As much as I despise these preachy self-help books, I find myself reading one or the other every few months. Because it must have something in it for millions of people to like it, no? No, it isn't high literature. In fact, I'd even go as far as to say that The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is management-lessons-in-the-guise-of-spirituality-for-dummies book. But I am not above learning.
I wanted to put this book away after about 20 pages, but this compulsion I've developed for writing book reviews kept me going. It wasn't fair to write off something without having read it all. So I did. And despite my initial derision, I found myself looking forward to my 20 minutes a day tryst with it.
Robin Sharma likes to spoon feed his reader. He simplifies things to the extent, you'd think he thinks his readers go to primary school. He spells everything out in such excruciating detail that at the end of every third paragraph you want to throw your hands up in the air and yell, I GETIT, OKAY? NOW GET ON WITH IT! Perhaps this follows from his habits as a motivational speaker, where the audience needs to be plonked in the head with loud and powerful but simple statements. But the written word is different.
That said, Sharma's style of writing is easy - something he has probably consciously worked at, to keep even the most casual reader from straying. The title is fancy. The plot, larger than life. A successful international lawyer giving it all up for soul searching in the Himalayas sounds like the greatest adventure of this new age. The content is okay too, though hardly original. The author talks about the same kind of spiritual ideas that have been done to death, including mediation, focus, time management, serving others, unity of mind, body, spirit, yada, yada, yada...
Sharma also writes about that concept made insanely popular by the book, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne - the power of visualisation. It essentially means that a person should clearly visualise in his mind's eye what he wants from life. His persistent vision then compels the universe to fulfill his desires... or something like that. I realised why people are such suckers for this idea. It's like a quick fix to all their life's problems. It's like - So you are fat? Just imagine you are thin everyday and bingo! thin you will be, or rich or successful or whatever. Sure I believe in the idea. I understand the importance of a vision or a goal or call it what you may. And though these books also mention that you got to work towards achieving them, the work part is mentioned as a secondary thing. The act of envisioning is decked in gold and made to sound like some Alladin's lamp.
But there's nothing wrong with people lapping it up, like children do a fairytale. We all occasionally need the promise of some magic, don't we?