Kelefa Sanneh decodes Rhoda Byrnes' bestselling self-help books:

The creed promulgated by “The Secret” and “The Power” is finally noteworthy not for its audacitymany religions promise morebut for its modesty, its thinness. In distilling a spiritual message that claims to be compatible with all religious traditions, Byrne has had to bracket all possible points of disagreement, discarding anything that might seem, as Winfrey put it, “weird.” The result is a pair of religious books curiously devoid of ancient lore and esoteric beliefs, history and holinesscuriously devoid of religion itself. Byrne’s hope is that this minimalist creed will be enough for her readers. But surely some of them will notice that it doesn’t seem to be enough for her.

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