Remember The Monk who sold his Ferrari I’d been recommended to read? Well, I had placed an order with the local library for a copy, picked it up a few days ago, and I started reading it last night. Finished it today.
It was kinda amusing reading it cos I’d inadvertently ordered the large-print version – so I felt like I was reading a kid’s book :-D
But frankly, I’m disappointed with the book.
There are some gems hidden within its pages, true, but said gems are hidden among a poorly constructed, poorly told “fable about fulfilling your dreams and reaching your destiny” which in itself is just a less-coherent simple re-hashing of Covey’s 7 Habits.
I was also really bored, because like all those other self-help books out there, there’s nothing new contained within its pages. And, so much of what is said within those pages I already practice, or have practiced, or had practiced, for a long time.
- I was never one who’s all caught up in the corporate rat race. Even though I know my rise in the company was quite high quite fast, I hadn’t “raced” my way there. In fact, my upward mobility was based very much on my capabilities and skills I possessed and results I produced – I wasn’t trying to climb the ladder, but my feet kept climbing while I was doing stuff that I took pride in.
- I had the self-awareness to see that my last 2 years of work, despite being an excellent opportunity for self-improvement and experience-building, was also extremely poisonous to my well-being and sanity. I also had the courage to make the decision quit, the determination to see it through, and to ultimately walk away from it all – a secure job with pretty-much guaranteed continued upward mobility – rather than compromise my mental health any further.
And on the more personal side?
- I’ve long felt that my mission in life is to bring out the best in others. Fulfilling this has taken many forms: observing over a period of time a friend stuck in a vicious downward spiral, sitting her down and talking her through what’s going on, helping her see and acknowledge things that are beyond her control, and identify things that ARE within her control that she can take action on, in order to improve her situation. Being an unofficial mentor to a younger colleague. Nudging people towards acknowledging some of their “black holes”, getting them to realize they are holding themselves back / are wearing blinders…
- Having the strength and conviction to end a long-term relationship… yet to succeed in remaining friends afterwards (which *all* my “friends” said was an unwise and impossible thing to do).
There’s plenty more,… but I’m done with my introspection for the day :p
Not that there is no room for improvement, of course:
I don’t deny that many beneficial self-affirming “daily rituals” have crept out of my life for various reasons, so if nothing else the book served as a gentle reminder of things I could be doing to add a bit more oomph to it.
But there is no way for me to get any A-HA moments from a book so superficial.
That said, I suppose this book *would* be a good place to start for people who haven’t ever really taken the time to stop and take stock of their lives, or those who have but need a nudge in the right direction.
What I *did* like about the Ferrari-less Monk book:
- The garden / lighthouse / sumo wrestler / pink cable wire / stopwatch / roses / path of diamonds visual imagery is a great memory aid ; chances are, I’ll still remember all seven “virtues of enlightened living” for quite a while
- Many times throughout the book, it is said that you should do what you are comfortable with; take the time to “grow” your self, your willpower; take tiny steps if need be, but take the steps… Unlike many other books that prescribe a radical change from one’s existing condition, which would require a great amount of willpower and motivation to maintain… and chances are high that 6 months down the road, the poor fella is right back where he started, and even more convinced that he can’t change for the better!
- I got a recommendation for a Gandhi book! From a long time ago, I knew that a good way to find inspiration was to read about great figures of history. I’ve always wanted to read about Gandhi. However, there were so many books out there, I didn’t know which to pick, and today I realize that I never did pick any. But now I have some guidance: Gandhi’s autobiography The Story of my Experiments with Truth – which is now on order from the library.
- I also liked the practical look at doing things that are your passion in life. Like if you are a lawyer by profession but a painter at heart – sure, you could dump everything and try to succeed in the art world… or you could make sure you spend part of the weekends painting, and perhaps bestowing these as gifts to friends and relatives. One doesn’t always have to walk away like I did, y’know… :-)
Looking at the reviews on amazon.com, a similar but supposedly “better” book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - guess who’s ordered that from the library in order to make a comparison for herself? I’m probably gonna just skim it, tho… I doubt I could stomach too many self-help books at one time!