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Ask and It Is Given Book Review

Updated on December 1, 2014

Ask But You Might Be Taken

By the time Jerry and Esther Hicks agreed to let Hay House publish Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires, it was 2005, and they were well into what has since gone full cycle as Abraham-Hicks and evolved into a lukewarm sideshow.

Jerry and Esther Hicks had been touring since the 1980s, audience sizes increasing, becoming more widely known with the support of high profile advocates like Wayne Dyer and Oprah Winfrey. But what really blew the cork out of the bottle was Rhonda Byrne's The Secret (Extended Edition), a huge indy hit that leaned on Esther Hicks' Teachings of Abraham, especially the Law of Attraction for inspiration.

A caveat about authorship: Jerry and Esther Hicks list themselves as authors, but according to them, the entire book was channeled, word for word, through Esther from a "nonphysical entity" known as Abraham. Jerry has said that part of their deal with Hay House was that not a single world could be changed. So all the "teachings" belong completely to Esther and Jerry, her editor, as far as anyone who walks the earth and cashes checks is concerned.

Like many who read The Secret as well as this book, I like the message of positive thinking and personal responsibility enough that I shrugged past what, now, seem to be glaring errors and, ultimately, an amalgam of other peoples' ideas, many of them more than a century old. Nothing is new in these pages, except the marketing hooks.

I decided to read Jerry and Esther Hicks' Ask and It Is Given again and see if the fit still felt good. Here's what I found.

Unless otherwise indicated, all images on this Ask and It Is Given Review are mine. They may not be reused without specific approval. All rights reserved.

Ask And It Is Given: The Teachings of Abraham - Jerry and Esther Hicks

Ask And It Is Given, Learning To Manifest Your Desires by Jerry and Esther Hicks is a title full of promise for a book with little if anything original to deliver.

Whatever credibility Jerry and Esther Hicks and Abraham might once have had as it helped them win over audiences, driving around the country on their "Monster Bus" with the legend, "Life is supposed to be fun," attached to the back, now seems a mystery, having reread this book.

Ask And It Is Given might be better titled, Seth For Narcissists or some play on the other versions of New Age thought from which all of their ideas seem to have been... let's say, "acquired," for lack of a nicer word.

Trouble is that when you take Jane Roberts' Seth Books, L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology, Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, some aspects of modern Christian thought and the ideas of several other authors from the New Though Movement of the early Twentieth Century and you toss them all in a sauce together, you're as likely to get the worst of each as you are the best.

Esther and Jerry Hicks got the worst. No contest.

Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires
Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires

Possibly the most troubling feature of what Jerry and Esther Hicks and Abraham claim to be the "Teachings of Abraham" is that the basic claims are so fabulous no rational person would believe them if not tricked out in a clever sales pitch that reduces everything to processes or "games," as they call them in the book.

First and most ravishing is the claim that everyone has total freedom to create whatever reality they want, "no exceptions." The converse of this is total responsibility, of course, which is what seduced most of us in the beginning.

But you get into trouble when you try to apply it to real world situations.

According to the teachings of Abraham and consistent with what they insist is the most powerful law in the universe, the Law of Attraction, each of us chooses our time of birth as well as death, making every death a suicide. (I am not making this up. Honest.) It gets worse.

Pressed to clarify this "teaching" in subsequent workshops, Esther Hicks (Abraham) was asked to explain how all three-thousand victims of the World Trade Center disaster could have chosen to die that morning in a horrible conflagration none of them could have seen coming.

Stating, as usual, that there are "no exceptions. It is law,"

Esther meandered around this preposterous claim by reminding listeners of the few non-victims who canceled their flight that day or rescheduled for another day and were spared.

She also mumbled about how a bomb attempt had previously been made on the facility, which meant people working there must have known it was a target.

This, she concluded, proved her point that people jumping from ninety stories up to avoid being consumed in fire and others sitting calmly at their desks when a jetliner came through the windows--all were dying by choice, then and there.

Were this claim not sickening and disgustingly disrespectful to the victims and their families, you might be able to laugh.

The idea of creating your own reality was lifted from Jane Roberts' Seth, by the way, but Jerry and Esther Hicks dumbed down Seth's version considerably, probably to make it accessible to less educated or more gullible followers, until it became mean and goofy.


There are a couple of cliches that make my hair stand on end.

The new age one is: "...who you really are," as if what you are living is some odd brew of who you really aren't.

Jerry and Esther Hicks version arrives when she is explaining that your ultimate freedom and ultimate power is part of some bargain you enter into "when you come into this physical body."

They never explain who the bargain is with, but given other aspects of the teachings, they seems to be implying that it's God or, as they say, "Source: "Do you know how loved you are? Do you know how adored you are?"

Easy enough, of course, to accept that you are given life by God and are "blessed." Nothing so unusual about that.

But there's a problem: if you came into the world, direct from God, with all this power and ultimate freedom, what went wrong? Obviously, you're not living that way.

This is where Scientology lends a hand. The problem is that you forgot.

Fortunately, for a fee, Jerry and Esther Hicks, with Abraham as their authority, will help you remember your eternal being-ness.

But if you want to follow their road map with the tedious emotional guidance scale they inflict on you, your threshold for boredom needs to be very high.

For me, the place where the wheels actually come off and show this collection of wisdom to be, not the teachings of an eternal "nonphysical entity," as they describe Abraham Hicks to be, with access to all wisdom since the beginning of time, but the concoctions of exploitative hucksters who take strands of legitimate wisdom from multiple sources and patch them into a single package of nonsense that falls apart upon examination.

Wise people are clear in what they have to say. That's part of the deal with penetrating insight.

With Jerry and Esther Hicks, there is a continuous bouncing back and forth between the claims that your thoughts create your reality (You get what you think about, whether you want it or not.) and another that "It's a vibrational universe" in which your vibrations attract like vibrations.

They also claim that your thoughts attract similar thoughts and so forth. Then, at one point, they conflate the claims and say that your thoughts create vibrations which create your reality totally.

You, sir and madam, are responsible for Madagascar, global warming, Holland's tulips and the musical history of Fats Waller. Wherever did you find the time?

An overarching thread of foolishness starts when Jerry and Esther Hicks write that they admire Joseph Campbell's famous advice that, to achieve happiness, you "follow your bliss."

The Esther, Jerry and Abraham Hicks version of this is that you look (or reach) for thoughts that "feel good."

Gradually, you change your "emotional set point." Not a bad idea, but then, they go off into hyperspace.

The make a quantum leap from feeling good to feeling joy. It's the difference between inspired passion and giddy narcissism.

Kids, these are two different things, but they make the leap without any interval or step between.

One minute, Jerry and Esther Hicks are encouraging you to find thoughts that feel good. They next, you are told that your purpose in life is to find "joy."

Joy is something we can all appreciate. The joys of a new birth or music that touches your soul are wonderful.

But is that really my purpose in life? What about passion and desire? What about the mellow sensation of being "in the flow?"

What about efforts to reach a goal, the struggles of creativity and the integration of imagination into reality?

Expanding on this, Jerry and Esther Hicks (on stage as Abraham) declared that you should "joy, joy, joy" your way to happiness, not work hard and struggle.

Told that this is a Pollyanna-like approach to life, Abraham advises sagely that "Pollyanna was a happy ending."

Nobody has yet reminded them that Pollyanna was also fiction.


Alternatives To Ask and It Is Given - If You're Looking For Real Spiritual Answers

Esther Hicks teaches that life is supposed to be easy, that all you need to do is change over to happier, healthier thoughts (or is it vibrations?) to become both happier and healthier. No proof is given, and the inspirational teacher never appears in public except under controlled conditions.

The following teachers offer alternatives with more depth and complexity. None of them tell you that fulfillment is supposed to be easy. Value requires effort.

I Can See Clearly Now
I Can See Clearly Now

Dr. Wayne Dyer's new book is nothing less than a spiritual autobiography. He expands on the stories that have fueled and reaffirmed his inspiration for all of his 70+ years.

Amazing: Truths About Conscious Awareness
Amazing: Truths About Conscious Awareness

How staying awake to the moment, as much of it as you can gather can bring a rebirth that doesn't stop.

The Four Agreements Toltec Wisdom Collection: 3-Book Boxed Set
The Four Agreements Toltec Wisdom Collection: 3-Book Boxed Set

Four simple contracts with yourself to save you and the world around you.


The key phrase from Jerry and Esther Hicks's Ask and It Is Given:

You get what you think about, whether you want it or not.

What's your opinion on this book? - Give it a number...

On a scale of 1-7, what did you REALLY think?

See results

So, what do you say? - Let's get your take on this review.

Esther Hicks still has adherents and followers, five years after the publication of this book. Are they onto something I missed?

What did you think of the ideas in this book?

I loved them. They changed my life.

I loved them. They changed my life.

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    • David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: Gordon, I haven't the slightest idea what this means, but you're welcome to post it.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Live your comments to the end and prove something to yourself there is a big message awaiting yourselfGordon Robert

    • David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: Kathy, the Bible has nothing to do with Ask and It Is Given or Esther and Jerry's credibility. I haven't read the Bible once yet, but I've read enough about it to agree with you that it has many contradictions and worse. It contains many positive, uplifting messages as well. Neither fact changes my opinions about Ask and It Is Given.You can find equally valid, uplifting messages from Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle and many others with out having to overlook the errors and contradictions that throw doubt on Esther's received messages. But I don't want to dampen your spirit. If reading what Esther channels uplifts you and makes you happy, more power to you. Read the books, listen to the recordings and whatever else from them gives you a genuine feeling of well-being. But be good to yourself and look around at others. Most have less baggage, and you might even find your own inner voice pitching in to help. Good luck!

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Please. Read the Bible again a few times if you want to see real contradictions, crazy unbelievable things. The Bible is a book of unbelievable supposed facts and it is not uplifting in many ways unlike the books of Ester and Jerry and Abraham Hicks which are very uplifting and positive!!! Yet most of the people in our country believe what the Bible says and doesn't question one thing in it. Talk about a cult! You really should review that one.All I have ever received from the Abraham books is uplifting, positive, and loving thoughts and suggestions. I don't know if these folks are the real thing just as I don't really know about the Bible I have always been taught you don't question the Bible you just believeI would read the Hicks publications and come away with hope, love for myself and others, joy, happiness, excitement, and a more solid belief of who I am than most of the information in the Bible.My point is at least Abraham or the Hicks message is that it is ok not to not believe what they say you are still loved and there is never a threat that you will end up with some horrible eternity for these few short years on this planet if you don't believe what they say. There is not one threat or promise of misery if you do not do as they say or as they believe. Maybe they are not 100% what they say they are but at least they are trying to provide a message of you can do it, you are in charge of your life, you are loved and are love, you are eternal, and life is good and is supposed to be. That means everything to me.

    • David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: Faith, you seem to be unclear on what a book review is. Just because the "teachings" you mentioned have brought joy and happiness into your life, it doesn't automatically make the book well-written, logical or realistic.

      To point out that the book is filled with inconsistencies, contradictions and provably inaccurate claims isn't to "pick on them," but to give an honest review of what I read for the second time, by the way.

      In context, I should add that any objective reading of reviews for this book posted on Amazon suggests that Abraham-Hicks invested in the kind of robo-reviews that make the truth about many consumer reviews somewhat useless. Rewarding reviewers for enthusiastically positive content is dishonest and begs for a response from others who have read the content without ulterior motive.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I think the book is excellent, I enjoy their teachings, and I find them uplifters and very positive. I think whoever wrote this article should realize that these ppl are not harmful to others, they are uplifters, and I question why proving them wrong would be so important to you. The teachings of Abraham Hicks have brought so much joy and happiness into my life. Don't really understand why you choose to pick on them, but I'm sure that they are not wasting any time with it.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Also, so many false paradigms attached to it. I was never a huge follower either other than two books and the occasional You Tube videos of their seminars. The people who take them at the word and go to seminars and shit, they are really being mislead in my opinion. As a general rule, don't pay more than $30 (That's being generous) for a self help/newage book and don't pay hundreds or thousand on seminars. If anyone charges that much, don't trust them. They are cons. The best books and teachings I've every learned were either $0 - $20, no joke!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I've been practicing manifesting beforehand. (Before the "secret craze" too.) Then one day I discovered it an read it. I thought,"Wow! What a great book! I never knew this stuff before!" I did think the summoning "Abraham" was weird and wondered why they didn't just call it "Higher Self" or "Divine." But I thought the message was great. So I bought another book by them. Well, I do believe that because of those books that seemed so convincing to me, I became influenced by it without even realizing it. Then I noticed I was manifesting like shit. I was feeling confused about manifesting. I felt like it was hard. I thought I had to feel good all the time! I thought I had to feel good all the time and attract! As time went on though I started to lose interest in those books and slowly realized they were phonies. It's not just repackaged teachings from long ago, they took those teaching, broke it in tiny pieces, and then repackaged it. The bad thing is that I'm still realizing where a lot of my bullshit thoughts about manifesting and certain things are coming from. Usually I realize they come from those books and You Tube videos I used to watch. They took a pile of shit and sugar coated it with pieces of the truth.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      It works. Dave enjoy licking the taxicab's floor, while I am enjoying manifesting my dreams. Good Luck to you and your negative outlook. BTW FYI Dr. Wayne Dyer actually endorsed the book. However as they said.. "Do not try to save the world, save yourself" This was in regards to negativity, which unfortunately that is how you read. Good Luck with the cab hailing.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks so much for bursting the bubble. This is apparently YOUR mission in life, far more valuable and noble than the mission of the Hicks'. The idea that something which helps one to feel good about life or find new ways to be positive and use thoughts to redirect the course and events of life has to be a scam is sad and disheartening. Having read a number of the Abraham Hicks books, I find it easy to look past those things that seem a bit fishy and draw from the messages which are clearly of value to any person at any stage of life with any level of comprehension. Though the information may be a mixture of the teachings of others, what teacher didn't begin as a student? The value here is in the message, not in the means. I do not begrudge anyone their means of making a living, so Jerry and Esther: More power to you. No one is forced to read or listen to what they have to say, so I would suggest that skeptics scrutinize elsewhere and leave those of us who find peace and power in the message to our ignorant bliss, if you see it that way.

    I'd rather lick a taxicab's floor than read it again.

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      • David Stone 5 years ago from New York City

        Reality Check, I got a kick out of your name. To each his or her own reality check, of course. My outlook on Esther and Jerry is negative, I guess, or positive, depending on what you think about exposing public frauds. I think it's positive, but hey, I don't take my direction from Wayne Dyer, who I like, by the way, but a guy who has sullied his reputation by endorsing every piece of candy-coated garbage that floats out of Louise Hay's shop. He also endorsed Gary Renard, who claimed to have been visited by two of Jesus' apostles who charmed him with rehashed accounts of "discoveries" that have been discussed publicly for decades; Gregg Bradden, ("my buddy") a computer scientist who makes phenomenal claims about genetics that reputable scientists think are silly pseudo-religious ramblings; and best of all, Bruce Lipton, the crack-brained ex-scientist who thinks we are all run by tape recorders (You can't make this junk up.) and pitches Rob Williams Psych K seminars as the cure.Oh, and by the way, I read the book twice and a lot of the other stuff produced by Esther and Jerry. The difference between us is, I read it with and open mind, not already convinced that Esther is a modern Jesus or Buddha, as she claims, and found it hard to believe teachers like those Abraham claims to be would contradict themselves and tell so many half-baked stories. Consistency would go a long way with them, but it's too late now.

      • David Stone 5 years ago from New York City

        Dusty, if you will take a second to look at the right column, you will see several alternative suggests, and I'd add to that books by Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer and Marianne Williamson, each of whom writes thoughtfully, intelligently, respectfully and never suggests risky, whacky practices as some sort of spiritual initiation.

      • gypsyman27 lm 5 years ago

        I have to say that I didn't trust them from the first words I ever heard them utter. See you around the galaxy...

      For the record: Jerry and Esther Hicks on Death

      For others, that is.

      And death itself:

      "'...death' is a matter of closing one's eyes in this dimension and literally opening one's eyes in the other dimension. And that, truly, is how all death is, no matter how it looks, up to that point.. The re-emergence into Source Energy is always a delightful thing."

      --- Abraham

      Excerpted from the workshop in Buffalo, NY on Tuesday, September 25th, 2001

      Note: This claim, that death is always "delightful" was dished out two weeks after the World Trade Center Disaster. For pregnant women jumping to their deaths from eighty floors in the sky, for professionals supporting families, for the captured passengers on commercial flights, a few with infants in their laps, death was a "delightful" experience

      So, what do you think about Jerry and Esther Hicks...? - Review the reviewer.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Wow, 2 big thumbs up and 5 stars for your great book review here.. Dave. Many thanks for your hard work by introducing another interesting new thought book. Tweeted to all my fans. Have a wonderful time.. always .. my friend :)

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          David Stone 5 years ago from New York City

          @anonymous: Thanks, Raphaelo. Appreciated.

        • gypsyman27 lm profile image

          gypsyman27 lm 5 years ago

          Really, a very good book review. I love your insight into the character of these people. You made me smile, several times. See you around the galaxy...

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          The fact that Jerry Hicks died of cancer just proves that he was living in a physical body and Jerry and Esther never claimed to be able to beat death. Nor did the Buddha, Krishna, or Jesus Christ.The idea that our souls choose this life, choose our specific situation, our parents etc, is not a new idea with the Hicks - it is as old as the Buddha. Most of your arguments about their teachings display the typical reactions of a person still experiencing life via the ego. To the ego and the five-sensory mind the fact that all the people in the World Trade Center who died on 9/11 chose on the soul level to be in that place at that time seems preposterous. But you simply are living in a different paradigm than that of the soul. You probably don't accept the premise of a soul. or intuition even though intuitive knowing (esp/clairavoyance) has been well demonstrated and documented. That seems pretty preposterous to me (and any truly any rational person) - to ignore, refute/refuse to investigate the workings of clairavoyants and others with similar gifts.

        • David Stone1 profile image

          David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

          @anonymous: Bea, the persistance of New Age rationalizations baffle me. Your thinking is sophomoric, at best. It's been said and re-said a million times without getting any closer to the truth and lacks any rational basis. This won't bother you, of course, nor do all the contradictions and obvious falsehoods in the A-H material.On a personal note, only an idiot buys that trash about the World Trade Center. That's the kind of cruel crap clinging like crazy to a precious belief system gets you. It's an easy out for the likes of Esther Hicks and you, people who prefer magical reasoning to get themselves off the hook for lacking decency and compassion.

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          @gypsyman27 lm: ( Wish that Robert was still with us, some people I miss when they are gone. )You share do put a lot of work into your book reviews, Dave. That is admirable.

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          @gypsyman27 lm: ( Wish that Robert was still with us, some people I miss when they are gone. )You share do put a lot of work into your book reviews, Dave. That is admirable.

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