Thursday, July 26, 2007

The monk who sold his Ferrari - book review

The last book I had read was “Rich Dad Poor Dad” (see post on Mar 18th below). Absolutely impressed and influenced by Rich Dad, I doubted how much of a monk I could be to read this book with devotion. From some of the online reviews and the catchy name I felt it was about giving up everything materialistic to attain divine peace. “Selling a Ferrari!. He would be some monk(ey) to sell his ferrari!”, I mused.

But now I am done reading with the book and I seem to have enjoyed it. In the book, the author Robin Sharma narrates the story of a lawyer-turned-monk, Jullian Mantle, who suddenly realizes where life is taking him, decides to take action and embarks on an odyssey to northern India to acquire wisdom from the learned Sages of Sivana. A changed man, Jullian Mantle comes back to his old friend(and old world) with a mission to spread the wisdom to everyone. Jullian explains the sages’ techniques of mind-control, the Japanese technique of kaizen, self-discipline, time management and willpower to his friend with the help of small stories and real life examples.

Let’s begin with what I didn’t like and end with the good things, as after reading this book it would be improper not to end on a positive note.

The book starts of quite slow and builds too much suspense as to what the life-transforming techniques that Jullian keeps talking about , might be. Some of the techniques aim to bring spiritual fulfillment, hoping to enrich the soul and emphasize the need for a simple life, but me not being a spiritually-inclined person and diamonds being my second best friends, when the subject drifted to these topics I would doze off. Of course, these are my inclinations, and a different person may enjoy these sections of the book too. Also the title of the book, though very catchy, is incorrect. Jullian Mantle preaches to his friend why he should live a simple life and give up materialistic greed. Yet he “sells” his Ferrari. I believe selling is still one form of gaining something. Instead his Ferrari should have been give to charity. :-)

Now for the positive changes this book can bring. The ideas emphasized in this book are not new. Our dads probably keep telling us the same things – wake up early, think positive, list your weekend chores etc. But Yogi Raman, one of trhe Sages of Sivana, explains the same with examples and make us understand why these are necessary. Plus at the back of you mind, when you read a book that is an International Best Seller it makes you inclined to trust the source and you subconsciously agree to apply the Sages’ techniques in real life.

The step by step procedure from dreaming your goals right upto achieving them (especially the Rule of 21 – read it) is very influential. The powers of the mind described in the book amaze me. The sages consider the brain as a muscle and just like any body muscle the more this muscle is exercised the stronger it becomes. The importance of starting your day with positive thoughts is highlighted well, as is the importance of going to bed happy. Time management and the need to plan is also illustrated along with interesting phrases like “Failing to plan is planning to fail” (It would do wonders to my I-love-procastinating-and-I-don’t-mind-it husband ). The most important mantra it teaches is that of moderation. The sages defend the need for a sattvic (vegetarian) diet but preach that if one is a meat-lover he needn’t give it up altogether. No extremes. I liked and appreciated this thought. If any technique would have forced a strict discipline, we would have closed the book on the second day.

For me this book, like any I have read, has been positively influential. In the last one week I have been following a ten minute exercise regime (and by putting this on the web I am using one of the sages’ techniques of creating positive pressure to keep goals on track). For the past one week I have not fretted on petty issues like my PC taking too long to restart or my neighbor’s dog barking at midnight. For the last one week I have been caught in crazy peak traffic thrice, but I have not been frustrated. I have instead closed the car windows, turned on the radio and sung the songs along, not caring what onlookers might think. Bottom line – I reach home happy and re-energized to cope with my two year olds tantrums.

Whether this book and its techniques transform our life forever would be hard to say, but as I feel of any book – apply as much of it as you can for as long as you can, it would still be worth the try cause you have nothing to lose but a few hours of sleep.


Ketaki said...

Can totally benefit from some of the points. Lovely post!

Avanti said...

Very nice writing. Although I truely wonder if any book can transoform your life permanently :).

Liked the way you have expressed your views on the "Goods" and "Bads" of this book...with subtle humour.

Looks like I need to get a copy now :)

Anonymous said...

hey! i'm going to cali this weekend and won't be back until is the website i was talking about where i made extra summer cash. Later! the website is here

pramod said...

also read book "monk who bought ferraris"