Need a job? Do NOT look for one.

The author of  ’The Secret’ has brilliant new answers for our tough recessionary times

Need a job? Do NOT look for one.

In Rhonda Byrne’s view, mortality—like eyeglasses and cancer—are for sad sacks. So just smile, and you’ll be fine. Istock; AP; Illustration by Bradley Reinhardt

Released in 2006, The Secret harnessed the power of positive thinking and enthusiastic! punctuation!! It claimed that the blueprint to a happy and prosperous life lies in politely asking “the Universe” for a happy and prosperous life, please. “When you think about what you want,” author Rhonda Byrne explained, you attract it by causing “what you want to vibrate at the right frequency!” If nothing else, this provided a plausible explanation for why Quarter Pounders start to shake when Kirstie Alley pulls up at the drive-thru.

Byrne has now produced a sequel, The Power—and she’s cut out the middleman. No longer do you need to climb upon the Universe’s lap with a wish list. Simply express feelings of “love” for what you desire—cash, health, the telepathic powers of Aquaman—and it will be delivered to you. To assuage skeptics, the book is padded with deep quotes from such esteemed figures as Jesus Christ, Sophocles and the guy who draws “Dilbert.”

All you need to thrive in this age of economic upheaval is a cheery demeanour, Byrne writes. Hard work, dedication, a skill set: these are for suckers. Money “sticks” only to those who are upbeat. “The moment you react negatively to a big bill, you give bad feelings, and most surely you will receive bigger bills.” Got that? You don’t get big bills because you spend foolishly. You get them because you’re a grouchy pants. To think: the whole financial meltdown could have been avoided if only the employees of Lehman Brothers had triumphed over the Monday blues.

But The Power isn’t all jolly adjectives and attitudes. There’s math and science, too.
The math: the book reveals exactly how upbeat you must be to get off the Universe’s naughty list. “If you give just 51 per cent good thoughts, you have tipped the scales . . . The love that comes back to you multiplies itself by attracting more love through the power of attraction.” Translation: even a D-minus optimist is pretty much assured a happy ending. You have to love a Universe that grades on a bell curve.

The science: “The inside of your head is 80 per cent water!” Byrne declares. Why does this matter? Because “researchers” have found that “when water is exposed to positive words and feelings . . . the structure of the water changes, making it perfectly harmonious.” I have no idea what she’s talking about either—but think of all we can accomplish with our harmonious brain water! We can live for hundreds of years if we just put our minds to it, Byrne says. Mortality is for sad sacks.

But be warned: life is not all easy money and marinated super-brains. The Universe hates a mope. “From the small irritation of a mosquito, to the bigger irritation of your car breaking down, all of [your] experiences are the law of attraction responding to your irritation.” So mosquitoes bite only the crabby and my Volkswagen is at all times carefully monitoring my disposition. Noted.

Other revelations in The Power: nothing is dead, everything is alive, there’s no such thing as time, and the Universe always knows where your car keys are. But mostly, the book is dedicated to its singular vision of how to confront modern problems.

Are you one of those negative Nancies who responds to lousy eyesight by wearing glasses? Dumb move, idiot. According to The Power, you can get 20/20 vision just by thinking, “I have perfect eyesight.” If you’re sick and not getting well, it’s not because the cancer is ravaging your body—it’s because you’re not being optimistic hard enough. Gratitude alone can apparently make “failed kidneys regenerate, diseased hearts heal and tumours disappear,” which is really going to help Obama afford that health care plan.

Need a job? Do NOT apply for one. That’s a “desperate action” that announces your shortcomings to the Universe. Instead, do what “one man” did, according to Byrne. “He imagined his new office . . . He imagined his work colleagues. He gave them names. He had conversations with them. He even tasted the tacos at lunch breaks.” And then apparently out of the blue he got a job allegedly! Learn from him and you can make the symptoms of clinical insanity work for you.

“One thing is certain,” the author concludes. “We receive back what we give.” If that’s true, the Universe owes Rhonda Byrne a tremendous amount of bullshit.




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Need a job? Do NOT look for one.

  1. The true 'Power' of success is to find a BS idea and write a bestselling book about it. We are so easily duped by the "power of positive thinking" malarkey that we forget that there are no easy fixes for our problems. Hard work, dedication and sometimes being in the right place at the right time have more to do with success than having harmonious brain chemistry.

    • Here I am on this lovely, cold, damp October afternoon. I am reaching out to everyone in cyberspace as an unemployed, highly experienced, educated and overall well-rounded person (not too well-rounded) awaiting on my job as a travel writer for a famous magazine, my chai latte (skim) and a rolls with a jacuzzi in it for warmth. I am located in the cow suburbia of Camlachie, yet to be found on the Google map, except in Scotland which enjoys the same wonderful temperatures here in southwestern Ontario. I'm sure I just saw a Uhaul go by…I'll get my bike out just in case, I can feel it getting nearer..

  2. Nothing gets a cancer patient thinking positively like a patronizing newager telling them it's their fault for not thinking positively enough! I've heard evangelicals saying the same thing, but substituting "right faith" for "positive thinking".

    Seriously though, I think that this is not too uncommon for a certain type of so-called "self-made" people. They imagined their success as inevitable, and they were right! Of course, they can't accept that they might just be lucky or their success rare (after all, we can't all sell a million books or be rich), but people with the "Oprah syndrome" think that anyone can do it.

    How do people who think like this deal with their own, inevitable, terminal illnesses? What's the universe saying then, "Come in number 51, your time is up"? I'll bet they think that heaven's been waiting with baited breath for their arrival…

  3. I have the perfect antidote to all this. I recommend a copy of Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America.* When you next encounter a helpful friend or relative who insists on sharing their Byrne-inspired positive-thinking advice with you, apply the book with a forceful, repetitive motion to the back or side of the individual's head. Repeat as necessary.

    *I find, the heftier the copy, the more effective the remedy.

    • I will take someone's positive thinking, speaking and actions towards others over the negativity, criticism and hate that is prevalent everywhere you look.

      • There is a difference between positive thinking and delusional thinking. The Power, which I have read, struck me as an incoherent tract, amounting to nothing more than an attempt at brainwashing. Perhaps the brainwashing is unintentional; the writer simply has nothing substantial to offer, and so repeats herself over and over. I have also read Bright-Sided, which does have coherency and is able to follow a premise to its conclusion. Thinking is a necessary human activity, and whether you label it positive or negative, we have critical faculties in order to discern and assess information, ideas, probabilities and outcomes. I think we could have used a lot more critical thinking in the events leading up to the economic crash of 2008 than positive thinking. I agree with you that hatred, etc. is prevalent, but it doesn't seem to me that that has anything to do with assessing the content of a tract making extraordinary, unfounded claims. My car breaks down because of my attitude? How about because it's a mechanical object, and over time, those wear out, rust out, or weren't designed well in the first place? I had a lot more breakdowns when I drover an older car. It had nothing to do with my attitude, but with the age of the car.

      • yeah but it's not going to get you a job

  4. Oh, Scott, it is official you have a weird crush with Kirstie Alley, quite often you're finding a way to include her in your columns.

    And if you receive back what you give, oh dear, you are having an army of Kirstie Alleys with shaking burritos and hamburguers coming back to you! : )

    • Good one. You forgot Killer Robots and Nickleback.

      • Hahaha, oh man, he is in trouble, robotic Kirstie Alleys dressed in football jerseys, with Chad's nickleback voice singing "Burn it to the ground" (not the lyrics, the music kind of works).

  5. Old hogwash inside a new cover. I'm sure my lottery ticket will win though and then I can arrange for Scott to visit Kirstie Alley and fulfill his dream.

    • i'll start packing clothes and burritos!

  6. Thanks god I read this review. I was going to send a ton of money to Peter Popoff cuz apparently according to last week's show if I send him money all will be good in my life. Now all I have to do is think really, really hard about what I want and it will happen.

    Claudia raised an interesting point. If you receive back what you give…Feschuk will have to answer for years of homoerotic football prognostication and Scarlett Johanson fantasies. This could get interesting…

  7. Scott,

    I'm glad you read this, so the rest of us don't have to! You did us a great service! My brain water thanks you! Also: Unnecessary exclamation points indicate either 1) crazypantsness or 2) access to really good drugs!

  8. "Your not being optimistic hard enough." Heh. I will now give that unwanted advice to all my friends this weekend!

  9. Ever heard of live and let live? Can you tell me what making fun of someone's ideas brings you? If she likes it and believes it, let her be! I'm not saying I agree with her, just saying there are enough negative people all around. You don't like? No one ever obligated you to! Don't spread negativity, there are enough in the news already. Try to write and share something you liked next time. Positive thoughts. While it may not attract money and everything else you may wish for, positive thoughts, positive words make people happier, at least for a split second!

    • But she is trying to make a mittful on the gullibility and/or desperation of the populace. Exposing a fraud is far more beneficial to more people than saving someone's ego (presumably the author has one).
      This review, using humour, will wake up more readers than one simply calling the author a fraud. Rick Mercer, John Stewart, et al use the same techniques to wake us up to what the news is really saying.

      • Amen!

  10. As Dorothy Parker once said: "This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force".

  11. Hey is she the dweeb who keeps sending me all those fluffy, feel-good PowerPoint presentation email attachements telling me to think positive thoughts and the world will be wonderful, all my problems will go away and front-row tickets to the next Habs home game will fall out of the sky into my lap?!

    Funny how those stupid feel-good messages always end with threats of me dying a painful lingering death if I don't immediately forward said message to everyone in my distribution list. Well, I haven't forwarded any of those messages and guess what Death… you missed again! Jeez, you couldn't hit a barn door with that scythe even if you tried you wuss!

    Funny also how, when it comes to these messages, most of the people I know turn into complete morons and feel absolutely compelled to share with the world.

    But I digress…

  12. Wasn't that book totally debunked?

  13. Where is the thesis of this essay?

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