The Celestine Prophesy was one of the most influential New Age books of the last couple of decades, easily outstripping earlier cult books such as Robert Persig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Carlos Castenada's Don Juan books. The nine Insights of James Redfield's first book were added to by a second book, Tenth Insight and now by an 11th in The Secret of Shambhala.
Books of this type have often had a certain ambiguity: are they supposed to be taken as factual accounts or as allegorical novels? Redfield's publishers are describing this one as "the new novel", and (probably to the disappointment of the book's many thousands of fans) The Celestine Prophesy as his "first novel". Fiction they are, then, but the word "novel" is perhaps misleading; these books are allegorical tall tales teaching tenets of practical philosophy: look out for coincidences in your life because synchronicities are meaningful.
The 11th Insight is about the power of prayer or positive thinking or affirmation; the book mentions recent studies which indicate that patients who are prayed for heal more rapidly than those who are not. If you think positive thoughts, these will affect people around you in a good way; if you are full of anger and fear, you will attract precisely those things you most dread.
The hard-bitten and cynical will see this book as yet another example of New Age psychobabble but for Redfield's many followers the teachings in this book will make a great deal of sense--and in any case, having a positive, loving attitude can only bring good. --David V. Barrett