PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives

( 146 )

Overview

The project that captured a nation's imagination.

The instructions were simple, but the results were extraordinary.

"You are invited to anonymously contribute a secret to a group art project. Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession, or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything — as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before. Be brief. Be legible. Be creative."

It ...

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Overview

The project that captured a nation's imagination.

The instructions were simple, but the results were extraordinary.

"You are invited to anonymously contribute a secret to a group art project. Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession, or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything — as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before. Be brief. Be legible. Be creative."

It all began with an idea Frank Warren had for a community art project. He began handing out postcards to strangers and leaving them in public places — asking people to write down a secret they had never told anyone and mail it to him, anonymously.

The response was overwhelming. The secrets were both provocative and profound, and the cards themselves were works of art — carefully and creatively constructed by hand. Addictively compelling, the cards reveal our deepest fears, desires, regrets, and obsessions. Frank calls them "graphic haiku," beautiful, elegant, and small in structure but powerfully emotional.

As Frank began posting the cards on his website, PostSecret took on a life of its own, becoming much more than a simple art project. It has grown into a global phenomenon, exposing our individual aspirations, fantasies, and frailties — our common humanity.

Every day dozens of postcards still make their way to Frank, with postmarks from around the world, touching on every aspect of human experience. This extraordinary collection brings together the most powerful, personal, and beautifully intimate secrets Frank Warren has received — and brilliantly illuminates that human emotions can be unique and universal at the same time.

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Editorial Reviews

No Source
3rd Place, Special Trade-Fine Art under $75 Category, New York Book Show
time.com
“A fascinating public airing of private thoughts. . . The range of efforts (meticulous, sloppy, artful, ponderous) will astound you.”
– A contributor on Postsecret.com
“Humanity at its finest . . . And because of it I am falling in love with the world again.”
– TIME.com
“A fascinating public airing of private thoughts. . . The range of efforts (meticulous, sloppy, artful, ponderous) will astound you.”
TIME.com
"A fascinating public airing of private thoughts. . . The range of efforts (meticulous, sloppy, artful, ponderous) will astound you."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060899196
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/29/2005
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 164,194
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 10.25 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Frank Warren is a small business owner who started PostSecret.com as a community art project. Since November 2004 Warren has received more than 150,000 anonymous postcards. The website won two Webby Awards in 2006 and this year was named Weblog of the Year at the Seventh Annual Weblog Awards. The PostSecret project also received a special award from the National Mental Health Association for raising awareness and funds for suicide prevention. Warren lives in Germantown, Maryland, with his wife and daughter.

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Read an Excerpt

PostSecret

Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives
By Frank Warren

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Frank Warren
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060899190

Introduction

In November 2004, I printed 3,000 postcards inviting people to share a secret with me: something that was true, something they had never told anyone. I handed out these cards at subway stations, I left them in art galleries, and I slipped them between the pages of library books. Then, slowly, secrets began to find their way to my mailbox.

After several weeks I stopped passing out postcards but secrets kept coming. Homemade postcards made from cardboard, old photographs, wedding invitations, and other personal items artfully decorated arrived from all over the world. Some of the secrets were written in Portuguese, French, German, Hebrew, and even Braille.

One of the first PostSecrets I received looked like nothing more than a worn postcard filled with two shopping lists. But squeezed into the corner was a soulful admission, "I am still struggling with what I've become."

Like fingerprints, no two secrets are identical, but every secret has a story behind it. From the clues on this card, I imagined that this person had an internal struggle about sharing the secret. It was so difficult that they tried to use up the postcard as a shopping list, twice. But the urge to reconcile with a painful personal truth was so strong that they were ultimately able to find the courage to share it.

Secrets have stories; they can also offer truths. After seeing thousands of secrets, I understand that sometimes when we believe we are keeping a secret, that secret is actually keeping us. A New Zealander recently wrote the following about what they had learned from the PostSecret project, "The things that make us feel so abnormal are actually the things that make us all the same."

I invite you to contemplate each of the shared secrets in these pages: to imagine the stories behind the personal revelations and to search for the meaning they hold. As you read these postcards you may not only be surprised by what you learn about others, but also reminded of your own secrets that have been hiding. That is what happened to me.

After reading one particular PostSecret, I was reminded of a childhood humiliation -- something that happened to me more than thirty years ago. I never thought of it as a secret, yet I had never told anyone about it. From a memory that felt fresh, I chose my words carefully and expressed my secret on a postcard. I shared it with my wife and daughter. The next day, I went to the post office, and physically let it go into a mailbox. I walked away feeling lighter.

I like to think that this project germinated from that secret I kept buried for most of my life. At a level below my awareness, I needed to share it, but I was not brave enough to do it alone. So I found myself inviting others at galleries and libraries to first share their secrets with me. And when their postcards found me, I was able to find the courage to identify my secret and share it too.

We all have secrets: fears, regrets, hopes, beliefs, fantasies, betrayals, humiliations. We may not always recognize them but they are part of us -- like the dreams we can't always recall in the morning light.

Some of the most beautiful postcards in this collection came from very painful feelings and memories. I believe that each one of us has the ability to discover, share, and grow our own dark secrets into something meaningful and beautiful.

-- Frank


Continues...

Excerpted from PostSecret by Frank Warren Copyright © 2005 by Frank Warren. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 146 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(112)

4 Star

(18)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 146 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Keeper

    I got this as a gift about four years ago and still look at it every couple months. I love Post Secret books. It's amazing how touching and relatable they are, yet at the same time, how funny they are. Post Secret books make excellent gifts and are great to have in the living room to start conversation. Anyone can relate to these.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 19, 2010

    Coffee Table Staple

    This book is an amazing conversation piece-place it on your coffee table and your friends will not be able to resist! Some secrets are humorous, some are tacky and some are touching. At work we borrowed the theme and ideas from this book by asking people to post their 'secrets', we then used these post cards to advertise and bring attention and focus to important topics. We debriefed afterward and realized the complexity of our environment and the small details one can often overlook. It is amazing the quality conversations that can come from a simple testimonial post card. This is a great idea and a great book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2010

    Not So Lonely

    The post secret books are amazing! If you've ever had a secret (and we all have,) that you couldn't share with any one and it made you feel like you were alone in the universe, this book is for you! Some secrets are funny, some ironic, and some are very very sad, but they're all real. A lot of the cards by themselves are beautiful. It's the kind of book that makes the world feel a little smaller...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I only wish it was longer

    I am addicted to these books, but this one was short compared to some of the other books.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2010

    Highly Reccomend

    I thought the book was enlightening, inspiring, and motivating. I really enjoyed reading all the different postcards. I enjoy sharing them with friends and family. This book has really touched me.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2007

    Just Great

    I serendipitously discovered this book one day.Read it through in one sitting amazed. These days, I've been really depressed about life and myself. I returned to this book, and it made me feel completely human...which is a blessing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2010

    You Are Not Alone!

    Frank Warren has provided the world with a skillfully thoughtful reminder that we are not alone in our anger, fears or even our pride. Pick up anyone in the series and you will be amazed. I'd also recommend that you buy "When God Stopped Keeping Score," an intimate look at the power of God and forgiveness. Given the chance, it too will change your life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2010

    Inspiring secrets.

    I enjoyed the book and liked the deep and inspiring secrets, however, I do not know if this book is worth this much. Once you read the secrets once or twice, the book pretty much just sits on the bookshelf.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    PostSecret is a great book/website

    I absolutely love postsecret. it is an amazing way to feel connected to others and to know that even if you feel alone in the world, you are truly not alone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2010

    Fantastic

    Loved the book, good for a coffee table or something to just flip through.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 22, 2009

    There are parts of this book that break me into pieces.

    What I find most interesting about this book is the variety of lives and secrets that are revealed. It's not just a book about sorrow or friendship or self loathing or true love. It's a combination of these and many more and they juxtapose one another in exciting ways. A postcard about cheating might be next to one about eating disorders or having never been in love with a life partner. So many voices are heard. Each thought is expressed with an eclectic collage of the secret teller's creation. No two secrets are the same and if there is a slight overlap in theme, the accompanying image is completely different. The real power in the book is the anonymity. It allows the reader to feel intimate with the secret teller and relate to a thought without exposing either person. I defy anyone to read this and not share at least one secret. This is a stunning piece of work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 18, 2009

    CLASSIC POSTSECRET MISSING SOMETHING

    THIS BOOK WAS REFRESHING IN ITS TOPICS, BUT AS I WAS READING THROUGH IT I FELT LIKE i WAS SORT OF JIPPED. FRANK RELEASED A LOT OF THESE SECRETS BEFORE THE BOOK CAME OUT, AND THE ONLINE ARCHIVE SHOWED A LOT AS WELL. I ALMOST THINK IF I HADNT ORDERED THE BOOK I WOULDNT HAVE BEEN MISSING OUT ON MUCH. NOT THAT THE SECRETS ARENT TOUCHING, AND FRANK SURELY MADE SOME GOOD CHOICES ON SECRETS TO INCLUDE, BUT SO MANY OF THEM WERE PRETTY MUCH OLD TO ME ONCE I READ THE BOOK FOR THE FIRST TIME.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2009

    Great coffee table book!

    I love these PostSecret books - I have several for my coffee table. Everyone who visits always enjoys looking through them, and it gives one a weird sense of peace to read other's secrets (except for the disturbing ones - not peace, then). :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    Can't wait for the next one

    The post-secret books are fabulous. They let you delve into the minds of complete strangers so that you are able to realize that your problems are not just your problems. Other people, everywhere else in the world, share your problems and then you don't feel quite so alone anymore. Some are funny and offer a laugh. Others are shocking and make you want to know the story behind them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    Loved it

    Once you pick it up you will be intrigued. I bought this as a gift for a friend as well. Have read the others and look forward to the newest PostSecret due out later this year (Oct 09)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 2, 2014

    Interesting Read

    My husband would have rated this book higher, I'm sure. We will be purchasing the other books by Frank Warren. The entries were sometimes shocking, sometimes sad, and sometimes funny. Gives one a sense of community - that he/she is not the only one who has ever felt this way.

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  • Posted September 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Compact Secrets

    Another great book filled with real live people. It's another fantastic collection to add to your coffee table with the other PostSecret series. The book was made a little bit more compact and yes, it is much smaller, but that doesn't mean the secrets are too. Take a brief time to relax and read into the lives of others who just want to share a part of themselves so you can be free too.

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  • Posted September 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This is what it feels like to Fly...

    PostSecret is fresh, real, and liberating. It is THE reality of the people that are among us, as well as a key to finally being free to be a part of something when we always thought we were alone. It's a great outreach and approach that will warm your hearts...and you can't help but to nod along with agreement as some of these secrets may have once been yours too. Laugh, Love, and Live through these journeys together!

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  • Posted June 9, 2011

    Amazing

    Love+love+love+them.+I+laugh.+I+cry.+I+flinch.+Ive+sent+a+secret+or+two+in+there.+

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2010

    You Are Not Alone!

    Frank Warren has provided the world with a skillfully thoughtful reminder that we are not alone in our anger, fears or even our pride. Pick up anyone in the series and you will be amazed. I'd also recommend that you buy "When God Stopped Keeping Score," an intimate look at the power of God and forgiveness. Given the chance, it will change your life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 146 Customer Reviews

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