Saturday, February 24, 2007

New-Age Guru Cage Fight

The #1 book on the nonfiction list this week is "The Secret," a self-help book that puts a New Age spin on the power of positive thinking (offered up by Norman Vincent Peale in the 50s), which was itself a rehashing of "Secrets of the Ages" from the 20s which ITSELF came from books like "Master Key System," "The Science of Getting Rich," Christian Science and -- later -- my favorite title, "Thoughts Are Things."

Anyway, there's a book and a DVD, all devoted to The Law Of Attraction, which says basically that if you really, really want something and can devotedly yearn for it, you'll get it. (I guess I don't really want a date that much.) Oprah has devoted two shows to it. There's a best-selling DVD. And there's a feud.

Esther Hicks has been making millions over the past two decades pushing her book "The Law Of Attraction" and channeling spirit voices from beyond that she collectively calls Abraham. Though she was featured prominently in an early version of the DVD and got more than $500,000 in royalties, Hicks was genuinely unhappy the movie didn't explain that she made the discovery of the Secret by "vibrationally accessing broader intelligence."

My favorite detail: Rhonda Byrne of "The Secret" (who often has a silver circle affixed to her forehead) had a falling out with Esther Hicks of "The Law Of Attraction." And who came in to try and heal the breach? Why, Jack Canfield, the author of "Chicken Soup For The Soul." You just can't make this stuff up.

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