Posted in Books

Book Review: The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne

“If you want to be happy, be.”

Leo Tolstoy, one of my favorite authors, gives voice to what is a beautiful thought. That if we want to be happy, then we should be. The only thing stopping us from being happy is us. Seeing from the white side of life, this feels the way life should be lived, without giving a thought to sadness. And this is something I try to do most of the time. Why not always? Why do I stop myself from being happy? The easiest answer, and the one that is true, is that life is not white, but mostly gray. There are times when you can’t help but feel a little low.

Rhonda Byrne’s “The Secret” – one of my friends had this book with her. Someone had gifted her the copy, and she asked me my opinion on the book. So I told her I would read and let her know. Self-help books may not help everyone in the world, but one thing I have noticed is that most, if not all of them have some points that we do agree with, or understand, or even relate to. Did I like the book? Yes. Kind of. Did I love it? No.

Why so? The Secret has a lot of points that inspire. Let me tell you why I feel it’s good, and why I feel it’s not good. The common take-away from the book (there are a lot, but this one supercedes everything) is that Like Attracts Like. The take-away tells that if you think positive, positive things come to you. So if you want to feel happy, then think happy thoughts. The law of attraction will bring other happy thoughts to you to make your desire happen. The kicker is that the law doesn’t understand negative and positive, so if you think negative, it’ll bring negative to you. Fair enough. I’ve felt that too. Does it inspire me to think positive? Yes it does.

Now let’s think a little more practically. Do you enter a marriage saying, “I don’t want a divorce” or “I don’t want to be abused”? Or enter an exam hall every time saying “I don’t want to fail”? Of course not. Our thoughts are positive in those times. We say, “I want a happy married life” or “I want to do well” and believe in it. But doesn’t go our way every time. It’s because life is a bit more grey than we think it to be. No one wanders around with negative things in their head all the time that it manifests. We don’t do our work thinking “I don’t want to be yelled at by my boss” and neither does our boss go about thinking, “Today I will yell at my employee”. It’s because there’s a grey area that says, “It just happens”. Another thing it says is that if you take in negative thoughts of others, offer sympathy to them, you are attracting more negative thoughts. That is to say, you are inviting more complaints. I don’t necessarily feel that helping a friend ease their negative thought is a bad thing. If we were to turn away a friend in a bad mood when they come to us to seek some understanding, what kind of friend would we be? Carrying on in the attraction vein, The Secret and Your Body tells me that the reason one is overweight is because there were “fat thoughts”. If you were to see a overweight person, turn away and think of the body you want to have. I kind of understand that you must believe that you can lose weight to start on the way to actually doing it, but looking away from overweight people feels a little dumb.

These are but a few of the things from the book. What is the good part is that there are things that are to be believed in. Believe that positive thoughts will attract positive thoughts, believe that you can do things if you put your heart to it, believe that visualizing your day helps it to go the right way, that releasing negativity can make you happy… yes, there are things that are to be taken the right way. Whether these things were “secrets” I am not sure of, because I believe, on some level, these were things we knew. The book’s downfall, I believe, is that it misses that gray area of life. It’s too optimistic. And not entirely practical.

This book is perfect, I believe, for an eternal optimist, who will love this book beyond doubt.

Why should you read it?
A self-help book with things that do inspire. I like the Ask Believe Receive concept.

What you may not like…
Preachy, which isn’t that nice for any book. There are things that aren’t practical, so it feels funny sometimes.

Rated a 6/10
Rated a 6/10

Book Details:
Title: The Secret
Series: N/a
Author: Rhonda Byrne
Genre: Self-help
ISBN/ASIN: 9781847370297
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Price: INR. 700

The book is a personal copy. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.

Shared with First Reads Challenge at b00k r3vi3ws.

(7th May 2014)


Poetry and writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.