"It's me, guy that interviewed you in 2012. Question."
"How come you added "Sub Rosa" to the new edition?"
"I know that. "Under the rose" often refers to a carving over confessionals."
"So what're you, Catholic?"
"Close enough. I'll tell ya. Rose was the emblem of the Egyptian god, Horus.
"God of the sky?"
"Yeah, but the Romans thought his name was Harpocrates --Greek god of silence."
"Like Harpo Marx performed mute?"
"Exactly, Greeks then Romans used Harpo, Horace, or Horus as short for Harpocrates."
"So you get an error in translation?"
"Yeah, an error that runs three thousand years and becomes part of the woodwork."
"Nah, just post what you wrote four years ago."
Harpocratic Eros, c. 100–50 BCE. (public domain)]
I don't ordinarily do book reviews but will make an exception here because this is an exceptional book. I don't have to tell you how successful it has been over the years in helping us keep ourselves to ourselves in a pressure-cooker of mass disclosure. Nor do I have to tell you how many refinements and editions it has gone through, so I won't because I don't have to and you can't make me.
It is sufficient to say that, unlike other self-help books, Success Secrets of Highly Secretive People has undergone enough constructive revision to have cured it of any accidental clarity.
Some books can change your life. I'm not telling whether this one will or not. That is not the job of the reviewer. It is the job of the apologist, and most people think apologists are a pretty sorry bunch. I could tell you that is because many people never crack a dictionary --now there's a life-changing book-- but I won't. Not my job. Nor is it the reviewer's job to fall under the spell of his or her subject even when confronted with great truths like, "Only in the presence of secrecy can blabbing flourish." Of course, that is not a great truth, nor is it in the book. I just made it up. It is flapdoodle-- but could the reverse be true?
If there are answers to this and other important questions -- like who wrote the thing and where can one find it?-- they are not forthcoming. I had the honor of meeting the author at a wildly secret book-signing and asked how the subject arose and why it was so fascinating. The author gave me a kindly, earnest, pensive look, thought for a moment and said, "Nosey old thing, aren't you?"