Pssst. There's a hot book behind the latest success at media giant CBS (NYSE:CBS). Yes, a book. It's not really a secret, even though it's The Secret. The runaway success of Rhonda Byrne's spiritually inspirational book -- even today, it's the third-best-selling book on (NASDAQ:AMZN) -- helped push publishing revenue at CBS 27% higher for the March quarter.

I can't vouch for the book's premise of willing things into reality, but I do know that the company's first-quarter report would have been uninspiring if not for the strength at its Simon & Schuster publishing arm.

In and of itself, this morning's report isn't exactly inspirational reading. The top line inched just 2% higher at the company's television and billboard advertising businesses. Strength in publishing offset the 9% slide in radio, because of radio station sales and a weaker ad market in terrestrial radio.

But there are some signs of life. Free cash flow clocked in 17% higher, at $753 million. Earnings before discontinued operations climbed higher to hit $0.33 a share, in line with Wall Street expectations.

CBS has proven to be the better twin since it was broken off from Viacom (NYSE:VIA) in January 2006. CBS shares are trading 25% higher, while Viacom's stock has essentially treaded water.  

The irony is that Viacom was the one pitched as the growth vehicle. CBS was supposed to be the sleepier sibling, appealing to income investors with its current 2.8% yield (Viacom does not pay cash dividends). It turns out that you can score some capital gains and make a little pocket change along the way.

Hey! Is that CBS' secret or James Early's secret?

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz admits to being a little spooked by the CBS eye logo. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. Amazon is a Stock Advisor recommendation. He is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.