Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Secret to losing your house?

A regular contributor tipped me to a female Georgia SHAMpreneur whose outgoing answering-machine message is as follows:

"You have reached [.....................], where we believe in doing well by doing good. I appreciate your call. Unfortunately, I'm unavailable, out building leaders and changing lives by Empowerment through self-care and wellness. If it suits your destiny, please leave a message. Until then, be well, and do good."

That's bad enough on its face—especially delivered as it is in the sort of dulcet, hypnotic tones we've come to expect from Rhonda Byrne herself, if you've heard her*. But what makes this truly classic is that this message of Empowerment speaks to us from a phone that is located in a house that is presently in foreclosure. That's right: The same guru who's out empowering leaders and changing lives can't seem to ensure the wellness of her own mortgage.** In fact, the person who tipped our SHAMblog contributor to the message was a buddy of his who buys distressed properties.

He quips: "I guess Citibank doesn't take positive energy as payment."

* The link in that line takes you to a page where you can download a sample of Byrne at her New Agey best.

** I'm not naming names and won't post the phone number for reasons that should be obvious; even kooks are entitled to their privacy rights. Nor do I want to chance revealing the identity of our tipster. But I dialed the number and heard the message, and I reproduce it for you here verbatim.


Anonymous said...

Please help me! I am desperate. For quite some time, I have been caught up in this "positive thinking" nightmare!

I own multiple-unit commercial and residential real estate, I have a fun, creative job. I give to others, I have taken in disadvantaged teens, etc. I am ashamed to say that the list goes on and on.

Please tell me, Sir, what am I doing WRONG? Clearly, I have been misled by the SHAM of positive thought, long before Rhonda Byrne was in high school. I adore Rhonda Byrne and The Secret.


Mark Baard said...

Oh my God, man, you've got to be kidding me. Classic! Keep up the great work...

"The Secrets" is kinda new to me... I read and report on conspiracist websites, and one of them has done a fine job pointing out how the Secrets are simply lifted from Rosicrucianism...

Steve Salerno said...

OK, I get the point, but come on, anon... You don't see the irony??

Anonymous said...

"...if it suits your destiny "
I guess this lady has the full SHAM gig down - if she keeps her house it's due to good thoughts and positive energy. But if she loses the her home, it's "destiny".

I guess intentions are more important than actions.

Cal said...


I decided to put this particular comment here because of this is frivolous compared to the sensitivity of the posts about the Va. Tech incident.

In the 4/17/07 Washington Post, Peter Carlson wrote an article titled "The Real Skinny on Men's Health. In it, Carlson writes "In fact, the editors of the mags regularly road-test possible cover lines in focus groups, where readers pick the ones they like best." and "What these magazine sell so well is the American gospel of self-help, and they've achieved their phenomenal success despite the fact that every issue is the same." He is in fact talking about both Men's Health and Women's Health magazines. Carlson basic premise is that editors of these magazines would be in court if "truth-in advertising laws" applied to the magazines' covers.

I don't know how much you can or want to talk about this since you worked at Rodale, but this sounds like the process of writing a headline for a tabloid paper like the NY Post or Daily News (i.e, "Headless Man Found in Topless Bar" or "Ford to City: Drop Dead". I know you worked in a different division, but was this publishing sentiment the same throughout the whole company? Jeez!