Wisdom, like divine guidance, tends to come to us during those times in life when we truly need it. I received a package one day from CP’s Psychic Amelia. Inside, she had placed some upcoming astrology information alongside a copy of a book called The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams and Reaching Your Destiny by Robin S. Sharma. Inside the cover, Amelia had written, “Dear Jen, please read and enjoy!”
The story focuses on Julian Mantle — a high powered attorney who seemingly has it all until one day, “He collapsed right in the middle of a packed courtroom.” His workaholic, partying nature had finally caught up with him. After his brush with death, Julian secludes himself from all of the people in his former life and disappears for several years. After trekking across mystical India, he resurfaces as a younger, more lively, and peaceful monk to his former intern (the narrator of the story), and insists on sharing his message of self-discovery and existential wisdom.
Upon first glance, I thought the book was going to read like any other self-help book — full of obvious advice that you only follow until your situation improves. However, Sharma’s subtitle is a perfect summary of the book’s structure and flow: a fable. Julian’s story is simple, sweet, and sprinkled with beautiful language.
The heart attack that caused his collapse made him realize that he had not been living a life of purpose. Julian was excited to realize:
“One’s destiny unfolds according to the choices one makes, and I felt certain that the choice I had made was the right one. I knew my life would never be the same and that something marvelous, maybe even miraculous, was about to happen to me. It was an amazing awakening.”
This awakening led Julian to the mountains of India, where he sought guidance from a group of ancient sages. Under their tutelage, the transformation of Julian Mantle was nothing short of remarkable. Sharma writes:
“Gone was the ghost-like complexion, the sickly cough and the lifeless eyes of my former colleague. Gone was the elderly appearance and the morbid expression that had become his personal trademark. Instead, the man in front of me appeared to be in peak health, his lineless face glowing radiantly … Perhaps even more astounding was the serenity that Julian exuded.”
I found the book’s simplicity — don’t get caught up in things, find balance — to be both captivating and relatable. Sharma’s writing is clear, easy to read, offers practical wisdom, and does not make you feel bad for not living up to Julian’s newfound philosophy. He manages to inspire, but not preach.
For readers who enjoy books such as The Alchemist, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari will captivate and motivate. While you don’t have to sell your metaphorical Ferrari, this book lovingly teaches how to avoid getting swept up in our modern dramas and find a peaceful balance in our lives.