The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – Book Review & Detailed Notes

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I first heard about this book when I was reading an interview of Jonny Wilkinson in the newspaper.
He was asked what he takes with him when he travels and his answer was books. He then name-checked The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari (he also mentioned the Alchemist which I will do a review of in future).

I remember thinking, ‘If Jonny Wilkinson thinks it is worth reading then I should probably read it too.’ Now, Jonny isn’t exactly a literary critic, but he is someone I always admired for getting the best from himself so, on the basis of that I filed it away under ‘should read’ at the back of my mind. Waaaaay at the back of my mind as this interview took place in 2008 and I didn’t actually get around to reading it until 2016.

Why the delay?

Several factors. Primarily me getting distracted by other things. Another factor was that I discovered the book was a fable. When I first heard about it I thought it was based on a real-life story. It being a fable (as is the Alchemist it turns out) put me off for a while. Somehow, I conjured images of it being a fairy-tale with little value. I was wrong! The book is excellent. I cannot remember exactly what persuaded me to give it a read (probably someone’s blog like this raving about it). Anyway, I am glad I did and I think you will be too.

I know nothing about cars, but I reckon if I sold this one I’d be a whole lot richer!

An overview:

The story is that of a highly ‘successful’ lawyer named Julian Mantle, who has something of a spiritual crisis and realises while his professional life has been hugely successful his life as a whole is completely out of balance. All his efforts have gone into his career. His health and well-being have suffered as a consequence and he has gained weight, aged, and become miserable about his existence. This resonated with me as I have worked with many clients who have been through similar experiences. Flogging themselves at work to climb the ladder, make the next big deal, and get the huge bonus. Then they realise they have spent their life chasing wealth at the expense of their health. Now they need to spend their wealth to try and regain their health.

Confronted by this situation Julian Mantle embarks on a voyage of personal discovery to ancient cultures and discovers 6 key lessons which can improve our lives. These lessons are:

  1. Develop Joyful Thoughts
  2. Follow Our Life’s Mission and Calling
  3. Cultivate Self-Discipline and Act Courageously
  4. Value Time as Our Most Important Commodity
  5. Nourish Our Relationships
  6. Live Fully, One Day at a Time
The Hero, His Journey and His Wisdom

Julian returns as the hero with the ‘secret’ to leading a successful, happy, and fulfilled life eager to share his knowledge with his former colleague John. The story is told through the conversation they have as Julian excitedly shares his wisdom. The author, Robin Sharma, vividly describes Julian’s experience and learnings throughout the book and it moves at a fast pace. While you want to saviour each page you are also keen to keep the pages turning and immerse yourself in the epic story. This creates an inspiring story which leaves you feeling you can achieve anything if you apply the lessons within the book.

While the book is both inspiring and motivational it also quite actionable. Each chapter follows a similar pattern. It begins with a related quote from well-known philosopher or expert. Then tells the story and breaks them down into lessons. It concludes by providing you with the Virtue, the Wisdom, and he Techniques. It finishes with what Sharma calls a quotable quote from the story. This system allows you to understand the why of the information presented and also the how. It is a great approach and one I found very effective.

To provide you with a better example of this in practice, here is a collection of my notes on the book.

The Wisdom of Personal Change:

“I am an artist a living – my work of art is my life.”

Suzuki

A Most Extraordinary Garden:

“Most people live – whether physically, intellectually or morally – in a very restricted circle of their potential being. We all have reservoirs of life to draw upon of which we do not dream.”

The Virtue – Master your mind:

The Wisdom –

  • Cultivate your mind -it will blossom beyond your expectations
  • The quality of your life is determined by the quality your thoughts
  • There are no mistakes – only lessons. See setbacks as opportunities for personal expansion and spiritual growth

The Techniques –

  • Heart of the rose
  • Opposition thinking
  • The secret of the lake

Quotable Quote – “The secret of happiness is simple: find out what you truly love to do and then direct all your energy towards doing it. Once you do this, abundance flows into your life and all your desires are filled with ease and grace.”

Kindling Your Inner Fire:

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of life you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into the flames of achievement.”

Foster C. McClellan

The Virtue – Follow your purpose

The Wisdom –

  • The purpose of life is a life of purpose
  • Discovering and then realising your lifework brings lasting fulfilment
  • Set clearly defined personal, professional and spiritual goals, and then have the courage to act on them

The Techniques –

  • The power of self-examination
  • The 5 step method for attaining goals

Quotable Quote –

“Never forget the importance of living with unbridled exhilaration. Never neglect to see the exquisite beauty in all  living things. Today, and this very moment, is a gift. Stay focused on your purpose. The universe will take care of everything else.

The Ancient Art of Self-Leadership:

“Good people strengthen themselves ceaselessly.”

Confucius

Good people strengthen themselves ceaselessly. Click To Tweet

The Virtue – Practice Kaizen

The Wisdom –

  • Self-mastery is the DNA of life mastery
  • Success on the outside begins within
  • Enlightenment comes through the consistent cultivation of your mind, body and soul

The Techniques –

  • Do the things you fear
  • The 10 ancient rituals for radiant living

Quotable Quote –

“The universe favours the brave. When you resolve to lift your life to its highest level, the strength of your soul will guide you to a magical place with magnificent treasures.”

The Power of Discipline:

“Sure, I am that this day we are masters of our fate, that the task which has been set out before us is not above our strengths; that it pangs and toils are not beyond my endurance. As long as we have faith in our cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory wall not be denied us.”

Winston Churchill

The Virtue – Live with discipline

The Wisdom –

  • Disciple is built by consistently performing small acts of courage
  • The more you nurture the embryo of self-discipline, the more it will mature
  • Willpower is the essential virtue of a fully actualised life

The Techniques –

  • Mantras / Creative Envisioning
  • The Vow of Silence

Quotable Quote –

“Wage war against the weaker thoughts that have crept into the palace of your mind. They will see that they’re unwanted and leave like unwelcome visitors.”

Your Most Precious Commodity:

“Well arranged time is the surest mark of a well arranged mind.”

Sir Isaac Pitman

The Virtue – Respect your time

The Wisdom –

  • Time is your most precious commodity and it is non-renewable
  • Focus on your priorities and maintain balance
  • Simplify your life

The Techniques –

  • The Ancient Rule of 20
  • Have the courage to say “No”
  • The deathbed mentality

Quotable Quote –

“Time slips through our hands like grains of sand, never to return again. Those who use time wisely from an early age are rewarded with rich, productive and satisfying lives.”

The Ultimate Purpose of Life:

“Everything that lives, lives not alone, not for itself.”

William Blake

The Virtue – Selflessly serve others

The Wisdom –

  • The quality of your life ultimately comes down to the quality of your contribution
  • To cultivate the sacredness of each day, live to give
  • By elevating the lives of others, your life reaches its highest dimensions

The Techniques –

  • Practice daily acts of kindness
  • Give to those who ask
  • Cultivate richer relationships

“The most noble thing you can do is to give to others. Start focusing on your higher purpose.”

The Timeless Secret of Lifelong Happiness:

“When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator.”

Mahatma Gandhi

The Virtue – Embrace the present

The Wisdom –

  • Live in the “now”. Savour the gift of the present
  • Never sacrifice happiness for achievement
  • Savour the journey and live each day as your last

The Techniques –

  • Live your children’s’ childhood
  • Practice gratitude
  • Grow your destiny

Quotable Quote –

“We are here for some special reason. Stop being a prisoner of your pat. Become the architect of your future.”

If you like what you’ve read about this book then, I strongly urge you to grab a copy. For an inspiring variation on traditional self-help books it is exceptional.
Got a book you would recommend? Email me at tom@flatwhitesfreeweights.comand I’ll add it my “to read list” (hopefully, I’ll get to it quicker than in 8 years!).
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