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Top Secret: The Truth Behind Today's Pop Mysticisms
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Top Secret: The Truth Behind Today's Pop Mysticisms

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  49 ratings  ·  18 reviews
America may be the land of plenty, but in the midst of our Walmarts, enormous supermarkets, and other signs of material surfeit, it seems that many are experiencing a gnawing spiritual hunger. New religions, spiritualities, and religious therapies attract throngs of believers to megachurches, Yoga classes, and the bestseller bookshelves. The latest popular fad in spiritual ...more
Hardcover, 370 pages
Published March 1st 2008 by Prometheus Books
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Worth flipping through for the section titles alone. My favorite: "Nine Principles in Amber." (Get it?)

Based on the chapter titles, section headings, and and blurbs, I was expecting a very skeptical, snarky attack on various woo-woo hucksters, but instead Price focuses on relating "new-age" ideas to older (not always ancient) traditions, often in a positive, affirming manner.

However, he shows little patience for those who claim new insights—or, as you might guess from the title, to be revealing
Lauren Kinney
I've so wanted to read a serious critique of New Age and spiritual discourse as touted by Oprah et al. It's a lucrative industry, in part because these spiritualities run deep when a huge percentage of Americans report themselves to be "spiritual, but not religious."

I was excited about this book for its subject matter, but I was disappointed. The author claimed that he would not scorn followers of the works he critiqued, since after all these works are fulfilling an important function for many
Price deconstructs (for the most part) popular spiritual movements of the day, with special emphasis and criticism for home-grown (American) inventions and their poseurs. Joel Osteen, everybody involved in A Course on Miracles, and Oprah-type hucksters like Neal Donald Walsh and Wayne Dyer get extra attention and are lambasted.

Eastern religions, however, seem to hold a special place in the author's heart. However, his dissection of Buddhism and Hinduism are welcome, as is his explanation of the
Jun 19, 2008 Marjanne rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in religion
This book is basically a critical look at several 'self-help' books. Some of these include "The Secret", "A Return to Love", and "Conversations with God". For the most part this book was interesting, though there were parts I felt like I was slogging through. If you don't actually want to read all of the books the author critiques then you may be interested to read this book. I liked that he has a sense of humor. When discussing religion people tend to be too serious.
I did learn a lot about Gno
Really pretty boring. Imagine your most boring college professor. Okay, not quite that bad, but close. As much as I wanted to like it, I had to abandon it halfway through.
Mike Kruse
Apr 26, 2008 Mike Kruse rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who read "The Secret" or some similar pap.
Finally, someone takes the New Thought / New Age gurus and breaks down what they're really saying. And most of it (but not quite all) amounts to crap.
Thin on the ground. Links popular figures to their roots, ok, but sees that as somehow discrediting them. I am not surprised that there isn't much secret. Used to be said that only fat people have diet books, so who has spiritual books? And why so many? Author harbors a liking for more traditional religions, and better behaved expounders.
Steve Dustcircle
Dr. Price does what he does best--destroying silly beliefs with fact, dressed with a little snarkiness.

Though the cover shows only a handful of his victims, very few pop culture religious views escape Robert Price's ridicule. Kaballah, UFOs, Scientology, Osteen, Popoff, Wicca, sales gimmicks, et al. all receive a description and are reasonably put to the grave.

Price explains rationally why these pseudo-religions are bunk, how one can identify them, and where people can stick these ideas. Price i
Not sure what Mr. Price's ground axe is supposed to cut. He seems pretty angry that spiritual leaders are human and that they tend to stand on the shoulders of other human spiritual leaders. A couple of his big reveals are that Pema Chodron wasn't born with that name and that her mentor was an alcoholic. His beef with Eckhart Tolle is that he is merely a gifted philosopher with a novel application of Zen. Mr. Price needs to get over his idolizing of spiritual mystics and get on with his own spir ...more
Overall, the text is balanced in that the author doesn't give criticism without justification and praises when there is fruit amongst the weeds to be had. I have heard of most of these book, yet, my curiosity isn't strong enough to read them. I may not be able to have read them with as much philosophical knowledge but certainly view his conclusions as they would be my own.
He certainly dishes out more critiques to those texts he feels are lacking in logic and failing to offer helpful content.
Todd Martin
I can distill my thoughts about this book into a single word ... “bleah!”

'Top Secret: The Truth Behind Today's Pop Mysticisms' consists of a collection of academic, esoteric clap-trap wrapped in a populist cover. I have no idea who the target audience for this book might be. Perhaps cynical masters candidates in religious studies might find this book interesting, but almost no one else will.
A nice description of the philosophical and psychological problems in today's mystical/spiritual movements, such as Oprah's favorite "The Secret," and Deepak Chopra's pseudo-Buddhist nonsense. Bob gives some of these systems more credit than I would, but he does have some interesting ideas. The book is definitely for those who have some experience looking at these movements critically.
Great - highly recommended. Analysis by a religious scholar of new age thought and spiritual practices. Covers The Secret, Deepak Chopra, Pema Chodron, Course In Miracles, Conversations With God, The Celestine Prophecy, Eckhart Tolle, Shakti Gawain.

My only wish would be a similar book written from a scientific perspective.
Like his other book, A Reason Driven Life, the best I can say about this book is that it is better than The Secret, which I have read. This was boring, and it shouldn't have been. It is probably a little better than A Reason Driven Life though.
Books and theories that reek of 'New Age' set my teeth on edge, as do pretenders and charlatans who turn ancient tenets into trite slogans. This book, therefore, was most refreshing and had me chuckling most of the way through. Fantastic book!
This book is great in that it gives a big "F you" to all of the pop culture gurus de jour. Oprah needs to read it and memorize its passages. She's partly responsible for its contents.
Karen Jett
Jun 28, 2011 Karen Jett added it
Shelves: abandoned
This was difficult to read and had to be returned to the library before I finished it. I have not felt motivated to check it out again. Maybe later...
scientific look behind some of today's popular spiritual ideas and new ageism concepts
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