The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield is the worst-written (great content!) self-help book I’ve ever read.
I apologize to all those who love this book — especially Redfield, though I know he’s heard it before — but the writing of the original self-published book was almost brutal at times. Don’t get me wrong… I could NOT put it down! The concepts (or in this case “The Nine Key Insights” that turned into twelve) were life-changing. (All info on the books in the series, author and insights Found Here).
I remember seeing the book in Target. This would have been back in 1993-94. I’d heard about it, so picked it up. I scanned it and the first insight (A Critical Mass – see insight link above) was so interesting, it hooked me.
Later in the week, I was home sick and finished the book while in bed. I remember feeling… captivated. The writing felt conversational… almost to the extreme. It was too simple, almost (I hate to say) juvenile. I believe (and don’t quote me) that it was rewritten later, updated with a bit of spit and polish.
I know for the fact that the second book (The Tenth Insight) and beyond were much better written. However, none of the books that followed held the same interest as the first… at least in my opinion. Maybe that’s because they were so polished. There was a wonder to the first book that tapped into a simple space… one that accepted and believed what was being read.
Understand, this book is a novel. Redfield tells you that in the Author’s Note at the beginning. Or does he? He says it’s a story… but… it reads like a self-help book. And the insights themselves are anything-but juvenile. They are sophisticated and engaging… and feel… well, it’s already been said: true. That’s what got me most. It felt utterly genuine.
The original book has been called by some, a parable. By others, a piece of crap. And others still, a masterpiece. What will you call it? Only one way to find out! 🙂