Book Summary: The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Are you looking for a book summary of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne? You have come to the right place.

I jotted down a few key insights from Rhonda Byrne’s book after reading it.

You do not have to read the entire book if you don’t have time. This book summary provides an overview of everything you can learn from it.

Let’s get started without further ado.

In this The Secret book summary, I’m going to cover the following topics:

What is The Secret About?

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. When you discover the hidden, untapped power within you, you’ll be able to experience joy in all aspects of your life.

This book contains wisdom from modern-day teachers who have achieved health, wealth, and happiness through it. They bring to light captivating stories of eradicating disease, acquiring massive wealth, overcoming obstacles, and accomplishing what some would consider impossible based on the teaching of The Secret.

Who is The Author of The Secret?

Rhonda Byrne is the creator behind The Secret, a documentary film that swept the world in 2006, changing millions of lives and igniting a global movement. 

Later that same year, Rhonda’s book of The Secret was released. It has been translated into more than fifty languages. Rhonda has written three more books: The Power in 2010, The Magic in 2012, and Hero in 2013.

The Secret Book Summary

Oprah Winfrey has a lot to answer for. When she publicly stated that the message of The Secret was essentially what she had always wanted to share with the world and had the author Rhonda Byrne on her show she helped to propel the book from being a viral hit to colossal success.

The story of the film and book is most interesting for the brilliant (and canny marketing) genius displayed by Byrne and her associates. While working as a producer of schlocky television in Australia in 2004 she was given a copy of The Science of Getting Rich by her daughter. She claims she became fascinated and inspired by the book and rapidly went on to absorb many other books in the New Thought movement as well as later self-help titles. 

She realised that all of these books shared a common insight into the ‘law of attraction’ – that those who have positive thoughts have positive experiences and vice versa for those who have negative thoughts. 

This really wasn’t all that clever a realisation as the ‘law of attraction’ was an overtly self-evident trope throughout the genre. Byrne nevertheless raised money to fund a film in which she would interview prominent thinkers in the field, mainly in the USA.

The film generated a fog of arcane mystical references to promote its theme. It claimed that the secret that is its subject had been passed down by occult thinkers, depicting the ‘emerald tablet’, an ancient mystical text supposedly written by a (possibly mythological) writer named Hermes Trismegistus, an image of Azoth (an alchemical reference) and symbols of Rosicrucianism (an esoteric branch of Christianity). Victor Hugo, Ludwig van Beethoven and Isaac Newton are all cited in the film as among those who knew the secret. 

This helps to build up the schtick that this amazing secret has been known throughout history but suppressed for mysterious reasons (though it is strongly suggested this is the work of a powerful elite of some sort.) A series of interviews with self-help gurus promoted their own talks and books while reinforcing the message that the ‘law of attraction’ is a real thing.

When the initial funding for the movie fell through, Byrne enlisted some brilliant marketers to launch a viral marketing campaign for the DVD. 

They relied heavily on teasers about the extraordinary, life-transforming secret awaiting viewers. Cinemas were allowed to show the film for free and encouraged to sell the DVD alongside screenings. And a book was also released, with a mysterious wax seal protecting the arcane-looking document, which supposedly contained the secret that would transform your life.

The results of this viral marketing campaign and plugs from celebrities such as Oprah were truly astounding. As evidence of its success, in 2008 it was already estimated to have generated profits of about three hundred million dollars.

What lies behind this colossal money-generating media machine? Mainly a constant repetition of the same baloney that all you need to do is want something and believe in it and it will come true: ‘Ask once, believe you have received and all you have to do to receive is feel good.’ 

Byrne bolsters this with quotes from the likes of Henry Ford: ‘Whenever you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right.’

Byrne’s work features a pretty complete checklist of all the most obnoxious tropes of the self-help genre. She tells her readers to look only to themselves: ‘Instead of focusing on the world’s problems, give your attention and energy to trust, love, abundance, education and peace.’ She even manages to add fat-shaming to the list, arguing that ‘food cannot cause you to put on weight, unless you think it can’ and suggesting it’s best not to observe fat people but ‘immediately switch your mind to the picture of you in your perfect body and feel it’.

Of course, as with any book that advocates positive thinking, there are passages that can sound inspiring in isolation. 

And it’s not hard to find people who claim that it has helped them through bad times in their life: as we’ve seen with other titles, positive thinking can genuinely be a good thing that leads to good consequences and can help you break out of depression. 

It’s just when you start believing that the universe is completely dependent on your thinking that you might start to go a bit crazy and to believe that poverty, obesity and suffering have been brought on those who endure those conditions. 

In one online comments thread, I even found a believer in this book who was prepared to explain that those Jews who escaped the Holocaust did so because of their positive thinking while those who perished were the ones prone to negative thinking. This is possibly the most appalling thing I have ever seen on the internet – and there is a huge amount of competition.

If you want to read a single title that summarises all the worst traits of the self-help publishing movement, The Secret is ideal. It has farcical historical justifications, a ludicrously simplistic ‘positivity message’, some questionable interpretations of that message, and very little real substance. 

And by dressing this all up in a Da Vinci Code-style occult mystery it represents the most ridiculous piece of huckstering since the days of Napoleon Hill.

Buy The Book: The Secret

If you want to buy the book The Secret, you can get it from the following links:

Further Reading

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