Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Book Review: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Book: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A fable about fulfilling your dreams and reaching your destiny
Author: Robin Sharma
Publisher: Jaico
Price: Rs 250
Pages: 198

Eisha Sarkar
Posted on Times Wellness on Monday, February 28, 2011

Much has been written about Robin Sharma's, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. You wonder why the fictional story of a hotshot lawyer, Julian Mantle, who sold off his holiday home and red Ferrari to embark on a spiritual journey to the Himalayas, makes for a bestseller. But once you leaf through the pages, it’s the fable that Julian narrates to his friend, John, that first catches your eye and then slowly inspires you to become a better human being.
"You are sitting in the middle of a magnificent, lush, green garden. This garden is filled with the most spectacular flowers you have ever seen. The environment is supremely tranquil and silent. Savor the sensual delights of this garden and feel as if you have all the time in the world to enjoy this natural oasis. As you look around you see that in the center of this magical garden stands a towering lighthouse, six stories high. Suddenly, the silence of the garden is disturbed by a loud creaking as the door at the base of the lighthouse opens. Out stumbles a nine-foot-tall, nine-hundred-pound Japanese sumo wrestler who casually wanders into the center of the garden. The Japanese sumo wrestler is almost totally naked. He has a pink wire cable covering his private parts.
As this sumo wrestler starts to move around the garden he finds a shiny gold stopwatch which someone had left behind many years earlier. He slips it on, and falls to the ground with an enormous thud. The sumo wrestler is rendered unconscious and lies there, silent and still. Just when you think, he has taken his last breath, the wrestler awakens, perhaps stirred by the fragrance of some fresh yellow roses blooming nearby. Energized, the wrestler jumps swiftly to his feet and intuitively looks to his left. He is startled by what he sees. Through the bushes at the very edge of the garden, he observes a long winding path covered by millions of sparkling diamonds. Something seems to instruct the wrestler to take the path, and to hos credit, he does. The path leads him down the road of everlasting joy and eternal bliss."
When you first read this, you think you’ve picked up the wrong book. On its own the fable lacks character and emotional content. It hardly caresses your skin and certainly doesn’t tug at your heart-strings. You feel disappointed, almost cheated. But that’s when Julian steps in again and explains in depth the significance of each part of the fable:
The magnificent garden: It stands for cultivating the mind and improving the quality of your life by improving the quality of your thoughts and shunning all negative thoughts that creep in. There are no mistakes, only lessons!
The lighthouse: Set clearly defined personal, professional and spiritual goals and then have the courage to act on them. The purpose of life is a life of purpose.
The Sumo wrestler: Practise Kaizen, the Japanese strategy for continuous improvement. Enlightenment comes through continuous cultivation of your mind, body and soul. Do the things you fear.
The pink wire cable: Live with discipline. Discipline is built by consistently performing small acts of courage. 
The gold stopwatch: Respect your time, it's your most precious commodity and is non-renewable.
The fragrant roses: Live to give, practise daily acts of kindness and cultivate richer relationships
The path of diamonds: Embrace the present, live your children's childhood, practise gratitude and grow your destiny

Call it a fable or just another self-help book, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari does inspire you to change your life for the better. While the book sheds light on life’s bigger questions, it shows you how moderate changes in lifestyle, diet, exercise and how you deal with your relationships can help you develop better mentally, physically and spiritually. It defines success not in terms of material wealth but in terms of how well you know yourself. It encourages you to read more, eat less, exercise everyday, spend more time with your family and think positive. And while you may not want to give up your cushy job and car for your spiritual quest, it shows you how to live life in moderation, keeping in mind both your personal and professional goals.
The book's not for those looking for a quick-fix to everyday problems. While the steps may seem easy, Sharma subtly warns people not to look for immediate benefits and wait for at least a month till the changes are evident.
Packed with excitement, drama, and quotes from the likes of Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, is a good read. You can run through all the 198 pages of the simple text in one sitting itself. But you'll dwell on this book for days. And that makes it special!

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