Book/ Film Review: The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Having read the book a while ago, I stumbled across the film on Amazon Prime and decided to give it a go. I am not a fan of the book, at all, and was curious as to whether the film would be any better. No is the short answer. I would urge anyone contemplating this book to save their money. There are countless other titles in the bookstore which are more deserving of your time.

This long-lost secret simply deals with the Law of Attraction, and while there are a few decent parts in both the book and film, the majority of what you will read or absorb is just a mixture of half-truths and bullshit. Here are two of the best examples of bullshit you will come across;

  • The Law of Attraction means that whatever you focus on will come to you.  This is both bullshit and a half-truth, because it over-simplifies the process. There is no mention of the work and effort required to achieve that which you focus on. Nothing about reflection or goal setting. Nothing about overcoming difficulties which you may experience. Instead the audience is given the impression that you can just close your eyes, focus on something and in time it will come to you.
  • Disease can be overcome by positive thinking. This goes beyond bullshit to pure ridiculousness. While there is evidence from medical research of placebos being more effective than some medication in tests, and some stories of people defying medical diagnoses to recover from serious illness or injury, these are the exception. To offer such a broad statement is just plain stupid, and both denigrates and belittles the medical profession. I am particularly angry at this statement because I know from experience that no amount of positive thinking could have saved my life recently, but it was the medical expertise and hard work of a team of doctors and nurses which did.

The film itself is just boring. Its nothing more than a series of people, from authors to physicists offering a series of statements. It all seems very superficial with very little depth or substance, which is the same impression which I got from reading the book.

Fair is fair, however, and if I am going to highlight the negative aspects of both book and film, It’s only right that I mention the good elements too;

  • The Law of Attraction, and visualisation. I know that i’ve highlighted this above as bullshit, but that referred to the way in which it was presented. The Law Of Attraction is the first step on the path to achieving whatever it is that you desire. You determine what it is that you want, but that alone is not enough to make it a reality. There is a process which works for me (see below), which basically involves reflection and hard work. Without these 2 elements, the Law of Attraction is just wishful thinking.
  • The power of a positive mindset. This I really like. A positive mindset improves your mood and just makes you happier. Furthermore, with a positive mindset, you are more likely to be able to recognise and take advantage of opportunities for personal or professional progression which may come your way. This is due, in part, to the fact that a positive mindset increases your self-belief and gives you the confidence that you can succeed.
  • Gratitude. Important in helping to develop a positive mindset, gratitude is something we should all practice. In a society which tells us that we should always crave more, gratitude helps put things in perspective as we remind ourselves of everything we have in our lives which we appreciate. Practice gratitude and see your mood and mindset change for the better.
  • “Whatever you’re thinking and feeling today is creating your future”. In other words, we control the direction which our lives take. Our thoughts and feelings determine our choices and actions which in turn dictate the path we take.

The truth is that there is no secret to success, even though this book and countless others will try to convince you otherwise. I wouldn’t take the authors at the word, though, as self-help and personal development books are big business. From experience, and from what I know, in order to be successful, it could help to follow the below and adopt that which you may find relevant;

  • Reflection. Before you get started, you need to figure out who you are, what you want from life, your strengths and weaknesses, and the resources at your disposal.
  • Goal Setting. Once you are clear on what you want from life, the next step would be to define the goals or steps which will get you there. Break them down into small goals, because this will help keep you motivated as you achieve them in turn.
  • Action. Now that you know what you want and how you will be going about it, take action. If you don’t, your goals will remain nothing more than a daydream. The things you want will not come to you. You have to work for them.
  • Reflection, pt 2. Having started to work towards your goals, you will need to reflect some more. Reflect on what you have learned from your small victories, and also what you have learned from overcoming any problems experienced.
  • Next! As you meet your goals, don’t spend too much time congratulating yourself, but keep the momentum going. Move on to your next goal, or if you have accomplished what you set out to achieve, return to the first step for some reflection before setting new goals.

There are some good bits in both book and film, but not enough to justify spending any time or money on either. This, of course is just my opinion and if you disagree, I would love to hear from you and discuss this further.

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