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The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Summary – Robin Sharma

Lulu Taylor
by Lulu Taylor
Book Lover. Author. Educator.
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (1996)
A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams and Reaching Your Destiny
TAoL Rating: Book Rating: 5/5 5.0

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One-Sentence Summary

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is a mystical fable and bestselling guide to self-control and abundance that will help you find peace, discover purpose and set your life up for success - by self-improvement guru, Robin Sharma. (208 pages)

Note: This The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari summary is part of an ongoing project to summarise the Best Mindset Books and Best Self Help Books of all time.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Review

Six years ago, I had no idea where I was going in my life.

I’d finished university. I’d ended a five-year relationship. My work business was struggling.

Everything that kept me grounded over the previous three years was gone.

I had no idea what I was going to do.

So when I read The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, I related hard to the story of Julian Mantle.

On the surface, we were pretty different. He was a Harvard-educated lawyer. He was earning a six-figure salary. He was under so much pressure he had a heart attack.

But we both felt directionless and in search of meaning.

I didn’t follow him into the Himalayan mountains. But I still found the “Sages of Sivana” inspiring.

They helped me guard my mind against unwanted thoughts. They helped me feel happier with fewer material possessions.They helped me rediscover MY purpose.

While this story is a fable, its lessons are true. My life and my mind changed after reading this book. I’ve had more direction and peace of mind thanks to the Sages of Sivana.

Are you ready for your mind to clear and for your life to have more focus?

Then you should definitely go read the original.

For now, though, here’s my book summary of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari…

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Summary

Julian Mantle’s Mid-Life Crisis

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is the story of Julian Mantle.

Julian is a high-flying lawyer. On the surface, he has everything: a six-figure salary, a Ferrari, and a life of luxury. But in reality, he’s struggling to stay afloat.

One day, Julian has a heart attack.

While the heart attack was physical, Julian recognizes it as a sign of a spiritual crisis.

He sells his possessions (including his red Ferrari) and never contacts anyone from his old firm again.

He wants to change his life and chooses to go to the Himalayan mountains to look for answers.

There he finds an age-defying group of monks, The Great Sages of Sivana.

Among them, he meets and learns from a monk called Yogi Raman.

Yogi Raman tells Julian about The Seven Virtues of Sivana:

  1. Master Your Mind;
  2. Follow Your Purpose;
  3. Practise Kaizen;
  4. The Power of Discipline;
  5. Respect Your Time;
  6. Selflessly Serve Others; and
  7. Embrace the Present.

To help Julian remember the Seven Virtues of Sivana, Yogi Raman weaves them into a short, simple fable…

The Fable of the Sumo in the Garden

The fable begins in a green garden, filled with blooming yellow flowers. There’s a red lighthouse at the center of the garden.

A sumo wrestler, wearing nothing but a pink cable, breaks the stillness. He walks into the garden and finds a golden watch. As soon as he puts it on his wrist, he falls to the ground, unconscious.

He wakes up, energized by the smell of the yellow flowers. He stands up and finds a path lined with diamonds. He runs towards the path and finds everlasting peace and joy.

The Garden – Master Your Mind

The garden is a metaphor for the mind.

If you sow fruit seeds, you get fruit; flower seeds, you get flowers.

If you leave it untended, it becomes wild and disorderly. It becomes home to unwanted pests.

Our minds are no different.

Like a garden, we reap what we sow.

Positive thoughts lead to positive actions.

Negative thoughts lead to negative actions.

We create everything twice. First in the mind, and then in reality.

Note: Thinking positive thoughts doesn’t mean living in denial. It doesn’t mean ignoring reality.

It’s focusing on things you can change.

Imagine you have a big assignment. Which option is better?

  1. Worrying about the assignment so much you get no work done; or
  2. Realising it’s OK if the first draft is rubbish and spending 30 minutes getting started.

I imagine you chose the second option.

Positive thinking involves focusing on problems when we have power to solve them.

Let’s try another: Unknown natural disasters in the future. Which option is better?

  1. Worry so much you spend your whole life hiding under the covers.
  2. Do what you can to help/prepare and then focus on enjoying the moment.

I imagine you’d choose the second option again, right?

How To Master Your Mind

Positive thinking sometimes means taking your mind off challenges and focusing on the present.

Want some practice? Try using kindness and empathy.

Someone’s rude to you? Maybe they’re having a bad day.

Worried about your friend? Make space to listen to them.

It’s impossible to clear the mind of negative thoughts. But we can stop them from controlling us.

The Sages of Sivana give Julian 5 steps to learn to control his mind:

  1. Sit somewhere quiet, with a rose in your hand;
  2. Look into the center of the rose;
  3. Pay attention to the color, shape, and patterns of the rose’s petals;
  4. Stay focused for 10-15 minutes; and
  5. Don’t worry and bring yourself back if you lose focus.

It’s a form of mindfulness meditation, with something physical to focus on. The object of focus doesn’t have to be a rose. You can use anything from nature that’s still and silent.

The Lighthouse – Follow Your Purpose

The lighthouse represents finding your purpose.

Humans have about 60,000 thoughts per day.

Sometimes it’s difficult to focus on one task in the middle of those thoughts.

The Sages tell Julian that one solution is to set goals at the start of the day. They’ll help him sift through his thoughts and stay focused on what matters most.

They tell him to write his goals down. They explain that unwritten goals aren’t goals at all. This is because a clear intention has not been set.

To set clear, written goals, they tell Julian to:

  1. Have a clear vision of your purpose: What is your end goal? What would you like your life to look like?
  2. Use positive pressure: Use positive phrases, like “You can do it!” to keep you motivated.
  3. Set deadlines: Deadlines help you take action today, instead of “tomorrow”.
  4. Take action for 21 days: This is how long it takes to form a habit. It takes a while to get used to doing something new. Give yourself a real chance before changing directions.
  5. Enjoy the process: Remember, this is for you. This is to make your life better. If you don’t like what you’re doing, change it.

Small changes to the way you set your goals make big differences. They clear your mind and help you focus on your purpose.

The Sumo Wrestler – Practice Kaizen

Kaizen is the Japanese word for continuous improvement. It’s a philosophy used by Sumo wrestlers to maintain their large size while staying strong and athletic.

Self-improvement is key to self-mastery.

Self-mastery is the key to life-mastery.

Sharma says that the most effective way to practice Kaizen is to do something that scares you.

It doesn’t have to be terrifying. Just out of your comfort zone.

Doing something that scares you exposes you to new information, which helps you learn new things.

Kaizen is the foundation of “The Ten Rituals of Radiant Living” that the Sages teach Julian.

The Ten Kaizen Rituals of Radiant Living are:

  1. The Ritual of Solitude – Spend time alone in silence every day. Around 15-20 minutes. This gives your mind time to reset.
  2. The Ritual of Physicality – Exercise regularly to strengthen yourself. A healthy, active body has more energy for achieving your goals.
  3. The Ritual of Live Nourishment – Eat the foods of life; fruit, vegetables, nuts, and grains. This complements exercise, giving you more energy.
  4. The Ritual of Abundant Knowledge – Spend 30 minutes a day reading. Be selective with choices. Read something that improves, not just entertains, you.
  5. The Ritual of Personal Reflection – Review what you’ve done at the end of each day. What should you repeat? What could you do better?
  6. The Ritual of Early Awakening – Rise with the sun. The Sages teach that what matters is quality of sleep, not length.
    The Ritual of Music – When your energy starts to lag, play some music that energizes and inspires you.
  7. The Ritual of the Spoken Word – Develop positive self-talk. Encourage yourself and consider positive “What ifs”: “What if I succeed?”
  8. The Ritual of Congruent Character – Your habits create your character. What habits don’t align with who you want to be?
  9. The Ritual of Simplicity – If you don’t have a car, you only have that one thing to worry about. If you do have a car, you have several things to worry about. Keep life simple and your worries small.

These rituals will help you focus on your purpose and get the most out of yourself.

The Pink Cable – The Power of Discipline

The pink cable wire is made of small, weak threads that combine to make something strong.

Much like discipline.

Discipline is made of small habits built up over time. They may seem small but they serve a big purpose.

The Sages teach Julian that he needs discipline to live a good life.

Here are two ways they suggest building discipline:

  1. Overcome small challenges every day; and
  2. Spend time in silence.

Let’s look at each one in turn. 

Overcome Small Challenges Every Day

Say you want to become an actor. You think it will give your life more fulfillment than your current job.

The only problem is you’re terrified of public speaking.

Have patience. You won’t be working in the West End overnight.

Build up your confidence by doing something outside your comfort zone every day.

Talk to a stranger, or try a new hobby. When you’ve built up some confidence, start an acting class. Get used to performing in front of your classmates.

Set a goal to challenge yourself; e.g. Every month, I will perform in front of a larger crowd.

Over time, your confidence will grow, until you’ll have the courage (and discipline) to perform in front of stadiums of people.

There is a specific mantra to help keep your mind focused when building discipline to overcome your fears:

“I am more than I appear to be. All the world’s strength and power rest inside me.”

Spend Time in Silence

Another way to build discipline is to spend half or a full day in silence. This will help you become aware of your thoughts and gain control of your body.

You will learn to control your distractions instead of your distractions controlling you.

Note: Warn others that you’re planning to do this and/or make exceptions for answering direct questions.

Talking less is a simple challenge that helps develop self-control.

You don’t have to stop completely. What matters is that you challenge yourself to build up your self-control. Simplification is the most important thing.

The Golden Stopwatch – Respect Your Time

The Golden Stopwatch represents respect for your time.

We all have 24 hours a day, but how much each accomplish in that time depends on our skills of time management.

We can never get time back once it’s gone, so we must make the best use of it.

You might think the best way to do this is to work more, but that isn’t the case.

The Sages say there are four ways to manage our time.

The first is to simplify our activities.

When we’re overtired, it can lead to bad habits like procrastination.

Procrastination can also be a sign that we’re not getting enough fulfillment from our lives.

Second, re-evaluate what we do with our time.

Think: What do I need to do? What serves a purpose and what doesn’t?

Say you’re working full time.

If the money covers your essential needs while giving you time for your loved ones, great. Keep going.

If you’re overworked and earning money you’re never going to spend, it might be time to rethink.

Does your job give you fulfillment outside of your finances? Is it making you miserable?

If so, why spend your precious time on it?

Respect for your time lets you live a fuller life.

The third way to control our time is to plan our weeks.

Make time on a Sunday night to map out your priorities.

What is your mission for the week? What direction are you going in?

Keep your plan focused.

The final way is to practice saying “No”.

It’s normal to want to do as much as possible. But this can get in the way of your main goals.

Do you have the time to take on that extra project? Do you want more money or more time with your children?

A good way to prioritize is to imagine you’re on your deathbed. Who will cry when you die? What kind of life do you want to look back on? Do your current plans match up with that?

Think carefully before saying “Yes”.

The Yellow Roses – Selflessly Serve Others

The yellow roses that wake up the sumo represent finding purpose by serving others.

This is because of a famous saying in China:

“There is always a little fragrance remaining in the hand of those who give flowers to others.”

When you help others, a little of their joy stays with you.

The Sages teach Julian that serving others will give his life purpose, because the joy he shares with others will stay with him.

To help others, start each day thinking about the good you can do throughout the day.

Ask yourself:

  1. Who needs help?
  2. How do they need help?
  3. What do you have that you can share?

Set this as one of your goals for the day.

The Path of Diamonds – Embrace the Present

The last part of the fable comes from a Buddhist proverb.

In the proverb, the smell of roses revives someone. After waking, they find a diamond-encrusted path where they find bliss.

The beauty of the path brings them joy. It reminds them that the journey is more important than the destination.

The path is diamond-encrusted to represent the wonders of the paths we all walk.

One way you can embrace your path is by practicing gratitude every day. Appreciate your health, your loved ones, your chance to live a new day.

The Sages suggest three more techniques to appreciate the moment:

  1. Live in the “now” – Try not to focus on the past or the future;
  2. Prioritise happiness – Never sacrifice happiness for achievement; and
  3. Savor the journey – Don’t focus too much on the destination.

One example Sharma gives is to live your children’s childhood. Don’t get so caught up in your job that you don’t get to know your children.

The message is that you should never take your loved ones for granted.

You should try to appreciate the important things in life: from your family to the sound of birdsong.

Everything is fleeting. You need to focus your time on what matters, now.

Conclusion – Bringing It All Back Together

Julian Mantle lost his way in life.

He chased possessions to find meaning.

Then he found The Sages of Sivana who taught him their Seven Virtues:

  1. The Garden – Master Your Mind.
  2. The Lighthouse – Follow Your Purpose.
  3. The Sumo Wrestler – Practise Kaizen.
  4. The Pink Cable – The Power of Discipline.
  5. The Golden Stopwatch – Respect Your Time.
  6. The Yellow Roses – Selflessly Serve Others.
  7. The Path of Diamonds – Embrace the Present.

Now he lives a simpler life with fewer possessions and more purpose.

And the best part of the story is, so can you!

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Contents

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari has 13 main chapters…

  1. The Wake-Up Call
  2. The Mysterious Visitor
  3. The Miraculous Transformation of Julian Mantle
  4. A Magical Meeting with the Sages of Sivana
  5. A Spiritual Student of the Sages
  6. The Wisdom of Personal Change
  7. A Most Extraordinary Garden
  8. Kindling Your Inner Fire
  9. The Ancient Art of Self-Leadership
  10. The Power of Discipline
  11. Your Most Precious Commodity
  12. The Ultimate Purpose of Life
  13. The Timeless Secret of Lifelong Happiness

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari FAQs

Is the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari a True Story?

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is not a true story. It’s a fable. Julian Mantle represents the stress and expectations that many of us have. The Sages of Sivana don’t exist, but their lessons are still true. Their timeless teachings on self-discipline and time management can help us improve our lives.

Is The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Worth Reading?

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is worth reading if you’re searching for more meaning and purpose. It’s a great book for learning how small things like good thoughts can have a big impact on your life. It can show you how to focus on your goals and make the most of your time. If you feel like garbage, or that your life has no direction, this book is worth reading.

Why Did the Monk Sell His Ferrari?

The monk in The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari sold his Ferrari because he realized that it wasn’t going to make him happy. He saw that there is more to life than possessions and high status. He had a spiritual awakening through the Virtues of the Sages of Sivana and found true meaning in his life. He realized that he didn’t need a Ferrari to make him happy.

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