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on January 1, 2006
If a book is full of wisdom, but in the form of a cheesy story packed with lots of cliches ... then is it a good book or not?

This is the issue I wrestled with in reading the Ferrari-less Monk. Much of the time I was cringing ("world class litigator" etc) ... and yet every few pages I found a delicious thought, mostly quotes from other sources, that made me glad I had perservered.

So, although I can understand why other reviewers seems to hate it, or love it ... I think it falls somewhere in-between.

If you haven't bought it yet, there are plenty of other books that do a better job (Siddhartha, The Alchemist etc). However, if you've got a copy on your desk and are wondering whether or not to read it ... I'd suggest you only speed-read the crappy narrative and focus on the ideas and quotes instead!
22 comments117 of 124 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 18, 2006
The norwegian translation of this book states on the sleeve: The eternal wisdom presented in a completely new way.

Nothing could be further from the truth: Mr. Sharma seems to have made a porridge of the most easily digestible versions of eternal wisdom and the most glib and superficial versions of self-help books on the market, and put whatever rose to the surface in a "fable" strangely lacking in any form of drama or power to transform or inspire.

I admire those who can find upliftment in this flat copy of others` ideas, but rereading "Autobiography of a yogi" and reading Malcolm Gladwell`s "Blink" around the same time as I had the misfortune to encounter this book, the difference in quality is staggering.

Puzzled, I looked up Mr. Sharmas home page, and found the most blatant piece of commercialism and grandiose self-advertisement in the self-help field - no mean feat in a field of strong and heavy competition.

It`s obvious who bought the monk`s Ferrari.
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on October 10, 2009
Started off very intruiging, kept wanting to know more ...got nothing. Very poor writing ability. I thought I was reading an elementry school kid's essay. Great ideas, should have pitched them to an actual writer who could have developed a story.

Here's what you're in for: (quoted from page 90)
"I still have much wisdom to share with you. Are you tired?"
"Not in the least. I actually feel pretty pumped up. You are quite the motivator, Julian. Have you ever thought about an infomercial?" I asked mischeviosly.
"I don't understand," he replied gently.

Was the book written by a 10 year old, I pondered sincerely...
11 comment55 of 59 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 1, 2006
This is an interesting story. It is a story of a lawyer who appears to have it all - the corner office, the life style, the cars, women, ... Then he gives it all up and tours the East. While there he comes across this strange monk and monastery. He comes to live life in a much different way. Yet he is challenged by the monk who has trained him to go back home and share the message he has learnt, with the West. Julian, our main character, returns to his old law firm and to his prot?g? John. He tells him a parable; then the rest of the book explains the parable and how it relates to different aspects of our lives. The parable is rather simple and a little strange but as it is explained you will never forget it. Read it to find out how a garden, lighthouse, sumo wrestler, pink wire cable, stopwatch, roses and a winding path of diamonds are symbols of timeless principles and virtues by which to live your life. This book could help raise the quality of your life to a new level.
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on October 10, 1999
I found the book to be a useful step-by-step guide to personal growth. The fable format helps to add interest to what could otherwise become a tiresome listing of all the good things we should be doing for ourselves but aren't. Although most of the principles dealt with can be found in countless other volumes on self-help, personal growth and spirituality, Sharma's way of putting it all together helps to keep one on track. And sticking to the straight and narrow is for me the most difficult aspect of becoming the person I want to be. I have a minor quibble with Sharma's treatment of fear. He ignores the fact that fear breaks down into two main types. The first is the healthy kind that keeps us out of the path of speeding trucks and the other is the kind of fear that, due to abuse or difficult upbringings or whatever, exists in our psyche as a chronic undertone of tension and anxiety that undermines our self-image and our relationships. Minor complaints aside, I feel that a careful reading of the book and an equally judicious application of it's principles will help anyone to find greater joy and freedom in their lives.
0Comment34 of 38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 10, 2006
This is an interesting story. It is a story of a lawyer who appears to have it all - the corner office, the life style, the cars, women, ... Then he gives it all up and tours the East. While there he comes across this strange monk and monastery. He comes to live life in a much different way. Yet he is challenged by the monk who has trained him to go back home and share the message he has learnt, with the West. Julian, our main character, returns to his old law firm and to his prot?g? John. He tells him a parable; then the rest of the book explains the parable and how it relates to different aspects of our lives. The parable is rather simple and a little strange but as it is explained you will never forget it. Read it to find out how a garden, lighthouse, sumo wrestler, pink wire cable, stopwatch, roses and a winding path of diamonds are symbols of timeless principles and virtues by which to live your life. This book could help raise the quality of your life to a new level.
0Comment26 of 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 10, 2004
I thought that the anonymous review dated March 18 was most accurate. This book is a trite recitation of recycled wisdom. Sharma's verve and syntax is not compelling, and serves only to string together these old ideas. His attempt to mix a modern context to timeless truths went amiss. In the end we learn that most of us have denied ourselves our true calling, and long for a way to get paid to do what we cherish the most. We are spiritually lazy and are responsible for our destiny. I ask when will someone tell the story of a frustrated middleclass artist that always dreamed of becoming an accountant.
Notwithstanding my tentative reading, something happened half way through the book, as I was diligently trying to push back the reviewer's goading perspicacious comments. I realized that that is all there is. That there will not be any book that proffers the ultimate panacea, the answer to life's riddles and the chart to bliss. We will have to write our own. And that the unintended consequence of my frustration with Sharma's prose was to force me to find value in his words. And I did. And in the end that is all what this good prophet set out to do. It was a good exercise. Many others have made it much easier..
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on December 31, 2005
Utter childish nonsense. The author dosen't seem to know the first thing about the search for spiritualilty or meaning . He just rehashes often repeated sayings and makes a fantastic story about some foolish lawyer who goes off to the himalayas in search of meaning. He meets himalayan sages who live in huts built of roses!. The women gurus wear pink sarees and white flowers in their heads! What is this if not a childish construct of paradise?

Its one of those instant things. Like instant coffee. It might perk up someone after a reading for a day or two. But it is no profound pool of wisdom. It dosen't come from an internal awakening that happened to an author. The kind of stories and "fast food" kind of spiritual wisdom presented here have been around for years. I fail to see what is new or original about it.

I am amazed there is still a market for this kind of pop spirituality.
66 comments38 of 46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 10, 2006
This is an interesting story. It is a story of a lawyer who appears to have it all - the corner office, the life style, the cars, women, ... Then he gives it all up and tours the East. While there he comes across this strange monk and monastery. He comes to live life in a much different way. Yet he is challenged by the monk who has trained him to go back home and share the message he has learnt, with the West. Julian, our main character, returns to his old law firm and to his prot?g? John. He tells him a parable; then the rest of the book explains the parable and how it relates to different aspects of our lives. The parable is rather simple and a little strange but as it is explained you will never forget it. Read it to find out how a garden, lighthouse, sumo wrestler, pink wire cable, stopwatch, roses and a winding path of diamonds are symbols of timeless principles and virtues by which to live your life. This book could help raise the quality of your life to a new level.
0Comment17 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 4, 1998
Unique, yes. But rhetorical and cliche, too. Example: What do you want more than anything in life? When you know the answer, focus your mind on getting there. Sure, that's easy for a monk to say. What else is he going to do in the Himalayan Mountains?
0Comment17 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse