrange events to make it possible for the car to manifest in the person’s life.
The subsequent chapters describe how to use the law of attraction specifically in the areas of wealth, relationships, and health. The book provides examples and ways to use the law of attraction for each. The final chapters offer a more spiritual perspective on the law of attraction, and how it relates to one’s life and the world.
- The Secret, Rhonda Byrne. Atria Books, New York. 2006 ISBN 978-1-58270-170-7