A wildly popular self-help book that's mostly delusional nonsense?
The scenes unfold in "The Secret," a 90-minute-long DVD advocating the power of positive thinking that has sold 2 million copies. More than 5.2 million copies of the book of the same name are in print.
While "The Secret" has become a pop culture phenomenon, it also has drawn critics who are not quiet about labeling the movement a fad, embarrassingly materialistic or the latest example of an American propensity of wanting something for nothing.
Some medical professionals suggest it could even lead to a blame-the-victim mentality and actually be dangerous to those suffering from serious illness or mental disorders.
"It's a triumph of marketing and magic," said John Norcross, a psychologist and professor at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania who conducts research on self-help books. He believes some are very useful when backed by science and focused on specific problems, such as depression.
" 'The Secret' has earned my antipathy for its outrageous, unproven assertions that I believe go beyond the ordinary overpromises of most self-help books into a danger realm," he said.
Shocking. We're just recycling earlier entertainments and making them ever bigger and sillier. "Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour" becomes "American Idol." And "The Secret" is just Norman Vincent Peale's "Power of Positive Thinking" for people who don't really think.