The monk who sold his Ferrari - Robin S. Sharma
The Monk Who
I confess that I have somewhat mixed feelings about this book. I read it on holiday and began by expecting and hoping to read an insightful story. For the first few pages this seemed to be the case, however the book then changed direction.

In many ways the author of a book designed to help people change, what are often termed ‘self-help’ books, faces a dilemma. For the help to be successful it has to be self-help, that is it has to come from within the reader. The use of stories or parables that awaken understanding in the reader derive their power in this way. However after reading the story the reader is then left with the question of what to do with this awakened understanding; how do they actually change?
The alternative approach is to provide a change instruction manual which prescribes changes in the hope that these then create change from which new understanding will follow. The danger here is that unless understanding is changed, the result is the mindless application of prescribed rituals, or the rejection of them.

This book attempts to bridge these two approaches. It begins with the story of a lawyer forced to re-evaluate life following a major heart attack. However this story quickly becomes a rather simple framework for what is largely a monologue describing a set of self-change techniques.

At the point where the book transitions from a story to an instruction guide I almost gave up on the book, but was later glad that I didn’t. I found the pretext of the story strained almost to breaking point, but suggest that if this is overlooked the second half of the book contains some powerful advice for personal change. I did have the feeling of ideas collected together from elsewhere, but amongst them is a structure of practical changes that have the potential to profoundly change your outlook and achievements.

The measure of value of any such instruction guide rests not in what the reader is instructed to do, but in what the reader does with the advice. For my part, a little surprisingly, I have taken a number of the change suggestions and am applying them. The book therefore has had a greater impact than many.

We all come to and take from books, or any experience, something different. I recommend this book as one that will help you identify value for your own change journey.

Steve Unwin
August 22 2005