Book Review: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

I read a lot of business books – you know, the kind focused on how to market, or plan, or manage better. So, when I started to read Robin Sharma’s “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari,” I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The Monk Who Sold His FerrariA couple of things to know about “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”: firstly, it’s essentially a self-help book; secondly, it’s written as a narrative, from the perspective of someone receiving advice from the aforementioned monk.

The whole book is written as the tale of a successful but burnt-out lawyer who packs it all in and adopts a new lifestyle, resulting in increased health and happiness. If you’re the kind of person looking to read this kind of book, chances are you’re going to relate to at least some aspects of the lawyer’s life, or to the narrator – a similarly over-dressed lawyer. This makes Sharma’s book immediately resonate, and — I found — manages to hook you in more than most other books of this type.

When you get down to it, Sharma’s book comes down to a fairly formulaic format – a list of seven principles to apply to life, which he explains in turn:

  • Master Your Mind: Learn to focus, and consciously eliminate negative thoughts from your mind
  • Follow Your Purpose: Focus on your priorities – and stay on track by focusing on the desired end goal
  • Practice Kaizen: Focusing on continuous self improvement
  • Live With Discipline: Recognize the importance of willpower while forming new habits
  • Respect Your Time: Adopting a “death-bed mentality” – living each day like it’s your last
  • Selflessly Serve Others: Daily acts of kindness and cultivating richer relationships
  • Embrace The Present: Live for today – stop looking ahead and waiting for things to be better down the road; enjoy things as they happen

These points aren’t massively original, but the book is written in an interesting, easy-to-absorb way that makes it easy to blast through the book quickly and easy to overlook the sometimes cheesy dialogue.

In the same way that I recommended Workarounds That Work, I think different people will find different elements of this book interesting depending on their own situations. So, for example, while I found the kaizen section resonated with me but didn’t add much to what I already do, I found the first section on mental tools and tricks to be helpful from both a mindset and a practical tips perspective.

Is The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari worth a read? I certainly enjoyed it. If you’re looking for a way to shake-up your work/life situation but aren’t a fan of the usual self-help book formula, I suggest you give it a try.

Dave Fleet
Managing Director and Head of Global Digital Crisis at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.