Clearly, The Secret is drivel, but why should that stop me from sincerely throwing myself into seeing if it worked? I am already deeply susceptible to superstition and seeing signs—if I find a penny (faceup only), I pick it up knowing something good will happen to me. As self-absorbed as I already am, I loved the permission the book gave to sink deeper into a Jacuzzi of megalomania. As The Secret points out: "You are the master of the Universe. You are the heir to the kingdom. You are the perfection of Life." Just as I'd always suspected! So, I vowed to follow Byrne's simple rules for abundance and see what happened. The book encourages one to start big: "It is as easy to manifest one dollar as it is to manifest one million dollars." But I thought starting with the million-dollar manifestation was like saying, "I love you" on a first date; I didn't want to scare the universe into not taking my calls.
Furthermore, according to Karen Cerulo in her book Never Saw It Coming, we, both as individuals and as a society, are obsessed with "positive thinking" about our futures. Think about it: did you ever hear of a little girl acting out a game of "miserable, eccentric, lonely dowager" with her dollies? Our obsession, Cerulo claims, with positive thinking extends to the point that we actively shun and ignore potential danger -- consider how few of us wear sunscreen even though 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lives, or the fact that only 30% of Americans have wills.
So basically, the secret of The Secret is that the author has outlined a pseudo-religious system that affirms and feeds our infantile demand for our own way as well as our fundamental terror of future pain. It's works salvation writ large -- "thoughts" salvation, if you will.
Stay far away. And warn your friends. And if you absolutely must read it, at least get it from the library.