Is it really helpful in reality? Why is it helpful? How is it helpful?
closed as off topic by Robert Cartaino♦ Dec 22 '10 at 17:49
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It's a snake-oil.
Of course you need to set goals and think hard about how to achieve them. But seriously, that's not news to anyone, is it?
Read this more well put criticism about the book.
If you need a good self help book, I recommend How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie, Winning by Jack Welch or anything by Peter Drucker, especially his writing on "Managing oneself". These are people with actual working scientific theory behind them.
It's success is simple: it caters to the egoist in everyone.
Anyone who thinks that you can wish your problems away through "positive thinking" is engaging in self-delusion and laziness. It helps you delude yourself with the idea that you don't actually have to do anything, just think it. If it didn't work, well, you didn't think hard enough obviously, right?
The corollary not explored is that apparently all bad things happen to you because of weak/bad thoughts. If your mother died of cancer, is it because you or someone else wanted her dead of cancer? Who's ego wished that up?
Positive attitude, from a psychological not spellcasting POV, is definitely an important component of success, but it is not the only one. The Secret takes that and magnifies into a solve-all mysticism that is absurd.
You should also look at the book Think and Grow Rich, written by Napoleon Hill in 1937. Part of the secret "revealed" in The Secret is Andrew Carnegie's secret. Carnegie was one of the world's wealthiest men, and he believed that achievement of financial success could be reduced to a simple formula, which could be duplicated by the average person.
In the preface to his book, Hill says, "The secret was brought to my attention by Andrew Carnegie, more than a quarter of a century ago. The canny, lovable old Scotsman carelessly tossed it into my mind, when I was but a boy. Then he sat back in his chair, with a merry twinkle in his eyes, and watched carefully to see if I had brains enough to understand the full significance of what he had said to me. When he saw that I had grasped the idea, he asked if I would be willing to spend twenty years or more, preparing myself to take it to the world, to men and women who, without the secret, might go through life as failures."
In 1908, Carnegie commissioned Hill (at no pay), then a journalist, to interview more than 500 high and wealthy achievers to find out the common threads of their success. Hill eventually became a Carnegie collaborator, and their work was published after Carnegie's death in Hill's book The Law of Success (1928) and Think and Grow Rich (1937). Think and Grow Rich has not been out of print since it was first published and has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
The "Carnegie Secret" is a concept that Hill studied extensively. Carnegie said that this formula for success was so powerful that if learning how to apply it was taught to students, the time they needed to spend in formal schooling could be cut in half. Carnegie said that the formula was used by all the leading businessmen and inventors of the late 19th and early 20th century. Carnegie asked Hill to go out and confirm if the formula was being applied by the 500 richest/most successful Americans.
Some People Interviewed included:
In the preface, Hill goes on to say, "These names represent but a small fraction of the hundreds of well known Americans whose achievements, financially and otherwise, prove that those who understand and apply the Carnegie secret, reach high stations in life. I have never known anyone who was inspired to use the secret, who did not achieve noteworthy success in his chosen calling. I have never known any person to distinguish himself, or to accumulate riches of any consequence, without possession of the secret. From these two facts I draw the conclusion that the secret is more important, as a part of the knowledge essential for self-determination, than any which one receives through what is popularly known as 'education.' What is EDUCATION, anyway? This has been answered in full detail."