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The Secret

This is certainly one of the best subversive marketing campaigns since the late 1990s, when the much-ballyhooed "It" turned out to be the Segway, a $2,500 two-wheeled motor scooter. You can find The Secret in the New Age section of your local bookstore, which should be a clue in itself. The compiler of The Secret, Rhonda Byrne, is using one of the newest buzzwords - "viral" - to market this package, which is a video collection rather than an old-fashioned book. It was actually premiered on the Internet before the official video release, and sales of The Secret DVD collection have skyrocketed, mostly thanks to Internet-based "viral" word-of-mouth marketing. The video actually topped's DVD sales list during the holiday season of 2006 to early 2007.

So, as the ominous question goes, what is The Secret? It's actually a new, 21st century "multi-media" re-write of a decidedly 20th century book, The Power of Positive Thinking. It uses an old concept called "The Law of Attraction" which suggests that if you think good things and positive thoughts all the time, then good and positive things will be attracted to you – and, consequently, you will "succeed in life." You'll go far in business, in romance, in social relationships…essentially, all of the same things being pitched to us by self-help gurus and Landmark training seminars. But the marketing geniuses behind The Secret jazzed it up in the form of a video, which is much quicker to watch than reading a book; what's more, they've gotten a lot of People With Important Names to endorse their concept.

And to top it all off, they've thrown in a Da Vinci Code conspiracy theory that implies this great wisdom has been passed down through the ages, until finally it is revealed to YOU as The Secret! I suppose if this book had been published ten years ago (when a certain movie conquered the world), then the Secret would have actually been stored in a hidden vault on the Titanic. Or maybe it's actually from Hogwarts, and it's the Secret used by Harry Potter!