Saturday, January 06, 2007

I have just finished reading 'The monk who sold his Ferrari' by Robin sharma, an Indian writer of U.S origin and a highly sought after speaker on Motivation. The book is a easy-to-read and pinpoints exactly what the problem lies as far as most of our lifestyle goes. We immerse ourselves in our work completely oblivious to our suroundings, our family etc intent only in the pursuit of money hoping that that will pave the way for a happy retirement. This book is a wake-up call to all those people who like Julian Mantle, the person this book talks about, spend every moment of their waking hour chasing the elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow which in the author's opinion turns out empty in the end.
The author has opted to get his point across in the form of a fable which helps to keep the reader glued to the book. The fable isn't a fable in the real sense but a series of metaphors that the protagonist has created to help him remember the seven steps to attain enlightenment. The points raised by the author are thought-provoking and highly relevant in today's fast paced world where you find so many broken marriages, burn-out and a high percentage of stress related ailments even amongst young people. Many of the advices, we have already heard. Things like "Take time to spend time with family", "Take the time to enjoy your surroundings etc" are not new to many of us and we have heard people say these things already. However, this book puts these points acrosss in a way that makes even the non-believers pause and listen so as correct themselves in case they haven't done so already. Of course there's some new stuff as well including noble ones like "Live a life of purpose" rather than asking what the world has done for you. The author asserts that there is joy in "giving to others" and dedicate oneself to the service of manking. The author also assures us periodically that this needn't necessarily mean that we let go of our present lives and become an ascetic though the protagonist has become one more out of necessity borne by his physical condition than by choice. Another aspect that the author would like to consider is to stop living for others and do what appeals to one's inner self. For example, somebody with artistic talents would be miserable if he were made to do clerical duty. This ofcourse means that risks have to be taken as someone with a family to feed would hardly let go of his lucrative career for personal satisfaction.
The book however much the author tried to disguise it, does at some point begin to look like taking a pill. Also the metaphors chosen by the author are debatable in some cases. The author has done the right thing by choosing the foothills of the himalayas as the backdrop for his narration. However the presence of a sumo wrestler and the mentioning of 'kaizen', a concept of japanese origin, makes one wonder if the author is himself convinced in the first place. The book overall is a good read and a must for anyone who places work above everything else.