What is “The Secret,” and why has it become a publishing sensation?
Based on what she calls the “law of attraction”—that thoughts, good or bad, “attract” more of whatever they’re about—she writes: “If you see people who are overweight, do not observe them, but immediately switch your mind to the picture of you in your perfect body and feel it.”
So now you can lose weight by thinking happy thoughts, and avoiding eye contact with anyone you see shopping at Wal-Mart?
Its explicit claim is that you can manipulate objective physical reality—the numbers in a lottery drawing, the actions of other people who may not even know you exist—through your thoughts and feelings. In the words of “author and personal empowerment advocate” Lisa Nichols: “When you think of the things you want, and you focus on them with all of your intention, then the law of attraction will give you exactly what you want, every time.” Every time! Byrne emphasizes that this is a law inherent in “the universe,” an inexhaustible storehouse of goodies from which you can command whatever you desire from the comfort of your own living room by following three simple steps: Ask, Believe, Receive.
I want a million dollars. I believe I’ll get a million dollars. I’m waiting for my million dollars. Is that how Oprah, a “Secret” acolyte, made her fortune?
Don’t think so.