Despite being an avid reader of non-fiction, I didn't get caught up in the hype surrounding the book "The Secret" when it was published a few years ago. Sure, I had heard of it but I just assumed it was some flavor-of-the-month-self-help guide driven by a great marketing campaign.
But for at least a solid year you couldn't walk into a chain bookstore without running headlong into a pyramid display of the small hardback with the eye-popping graphics. I flipped through its pages one afternoon and came across several quotes from a guy by the name of Joe Vitale, a well-recognized name in the internet marketing industry which just further reinforced my belief that this was nothing more than some re-hashed and re-packaged Tony Robbins motivational speech.
The ongoing marketing campaign for "The Secret" was everywhere and difficult to ignore, but I honestly didn't give the book a second thought until a few months later when I attended a dinner party and struck up a conversation with an affable young man whom I'd never met. He was a guest of a friend of the host and was unfamiliar with virtually everyone in attendance.
He inquired as to my occupation and upon hearing I was an Executive Recruiter, began asking my opinions on the economy, job market, growth predictions, etc. I mentioned that I had recently published my first book, "The Executive Rules", a best practices job search guide and not only did he seem genuinely impressed but was interested to learn more.
I would characterize myself as a "controlled extrovert": I like to meet, talk, and be around new people, and I typically try to adapt my conversation style and topics in a way that I think will make them feel at ease, however in this situation it was the other way around - he was driving the conversation and doing so in a disarmingly polite and thoughtful way.
"Have you heard of the book 'The Secret'?", he asked me. I told him I had, but couldn't really comment about it not knowing any more than what I did. "It's excellent. It has changed my life," he freely admitted.
"Really? In what way?" I asked.
"Well, one of the topics its explores is 'The Law of Attraction', which basically states that in order to get what you want out of life you have to start by identifying those people and things that you want to be associated with and then start taking specific actions to incorporate them into your life. For example, in the past, I never would have struck up a conversation with someone like yourself at a party like this."
Someone like myself?, I thought. My mind immediately went negative. Even though I didn't say it, apparently "What's wrong with me?" must have been written on my forehead because he then went on to explain what he meant.
"I knew there would be a lot of successful people here tonight and I'm really just starting my career. Before I would have been too intimated to walk up and introduce myself to someone like you, must less carry on a conversation. But now I realize that if I want to be successful, then I need to not only surround myself with successful people, I need to make them a part of my life."
Direct compliments typically do not have much affect on me, but I do pay close attention to off-the-cuff remarks and needless to say, his comments were incredibly flattering.
Having a renewed curiosity about "The Secret," I began doing some further research and discovered that one of the author's biggest inspirations for writing the book was "The Law of Success" by Napoleon Hill, published back in the 1920's. I was somewhat familiar with Napoleon Hill, having grown up with a father that listened to any type of motivational tape he could get his hands on. I immediately ordered the book and dove into it as soon as UPS dropped it off.
According to the book's publisher, "The Law of Success" was written based on a series of manuscripts that Hill wrote over a 25 year period and claims to be the definitive blueprint for "success", however you define it. The chapters are presented as lessons, each one presenting a specific topic that the student is encouraged to embrace and master before moving on to the next one. What strikes me the most about Hill's work is not only his timeless insight and direction, but the simplicity with which it is communicated.
It seems as though every time I arbitrarily flip through the book I come across a new quote that speaks directly to me. It's for this reason that I feel an in-depth analysis would be beneficial for those individuals that, like the young man at the dinner party, are looking to bring more success into their lives. I anticipate this to be an undertaking that will unfold over the next year or so and I look forward to not only sharing with you the insight I have finally discovered, but my own growth potential.