The Secret

The Secret

The Secret, a film produced by Prime Time Productions, consists of a series of interviews and dramatizations related to "The Law of Attraction". Distributed through DVD, and online (through streaming media), the film and the subsequent publication of a book by the same name and of the same topic as the film, has attracted interest from media figures such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Larry King as well as criticism from the mainstream press.


The Secret, described as a self-help film, uses a documentary format to present the non-scientific "Law of Attraction." This law is the "secret" that, according to the tagline, "has traveled through centuries to reach you." The film features short dramatized experiences and interviews of a team of "personal transformation specialists", "spiritual messengers", "feng shui masters", and experts. As put forth in the film, the "Law of Attraction" principle posits that people's feelings and thoughts attract real events in the world into their lives; from the workings of the cosmos to interactions among individuals in their physical, emotional, and professional affairs. The film also suggests that there has been a strong tendency by those in positions of power to keep this central principle hidden from the public. The previews or "clues" to the film, show men who "uncovered the Secret...".


Julie Ann Storr, founder of Nibbana (Sydney) in a how-to of the film's tenets, reports, "it all starts with gratitude" and Stephanie Whittaker of Montréal's The Gazette notes, "proponents ... talk about a universal intelligence that responds to our desires. The film encourages the viewer to see "the Universe [as] 'a catalog' that we can flip through and shop" and advises surrounding oneself with "positive" people. Visualization and Vision boards—anything on which one has placed images of what one wants—are recommended as aids for manifesting desires.[9] Paul Harrington, the co-producer, uses his computer's screen saver as a vision board. The Secret lists three required steps — "ask, believe, receive" — as the essence of the Law of Attraction:

Teachers of the Law of Attraction

The film interviews "professionals" and "authors" in the fields of quantum physics, psychology, metaphysics, coaching, theology, philosophy, finance, feng shui, medicine, and personal development, who are referred to as "secret teachers". Some of these individuals, at their Web sites, promote the film and their connection to it. A few of the individuals with only brief appearances do not specifically speak of the "Law of Attraction" in their interviews, so their support of the concepts is based on viewer assumption.

Individuals who focus on the "Law of Attraction", are interviewed in the film, and have later been featured on prominent American TV shows, are: John Assaraf, Dr. Rev. Michael Beckwith, Dr. John Demartini, Bob Proctor, Jack Canfield, James Arthur Ray, Dr. Joe Vitale, Lisa Nichols, Marie Diamond, and Dr. John Gray. Other people involved in the film, who have spoken of their strong belief in the Law of Attraction include Esther Hicks (original edition only), Mike Dooley, Bob Doyle, David Schirmer, and Marci Shimoff. Others interviewed in the film, and who voice very similar views without actually using the phrase "Law of Attraction" include: Lee Brower, Hale Dwoskin, Cathy Goodman, Morris E. Goodman, Dr. John Hagelin, Bill Harris, Dr. Ben Johnson, Loral Langemeier, Dr. Denis Waitley, Neale Donald Walsch, and Dr. Fred Alan Wolf. Also included are quotes by historical figures, who the film claims were "secret teachers". In a voiceover, producer Rhonda Byrne says, "I can't believe all the people who knew this; they were the greatest people in history," referring to them as "past secret teachers." The people identified include: Hermes Trismegistus, Buddha, Aristotle, W. Clement Stone, Plato, Isaac Newton, Martin Luther King Jr., Carl Jung, Victor Hugo, Henry Ford, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Robert Collier, Winston Churchill, Andrew Carnegie, Joseph Campbell, Alexander Graham Bell, and Ludwig van Beethoven.

Historical foundations in New Thought ideas

The marketers of The Secret cite the New Thought movement ideas that began in the late 19th century as the historical basis for their product.

Essentially, The Secret is ... touting the principles of New Thought and Unity Christianity. The teachers of The Secret have been regulars on New Thought/Unity circuit for years — now more "prosperous" than ever. - Illuminati

The New Thought book The Science of Getting Rich, the source of Rhonda Byrne's inspiration for the film, was preceded by numerous other New Thought books, including the 1906 book Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World by William Walker Atkinson, editor of New Thought magazine. Other New Thought books Byrne is purported to have read include,

...self-help gurus, like Charles F. Haanel’s “The Master Key System” from 1912; Prentice Mulford’s 19th-century Thoughts Are Things; and Robert Collier’s Secret of the Ages from 1926.

The fast-paced, opening sequences of the film portray the alleged history of The Secret — showing:

In a sequence titled, "The Secret was Buried:"

* The text of the Emerald Tablet being copied on to a scroll and given to a priest.
* The Emerald Tablet being buried near the Pyramids of Giza.

Followed by a sequence titled, "The Secret was Coveted:"

* A Knight Templar giving the scroll to a Catholic priest.
* Scroll with text of the Emerald Tablet being analyzed by alchemist St. Germain.
* A drawing of the Azoth of the Philosophers in the alchemist' shop.

Followed by a sequence titled, "The Secret was Suppressed:"

* A series of brief scenes of the business elite meeting in a contemporary board room.

Portrayal of ideas preceding the New Thought movement

The Secret website cites the Emerald Tablet, supposedly written by Hermes Trismegistus (purportedly a "secret teacher"), as "... one of the most important historical documents known to mankind". Byrne posits that the earliest trace of "the secret" occurred in the Emerald Tablet, followed much later by the Rosicrucians — a "secret order that espoused many of the ideas of The Secret." Mention is made of Victor Hugo and Ludwig van Beethoven's supposed membership in the order as well as Isaac Newton's purported work in translating the tablet.

Carolyn Sackariason of the Aspen Times, when commenting about Byrne's intention to share The Secret with the world, identifies the Rosicrucians as keepers of The Secret:

The Mastery of Life" [ a Rosicrucian teaching similar to The Secret ] is not difficult to grasp, but the secret of the Rosicrucian tradition has been protected and preserved for thousands of years, shown only to those who have proven a true desire to know.

Neither the words "Emerald Tablet" nor "Rosicrucian" are spoken in the film, however, at key transition points the screen image rapidly zooms in on the word "Rosicrucian".

Elements in opening sequences

Many elements pass quickly in the cinematic, historical sequences at the beginning of the film and are not explained or otherwise mentioned in the film (listed in the order in which they appear — excepting Rosicrucian element):
[show]Element Related detail Significance
Page in a book, showing chapter title: "The World's Greatest Discovery" From book: The Secret of the Ages, by Robert Collier (appears during the first minute of the film) Reported to be one of the books Byrne read in researching the Law of Attraction.
Book: A History of Egypt Shown for less than a second Byrne's voice-over: "I began tracing the secret..."
An illustration in A History of Egypt Labeled, "Fig 13. The Emerald Tablet" Initial mention of Emerald Tablet
Emerald Tablet Authored by the "mythical deity," Hermes Trismegistus The website claims, "perceived as one of the most important historical documents known to mankind"
Scroll The film shows the text of the Emerald Tablet being copied on to a scroll The film shows the copy being kept by a priest.
Book: The Life Power and How To Use It by Elizabeth Towne, published in 1906 — wrote about New Thought ideas First image in the sequence titled, "The Secret was Coveted"
Alchemist Saint Germain Shown probing the secrets of the Emerald Tablet Alchemy, the transforming of mind into matter.
Azoth of the Philosophers A meditative emblem used by alchemists and first published in 1659 "'Azoth' ... is one of the more arcane names for the One Thing"

"Rosicrucian", as text — Note: the word "Rosicrucian" is not spoken in the film. Appears briefly, 12 times in the film, at 0:22:43, 0:22:50, 0:45:16, 0:53:26, 0:53:30, 0:59:41, 0:59:45/46, 1:08:55, 1:08:59, 1:15:36, and 1:22:14[ Described by the official website as "...a legendary and secret order that espoused many of the ideas of The Secret"


The film was created by Prime Time Productions of Melbourne Australia with Rhonda Byrne, executive producer; Paul Harrington, producer; and Drew Heriot, director. Gozer Media of Collingwood, a suburb of Melbourne, is the design house responsible for the visual style and feel of the film and book. Byrne's company TS Production LLC, a Hungarian company, is responsible for marketing and distribution of the film and book. Byrne commented about the research she did prior to making the film:

So I sat down and did a huge list of everything I had read ... and when I finished the list I handed it to them [the film production team]. They said that’s impossible, you couldn't read that many books in a year, two years, and I had read all of those books in two and a half weeks - and well, that's The Secret.

Byrne's inspiration for creating The Secret came from reading the 1910 book The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles. The film was done as a project for Channel Nine an Australian TV Network. Nine put up less than 25% of the $3 million project with additional funding from mortgaging Bryne's home and from an investment by Bob Rainone, "a former Internet executive in Chicago". Rainone became the CEO of one of Byrne's companies, The Secret LLC, and is described by Byrne as, "delivered to us from heaven".

Shooting of the interviews was done in July and August of 2005 with editing "effectively completed by Christmas time". About 55 teachers and authors were interviewed at locations including Chicago, Aspen, Alaska, and a Mexican Riviera Cruise (interviewing Esther Hicks). The film uses 24 of these teachers in the "Extended Edition" of the film. The first edition featured a 25th teacher, Esther Hicks, known "as the most prominent interpreter of the Law of Attraction". Since the first release of the DVD, Esther Hicks declined to continue with the project, mentioning contractual issues in a letter to friends. Her 10% share of sales netted the Hickses $500,000. As a result of this, scenes with Esther Hicks, are instead narrated by Lisa Nichols and Marci Shimoff. No other "secret teachers" received compensation for their appearance in the film — revealed by Bob Proctor in an interview on Nightline.

Betsy Chasse, one of the producers, directors, and screenwriters for What the Bleep Do We Know!? interviewed Paul Harrington, the co-producer of The Secret. In the interview, Harrington gave this description of Byrne's production methods:

We used the law of attraction during the making of the program. We went very unconventional, in terms of scheduling and budgeting. We allowed things to come to us... We just had faith that things would come to us.

Channel Nine, after viewing the completed film, chose to not broadcast it. A new contract was negotiated with all DVD sales going to Byrne's companies (Prime Time, and The Secret LLC). In hindsight, Len Downs of Channel Nine commented, "we looked at it and we didn't deem it as having broad, mass appeal". The film was eventually broadcast by Channel Nine on 3 February 2007. Downs reported that "it didn't do all that well".


“ They [Byrne & related publishers] have created a look for their books, DVDs, CDs and marketing materials that conjures a "Da Vinci Code" aesthetic, full of pretty faux parchment, quill-and-ink fonts and wax seals.”

— Peter Birkenhead,

The film has been described as a "slick repackaging" of the Law of Attraction, a concept originating in the New Thought ideas of the late 19th century. In producing the film, the law was intentionally "packaged" with a focus on "wealth enhancement" — differing from the more spiritual orientation of the New Thought Movement. One of the film's backers stated, "we desired to hit the masses, and money is the number one thing on the masses' minds".

Choosing to package the film's theme as a "secret" has been called an important component of the films popularity:

"It was an incredibly savvy move to call it 'The Secret'," says Donavin Bennes, a buyer who specializes in metaphysics for Borders Books. "We all want to be in on a secret. But to present it as the secret, that was brilliant."

Critics—in seeming descriptions of the film's packaging—describe the film as:

* a "breathless pizzazz" for a tired self-help genre.
* "emphatically cinematic" and "driven by images and emotions rather than logic"
* a blend of Tony Robbins and The Da Vinci Code.
* "the Unsolved Mysteries of infomercials"

Marketing campaign

The movie was advertised on the Internet using tease advertising and viral marketing techniques in which The Secret and the specific details of the film were not revealed. Additionally, Prime Time Productions grants written permission to individuals or companies, via application at the official site, to provide free screenings of the film to public audiences. Optionally, the DVD may be sold at these screenings.

Aggressive marketing

While continuing to speak highly of the film, Esther Hicks (presented as "secret teacher" in the first edition of the film) goes on to say "Jerry and I were uncomfortable with what felt to us like a rather aggressive marketing campaign (just not our style, nothing wrong with it)... allowing them to edit us out was the path of least resistance."


The Secret has been reported as a "self-help phenomenon", a "publishing phenomenon", and a "cultural phenomenon".

Several critics reported on the self-help phenomenon:

* Julie Mason of the Ottawa Citizen (Canada) reports that,

News of The Secret has spread like the Norwalk virus through Pilates classes, get-rich-quick websites and personal motivation blogs.

* Jane Lampman of the Christian Science Monitor reports The Secret is becoming a brand with 'secret teachers' providing secret related seminars and retreats.

* Jill Culora of the New York Post reports:

In countless Internet blogs, supporters of "The Secret" tell how shifting from negative to positive thoughts radically improved their lives.

The film became a publishing phenomenon in 2007 — helped by being featured on two episodes of Oprah— and reached number one on the Amazon DVD chart in March 2007. A book version, also called The Secret reached number one on The New York Times bestseller list. For much of February through April both the book and DVD versions were #1 or #2 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders. The book's publisher, Simon & Schuster, did a second printing of 2 million — "the biggest order for a second printing in its history". Time reports brisk sales of the DVD through New Age bookstores, and New Thought churches, such as Unity and Agape International Spiritual Center.

Cultural phenomenon

The Secret is reportedly being discussed in "e-mails, in chat rooms, around office cubicles, [and] on blind dates". It is recognized as having a broad and varied impact on culture and is likened to a "Hollywood phenomenon". — New York Post

Spoofs and parodies on television

* In the March 17, 2007 episode of Saturday Night Live, cast members spoofed "The Secret" in a sketch with Oprah Winfrey (Maya Rudolph) interviewing Rhonda Byrne (Amy Poehler). Includes a scene of a man in Darfur being scolded for his lousy attitude.

* The film was parodied in the Boston Legal episode "Brotherly Love," where Denny Crane tried to use the "Law of Attraction" to draw Raquel Welch to him (he was planning to move on to world peace if successful). Unfortunately, Phyllis Diller was the person he eventually drew in.

* On May 16, 2007 the concept was parodied on The Chaser's War on Everything, a satirical comedy program on Australia's ABC network. The show provided an analysis of The Secret, with various themes and theories of the film tested to see if they work in real life, including asking for a parking spot and then pulling into it, despite the fact that there was a car already there, and asking the universe for objects in stores and then just taking them. It was the first subject of the segment "Nut Job of the Week".


* Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist Maureen Dowd invoked "The Secret" while wondering if wishful thinking could lead to a change in the White House.

* Greg Beato, of Reason, reported:

...if you think really, really hard, say, about vigorously cavorting with Salma Hayek on a soft, fluffy bed of Google Series A preferred stock, you will emit a magnetic signal to the universe that will make your vision a reality.

Public response — favorable quotes

* Some say they watch the DVD repeatedly, and have uncovered new secrets within "The Secret" with every viewing. — New York Post

* "I was resistant at first," says Julia Holmes, a Los Angeles resident who saw the DVD on the day after Christmas. "But after watching it, I decided to play a game. I was late for a yoga class and I thought about a particular place in the room next to a wall that I wanted to be in. When I got there, the space was open. I went through the rest of the day smiling to myself and thinking, this stuff works." — Time magazine

* Cathy Jacobs -- owner of Angels Cappuccino and Ice Cream Cafe, a small operation ... has sold nearly 1,400 copies of the DVD. Jacobs says customers buy several copies at a time to give as gifts. — Calgary Herald

Public response — unfavorable quotes

* Critics of The Secret, and even some fans, are bothered by its obsession with using ancient wisdom to acquire material goods. — Time magazine

* ...the whole idea that any of this is a "secret" is widely considered a joke. — New York Post

* To sane people this is laughable, like the Tooth Fairy or Ouija boards. To others it’s downright offensive — where does God fit into this DIY [do-it-yourself] existence? — Beliefnet

Broadcast coverage

The Secret has been featured on national talk and news programs for TV and radio.

Talk show circuit

* Two special episodes of the Larry King Live Show on November 2, 2006 and November 16, 2006. The episodes are called "The Power of Positive Thoughts" and "The Power of Positive Thinking."
* On December 1, 2006, comedian Ellen DeGeneres followed suit by presenting two of The Secret teachers on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
* Oprah Winfrey presented two episodes on The Secret: "Discovering The Secret". on February 8, 2007 and "The Reaction". on February 16, 2007.
* The Montel Williams Show presented Jack Canfield and real life stories of the Law of Attraction in an episode titled "Unlocking Secrets to Success" on March 12, 2007.
* On March 29, 2007 Oprah Winfrey invited Law of Attraction expert and channel Esther Hicks to discuss the controversy of "The Secret Behind The Secret" on her radio show, Oprah & Friends.
* On April 5, 2007 Winfrey interviewed Hicks about her involvement with the original version of "The Secret" and questions "non-physical entities Abraham-Hicks" (channelled by Esther) about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, disease, children, and how they all relate to "The Law of Attraction — on Oprah & Friends, titled "Esther Hicks and the Law of Attraction".

News shows

* The Today Show with Matt Lauer interviewed James Arthur Ray and reported that Byrne had canceled her appearance at the last minute the day of the show, February 27, 2007.
* The March 25, 2007 edition of Nightline with Cynthia McFadden discussed the universal Law of Attraction and "The Secret" criticism by mainstream institutions with secret teacher Bob Proctor.

Interviews of purported "secret teachers"

Contributors featured in the film have been interviewed on various TV shows. These comments have been made by them:

* James Ray, interviewed by Harry Smith on The Early Show (CBS), aired Mar. 1, 2007:

SMITH: If I get this straight, the secret of The Secret is, "ask — believe — receive". Is it as simple as that?
RAY: Well that's one of the author's interpretations. I believe that you have to think, feel, and act...

* Bob Proctor, interviewed by Cynthia McFadden on Nightline (ABC), aired Mar. 23rd, 2007:

McFADDEN: Given the fact that so many of these ideas have been written about before...why do you think this book [and film] has struck a chord?
PROCTOR: ...I think she [Rhonda Byrne] has an understanding or a way with this that no one’s ever had before. I’ve been in this [ New Thought ] industry for thirty-eight years and I have never seen anything that will even come close to this.

* Joe Vitale, on Larry King Live (CNN), "The Secret" episode aired Mar. 8th, 2007:[51]

CALLER: I'm just curious, where does God come into the whole "Secrets".
VITALE: God is all of us. God is the secret and everything about it. This is a law from God.

It has been suggested that some of the information in this article's Criticism or Controversy section(s) be merged into other sections to achieve a more neutral presentation. (Discuss)

Editorial coverage

Catherine Bennett, of the London based Guardian compares the behavior of the leader of the UK Conservative Party to the principles espoused in the film. Touching on themes of greed and blaming-the-victim, Bennett asserts the film is a "moronic hymn to greed and selfishness" and that it "nastily suggests that victims of catastrophe are the authors of their misfortunes".[52]

Slate Human Guinea Pig, Emily Yoffe, experimented with living according to The Secret's precepts for two months, concluding that the film/book's message was "pernicious drivel." Yoffe found it particularly "repulsive" for its tendency to blame the victim and its suggestion to "not just blame people for their illness, but to shun them, lest you start being affected by their bummer thoughts, too."[53]

Journalist Jeffrey Ressner, reporting in Time, writes that some critics are concerned with the film’s attitude toward "using ancient wisdom to acquire material goods." In one example in the film, "a kid who wants a red bicycle cuts out a picture in a catalog, concentrates real[sic] hard, and is rewarded with the spiffy two-wheeler."[33]

Jerry Adler of Newsweek notes that despite the film's allusions to conspiratorially suppressed ancient wisdom, the notions presented by the motivational speakers who make up the film's cast have been commonplace for decades. Adler notes that the film is ethically "deplorable," fixating on "a narrow range of middle-class concerns — houses, cars, vacations, followed by health and relationships, with the rest of humanity a very distant sixth." Noting that the scientific foundations of the movie are clearly dubious, the Newsweek article quotes psychologist John Norcross, characterizing it as "pseudoscientific, psychospiritual babble."[3]

In an article for the Chicago Reader, Julia Rickert questions the validity and authenticity of certain quotations attributed by the film to "past secret teachers". The article[54] describes the extensive, unsuccessful efforts by Rickert to verify a quote claimed to be by "secret teacher" Ralph Waldo Emerson — "The secret is the answer to all that has been, all that is, and all that will ever be". Rickert also examines a quotation in the film by Winston Churchill. She claims Byrne has taken it out of context in order to suggest Churchill held beliefs in accord with The Law of Attraction — “You create your own universe as you go along". Rickert points out that the full context shows that Churchill found such ideas "perfectly useless".[54]

Karin Klein, editorial writer for the Los Angeles Times, called The Secret "just a new spin on the very old (and decidedly not secret) The Power of Positive Thinking [book by Norman Vincent Peale (1952)] wedded to 'ask and you shall receive'." The editorial, in one of its strongest criticisms, asserted Rhonda Byrne "took the well-worn ideas of some self-help gurus, customized them for the profoundly lazy, [and] gave them a veneer of mysticism..."

Tony Riazzi, columnist for the Dayton Daily News, also questions the merits of The Secret, calling Byrne's background as a reality TV producer a "red flag." He also said that "The Secret's" ideas are nothing more than "common sense. Take out the buzzwords and pseudo religious nonsense about what you 'manifest' for yourself, ignore the vague prose and you get the message that thinking positively serves you better than thinking negatively."

Criticism of health claims

ABC news referred to claims that the mind has power over our health as "perhaps the most controversial" in The Secret. They quote Rev. Michael Beckwith, founder of Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City, California, and one of The Secret "teachers" as saying: "I've seen kidneys regenerated. I've seen cancer dissolved." The film features one man who was paralyzed, mute, and on a ventilator after his spine and diaphragm were crushed in an airplane accident. He credits his full recovery to the power of his mind. A similar story is told by another interviewee whose breast cancer went into spontaneous remission without medical intervention.

Several critics have expressed concern about detrimental effects the film may have on the health and well-being of individuals. Dr. Richard Wender, president of the American Cancer Society, worries that guidelines in the film will prompt others to "reject helpful therapies in favor of positive thinking",[30] even though the film verbally asserts that traditional medicine should be pursued for serious illness.

Julia Mckinnell of Canada's Maclean's Magazine in a commentary about the film and book titled, "Some people are finding the self-help phenomenon is actually screwing them up", cited several real-life cases of alleged detrimental effects. She closed with a line Oprah used when urging a guest to seek medical attention for cancer: "The Secret is merely a tool; it's not treatment." On the spiritual side, Valerie Reiss, in a review for BeliefNet, expressed concerns that others might get into "head-tripping" on negative thoughts as she did when younger.

I would realize I was thinking negative thoughts, which would trigger more thoughts about how awful I was for thinking negative thoughts and how I was ruining my life with those thoughts, and so on and so on, until my head was ready to explode with all the bad juju. The only thing that freed me from that loop was something else I also learned that summer at the ashram, meditation.

Religious criticism

Mark Earley—president of Prison Fellowship, a group of ministries founded by Charles Colson — in a commentary titled "New Book, Old Lie", claims "Byrne’s hot new trend" repeats "the oldest lie there is — 'You shall be like God'." Earley asserts this is a prescription for "misery".

USA Today reported on the impact The Secret has had on New Thought churches, such as First Unity Church of St. Petersburg, Florida, led by Rev. Temple Hayes. The church uses the film and book as a teaching tool. James Trapp, CEO of the Association of Unity Churches, calls 'The Secret' "superficial" and Ms. Hayes amends The Secrets promise of everything-is-yours-to-have with " may face some pain along the way. Nothing comes easy."

Prof. John G. Stackhouse, Jr., Professor of Theology and Culture at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, in a commentary at his blog, calls the film "the newest packaging for gnosticism". He portrays the film's message as just another choice among many religions to choose from, not the "Lowest Common Denominator of all religions". And notes:

[The film] is wishful thinking that does not correspond to the way things are. Some of it does, yes, which is why people can honestly testify to good things resulting from it. But some of it does not...

Stackhouse finds the good in the film "genuinely nourishing" and the bad "genuinely toxic". He makes it clear he is "...all for proper positive thinking" — the alleged good aspect of the film — and finds fault with Christian culture for not being better at it:

By God’s grace to us, we know better, we know Christ and his Gospel of new life, and yet often we have failed to speak to the spiritual realities so skillfully addressed by proponents of The Secret.

The toxins are, in Stackhouse's eyes, a spiritually lethal concoction. The identified "poisons" include:

* "blaming the victim"
* "refusal to admit" that life has worthwhile "trade-offs ... [and] sacrifices"
* "It’s all about me and it’s all up to me"

Criticism of the Law of Attraction

Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction is the essence of the film's message. The film's presentation of the law has been criticized for claiming "quantum physics is a part of the Law",for not getting it right according to New Thought practitioners, and for mistakenly usurping the role of God.

Criticism of society

A number of critics wrote hard hitting satirical comments about society's relationship to the film.

* Karin Klein, of the Los Angeles Times, on greed:

Americans are never too jaded for another get-rich-quick chimera... My sister says I'm over-intellectualizing. She, after all, had manifested a fine leather satchel. And I have to admit, if there were designer leather goods to be had out of this, I was interested.

* Emily Yoffe, writing for Slate, ran with a quote by one of the "past secret teachers" — a quote from Einstein that never made it into the film:

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

* Catherine Bennett, writing for the The Guardian describes adherence to The Secret's "law of attraction" as:

[a] creed so transparently ugly and stupid that it seems impossible that anyone could take it seriously.

Societal benefit

Some critics find much to fault in the film and nevertheless see it as providing positive opportunities or benefits for society.

* Greg Beato of Reason Magazine, described previous "A-list hucksters" as "...infectious, helping to create a national mood of high-octane optimism." He closes with:

... If there's anything our current bleak era needs, it's a little irrational exuberance. Perhaps The Secret is the Grand Genie of the Universe's answer to our prayers.[4]

* Jefrey Ressner, at Time—in his final remarks—finds parallels between Madonna and Bob Rainone, Byrne's U.S. business partner:

"The Da Vinci Code was entertaining, but this film is a personal tool for people who want to change their lives," says Rainone. "It's a gift to the world, to help humanity." Or, as another empowerment teacher, Madonna, sang in her own 1994 hit Secret: "Happiness lies in your own hand."

* Jerry Adler of Newsweek, writing about the producer, Rhonda Bryne: ...Irene Izon, [mother to Rhonda Byrne] did offer this assessment to NEWSWEEK: "The thing is that Rhonda just wants to bring happiness to everybody. That's the reason it all began. She just wants everybody to be happy."

And to give her her due, she might actually be achieving some of that. There is nothing, in principle, wrong with thinking about what makes you happy.

Legal controversies

The Australian Nine Network's A Current Affair—an Australian TV tabloid show—on 14 May 2007 segment titled, "The Secret Stoush", interviews Australian author Vanessa J. Bonnette. In the interview, Bonnette—when referring to the book version of The Secret—asserts, "that is my work and Rhonda Byrne has stolen it". Bonnette and a reporter compare her book to Byrne's on the use of the "TV transmission" analogy. Bonnette's book, Empowered for the New Era (2003 Empowered For Life) will be released in 2007 as a second edition. Bonnette, at her website, claims 100 instances of plagiarism.[62] Byrne's marketing company, TS Production LLC, has responded with a lawsuit to restrain Bonnette.From the statement of claim:

Analogy between frequency transmissions, including a television station transmission via a frequency, and humans and human thought is used by many persons in the field of self-help and motivation.

David Schirmer, the "investment guru"—and only Australian—in the film, has his business activities under investigation by the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC). This was reported on 1 June 2007 by A Current Affair in a segment titled "The Secret Con"with those words and The Secret logo appearing in the background behind the newscaster. The show initially confronted Schirmer in a segment titled "The Secret Exposed", aired on 28 May 2007, with complaints from people who say Schirmer owed them money.

On February 12, 2008 Bob Proctor's company, Lifesuccess Productions, L.L.C. filed a lawsuit against "investment guru" David Schirmer, his wife Lorna, and their several companies (including Life Success Pacific Rim PTY LTD, Schirmer Financial Management PTY LTD, Life Success Productions PTY LTD, Excellence in Marketing PTY LTD, and Wealth By Choice PTY LTC) for "mislead. or deceptive conduct".


Paul Harrington, the producer for the film, reported that broadcast TV—instead of the Internet—was initially planned as the medium for the first release:

...we had as our vision to go out to the whole world in 24 hours on television. It was a grand vision, which we weren’t able to pull off for various reasons. We were trying to force, to control the “how” of the universe, when what we were supposed to do was just focus on the vision...

Release dates

The Secret premiere was broadcast through the Internet on March 23, 2006 using Vividas technology. It is still available either on a pay-per-view basis via streaming media (or on DVD at, the official site for the film). A new extended edition of The Secret was released to the public on October 1, 2006. The Australian television premiere was on Nine Network on Saturday, February 3, 2007.

Future releases and spin-offs

Plans have been announced to produce a sequel to The Secret and a spin-off TV series. An August release is planned for the sequel and "spinoff books expected in 2007 are The Secret Workbook and a collection of The Secret Success Stories". (Credit: Wikipedia).



The Secret official website


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