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The Secret

This weekend I finished a couple of photography books I had been trying to get through, and even got to take some night shots:

The Secret was lying around and I thought I would check it out to see what all the hype was about. The first thing that struck me is that it is a very slick piece of marketing. Everything from matching some proven tactics to make it a best seller (very short and easy to read, lots of images), plugs for the DVD, and even the glossy pages and graphics to make it look like it’s an ancient book on parchment that was pulled from some tomb, rather than bought at Wal-Mart last week.

I agree with the content, I think that a positive attitude is the biggest difference between those who succeed and those who fail, so I can’t argue with the book. If you need this book, it will probably help you. It reminded me a lot of some of Tony Robbins stuff without all of the “boring” research and study that proves his material on improving performance.

Basically you ask the universe for stuff, maintain a grateful state of mind and you’ll get what you ask for. There’s also some great points about not being against things, always work for things (don’t be a Yankee hater, be a Red Sox fan). This is a subtle change but it does make a difference, the classic example is the caddie planting the seed of negativity in the golfer (it’s an easy putt as long as you don’t leave it short). We see this all the time and we know that subconsciously it makes us feel better. Everyone will choose to be pro-life or pro-choice, but nobody would want to work with the pro-death, or pro-totalitarians. Another key reason why marketing is as much art as science – based upon our irrational behavior of our opinions from the name of the group, not who they are or what they stand for.

One thing that struck me was that this material crosses over readily to religion. Many religions ask (pray) and are thankful (reverent), but religion was not mentioned at all and I could only come up with three reasons why this would be the case:

  1. Marketing – by not including religion there’s no book buyers that would be offended
  2. Competition – with many Americans appalled at the antics of the clergy or used to church shopping, this is the market they want
  3. The Secret as “The Truth” – what if the core of the secret is actually the key to religion and everything else in the church is bureaucratic cruft that’s built up around it? As much as everyone doesn’t want to think about it, in every religion there are those who need things not to change in order to protect the lifestyle they are accustomed to.

There are a lot of discussions that could spin out of number 3, but a key for me is that a church involves a community, while The Secret is content to leave you home alone asking the universe for money. Something about that doesn’t strike me as the best course of action.

I also liked the closing line “May the Joy Be With You”, there was no mention of Yoda as a source…