The Secret by Rhonda Byrne – Book Review

The Secret is no secret; it is a long discussed observation in the human experience usually called the “Law of Attraction”. It has been called by other names. The Law of Attraction is the principle that what we think attracts to us a reality that is the same as or aligned with what we think. For example if we think we are or will be well, we are likely to attract good health and be better. If we think about being sick or think we will get sick we are more likely to get sick. While it is not entirely that simple, in its basic essence that is what it says.

The Author

Rhonda Byrne claims to have had a difficult point in her life in 2005. She says her life collapsed around her. She discovered a small old book titled, The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles. (We reviewed that book in CTW on June 16, 2008 in issue #10) Wallace’s book is all about the Law of Attraction and how it can be used to make one wealthy. This led Byrne onto a research project where she identified both ancient and contemporary writers and others who taught or used this law. Within a year she traveled to the U.S., interviewed a number of people who had some name familiarity and fame and who also believed in the Law of Attraction, and completed the movie. She had been a movie producer and had a crew to complete this project.

Law of Attraction

There are various aspects of the Law of Attraction that The Secret discusses, such as the apparent fact that it takes more negative thinking to attract a negative outcome than the positive thinking needed to attract a positive outcome. There is a natural delay between the thoughts and the outcome and this delay permits us to repair damage done by negative thoughts through deliberate positive thinking. Strong emotional thinking – feeling the thoughts in strong manner can increase the effectiveness of the power of attraction.

The attraction is not automatic and sometimes we get something similar to what we are attracting.

If you search for the “science of getting rich” or “law of attraction” you will come up with a great many websites that claim to teach the secret of Wallace D. Wattles or other aspects of the Law of Attraction. One of the oldest websites is Rebecca Fines’ ( which has been up since 1998.

In fact people have been “discovering” Wattles’ book and the Law of Discovery for a long time. Bob Proctor has sold books and courses on the material from Wattles’ book for decades.

If you have never read anything about the law of attraction or how human thought can influence what happens to the thinking person, this book is a great introduction. It also introduces you to many of today’s law of attraction gurus including Jack Canfield, John Gray, Lisa Nichols, Dr. Joe Vitale, and Bob Proctor among many more. It also highlights some (but not all) of the older writers, long ago deceased, who wrote about this in the 19th and early 20th centuries, including Robert Collier, Charles Haanel, Prentice Mulford and of course Wallace Wattles. For someone starting out on an investigation of this thinking this book is a great start and will open many interesting doors to websites and books, both contemporary and classic, on the subject.

If however you have read much of this material you will find nothing new in The Secret. It is the basic new thought of the 19th century, which derived from many ancient Eastern and Western traditions, and repackaged in a new format and linked to a number of current teachers and public speakers.


The book’s biggest flaw is over statement. It suggests that mere thoughts, no matter how fleeting or how concentrated, can bring good fortune or disaster into one’s life. Taken literally this is a frightening concept and one for which there is no evidence. While the more subtle concept that our thoughts can affect our lives is supported by the experience of many there is no basis to believe it is as instant as the book describes.

Also the book is somewhat deceiving in that it suggests that thought alone can accomplish what we seek. This runs contrary to any successful person’s experience. No matter what your frame of mind, your thinking or your planning may be, absent good hard work and intelligent application of skills success will remain elusive.

(One caveat: although the “law of attraction” is presented as fact and a law, it is not subject to scientific proof and is not in fact a scientific law.)  Book Review by Daniel R. Murphy

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.