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The Secret is a Big Scam. Sorry to Break the News.

June 1st, 2007 by rosie · 14 Comments

There is a lot of hype out there surrounding the New Age book/DVD called The Secret, by Wanda Byrne. Everywhere I turn, someone is talking about it; it’s gotten press on Oprah, Larry King, and Saturday Night Live even did a skit about it. Being naturally curious (OK- maybe nosy is more like it), I wanted to know more about it. After watching two different soft-news reports on The Secret, I did some further digging and even watched the first 20 minutes of The Secret courtesy of YouTube, which basically consisted of misleading testimonials by slimy-looking people. What I discovered left me with a few thoughts: The Secret is just another well-packaged self-help fad; the claims from The Secret are incredulous; it amazes me what people are willing to believe and spend their money on. If I had to summarize in one statement, The Secret scam is for suckers!

Yet, there are a few things you need to know about The Secret , especially what’s right about it.

First, what is The Secret? The Secret is the “Law of Attraction”. Basically, according to the book, the Law of Attraction governs the universe and since like attracts like, you bring upon yourself whatever kinds of thoughts you are having. If you think positive thoughts, then positive things will happen to you. If you worry about negatives, then you are actually bringing those same negative things upon yourself. It’s an extreme form of the power of positive thinking mixed with a bit of telekinesis. It’s also the same ask-believe-receive teachings on TBN except some of the words have been changed to reach a broader audience: God is now “the Universe”, faith has been replaced with “positive thinking”, and the devil has been morphed into “negative thoughts”. Not surprisingly, The Secret is all about materialism and getting rich quickly. Not only are the claims The Secret makes pure fantasy, the science and psychology in The Secret has major flaws.

The Law of Attraction in The Secret states that EVERYTHING in your life YOU have attracted. So if you constantly worry about cancer, you will bring it upon yourself with all those negative thoughts. It also clearly states that victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks brought it upon themselves because everything that happens to someone – both good and bad – are the direct result of their own thoughts. This claim is quite preposterous, and yet scary, too, because people believe this and will react foolishly. Some who have fallen for this falsehood have gone out and made big purchases because they have visualized mysterious magical money bestowed upon them from the Universe. Some of the people I know who have gone out and bought this book and even passed it around are normal, seemingly intelligent people. It just goes to show you that 1) People are easily fooled and will believe almost anything and 2) a clever marketing campaign will go a long way, especially if you have the right celebrity endorsements.

The Secret has managed to be right about one thing, though: It is an example of smart marketing. First, the title makes people curious – who wouldn’t want to be privy to an age-old secret that some of the world’s smartest and most influential people, like Plato and Einstein, knew about? The cover, a red wax seal on parchment paper, conjures up mystery and authenticity – a la “Da Vinci Code.” The DVD starts off with a dramatization depicting The Secret being hidden and lost for years before being rediscovered. Then the DVD goes to documentary mode with testimonials, some by semi-famous people. The Secret is presented as if it’s a guaranteed scientific fact and some of the people on the DVD have fancy sounding titles- yet another clever selling technique. And maybe one of the smartest marketing moves is the author’s claim to how she discovered The Secret (in a time of great suffering she stumbled upon it and discovered how many of the world’s most influential used it) and now she just “wants to share The Secret with the world” (at $16.76 for the book and $34.99 for the DVD). And then there’s the ever popular topic that’s an easy seller: getting rich quickly without working. However questionable the claims of The Secret are, it has managed to be a big money-maker thanks to some clever marketing moves.

My advice concerning The Secret? Be informed, but don’t waste your money or your time on The Secret. It’s just a ridiculous nutty fad and all the the ill-deserved hype will soon pass. The power of positive thinking presented by The Secret is an extreme and faulty version and there is no such thing as The Law of Attraction as described in The Secret, or a Universe waiting to bestow upon you riches or misery, depending on your thoughts. The truth is that there is NO secret when it comes to success and wealth- just hard work, persistence, some know-how, and sometimes a bit of luck.

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    Comment by JK
    2007-06-01 20:17:34

    How do you know for sure the secret is a scam? Who are you to say there is no law of attraction?

    There is no way for you or anyone else to know for sure if there is or isn’t validity to claims of a universal law of attraction. This is just your opinion and you know what they say about opinions and them being like a$$holes, everyone has one ;)

    Worse case scenario, people will spend money on it and if all they take away from it is that they will try to be more positive and happier in life, well is that such a bad thing?

    Why would you want to knock something that has such a good root message? Well I think someday you’ll wise up and realize life is to short to waste your time trying (in vain) t0 debunk something you have no hope of ever proving or disproving.

    My advice, in the immortal words of Eddie Murphy, have a coke and a smile and STFU! :)

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    Comment by Ryan
    2007-06-01 21:17:47


    You just made what is possibly the least intelligent argument I’ve seen today.

    Two things you stated worry me and I’d like to respond to them.

    First you state: “There is no way for you or anyone else to know for sure if there is or isn’t validity to claims of a universal law of attraction.”

    If I told you that your God is actually an invisible dragon who lives in my ass, you couldn’t “know for sure” if that was or wasn’t true. Not all theories, statements, or ideas deserve the same amount of respect or consideration. The fact of the matter is that your God could well be an invisible dragon who lives up my ass. However, due to a complete lack of evidence or reason to believe such a thing, you probably shouldn’t waste your time considering the veracity of the assertion. Anytime you have zero evidence for or against something, and certainly not enough to prove or disprove a thing, you shouldn’t walk around telling people that you’re sure it is or isn’t true, as that would make you a liar and put your integrity in question concerning all other matters. Those who wrote “The Secret” and those who endorse it as a sure truth, are liars and I will always question their integrity on all other matters. They can’t prove or disprove their claim, so why are they making that claim? They are making the claim so they can make money and get rich quick. The same reason everyone else writes get rich quick books. It certainly isn’t going to get your rich quick living by false principles which are entirely unfounded.

    Second, you state: “Why would you want to knock something that has such a good root message?”

    Wow. You sound neo-con to me. So all something has to have is a “good message” and no one should investigate any further. It doesn’t need substance or results, just a “good message”. Let’s take religion for our example here. Muslims will get 72 virgins for sacrificing their lives in the name of Allah. Christians will get an eternal life of happiness with God and His angels if they abide by the laws of the priests, bible, etc. Anyone can come up with a good message, a message that makes you feel good as you fly a plane full of people into a building. It’s called brain washing. If all you want is a good message, come visit me. I’ll give you a good message and you can be my own personal brainwashed zombie.

    You and those who think like you are frightening to me. The worst part, the part that leaves me with little hope for humanity, is that there are more like you than not. Take a moment to think for yourself. Don’t follow the crowd, don’t believe the “good message”. Check the results for yourself before selling the shit you’re smoking. Millions have bought the book, do we have millions of new millionaires? No, the economy doesn’t work that way, it can’t, and it never will. We live in a system that is full of objective items in specific quantities. Your dreams won’t double the quantities of these items.

    Study philosophy, critical thinking, and geometry. If you do this you’ll know what’s wrong with “The Secret”.

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    Comment by shawn
    2007-06-01 21:54:21

    I agree with JK. JK is smart and reflects my views. Oh yeah by the way, I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Now, I’ve never seen him. But I believe he is real. So don’t shatter my dreams!!! That would be mean!!! And you can’t prove he doesn’t exist so THERE.

    You know where I’m comin’ from, right JK???

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    Comment by al
    2007-06-01 22:54:33

    “Who are you to say there is no law of attraction?”

    its impossible to disprove a negative, dumbshit.

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    Comment by JK
    2007-06-01 23:45:49

    You know, here’s the thing Ryan..what makes you an authority? Why should we listen to you? What if you’re wrong? What if the secret is real? I’m just saying what if? I don’t know that it works. I don’t that its real any more than the invisible dragon in your ass you keep babbling about. I’ve seen the video, read the book and have even tried some of the ideas. Honestly two of my goals came true. Whether it was due to “the secret” or just how things worked out, well GOD only knows (and not the god/dragon you keep claiming may live in your ass along with your opinion).

    I’m not saying people shouldn’t investigate it further, on the contrary, I think they should investigate it and form their own opinion. Not just listen to someone with a negative opinion of it like you.

    When you make an accusation that the authors of The Secret are scammers, then you should have at least some kind of proof. Otherwise it’s just your opinion and franlkly you come off as someone sounding pissed off and jaded.

    I only responded because when I read this, at first, I was looking for your little diatribe to have some kind of actual proof that its a scam. When I realised that it was just your opinion, I felt compelled to respond to make sure that those that haven’t seen the secret yet or read the book wern’t swayed by your completely negative opinion of it.

    And what’s with the neocon comment? Do you even know what it means? Explain how that even relates to the subject at hand. I’m about as far from being a neocon as you can be! You sound more like you could be neocon, dumbass!

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    Comment by LD
    2007-06-02 02:10:19

    Sounds to me like “sour grapes” from someone who can’t make the Secret work.

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    Comment by Rosie
    2007-06-02 02:47:36

    Here’s a few thoughts on why The Secret is a bunch of hogwash. I do believe positive thinking does a lot, but this mysterious magical Universe described in the Secret is foolishness. If there was such a Law as the law of attraction, that does not mean that’s the only law that governs what happens; there are other laws that affect life as well. And I love how the author just “wanted to share the secret with the world”- for a fee. It’s like those miracle workers who have mysterious power, or knowledge, but it will cost you. I have nothing to gain or lose, but the author and those behind the secret are making a fortune on those who are superstitious and missing some critical thinking skills. The Secret is misleading, deceptive, cheesy, and making someone millions.
    The reason people want to believe in it is b/c the idea of easy money (mysterious checks in the mail- haha) is too enticing.
    As far as letting people believe in something good and keeping my opinion to myself- the secret offers nothing of value or good.

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    Comment by JK
    2007-06-03 23:14:29

    Ok Rosie and Ryan, You can go on believing whatever you want. But I don’t agree with you so let’s just agree to disagree. I apologize to you Ryan for my being a smartass and using durogatory terms towards you. I realise now that my comments were coming from a negative place and I was acting on emotions instead of thinking it through completely before I responeded. Hopefully, no hard feelings. Have a nice weekend.

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    Comment by anchor text
    2007-06-04 05:12:12

    Who ever think the answers to there life problems are on a dvd or cd needs help…

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    Comment by JK
    2007-06-04 17:48:07

    Damn I wish there was an edit feature here! Anchor text, I don’t think anyone here thinks the answers to life’s problems are on a DVD or CD.

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    Comment by Shawn
    2007-06-04 18:19:22

    There is an edit feature but you have to register to use it. Just so you know.

    Comment by Crystal Miller "THE ARTIST"
    2009-04-20 07:48:45

    YOU’RE RIGHT!!!!! There’s just no honesty to those that say there’s a “SECRET”! It’s all a bunch of BULLSHIT, especially on the internet, just to what they can call it…..”TRICKS FOR THEIR TREATS” & no consideration for others with a GODLY honesty dude!!!!! I’ve been there! I KNOW! So you’re right! All of these poeple that say there’s “A SECRET”epecially for even just “SHIPPING & HANDLING” CRAP, “WANT” something….not “NEED” it!
    I believe in the Lord as well! Even though I don’t really go to Church! And it’s is told, that as well just cause you believe in the Lord, does not mean you “need” to go to Church either! I don’t mean to sound like I don’t give a shit about Church or anything, it just states another factor, that if you “want” something, doesn’t mean you need to “copy cat” OR BE NEGATIVE, of what you don’t for sure know, for example how do we know who really wrote the Bible or not? RIGHT?!!!!! SEEING, IS BELEIVING & back then, we weren’t even ALIVE TO EVEN SEE IT HAPPEN RIGHT? Even though we want to just believe even though it’s hard! But you’ve got to understand, that it’s not just about “listening” to EVERYONE to do something about it, you NEED to follow you’re OWN DREAMS BY INSTINCTS & even though it may take awhile you got to understand that nomatter what DON’T GIVE UP, because eventually, it WILL COME if you just go for the ambition of yourself,by loving you before anything, or ANYONE ELSE!!!!! It’s not all about what all the time they all say, unless you follow your instinctive gutt soul fellings & weigh “Pros & Cons” with “Back-Up” Plans before you just “ASSUME” making an “ASS OUT OF YOU & ME” consepts! HELL! you’re probably wondering WHO IS THIS WOMAN RIGHT?!!!!! Well! I’ve also got to tell ya one more thing & it’s about “THE WANT & THE NEED”! There’s first the “Need/Need”. This means basics like “breathing”, “eating”, “going to the restroom”, etc. then there’s the “Want/Need” (not NEED/WANT- Why? if you think about it, you DON’T NEED THINGS THAT YOU WANT! Save the want after the”Responsible NEED”, is done!) this Want/Need, means that you’re being responsible & wanting “Reponsibility”, even though you’re NEEDING it! And it basically means you’re behaving at the “Horizin” of the way EVERYONE should stay at! That way the earth, of poeple could be nicer, not GREEDY like many are starting to “ACT”! Now, here’s the WANT/WANT! This, means you could be “a thief”,”GREEDY”, like the internet: “THE SECRET”, “Tricks For Treats”,etc.!!!!! So what I’m saying as well, is there’s either being “TOO HIGH”,”TOO LOW”, OR where it should stay to behave & respect others boundaries & common sense,….. “AT THE LEVEL, GRAVITY, MIDDLED, HORIZON!” Where we also all stand together! And I was also realizing thrugh my learning insticts, is ‘WHAT COMES AROUND, GOES AROUND!” So why would I be stupid & pull a fast one that’s eventually not gonna solve much but pile the future crap! CLEAN UP AS YA GO! It works EVERYTIME! Be responsible, & DON;T EVEN PULL ANY SICK TRICKS CAUSE, IT WILL EVENTUALLY GET YOU! And the same goes with GOODNESS TOO! I’ve seen it! So I have ROOM TO TALK! So nomatter what, do what you feel in your heart, mind & soul of ANYTHING/ONE! Cause if not & assume you know IT ALL WHEN YOU MAY NOT, won’t help you unless THE SEEING WAS TO BELIEVE IT RIGHT?!!!!! And if you want your dreams to come true, IT WILL IF YOU DONT-GIVE-UP! It did to me! I was in High school & 1 year left to go with 6.5 CREDITS BEHIND! Everyone was laughing at me, making fun of me, & ASSUMING I wasn’t gonna make it! WELL, I WORKED MY ASS OFF & PROVED THEM ALL WRONG BY GRADUATING IN THE YEAR I NEEDED TO 2003 &MADE IT! They QUIT LAUGHING, MAKING FUN OF ME, & MORE PROBLEMS LIKE THAT ON THE SIDE AS WELL COMING TO ME “CRYING”…. WE’RE SORRY CRYSTAL!!!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!!!” And I thought in my head “WELL! If I can do it once, WHY COULDN’T I AGAIN?!!!!!”
    I’m planning on becoming FAMOUS! I can: Sing,Dance,Draw/Paint,Cook,Craftr,Act,&HELL!EVEN Architect!!!!! But it’s TAKING F-O-R-E-V-E-R to fullfill my damn DREAMS! But you just CAN’T “SPEED IT UP” by things called “THE SECRET”!!!!! Since 2003 Graduating, I’VE BEEN TRYING & TRYING, BUT “THE SECRET” SHIT DOES-NOT-WORK! TRUST ME WHOM EVER ELSE MAYBE READING THIS!!!!! OK! Be safe & THINK BEFORE YOU ACT OR ELSE YOU’LL N-E-V-E-R GET WHERE YOUR DREAMS WILL TAKE YOU OK! PEACE!

    P.S. Here’s my address just incase you may want to write me or something ok! This is no crap of selling anything or “TRICKING ANY TREATS” OK! Cause like I said”Waht Comes Around, Goes Around”! So why would I lie? RIGHT?!!!!!

    Crystal Miller “THE ARTIST” 2009
    P.O. Box 1366
    Casper, Wyoming 82602

    2007-06-21 03:52:51

    [...] while back I wrote an article about The Secret being a big money-making scam. It is a scam, and there’s a lot of other pop psychology [...]

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    Comment by Sam
    2007-07-11 00:59:01

    Choose for yourself what you will believe, but always be mindfull of what that has acheived. If your beliefs produce a mindset that allows you to be more effective, and those beliefs came from “The Secret”, then you have allowed yourself to be positively impacted by the beliefs that you chose. Therefore, the book has been a catalyst for benefit to you. However,there is a difference between having a “mindset” that is more usefull in carrying out your desires than thinking that your thoughts have influence over “hardened reality.” Hardened reality is, “chance”, and the laws of chance are distributed out based on the laws of physics that are known, and probably some that are not yet known. You flip a coin, the laws of probability will not alter, no matter how positive your thoughts may be. Therefore, hardended reality exists and is a factor that cannot be overcome with our current understanding and abilities. That being said; “The Secret” is a SCAM because it attempts to persuade you that “positive thoughts” do alter the results of the flipped coin. This simply is not so. If you believe it, and trust it in matters of hardened reality, you will at best be disappointed, and at worst killed. One point: The book doesn’t say that positivity can change “the flipped coin scenario”, but the message people get can be easily transmuted into this line of thought, for it is the ability to control hardened reality that “allures” people. Just a thought: If one person were to die that would not have died, simply because they read the book, is that life worth all the money that was made, and all the people who’s daily lives were enhanced because they read the book? Some will say yes, some will say no. Some will say the person was flawed and would have come to no greatness anyway, or their life would have been meaningless anyway. “They chose to be stupid and do something stupid, so they died.” These would be poorly thought out, first impulse ideas from the mind, and not worth the effort of discussing, since the person did not make the effort to think about it. When you get beyond the obvious and realize that none of these things is true, then you must admit that there is no possible way to be sure of your answer, other than in the comfort of your own imagination.

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