Essay:The Secret (Chapter by Chapter Commentary)

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I found that the article on The Secret was a bit too sparse, since it didn't seem to really touch on the book's particulars that much, and this chapter-by-chapter analysis is a way to fix that. During this article, it may seem like I'm skipping through several pages without saying anything substantial. That is because The Secret is a book of mostly filler, where a lot of the text consists of compliments, assurances, repetitions and quotes of other people doing the previous 3 things. Most notably, each chapter starts with a page or two of these quotes which are rarely important to describe.

As a side note, the version of The Secret I used is a pdf version that a friend provided me; if there are any page issues (and there is) that would be the reason.

Cover and Acknowledgments[edit]

Right from the start, The Secret tries to seem like a special and mystic piece of work, with the cover being covered in designs, glowing letters, and fake aged paper, which, if anything, makes it look like cheap young adult fiction. The back is no better, namedropping Plato and Edison as followers of the secret as some sort of entirely unsubstantiated appeal to authority. The most baffling thing you'll see before you start reading the book is the quote on the back that says "As you learn The Secret, you will come to know how you can have, be, or do anything you want. You will come to know who you really are. You will come to know the true magnificence that awaits you." from the introduction of the book itself, which is also quoted incorrectly.

The first text actually inside the book is a quote from the emerald tablet stating “As above, so below. As within, so without.” dated to 3000 bc. For those not in the know the emerald tablet is a mythical occult text that is supposedly written to a combination of thoth and hermes but has actually been dated to between the sixth and eighth century AD. Of course this won't be the first time she quotes it. (

Before the contents page is an obnoxious dedication to the readers themselves, which reinforces the idea that the secret can get you whatever you want

The foreword: The foreword contains an anecdote about the writer’s terrible life before she found the secret where everyone hated her, she was overworking herself and her father died and then her daughter found a hundred year old book that detailed the Secret. From what research I did I couldn’t find her mentioning the book the Secret is allegedly based on.

She apparently did some research about this Secret and traced it down history herself connecting many historical figures. This also does not have any reference books or other information about the study. Despite this lack of information she apparently then dedicated herself to sharing this information.[1] She then claims this Secret allowed her to contact “great living master(s)” who would link to each other and even her mistakes bringing her to success to the point that even pressing the wrong link accidentally on google still brought her to her desired information . She also claims that the secret allowed her to get dozens of teachers to be in the film. Of course she doesn’t talk about whether or not the 3.5 million dollar budget for the movie helped her hire researchers or if she just stayed in her house while “fifty-five of the greatest teachers across the united states” were compelled to ring her doorbell.[2]

After this she goes heavy into the prosperity gospel like aspect of this, giving testimony about people being cured of disease and getting checks in the mail that they didn’t know the source of. She of course has not yet given any detail about how exactly this worked. She even credits the Secret with people sharing the Secret with their patients and students which doesn’t seem to be based on any supernatural aspect as much as being really pushy.[3]

She also details that she capitalized the word “You” in this book so the reader knows that she means You specifically rather than a general group of you. Somehow this book is both mass produced and bespoke at the same time.

The acknowledgement section is also a list of co authors who provide personal stories and vague motivating speech. [4]

“John Assaraf,

Michael Bernard Beckwith, Lee Brower, Jack Canfield, Dr. John De- martini, Marie Diamond, Mike Dooley, Bob Doyle, Hale Dwoskin,

Morris Goodman, Dr. John Gray, Dr. John Hagelin, Bill Harris, Dr. Ben Johnson, Loral Langemeier, Lisa Nichols, Bob Proctor, James

Ray, David Schirmer, Marci Shimoff, Dr. Joe Vitale, Dr. Denis Wait- ley, Neale Donald Walsch, and Dr. Fred Alan Wolf.”

The Secret Revealed[edit]

Like every chapter from the secret this starts with quotes from authors, philosophers and chiropractors. Each of these people are usually listed as having multiple specialties, often including ones that seem applicable but also unprovable like visionary and metaphysician so it seems like they know what they're talking about. These quotes in question are empty to the point of parody saying things like "This is the Great Secret of Life.". This is obviously a front loaded appeal to authority so when you start reading the baffling concepts within you'll be thinking that there are dozens of professionals that agree.[5]

Bob Proctor, self proclaimed philosopher author and personal coach writes the preface to the first chapter where he implies that the laws of the universe are consistent and precise because of the law of attraction which is also of course the titular Secret. This obviously makes no sense not only because the secret doesn't make sense but also because at this point of the book the secret hasn't even been described yet. [6]

This lack of justification continues as the main author starts name dropping about a dozen historical figures and major religions stating that they used the secret as well as adds to the idea that it is the fundamental law of the universe, of course without justification. She also name drops Charles Haanel who was a mostly forgotten spiritualist who scammed people with a 12 week correspondence course.[7]

She then gets to examples that she thinks proves the secret, namely how rich people tend to stay rich despite bankruptcies. She does not explain this through connections, social capital or even skill. Instead she of course says that the dominant thoughts of the rich are on wealth so they gained money.[8]

Next finally outlines the basis of the law of attraction "like attracts like" and talks about another example which is how bad things seem worse if you think about it. Of course this causes no physical changes in the outside world but that doesn't stop the author from asserting that it also works that way.[9]

They then elaborate by saying that your brain is a tv tower that attracts things of the same frequency you put out and asks the question "Why isn't everybody living the life of their dreams?"[10] which she answers by of course blaming the sick and poor for thinking of their problems and that this is the greatest epidemic in the world. Of course this brings up the question "what about the people who think "I don't want to be sick"?". The author counters this by saying that thinking "I don't want to be sick" is thinking about being sick. A guest author later gives another victim blaming example that talks about how he "cured" homophobic bullying by ignoring it in only 6-8 weeks.[11]

After this we get into the weeds of the Secret which of course means quantum woo, Specifically "Quantum physicists tell us that the entire Universe emerged from thought!"[12]. She also gives some "tips" on how to use the Secret including how your brain loops the last thing you think of before going to bed when you sleep,[13] that your unconscious thoughts can also affect the secret (which makes for the ultimate escape hatch)[14], that humans are the only creatures with this power and that positive thoughts are more powerful (which will later be contradicted).[15]

The Secret Made Simple[edit]

She starts this chapter in a really disgusting way: by trying to fit genocides into her framework. This of course is done by saying that their thoughts of bad scenarios made bad scenarios happen although she admits it will never be exactly what they imagine. This of course removes the agency from the people committing or enabling atrocities and instead blames the victims' subconscious for their own deaths.[16]

After this bombshell she quickly pivots to talking about how feelings are important because they allow you to figure out your subconscious thoughts including specifically saying that feeling sad is encouraging the universe to cause bad things to you and it even causes a feedback loop where bad things make you sad then more things come to make you sad which will make the sadness harder to break.[17] She also suggests something that she calls "secret shifters" which are memories that make you feel happy as a way to distract you from problems in your life.[18] At this point things that are the cause of your problems are your explicit thoughts, your subconscious thoughts and your feelings which gives one hell of an escape hatch to anyone who says it isn't working.

How to Use The Secret[edit]

This chapter starts with a continuation of the Secret's imagined history by talking about how its been handed down for centuries.[19] It soon gets to an interesting metaphor where she says the Secret essentially works like the literal genie trope and that's why you sometimes get what you don't want.[20] Of course this makes no sense even when just looking at previous chapters which said that thinking "I don't want X" would just give it to you, still the opposite of a genie that doesn't look at context. She then quickly pivots to talking about the bible, specifically how the creative process of the Secret is from the bible.[21] This connection is not elaborated upon.

She goes on to say that there are three steps to getting what you want using the secret: asking, believing and receiving. For asking she specifies that you only need to ask once which is in contradiction to other messages about how you're supposed to repeat things to intensify the chances like when she talks about repeating information when you are about to sleep previously.[22]

The second step is believing this will work. Utter faith is required for a perfect escape hatch and you have to act like it has already happened (I wonder how many people who said they got stuff through the secret was just acting like they have?). You can’t even notice that you don’t already have it. Treat with the certainty you have when you book a vacation. Practice through make believe and don’t care how its possible.[23]

The third step is receiving which is less of a step and more a partial rewrite of the first two steps, once again talking about asking once and believing. [24]

She then goes into how sometimes you will have to do stuff to get the Secret to manifest your desire properly but that doesn’t count as work because it necessarily feels effortless like following a river’s current. You’ll know because its instinctual .[25]

She then goes into an extended example of this process using obesity, calling things like saying you have a thyroid problem an example of "thinking fat thoughts" which she considers to be the true cause of obesity and directly states that food doesn't cause weight gain and its instead because you think weight gain is caused by food. This is justified by people who eat junk food without gaining weight.[26]

After that introduction she places this into the three step framework. Step one picture yourself at your perfect weight, step two is to act exactly like you'd act at your ideal weight including not buying clothes you can currently wear because that would be thinking fat thoughts and seek out people with perfect weight bodies to praise. Finally the third step is feeling good which you'd think would be part of the second step since that's would be part of feeling your perfect weight. The book also suggests that by focusing enough on the experience of eating food you won't gain weight.[27]

It then goes back to the theoretical by talking about how there isn't actually a time delay for the secret to manifest and its just the lack of believably a lack of delay would bring.[28] She also gives this reasoning for why getting small things like finding a feather on the street is easier than getting something more impressive.[29]

The chapter ends with a tip saying that planning your day increases a chance of success because the panic from rushing would be telling the universe that you need more things to make you rush.[30]

Powerful Processes[edit]

In this chapter we explore more about the specific mechanics that are supposed to make the secret work. The author starts by talking about how your life is the result of your thoughts and expectations which as we learned independently from every chapter attracts things to you.[31]

She then cuts to a process from someone named Neville Goddard who suggests that you should think through the events of your day, rewriting all bad events in your head in ways that thrill you so they don't bring things you don't want. We continue talking about what you should do in bed by talking about what to do when you wake up which is that you should be grateful for your day and everything in your life and when you get out of bed you should just constantly repeat "thank you" to yourself. [32]

She considers gratitude to be a necessary aspect of the Secret since a lack of gratitude would mean that you're expressing negative thoughts and later recommends that you should write about how grateful you are for getting everything you want before you wanted it,[33] visualization is considered key in this since that is a strong signal of what you want. She justifies this by comparing it to inventions which always start with an idea.[34] She also gives tips about how to make your visualizations stronger by adding movement to your ideas since she says it makes holding an image in your head easier. Doubt on the other hand is considered a great enemy that you should never let into your mind.[35]

The Secret to Relationships[edit]

Despite this chapter being about relationships it starts by comparing the secret to feng shui by saying it also reflects how thoughts become action somehow and then shifts to talking about how your actions can imply your innermost thoughts like how if you draw women looking away from you it means your thoughts are telling the universe that you don't want a girlfriend and that parking at your house in a way that wouldn't allow someone to park next to you stops you from getting a spouse.[36]

She argues that you should act in the ways you'd normally be treated by a partner to signal to the world that you want a partner which is a continuation of the idea that you have to act like you have already obtained your desire in order to get your desire. Eventually the self love will surround you with people that love you.[37]

Conversely if you do things for other people at your own expense you are doing something terrible because sacrificing yourself for others is sending a signal to the world that there are actually shortages of things which will be created for you and the person you are trying to help, causing resentment. Instead everyone should only be out for themselves because its the only thing they can change[38]

It then reiterates that you have to be focused on yourself to gain love in your life and that feeling bad will cause bad things to happen to you in your life. In short to improve your life you should only focus on things you like and ignore the issues that affect you or other people.[39] .

The Secret to Health[edit]

Because it wouldn't be a new age book without talking about health. The chapter opens up by saying all modern medicine only works because people think it works, that stress is the cause of disease and that "love and gratitude will dissolve any disease".[40]

She gives an example of how to heal people by giving an example of someone who tried to cure cancer through watching comedic movies. Cancer that the author later claims is incurable. According to the author the person in the example only watched comedy movies and nothing else and was cured. [41]

The main justification for the secret's stance on disease besides its overall idea that everything that happens to you is because of your explicit and implicit desires is the idea that cell replication replacing your body over means that you can't have a long term disease. [42]

We then go to the idea that you can't get sick if you only think of perfection. The author claims that she healed bodily stiffness and a lack of agility this way. Not only that but aging can also be solved this way. Only ignore all thought and talk about aging and disease and you will become immune to both.[43]

The Secret to the World[edit]

From the title you know this chapter will be fairly generalist. It immediately starts with the author saying that resisting things is bad because it gives power to the idea and instead you have to think positively about the opposite idea.[44] The idea that thinking against something only empowers it is an idea the book talks about a lot so nothing special this time around. Something that she does touch on that is a bit new is how she confirms that everything begins with a thought and if no one thinks of it then how would it exist.[45] You might wonder how things that affect us that aren't obvious existed like disease or nutrition but sadly The Secret doesn't go out to say that bacteria was invented by Louis Pasteur when he was looking in his microscope.

Of course this means that denial and ignorance is actually beneficial to society, if you don't read about international disasters your fear cannot help it get worse and kill more people. She tries to demonstrate that this is true by pointing out how newspapers focus on bad news because it sells newspapers which of course works in a way that actually makes sense while the secret effecting world events is justified through the vaguest nods to quantum mechanics.[46]

She also mentions that by extension scarcity itself is caused by negative thinking and relates a story of an oil company in Belize that was able to find incredible amounts of oil where no one before can find it. The author argues that this was because they mentally conjured up the oil. She continues these types of thoughts can conjure anything and "Nothing is limited—not resources or anything else. It is only limited in the human mind.".[47]

The Secret to You[edit]

despite being called "the secret to you" this chapter starts with her talking about quantum physics again. She says that because of the secret she can perfectly understand university textbooks about physics and is now ready to perfectly outline the foundations of the universe. This consists of her talking about how the universe vibrates and that you are a transmitter again. Of course because everything is energy and reacts to thought this means that spirits exist since energy can't be created or destroyed. Not only is this apparently true but she also says that everyone actually knows this and people who don't think a soul exists are in denial.[48]

This gets extended even more: since everything is energy that means every idea already exists in the universe like the akashic records and people are just finding them. This means that all possibilities also exist in the universe, already occurring.[49]

At this point she changes the reason why negative thoughts are bad. Instead of the universe being a literal genie bringing you thinks because you thought of something and the universe doesn't care about context now the issue is that being negative separates you from the universe. This is because all negative emotions are based on fear which is based on wanting to separate yourself. Why this doesn't separate the undesired thing from you I do not know.

Because of this competition is bad. Competition comes from a desire to separate yourself from others and a sense of lacking so it attracts both people to compete with and losing. She also reiterates that scarcity doesn't exist which in the framing of competition makes me wonder what her opinion is on necessarily scarce things, does she think more than one team can win Olympic gold in hockey in the same year?[50]

She once again reiterates that you can do anything but now in more spiritual terms, equating the reader to god and a bearer of all knowledge.[51]

She then flips to how you should once again never think of anything bad, this time talking about how you should forget bad past experiences and never saying a negative sentence. Instead you should only think of positive things and introduces a magical affirmation that brings everything to you "I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, lov- ing, harmonious, and happy.".[52]

She makes another example where she says that Henry Ford's idea was universally seen as nonsense (despite him not being the inventor of the car) and therefore must have used the secret to be able to mainstream an invention that already existed by iterating on the assembly line, a process that also already existed.[53]

The rest of the chapter is pretty repetitive. She once again states that you can do anything with the secret, the importance of not dwelling in the past and the importance of loving yourself and ignoring criticism.

The Secret to Life[edit]

This chapter mostly repeats things so I skipped a lot of pages. It starts with the author once again arguing you should ignore the past and instead commit to things that give you joy in the present.[54] She also says that using the secret grows the power within you.[55]

She then ends the book by reiterating that the universe exists for your benefit.


  1. The Secret, foreward, p.ix
  2. The Secret, foreward, p.x
  3. The Secret, foreward, p.xi
  4. The Secret, foreward, p.xiii
  5. The Secret, ch.1, pp.1-3
  6. The Secret, ch.1, pp.3-4
  7. The Secret, ch.1, pp.4-5
  8. The Secret, ch.1, pp.6-7
  9. The Secret, ch.1, pp. 7-9
  10. The Secret, ch.1, pp.10-12
  11. The Secret, ch.1, pp.12-15
  12. The Secret, ch.1, pp.15
  13. The Secret, ch.1, pp.16
  14. The Secret, ch.1, pp.19
  15. The Secret, ch.1, pp.1-3
  16. The Secret, ch.2, pp.28-29
  17. The Secret, ch.2, pp.30-32
  18. The Secret, ch.2, pp.37-41
  19. The Secret, ch.3, p.45
  20. The Secret, ch.3, p.46
  21. The Secret, ch.3, p.47
  22. The Secret, ch.3, p.48
  23. The Secret, ch.3, pp.49-52
  24. The Secret, ch.3, p.53-54
  25. The Secret, ch.3, p.55
  26. The Secret, ch.3, p.58-59
  27. The Secret, ch.3, pp.60-62
  28. The Secret, ch.3, p.62
  29. The Secret, ch.3, pp.64-65
  30. The Secret, ch.3, pp.66-67
  31. The Secret, ch.4, pp.71
  32. The Secret, ch.4, pp.71
  33. The Secret, ch.4, pp.75-78
  34. The Secret, ch.4, pp.81
  35. The Secret, ch.4, pp.86
  36. The Secret, ch.5, pp.114-116
  37. The Secret, ch.5, p.117
  38. The Secret, ch.5, pp.118-119
  39. The Secret, ch.5, p.120
  40. The Secret, ch.6, pp.126-128
  41. The Secret, ch.6, p.129
  42. The Secret, ch.6, p.130
  43. The Secret, ch.6, pp.130-132
  44. The Secret, ch.7, pp.142
  45. The Secret, ch.7, pp.143
  46. The Secret, ch.7, p.145
  47. The Secret, ch.7, p.149
  48. The Secret, ch.8, pp.156
  49. The Secret, ch.8, p.160
  50. The Secret, ch.8, p.163
  51. The Secret, ch.8, p.164
  52. The Secret, ch.8, p.168
  53. The Secret, ch.8, p.169
  54. The Secret, ch.9, pp.178-179
  55. The Secret, ch.9, p.182