Scathing Book Reviews of “The Secret”, by Rhonda Byrne

The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne is a book I skimmed and put back down at the Bookstore. It’s got a catchy title, one that just begs you to open the faux leather copy and to pore through the faux parchment pages, but alas, I found nothing there that seemed to be new. The Secret boils down to “Want anything bad enough and it will come true in mysterious ways”. This is in a lot of “self help” books, and it is called “The Law of Attraction”.

Most responsible self help books – and anyone that has a few years on them – will tell you that sometimes, wanting, no matter how much, isn’t going to cure your Dad’s alzheimers, your sister’s cancer, your daughter’s stutter. These things CAN be cured or dealt with, but before anything can happen, you gotta want it, but wanting alone it isn’t always enough. It reminds me of the old lottery joke:

Morty, a deeply religious man, had long prayed to win the lottery to get him out of financial trouble. He prayed to God every night to win, even as things got worse and worse. After losing his job, his car and with his wife about to leave him, he prayed one last time. “God, please, I’m in trouble. I lost my job, my car, and I’m about to lose my family. PLEASE God, let me win the lottery.”

Suddenly God Himself appeared before Morty, long beard, white hair, deep voice, shining light, the works. Morty said “God, you’re here! Does this mean I’m going to win the lottery? God said, pleadingly “Morty, meet me halfway on this. Buy a Lottery Ticket.”

My advice? Know what you want, be open to getting want you want in more than one way, and then ACT to get what you want, with the faith that you’ll get it. Anyway, these Scathing Book Reviews of The Secret think one Secret to success is to not read the book:

“Greetings, friend! Do you wish to look as happy as me? Well, you’ve got the power inside you right now, so use it! Send $1 to Happy Dude, 742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield. Don’t delay; eternal happiness is just a dollar away!”

…and:

The first step in increasing your wealth is to take the money you would have spent on this mindless drivel, and put it in your pocket. See? You’re doing better already.

…and:

Rhonda Byrne is a smart woman. Why? Because she is swindling the American populace into buying her garbage.

…and:

P.T. Barnum, you are vindicated once again… If you really want to learn something simple enough for kids but eternally true and useful for adults try the children’s classics “The Little Engine That Could”, and “Stone Soup.” These books have true wisdom and pretty pictures too.

…and:

It did not help me at all. I feel stupid for buying it. it felt like it was writen in two weeks. It had no real debth

…and:

Comparing this book to a pet rock would be insulting the rock.

…and:

Norman Vincent Peale repackaged for the pedestrian New age generation.

My thoughts on “The Secret” to success? You didn’t ask – St. Iganatius Loyola said it best: “Pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you.”

Scathing Book Reviews of A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, by Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purposeby Eckhart Tolle is yet another in a long line of “Success Literature”, – a book genre which has got to be an American original (don’t tell me if I’m wrong). The seeming promise of success literature to its readers is “Read the book, and your life will change”, where in fact, the writer’s message is, “read this and do as the book says and then your life can change”.

All too often, the only thing that actually changes is the money, from the reader to the bookstore. I’ve read my fair share of “success” book, and the ones that tend to be the most beneficial are the ones that tell you to know what you want, figure out how to get what you want, build a plan, and then CARRY IT OUT! It’s the last part that tends to trip us all up.

Oprah Winfrey thinks this book is worth buying, but I ask you, can you really trust a guy named “Eckhart” to offer good advice? These Scathing Book Reviews of A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, by Eckhart Tolle make it their purpose to convince you to not buy the book:

While I applaud Oprah for this novel approach to bettering the human race, I take issue with both this author and his book.

…and:

I think I’ve found my true calling in life. Create a joke of a new age cult and get a self absorbed talk show host to peddle it and then the sheep will line up to purchase it. I couldnt get through chapter one. Please, a moment of silence for everyone throwing their money away, feel the oneness with your fellow sheep.

…and:
“Refuse to grow-up”would be a better title for his book.

…and:

I find no clearer indictment of the American mind than the success of this book.

…and:

I don’t know who’s more dangerous, Oprah or the half-wits she endorses on her show or the half wits in the audience of her show.

…and:

This kind of stuff is appropriate for sappy greeting cards or manipulative advertising but, in my opinion, little else.

…and from the “unfortunately right” department:

This has to be some of the most boring mumbo jumbo I’ve ever read. The writer clearly likes to hear himself talk, or read, or whatever. I can’t believe he actually got this book published. There must be alot of lost people out there.

…and this, from someone who was probably thinking of “The Secret”:

Let me save you some time and money. Here’s what the book says… Blah,Blah,Blah, “think postive” Blah,Blah,Blah “I can create success and money and health with positive thoughts” Blah,Blah,Blah. That about sums it up!

…and for Die-Hard Democrats, the ultimate insult:

About as insightful as a George Bush speech.

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesiaby Elizabeth Gilbert explores the author’s journey across the world (and the self, natch) following a protracted divorce. Trying to find yourself is never easy, particularly if you have jet lag. From what these reviewers say, she seems to have found herself but never anyone else:

She is the most vapid, narcicistic, insecure, self-absorbed, spoiled brat I have ever had to listen to. I could not wait to get her whiny, foolish voice out of my head.

…and:

This is the type of person you meet at a cocktail party and RUN in the other direction after a few minutes when she starts spewing out all her problems at you with no end in sight. Note to the author: I am your reader, not your psychotherapist.

…and:

Pure drivel that reinforces my theory that a “good” agent can get even the worst of stories published.

…and:

I started rolling my eyes on the second page and pretty much didn’t stop rolling them until I stopped reading.

…and:

Does the world really need a field guide for selfishness? Can’t they just watch a few minutes of Joel Osteen?

…and this reviewer, who manages to find the books hidden theme:

Isn’t it ironic that the three countries that the author traveled begin with the letter “I” as did nearly every sentence in the book? What a sex-crazed narcisist!

Scathing Book Reviews of The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen

Only on force on earth could stop the power that is Oprah, and that force is… Jonathan Franzen? Yes, it’s true! The author of The Corrections caused Oprah to pause her Book Club selections in 2001, after a string of less than enthusiastic interviews about being in “The Club”, capped by the comment “She’s picked some good books, but she’s picked enough schmaltzy, one-dimensional ones that I cringe, myself…” She restarted it after a few years, but Franzen stung her like few would dare. Many critical reviews of “the Corrections” stung right back:

Depressing – What was Oprah thinking?
…and:

“The Corrections”….sounds like the name of a prison band and it might be more fun!

…and:

I tried to hang in there with this one but by page 300 – I think after Alfred’s hallucinations with the turd – I just thought, you know what? Life is short… I didn’t throw my copy [across the room] but there were times that I actually yelled at it.

…and:

Franzen’s well crafted puppets take out their garbage, and his.

…and:

The great American Novel? Oy, is this country in trouble!

…and:

This is a book about a majorly dysfunctional family. Warning: do not read it before you go on a cruise.(Or maybe while on a cruise.)

…and:

The hype was better than this book. The worst episode of OPRAH ever videotaped is better than this book. The manual that came with my blender is better than this book.

…and:

I hold no ill will towards Jonathan Franzen, just what he wrote.

…and:

If you read for pleasure, don’t buy this book.

…and:

I had so looked forward into diving into a big, thick novel on the hilarity of family disfunction.

…and:

I suppose that I have to give the author credit for well developed characters, even if they are self-centered, self-obsessed, petty individuals that inspire nothing but contempt.

…and here’s someone who found that “Bad for Oprah” is not equal to “Good for Me”:

Acting on my long held idea that “any bane of Oprah’s is a friend of mine” I purchased the book. That was my first mistake.

Scathing Book Reviews of The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, certainly made quite an impression on many book reviewers in 2007, but was a bit hard to find around the bookstore until Oprah Winfrey blessed/I mean chose it for her book club, coincidentally named “Oprah’s Book Club”. For the most part, readers enjoyed “The Road”. Or at least as much as you could enjoy the tragic journey of a dying man and his boy across an apocalyptic landscape. However, for some readers, those qualities failed to charm. These critical reviews of “The Road” are all downhill:

You may need to go on Prozac after reading this book….DOW-NER!

…and

What I thought: Gryke. Discalced. Mastic. Meconium. Rachitic. Siwash. Parsible. Woad. Kerf. Chary. Firedrake. Palimpsest. Middens. Pampooties. Salitter. Dolmen stones. Crozzled.

…and

I just started reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy and if I didn’t know better I would say that it was written by a 10th grader who has done too much glue.

…and

Indeed, it must be nice to be a recognized, award winning author and get away with anything you write.

…and

The perfect book for literary sadists.

…and

I don’t read a lot of fiction; this book does not make me regret it.

…and last but not least:

I don’t think I’ll read anything marked “Oprah” again. If she really read this and STILL recommends it, I don’t think I’ll be watching her show anymore either. Someone that twisted shouldn’t be giving life advice to anyone.