Or, rather, do you plan to re-package information that’s been around for, oh, at least a hundred years if not centuries, and make a gazillion bucks? Well, that’s pretty much what Rhonda Byrne has done with her documentary The Secret, and the book by the same title that is based on it. Just what is this secret, you might ask, if you haven’t already seen the DVD or read one of the many articles written about it? Basically, it’s the law of attraction: if you want something, ask for it, visualize it happening, and you’ll get it. Or, as Byrne puts it in her snappy mantra, "ask, believe, receive." According to Byrne and others who are featured, this applies to all kinds of things one might want, from losing weight, to getting rich, to curing cancer. Byrne herself is possibly the best example of the power of the law: just a short time ago, she was dealing with the loss of a parent, she was exhausted and in despair, her life had collapsed around her. Some time later, she read the book The Science of Getting Rich and her life and purpose were transformed. Look where she is now! Her DVD has sold over 1.5 million copies, her book is currently number one on the NYT Best Sellers list for Hardcover Advice books, and Oprah has dedicated not one but two episodes of her show to The Secret. Not much of a secret anymore, really.
And that, in my own opinion, is the saving grace of what Byrne is doing. She’s taken something that she firmly believes is important and helpful to people, but which they may not know about, and putting it out there in a new, flashy format. The packaging and content of the DVD–from its title and art to its testimonials and seminar-like format–as well the website for it, are guaranteed to pique interest in The Secret and make it hugely popular and, therefore, widely available. She’s bringing the message to the masses, and she’s doing it because she believes people will benefit from it.
Judging by the number of holds on The Secret (at the time of this writing, 19 on the DVD, 22 on the book), a lot of people in Iowa City are eager to hear what Byrne has to say. If you’re one of them, but can’t wait for your hold to come up, consider checking out some of the other titles we have on the subjects of self actualization and success.
Also, if you can, check out the February 25 article in the New York Times, titled "Shaking Riches Out of the Cosmos" to get the story behind the making of the DVD, and the problems that arose between Byrne and her former associate Esther Hicks. Makes me wish for a revival of Celebrity Boxing, with those two in the ring. I’m visualizing it now.