Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Secret By Rhonda Bryrne

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
Supporters will hail this New Age self-help book on the law of attraction as a groundbreaking and life-changing work, finding validation in its thesis that one's positive thoughts are powerful magnets that attract wealth, health, happiness... and did we mention wealth? Detractors will be appalled by this as well as when the book argues that fleeting negative thoughts are powerful enough to create terminal illness, poverty and even widespread disasters. The audio version of this controversial book, read by Byrne and contributing authors such as John Gray and Neale Donald Walsch, is uneven at best. The cheesy, obvious sound effects will not do much to add intellectual respectability to a work that has been widely denounced as pseudoscience. Mostly, this audio is hampered by its confusing and disjointed organization—techniques that worked reasonably well in the print version and the movie, such as cutting every few seconds from one enthusiastic expert to another, make for a choppy and somewhat bewildering listening experience. The gentle cadences of Rhonda Byrne's breathy, Aussie-infused voice are certainly the best part of the audio, but her material is scarce and provides mostly connective tissue between the testimonials.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From AudioFile
Audio seems like the natural medium for Rhonda Byrne's blockbuster motivational book on positive thought for positive results. The Australian TV producer leads listeners through her exposition on the secret of life. Quoting from an array of New Age gurus and interpreting more traditional teachers as well, the program integrates sound bites from the various authors, with actors taking many of the roles. Neale Donald Walsh, Denis Waitley, Jack Canfield, and dozens of others make cameo comments throughout the program. Byrne's slightly whispery, intimate voice calling the listener to believe alternates with hyped "you-can-do-it" encouragement from speakers like Bob Proctor. Kudos goes to the production team that integrated the dozens of speakers--some just introducing who will speak next. The resulting audio keeps a rapid pace hop-skipping along to support Byrne's premise of the essential "Law of Attraction." R.F.W. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Book Description
Fragments of a Great Secret have been found in the oral traditions, in literature, in religions and philosophies throughout the centuries. For the first time, all the pieces of The Secret come together in an incredible revelation that will be life-transforming for all who experience it.
In this book, you'll learn how to use The Secret in every aspect of your life -- money, health, relationships, happiness, and in every interaction you have in the world. You'll begin to understand the hidden, untapped power that's within you, and this revelation can bring joy to every aspect of your life.
The Secret contains wisdom from modern-day teachers -- men and women who have used it to achieve health, wealth, and happiness. By applying the knowledge of The Secret, they bring to light compelling stories of eradicating disease, acquiring massive wealth, overcoming obstacles, and achieving what many would regard as impossible.

From the Publisher
The Secret is truly the most outstanding book to date that we have published. I am so pleased that Rhonda Byrne was able to bring together this life-changing information so masterfully. She first did it for the movie of the same name that she produced, which has been a phenomenon in its own right. She then added, in only ones month's time, incredible additional content to the transcript of the film that brings even more clarity to the reader. This is absolutely a book that people from all walks of life can read and then "get" the concept of The Secret. It allows them to then take it and apply it to their lives. Children, teenagers and adults of all ages are reporting miraculous stories of positive changes as a result. Rhonda Byrne is dedicated to maintaining the integrity of The Secret and to making sure that now, finally, the whole world knows about The Secret. You will want to share this with your friends and family and they will be grateful for it. This book gives hope for what many have been waiting for-- a shift in the way the world thinks. Its a very exciting time that we are living in, and I as well as everyone at Beyond Words and Atria Books are grateful to be a part of it.
--Cynthia Black, President, Beyond Words Publishing

About the Author
One spring day towards the end of 2004, Rhonda Byrne discovered a secret - the secret laws and principles of the universe. Almost immediately her life was transformed, as she began to put into practice what she had learned. It seemed to Rhonda that almost no-one knew the things that she had discovered, even though the concepts could be found in almost every religion and field of human endeavor throughout history. And in that moment her greatest wish, and mission, was to share this knowledge with the world.
Rhonda began to see that her entire life - everything she had ever done - had been quietly and steadily moving her towards the most perfect place for her to be able to fulfill her wish. And to fulfill it on the grandest possible scale! She had gone from working as a producer at the Nine Network in Melbourne, Australia, to starting her own television production company, Prime Time Productions, in 1994. And after ten years of creating internationally successful shows, Rhonda was ready to take Prime Time Productions in a direction that fulfilled people rather than just entertained them.
On that spring day in 2004, when a small, old book called The Science of Getting Rich was put into her hands, and Rhonda's whole life suddenly pulled into spectacular focus, she knew exactly what her mission was to become. She was going to take this knowledge to the world. She was going to make a movie to carry joy to every corner of the Earth. And so the great journey that was The Secret began.
In early 2005, when The Secret was simply a name and a (momentous) vision, Prime Time Productions was made up of Rhonda, Producer Paul Harrington, and Director Drew Heriot. For eight weeks Rhonda intensively taught everything she had learned about The Secret to Paul and Drew.
One of Rhonda's initial intentions for the creation of the show was that Prime Time Productions would use The Secret to make The Secret... that it would be an effortless, joyful journey as they attracted everything and everyone that was needed to fulfill the vision. And right when the company was ready to begin production, as if by magic, the perfect people to make The Secret began to appear.
The day Rhonda arrived in the United States, she had not one interview set up but she had the firm intention that the teachers for the film would appear. And in a matter of seven weeks, the team arrived and filmed a total of fifty-two 'teachers' of The Secret. Wherever the team went, more and more amazing teachers would emerge--great writers, leaders, philosophers, doctors, and scientists. These teachers created the foundation for The Secret.
Today The Secret is the Prime Time benchmark, and the company's firm intention is to produce work that inspires, uplifts, and, most importantly, continues bringing joy to billions.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Review of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
by Donald S. Whitney

Rhonda Byrne, The Secret (New York: Atria Books, 2006) 198 pages.
A video by the same title was released earlier in 2006.

I had never watched an entire episode of Oprah until her program on The Secret. In the promo for the show, Oprah announced that the program would present "the secret" to making more money, losing weight, finding the love of your life, and achieving job success. Who could resist hearing more about such a claim, especially when it is made by the most influential woman in America and touted as the key to all her success? Apparently I wasn't alone. After the show, Oprah's website was overwhelmed, emails poured in, and within hours The Secret had become the best-selling book in the nation.

A week later, while unpacking in a hotel room, I powered up the TV. Oprah and two guests from the week before appeared on the screen, effusive about the transforming power of The Secret. Her website called the episode, "A follow-up to the show everybody is talking about!"

People are not only talking about The Secret, they are buying it. I am writing this review in a Barnes & Noble bookstore, and this particular branch has completely sold out of the book—again. Only two days ago—so I am told—a storewide announcement assured a horde of anxious shoppers that another large shipment of the book had arrived and would be brought to the sales floor momentarily. Readers quickly grabbed every copy. Almost impossibly, The Secret is even outselling (at this writing) the final Harry Potter book. And if that weren't enough, the audio edition of the book follows these two as the nation's number-three seller.

The Australian author of The Secret, Rhonda Byrne, introduces the book by admitting, "A year ago, my life had collapsed around me" (p. ix). Through searching for answers in a variety of books new and old, she began to trace what she believed was a common thread in them all. She dubbed it the "Great Secret—The Secret to Life" (p. ix).

Byrne became convinced that this was the key to explaining the success of "the greatest people in history" (p. ix). As she started practicing this secret, Byrne says that her life immediately began to change in ways nothing short of miraculous. She decided to make a video called The Secret to share her discoveries with others. In March of 2006 it was released on the Internet, but soon went to DVD. By late autumn, the phenomenal success of the video placed it on two episodes of Larry King Live. Shortly after, two of the teachers featured on The Secret were guests on Ellen Degeneres' daily TV show. Before Christmas, The Secret DVD had spun off a book by the same title which Oprah Winfrey catapulted to the top of the charts in February of 2007.

The essence of The Secret is "the law of attraction." According to Byrne and the twenty-nine co-contributors whom she quotes extensively, everything in the Universe (which is always capitalized and usually synonymous for "God") vibrates on a particular frequency. When you think in harmony with the frequency of something, you attract it to you. If you think about wealth, you will receive wealth. If you think instead about your debt, you will receive more debt. You attract what you think about; your thoughts determine your destiny.

Byrne restates the law of attraction in various ways: "Nothing [good or bad] can come into your experience unless you summon it through persistent thoughts" (p. 28). "Your thoughts are the primary cause of everything" (p. 33). "Your current reality or your current life is a result of the thoughts you have been thinking" (p. 71). According to the product description on the DVD, "This is The Secret to everything—the secret to unlimited joy, health, money, relationships, love, youth: everything you have ever wanted.

Byrne promises with ironclad certainty: "There isn't a single thing that you cannot do with this knowledge. . . . The Secret can give you whatever you want" (p. xi). By it "you will come to know how you can have, be, or do anything you want" (p. xii).

In the final analysis, The Secret is nothing more than Name It-Claim It, Positive-Confession, Prosperity Theology (without God and the Bible), built on a foundation of New Age self-deification. In other words, the book is just another version of what some TV preachers have taught for decades, namely, if you will sustain the right thoughts, words, and feelings, you will receive whatever you want. But The Secret adds this important twist: your thoughts can bring anything into your life because you are god.

Books that promise health and wealth for their practitioners are published every day. But few associate such promises with Byrne's breathtaking audacity. She proclaims to her readers,

You are God in a physical body. You are Spirit in the flesh. You are Eternal Life expressing itself as You. You are a cosmic being. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are all intelligence. You are perfection. You are magnificence. You are the creator, and you are creating the creation of You on this planet (p. 164).

If that weren't blasphemous enough, realize that the book your neighbors and coworkers are reading more than any other also tells them,

The earth turns on its orbit for You. The oceans ebb and flow for You. The birds sing for You. The sun rises and it sets for You. The stars come out for You. Every beautiful thing you see, every wondrous thing you experience, is all there for You. Take a look around. None of it can exist, without You. No matter who you thought you were, now you know the Truth of Who You Really Are. You are the master of the Universe. You are the heir to the kingdom. You are the perfection of Life. And now you know The Secret (p. 183).

This would be beautiful if it were addressed to the God of Heaven. But as Byrne thinks this is what we should say to the person in the mirror, it is the heresy of heresies. Her "Secret" is nothing less than Satan's original lie in the Garden of Eden, "You will be like God" (Gen. 3:5).

It is no exaggeration to say that this book implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) denies virtually every major doctrine in the Bible. For starters, the authority of Scripture is undermined in The Secret, because the Bible apparently has value only insofar as it (according to Byrne) teaches The Secret.

Moreover, the Bible is neither unique nor supremely authoritative, for Byrne maintains that the holy book of every religious tradition contains The Secret. Thus Byrne's teaching is eclectic, that is, she believes that all religions and their scriptures are equally valid in their authority and basically teach the same thing.

Without mentioning Jesus, she quotes Him in Matthew 21:22 and Mark 11:24, claiming that the teaching to ask, believe, and receive in prayer is the way to "create what you want in three simple steps" (p. 47). And of course, it is not God we're to ask, but "the Universe." Thus The Secret is pantheistic, that is, it teaches that God is not a Person; rather He is to be equated with the totality of everything.

Despite this brief nod to the Bible, Byrne's book is marketed upon the implication that readers probably would never discover The Secret on their own. "It has been passed down through the ages, highly-coveted, hidden, lost, stolen, and bought for vast sums of money. . . . Now The Secret is being revealed to the world" (from the back cover). Thus the book is Gnostic, that is, it makes you dependent upon a small, elite group (namely, Rhonda Byrne and her panel of enlightened experts, "avatars," and relatively obscure historical sources) to tell you what you need to know. In fact, in true Gnostic style, Byrne and her illuminati expressly refer to what we need to know as a secret—"the Great Secret." And of course, you must pay—in this case, the price of the book or the DVD—to learn The Secret.

There's no mention of sin in The Secret. The cause of all the problems in the world and in our individual lives is merely bad thinking, specifically the failure to recognize and appropriately use the law of attraction. Therefore the solution to everything lies within us. And that, of course, eliminates the need for a Savior, a Substitute, or a Sacrifice. The cross and resurrection of Jesus become irrelevant.

Curiously, there's not a single reference to death or the afterlife in the book. Apparently this is a non-issue for contributors to The Secret, for one of them assures us, "no one will stand in judgment of [your life], now or ever" (p. 177). Another, when questioned about this on Oprah's second show on the book, suggested that Heaven and Hell were present experiences, not future destinations.

So as with nearly all false teaching, the flaws of The Secret are most visible when you examine what it has to say about the Bible and Jesus.

If I had to commend something about The Secret, I would mention its emphasis on gratitude and the importance of the thought life. Byrne devotes several pages to "The Powerful Process of Gratitude" (pp. 74-80). Though she does not base it on the Bible, Byrne nevertheless encourages just what the Bible teaches in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "in everything give thanks." She says that regardless of the situations awaiting her, "By the time I am ready for the day, I have said 'Thank you' hundreds of times" (p. 76). Remarkably, she never says to whom thanks should be given. Nor is her motivation kindred to the one stated in the verse above: "this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Regarding the thought life, The Secret reminds us that there is a powerful connection between our thoughts and our actions. While the thoughts Byrne wants us to repeat are typically contrary to Scripture, she rightly observes that the thoughts we constantly affirm influence our feelings and our behavior. This conforms to the declaration of Scripture that Christians are "transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). For us to live for the glory of God and in increasing conformity to Christ requires not only that we grow in our knowledge of God's Word, but also that we constantly reaffirm specific truths of Scripture, despite feelings or circumstances that contradict them.

The problem with The Secret is that it focuses our hope selfward and not Godward. It is all about self-empowerment, self-fulfillment, and getting whatever we want. But Jesus warned, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?" (Matthew 16:26). The Secret disregards the fact that God has a Law and we have broken it (James 2:10). What Byrne fails to realize about her law of attraction is that our sinful hearts deceive us (Jeremiah 17:9) and attract not only more sin and guilt, but ultimately, the wrath of God.

However, God in His mercy sent His Son to receive this wrath as a Substitute for all who will repent of their selfishness and believe in Him. And "through the true knowledge of Him"—not Rhonda Byrne's book—"His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3).

"The Secret to everything" (to use Byrne's term) is God Himself. And God, the "Great Secret," has been revealed in Jesus Christ, "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3). God has freely told us in the Bible everything we need to know about discovering the unlimited "treasures of wisdom and knowledge" found in Christ. And He remains an unknown Secret only to those who will not look for Him there.

Copyright © 2007 Donald S. Whitney. All rights reserved.
For more short, reproducible pieces like this, see

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Rhonda Byrne

Rhonda Byrne (b. 1955) is an Australian Television Writer and Producer, best known for her work, The Secret, a self-help book and movie. She has also been a producer for Sensing Murder[1].
According to an article published by Australia's Herald Sun,[2] Rhonda has also worked on the Australian TV series World's Greatest Commercials and Marry Me. In 2007, Byrne was listed among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World[3].

See also
The Secret (2006 film)

1. ^ Rhonda Byrne on IMDB
2. ^,21985,21062184-5006022,00.html Herald Sun - Colin Vickery, January 17, 2007
3. ^,28804,1595326_1615737_1615871,00.html Time Magazine - The Time 100
External links
• Spoof, performed by Amy Poehler on Saturday Night Live, from the SNL Archives' Impressions
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