According to recent studies, self-help books – non-fiction books that offer advice for behavior modification and make explicit promises for positive change – have doubled as a percentage of all book titles since the 1970s. The increasing popularity of self-help books is an indicator of the modern society’s quest to maximize personal happiness through a process of self-discovery. Self-help books are a response to a real and genuine hunger for psychological understanding and self-improvement and are part of the larger market of advice media.
Readers buy self-help books seeking self-control – both as a good-faith attempt to increase their self-control and to elicit a temporary sensation that, in fact, the first step toward self-control has already been taken. And of recent years, one of the increasing self-help or spirituality books involve the teachings of New Age-ism. The New Age is a decentralized Western social and spiritual movement that seeks “Universal Truth” and the attainment of the highest individual human potential.
It includes aspects of Occultism, astrology, esotericism, metaphysics, alternative medicine, music, collectivism, sustainability, and nature. New Age spirituality is characterized by an individual approach to spiritual practices and philosophies, and the rejection of religious doctrine and dogma. New Age practices and philosophies sometimes draw inspiration from major world religions: Buddhism, Chinese folk religion, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism; with particularly strong influences from East Asian religions, Gnosticism, Neopaganism, New Thought, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Universalism, and Western esotericism.
New Age spirituality has led to a wide array of literature on the subject and an active niche market: books, music, crafts, and services in alternative medicine are available at New Age stores, fairs, and festivals. And one of the most phenomenal publishing successes in the self-help/New Age teachings is a book called The Secret. ABOUT THE SECRET Product Details The English-language 6. 9 x 5. 7 x 0. 9 inches hardcover book is fairly lightweight at 198 pages. It was first published in November 28, 2006 by Atria Books in Australia.
In the United States of America, the book is published by Beyond Words and in United Kingdom by Simon & Schuster UK. Product Description Fragments of a Great Secret have been found in the oral traditions, in literature, in religions and philosophies throughout the centuries. For the first time, all the pieces of The Secret come together in an incredible revelation that will be life-transforming for all who experience it. In this book, you’ll learn how to use The Secret in every aspect of your life — money, health, relationships, happiness, and in every interaction you have in the world.
You’ll begin to understand the hidden, untapped power that’s within you, and this revelation can bring joy to every aspect of your life. The Secret contains wisdom from modern-day teachers — men and women who have used it to achieve health, wealth, and happiness. By applying the knowledge of The Secret, they bring to light compelling stories of eradicating disease, acquiring massive wealth, overcoming obstacles, and achieving what many would regard as impossible. Content of The Secret 1. Foreword 2. Acknowledgements 3. The Secret Revealed 4. The Secret Made Simple 5.
How to Use The Secret 6. Powerful Processes 7. The Secret to Money 8. The Secret to Relationships 9. The Secret to Health 10. The Secret to the World 11. The Secret to You 12. The Secret to Life 13. Biographies The Secret Revealed The first thing you need to know is that The Secret isn’t really a secret. The secret is actually “The Law of Attraction” that asserts what you think creates what you feel, and these feelings flow from your body as magnetic energy waves over vast distances, which then cause the universe around you to vibrate at the same energy level as your feelings.
The idea dates back nearly 3,000 years to early Hindu teachings that “like attracts like. ” The law of attraction, which the author Rhonda Byrne says is the most powerful law in the universe, states that people experience the logical manifestations of their predominant thoughts, feelings, and words. This gives people direct control over their lives. A person’s thoughts (whether conscious or unconscious) and feelings bring about corresponding positive or negative manifestations. Positive thoughts bring about positive manifestations while negative thoughts bring about negative manifestations.
The theory is very simple. Because it is an absolute law, the law of attraction will always respond to your thoughts no matter what they are. Thus your thoughts become things. You are the most powerful power in the universe simply because whatever you think about will come to be. You shape the world that exists around you. You shape your own life and destiny through the power of your mind. To quote some of the teachings in this book are “Thoughts are sending out that magnetic signal that is drawing the parallel back to you.
”Thus there is no such thing as accident or coincidence; it is you, the individual, who brings misery on yourself because of your toxic thinking. But the good news, if you can alter your thoughts, and therefore your feelings, you can actually cause the universe around you to vibrate at a positive energy level and the desires of your heart will come to be realized! All you have to do is Ask — Believe — Receive. You just have to visualize what you want, feel good about it, and then ask the universe — and whatever you can imagine can be yours.
It is like having the universe as your catalogue and you flip through it and go, ‘Well I’d like to have this experience and I’d like to have that product and I’d like to have a person like that’ … It is you just placing your order with the universe. The law of attraction was the power, the author argues, behind geniuses such as Plato, Newton, Beethoven and Einstein. In this book too, she has also gotten quotes, experiences and support from the who’s who of the self-help industry, including John Gray, author of “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” and Jack Canfield, who wrote “Chicken Soup for the Soul.
“Jack Canfield, provides an excellent example of the ask-believe-receive system where he tells us that he visualized earning $100,000 (even writing the desired amount on a bill worth far less and tacking it to the ceiling above his bed) and focused his mental energy only on the goal of attaining the money. He tells us that he had absolutely no idea how he was going to get the money — he simply focused on believing that he would get the money, somehow. But how?
For four weeks he had no breakthrough ideas but then, one day in the shower, he remembered that he had written a book and, if it was published (particularly if he sold 400,000 copies and he made a quarter on each) he just might achieve his financial goals. Of course the book was published, and the results were only a few thousand dollars shy of 100,000 dollars. And this is just one of the many testimonials in this book called The Secret. The Story Behind The Secret It is not a secret now that The Secret is a publishing phenomenon of recent years especially for in the non-fiction & self-help category.
This small book, with a parchment-brown cover engraved with the image of a red wax seal, debuted in 2006 and since then it has sold over four million copies worldwide and has been translated to 38 different languages. The Secret began as a DVD which came out end of 2004. Rhonda Byrne was a television producer in Australia in 2004 when the death of her father led her to discover ‘the secret’, which is her term for what is commonly known as the law of attraction. Her discovery was mainly caused by the 1910 book The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles.
Wattles’s book struck such a chord with Byrne that she plunged into a crash course in Western, Eastern, ancient and modern thought, devouring hundreds of books and articles in just two and a half weeks. Inspired, she flew to the States in July 2005 and began lining up people to interview; the film was finished six months later and she began trying to find an Australian network to air it. The top-rated Nine Network was intrigued by her proposal, but the finished film struck Len Downs, the program manager, as just “a whole range of talking heads giving their basis of the secret of life.
” It eventually ran in Australia just a few weeks ago, and, says Downs, it didn’t do all that well. But armed with the law of attraction, Byrne was confident things would work out. A Web company situated just blocks away from her office in Melbourne had a technology for distributing streaming video over the Internet. In March 2006, her site (http://thesecret. tv) began selling downloads and DVDs, one of which found its way to Cynthia Black, president of the New Age-oriented publishing house Beyond Words saw its potential and by late November the book was in the stores and the rest as they say, is history.
PURCHASING THE SECRET The Secret books are available at all major bookstores, online bookstore and through its official website. It is usually placed in the Health, Mind & Body -> Self Help category or Religion & Spirituality -> New Age category. At most of these major bookstores, The Secret books are placed most prominently on the shelves. Due to it being constantly on worldwide bestseller lists for non-fiction books thus the title is prominently displayed in the bookstores should the bookstore have a bestsellers display section. Its average retails price for cash & carry stores are $23.
95 in the United States; ? 12. 00 in United Kingdom; and MYR79. 90 in Malaysia. While its average retail price for online purchases are $14. 00 and ? 12. 00 in United States and United Kingdom respectively. PROMOTING THE SECRET After the phenomenal success of the The Secret DVD, it made sense for it to be turned into a book and what better way for the marketers to embark on promoting the book than playing up the hype of the movie and using the popular internet marketing tool such as the viral video site YouTube. The book was marketed with an online viral video campaign focusing on wealth enhancement.
The short video clips showed testimonials from readers of the book and practitioners of “the secret” claiming that the technique brought them wealth, cured sickness, and brought about a general life-change. The video clips do not disclose what “the secret” is, where it originated from or how it can be practiced, but rather pointed viewers to the website for both the book and film. Thus hooking the viewers and made them all the more intrigue by the claims made by the author in the book. As for packaging and promotional material, the book also played into the consumers’ senses by trying to showcase that “the secret” originates from the cosmos.
The cover prominently displayed a parchment-brown cover engraved with the image of a red wax seal (see Appendix 1) to indicate it is somewhat a book from the olden days and in the inside pages, the background design are a field of stars, and various shots of the universe thus adding mystique to the claims and the practice. However, the most savvy and most probably the ultimate gambit of the book is to call it ‘The Secret. To quote Mr 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. ” Thus the name evoke a sense of intrigue to readers who are looking for something magical or perhaps easier tool for them to understand and to fully live their lives. Another smart marketing move made by the publisher was to have it endorsed by well-known and highly popular worldwide celebrities. The book got its first break in the US when Ellen DeGeneres featured it on her show. And when Oprah Winfrey decided to run a show on it, although it was already a big success, the sales ballooned up much more.
Oprah Winfrey first featured it on Feb. 8 2007 and according to Nielsen BookScan, the book had sold 18,000 copies the week before. During the week of the show, sales rocketed to 101,000 and when the show did a follow-up on Feb. 16 2007, the sales that week reached 190,000. With the success of the book, the publishers decided to create more spin-off titles, which they call The Secret tools. There are now The Secret to Teen Power (see Appendix 2), The Secret Daily Teachings (see Appendix 3) and The Secret Gratitude Book (see Appendix 4).
Not only that, at its official website there are also ‘gifts’ for the readers such as visualization tools, The Secret memory game, wallpapers, ebook and blank checks (see Appendix 5) which goes hand-in-hand with the teachings of the book. THE SECRET S. W. O. T ANALYSIS Strengths 1. The intriguing title. As elaborated above, the title play a major role in inciting readers’ interest in the book. 2. The cover design. Alongside its intriguing title, the odd-shaped book with its olden-days personification invoke a sense of mystery that is definitely eye-catching and surely pique a person’s interest while browsing the shelves at a bookstore.
3. The content is an easy read with its simple language and peppered with inspiring testimonials from many men & women who has experienced the use of the secret plus personal experience & quotations from the the who’s who of the self-help industry.
4. The savvy marketing ideas of the publishers that has created the hype that constantly raise awareness of the book. 5. Endorsement by high-profile & influential personalities that are recognized world-wide certainly helped boosted its sale internationally. 6. Constant high-placing in best-selling charts, most probably due to the savvy marketing ideas of the publisher and as the long-term effect of the celebrity associated to the book especially Oprah Winfrey.
Weaknesses 1. The selling price in Malaysia of RM79. 90 is definitely a setback to potential buyers as the price is rather steep for many people especially for books in the self-help category. 2. The book is not available in paperback form thus some book buyers are not keen on buying hardback cover books due to its steeper price or its slightly heavy weight. 3. The content is not something that is unique and there are many similar teachings that one can get in many other books thus it does lack a little originality.
4. As typical with many New Age teachings, the content of the book has garnered much criticism which try to debunked the book’s teaching as merely hype, mumbo-jumbo or just plain illogical. 5. The book has to complete with many other form of self-help books available that are cheaper, more accessible and from much more renowned authors (Paulo Coelho, Eckhart Tolle, Anthony Robbins) Opportunities 1. Publishers could promote to younger readers especially The Secret for Teens book first and therefore will garner their interest in the main book The Secret. 2.
Use the The Secret movie to lure potential readers as there are those who would like to have to book in hand as a way to look back or do revision which is harder to do with the dvd. 3. Offer a cheaper paperback form, thus the book is able to be sold at a cheaper price and therefore garner many more readers. Threats 1. With the easy access to internet, potential readers might decide to check out what the book is about online and thus stumbling on the many critics that the book has garnered. This in turn can make them believe the critics before actually reading the book, thus will result in loss of sales.
2. Like many other things in life, people are apt to stumble upon a new idea for a book or a belief that could help the world, thus there will be brand new books in the future that will probably come with a much more savvy marketing approach and thus will affect the interest of the people about The Secret! THE SECRET CONCLUSION The Secret is a phenomenon and it is likely to become one of the best-selling self-help books of all time. Venture into your local bookstore or look around you while waiting at an airport, and you’re bound to see people reading it and absorbing it.
They will not just be people who consult astrologers and who listen to Tony Robbins tapes, but normal, average people like the ones who live next door to you. There are almost 1400 reviews of the book printed at Amazon with an average rating of 3. 5 out of 5. The breakdown of those scores is interesting: fifty-two percent of them are 5-star, thirteen percent are 4-star and twenty-one percent are 1-star. This means that the majority of people, the great majority even, believe in at least some aspects of the book’s premise and teaching.
They believe in the law of attraction. The one problem that The Secret poses is that it simplifies and speculates way too much and there are a quite a significant level of moral defects, the lack of scientific backing, and the various philosophical shortcomings, how is it that a significant number of people still believe there’s something to The Law of Attraction? Part of the reason must certainly be the powerful testimonials coming from celebrity figures such as Oprah Winfrey, a woman who attributes her success to her mighty powers of attraction.
Of course, that’s a long way from the simple model of Ask-Believe-Receive. In most people’s lives, positive thought leads to success only through the transforming medium of action. But as the author Rhonda said in an interview, she just wants to bring happiness to everybody. That’s the reason it all began. And to her credit, she does bring happiness to many people worldwide and surely there is nothing, in principle, wrong with thinking about what makes you happy.
Courtney from Study Moose
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