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What books are you reading?

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IainB:
Review per image below, with plain text and hyperlinks extracted to the Spoiler button below the article, to enable text search and copy.



SpoilerReview of the book "The Secret" (2010).
General conclusion: Bunkum.

I started reading the principles of "The Secret" about a year ago after buying an almost new hardcopy of the book in a charity shop that I frequent (I regularly shop at and collect stuff to donate to charity shops). Cost me about NZ$7.00.

It was interesting, but seemed rather silly, and I lost interest in it. I finally finished it after reading it in a bitty fashion over several months. Searching the Internet now, I see that both the book and the film have been debunked.
This seemed about right, because, as I read the book, my BS alarm went off. Then I did some research on it - whereupon my skepticism was confirmed. It turns out that the book's hypothesis is fictional, but I still find it nevertheless interesting. Certainly a search on the Internet will turn up debunking observations or reviews, such as, for example:
   • A Little Secret about The Secret - http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/a-little-secret-about-the-secret/Content?oid=925131
   • Fake quotes https://web.archive.org/web/20151114170236/http:/www.philosophyforlife.org:80/fake-quotes/

One of the most egregious fibs in The Secret was one that turned my BS alarm on when reading the book, and it also turns up at 3:38m in the film's video trailer clip:
The Secret: View first 20 minutes
From <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b1GKGWJbE8>


So, reading the assorted reviews and comments, some of its quotes are clearly fictional, apparently including all of those ascribed to R.W. Emerson. I had in any event read all about the so-called "Law of Attraction" and various other magic or wish-fulfilment type self-help hypotheses by the time I was 15 or so, and I had taken a rationalistic approach to it all. So it all mostly went into the "Hmmm…interesting" category for me, since I do not necessarily discount anything that is non-scientifically verifiable and that cannot be proven either true or untrue. (Anything's possible, I suppose.)

It's not a thought-provoking book. It's an appeal to magic thinking. I think the most thought-provoking book that I read in my teen years was P.D. Ouspensky's "In Search of the Miraculous" (1949) - which rather aptly described my condition then and as now - and later, one of the biggest fraud books/stories that I ever read about (apart from the Piltdown Man) was Erich von Däniken's "Chariots of the Gods" (1968) - which has also been thoroughly debunked.

Ouspensky's book was a difficult read, being more of a set of collected diary notes and discussion notes about his experiences in his search, so I would presume that it was honest on that basis. He wasn't trying to proselytize or "sell" anything, or make a polemic, anyway.

The Secret, however, was selling a film and a book and it was proselytizing. It and other dodgy books do not (and cannot) lay claim to being absolutely true, of course, so at best they may contain some truth, so it would be prudent to regard them as fictional at best. Amazon class it as "Occult and Paranormal" which nowadays seems to be a generic euphemism for anything that is humbug fiction.
However, fabricating facts in a proselytizing book and/or film is lying, and a deliberate untruth or misdirection is a deceit and presents a logical fallacy, so one can discount the book in total, even though one might prefer to treat it as the parson's egg (i.e., good in parts).

The Secret was in any event a tad too touchy-feely and had too many feel-good mantras for my liking, with its spattering of quotes (true and bogus) from all over the place and many from dubious sources or supposed "authorities". Rhonda Byrne (the author of The Secret) apparently used the above R.W. Emerson quote to support her claim that all the great minds of the past – Emerson, Newton, Plato etc – believed in the Law of Attraction. However, the quote is made up, or mis-attributed. There’s no record of Emerson saying or writing it – nor (apparently) any of the other Emerson quotes in Byrne’s book.

To a greater extent, this kind of fakery is preying on our gullibility or capacity for irrational belief.
There is an interesting related discussion here - Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process - https://www.donationcoder.com/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=360rmu6qgig91lmjbd4c0qrdq1&topic=34650.msg399457#msg399457 (some of the comments are mine). The imaginary taught wire is amazing.
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Deozaan:
What was the point in including the screenshot of the review? The only part of it that was helped by being an image was the image of the video clip, but even that was too blurry to read who the quote was attributed to.

MilesAhead:


Yet another by Jack Vance.

The Faceless Man is the supreme ruler.  The citizens under his control wear a "torc" which is an explosive necklace The Faceless Man and certain of his subordinates may trigger remotely to "take the head" of malcontents or lawbreakers.  I seem to remember some SciFi movie or series that used the idea.  But I cannot recall the name.

The Faceless Man was originally titled The Anome and is the first of the Durdane Series

I am about 100 pages in.  So far it is great fun.   :Thmbsup:

panzer:
Running man, Wedlock?

kyrathaba:
Made a note of that one, MilesAhead  :up:

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