This book was a joy to read. I’m not a particularly fast reader, but I was able to get through the 198 pages in a weekend. It helped that Little Seth happened to take 2 uncommonly long naps on Saturday and Sunday–maybe the universe really is conspiring to shower me with blessings….
Long story short: A hard-charging, successful lawyer has a heart attack in the court room. It’s just a symptom of a bigger problem: he eats bad, drinks and smokes, barely sleeps, works constantly, etc. After the heart attack, he quits his practice, sells his ferrari, mansion, and beach house, and treks to India. There, he meets a tribe in the Himalayas that leads him to enlightenment. He comes back to the states and teaches whoever will listen–specifically his law protege– all he has learned.
The subtitle is “A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams and Reaching Your Destiny.” The book has many of the qualities that make a good novel like a first page that draws you right in, wealthy, successful characters, and a journey half way around the world for what’s important.
At the same time, it has the makings of a solid self-help book: it’s not too long, there were practical steps the reader can take toward improvement, and plenty of quotes from the likes of Gandhi, Einstein, and Emerson.
I like to read personal development books because they elucidate the concepts that are necessary for success, peace of mind, prosperity, fulfillment, and vitality. These ideas are fundamental–everyone wants to be happy.
The only problem with fundamentals is that there’s nothing really new about them. Whenever I’m deciding whether or not to buy a book, I open to a few random pages and read a few random paragraphs. When I did this to The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, I concluded: “Do I need another book to tell me that it’s important to laugh, or that everything that happens to us is the result of our thoughts, or that exercise and time spent in nature are important, and that I should be writing goals down?”
Well, I believe those things to be true, but I don’t really live by them as much as I like to. So, I decided to cop it. There are some excellent points in it, including the idea that we have to re-read the best books continuously. Whether it’s the Bible or How To Win Friends and Influence People, if a book moves you, you should go back and read it over periodically. The core of Monk might be the “10 Rituals For Radiant Living.”
“If you continue to apply them,” The monk says, “you are bound to reach a state of perfect health, limitless energy, lasting happiness and peace of mind. Ultimately, you will reach your divine destiny–for this is your birthright.” All you have to do is:
1. Spend at least 15 minutes a day in silence.
2. Spend at least 5 hours a week engaged in rigorous physical activity.
3. Eat as much raw food as possible and less and less of everything else.
4. Continue to read and study enriching books, articles, and blogs.
5. At the end of the day, reflect on all you did and decide what you can do better tomorrow.
6. Wake up with the sun.
7. Listen to good music often.
8. Have at least one mantra you repeat 100 times a day to improve your self-image.
9. Take steps daily to improve your character, like being kinder and more honest.
10. Keep life simple by focusing on things that are most important.
Some of those things aren’t easy. In fact, doing all 10 of those everyday would probably lead to some suffering. But, they can all be turned into habits after sticking with them for a few weeks. Besides, if your life isn’t moving in the direction of those 10 rituals, you’re almost certainly suffering anyway. Like Jim Rohn says, the pain of discipline is never as bad as the pain of regret, so go for it.
Most importantly, know that you can achieve whatever your imagination can dream up and much more.