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       The Secret Letters of the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, p.1

           Robin S. Sharma
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The Secret Letters of the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari


  Robin Sharma

  THE SECRET LETTERS

  OF THE

  MONK WHO SOLD

  HIS FERRARI

  PRAISE FOR ROBIN SHARMA AND

  The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

  ‘Robin Sharma’s books are helping people all over the world live great lives.’ – Paulo Coelho, #1 bestselling author of The Alchemist

  ‘Robin Sharma has the rare gift of writing books that are truly life-changing.’ – Richard Carlson, Ph.D., author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

  ‘Nothing less than sensational. This book will bless your life.’ – Mark Victor Hansen, co-author, Chicken Soup for the Soul

  ‘A great book, from an inspirational point of view.’ – Carlos Delgado, Major League baseball superstar

  ‘This is a fun, fascinating, fanciful adventure into the realms of personal development, personal effectiveness and individual happiness. It contains treasures of wisdom that can enrich and enhance the life of every single person.’ – Brian Tracy, author of Maximum Achievement

  ‘Robin S. Sharma has an important message for all of us – one that can change our lives. He’s written a one-of-a-kind handbook for personal fulfillment in a hectic age.’ – Scott DeGarmo, past publisher, Success Magazine

  ‘The book is about finding out what is truly important to your real spiritual self, rather than being inundated with material possessions.’ – Michelle Yeoh, lead actress of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, in TIME Magazine

  ‘Robin Sharma has created an enchanting tale that incorporates the classic tools of transformation into a simple philosophy of living. A delightful book that will change your life.’ – Elaine St. James, author of Simplify Your Life and Inner Simplicity

  ‘Sheds light on life’s big questions.’ – The Edmonton Journal

  ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is coherent, useful and definitely worth reading ... It can truly help readers cope with the rat race.’ – The Kingston Whig-Standard

  ‘Simple wisdom that anyone can benefit from.’ – The Calgary Herald

  ‘This book could be classified as The Wealthy Barber of personal development ... [It contains] insightful messages on the key concepts which help bring greater balance, control and effectiveness in our daily lives.’ – Investment Executive

  ‘A treasure – an elegant and powerful formula for true success and happiness. Robin S. Sharma has captured the wisdom of the ages and made it relevant for these turbulent times. I couldn’t put it down.’ – Joe Tye, author of Never Fear, Never Quit

  ‘Simple rules for reaching one’s potential.’ – The Halifax Daily News

  ‘Sharma guides readers toward enlightenment.’ – The Chronicle-Herald

  ‘A wonderfully crafted parable revealing a set of simple yet surprisingly potent ideas for improving the quality of anyone’s life. I’m recommending this gem of a book to all of my clients.’ – George Williams, president, Karat Consulting International

  ‘Robin Sharma offers personal fulfillment along the spiritual highroad.’ – Ottawa Citizen

  PRAISE FOR

  Leadership Wisdom from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

  ‘One of the year’s best business books.’ – PROFIT Magazine

  ‘Very informative, easy to read and extremely helpful ... We have distributed copies to all our management team as well as to store operators. The feedback has been very positive.’ – David Bloom, CEO, Shoppers Drug Mart

  ‘Robin Sharma has a neat, down-to-earth way of expressing his powerful solutions for today’s most pressing leadership issues. This is so refreshing in a period when businesspeople are faced with so much jargon.’ – Ian Turner, manager, Celestica Learning Centre

  ‘This book is a gold mine of wisdom and common sense.’ – Dean Larry Tapp, Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario

  ‘A terrific book that will help any businessperson lead and live more effectively.’ – Jim O’Neill, director of operations, District Sales Division, London Life

  ‘Sharma’s mission is to provide the reader with the insight to become a visionary leader, helping them transform their business into an organization that thrives in this era of change.’ – Sales Promotion Magazine

  ALSO BY ROBIN SHARMA

  The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

  Leadership Wisdom from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

  Discover Your Destiny with The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

  Life Lessons from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

  Family Wisdom from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

  The Greatness Guide

  Be Extraordinary: The Greatness Guide, Book 2

  MegaLiving

  The Leader Who Had No Title

  The Saint, The Surfer and The CEO

  Go as far as you can see. When you get there,

  you’ll be able to see farther.

  —Thomas Carlyle

  Contents

  Cover

  Title Page

  Praise

  Also by Robin Sharma

  Epigraph

  Prologue

  MY WORDLESS GUIDE was moving quickly ahead of me, as…

  Chapter One

  IT WAS ONE OF THOSE DAYS you find yourself wishing…

  Chapter Two

  THE TAXICAB HAD MOVED from the highway onto an extraordinarily…

  Chapter Three

  JULIAN HAD NOT GIVEN ME a list of the places…

  Chapter Four

  THERE HAD BEEN MOMENTS WHEN, moving around Istanbul, I felt…

  Chapter Five

  I HAD TRIED TO REACH JULIAN several times while in…

  Chapter Six

  THE “ITINERARY” THAT JULIAN had sent me didn’t cover the…

  Chapter Seven

  WHEN I WAS FIVE, my father took me to my…

  Chapter Eight

  WHILE I WAS IN SPAIN, Julian had sent me some…

  Chapter Nine

  AFTER MY TIME with Mary and Angus, I flew from…

  Chapter Ten

  NOTHING COULD HAVE BEEN more in contrast with Shanghai’s glitzy,…

  Chapter Eleven

  I WAS STANDING OUTSIDE the most magnificent building I had…

  RESOURCES FOR LEADERSHIP AND PERSONAL EXCELLENCE

  The Talisman Letters

  About Robin Sharma

  Exclusive Sample Chapter

  Back Ads

  Copyright

  About the Publisher

  PROLOGUE

  MY WORDLESS GUIDE was moving quickly ahead of me, as if he too disliked being down here. The tunnel was damp, and dimly lit. The bones of six million Parisians were entombed in this place…

  Suddenly the young man stopped at the entranceway of a new tunnel. It was separated from the one we had followed by a piece of rusted iron fencing. The tunnel was dark. My guide moved the fence to one side and turned into the blackness. He paused and looked behind at me, making sure I was following. I moved uncertainly out of the anemic light as his back disappeared in front of me. I took a few more steps. Then my foot knocked against something. A wooden rattle filled the air, and I froze. As I did, light flared around me. My guide had snapped on his flashlight. Suddenly I wished he hadn’t. The gruesome orderliness was gone. Bones were everywhere—scattered across the floor around our feet, cascading from loose stacks against the walls. The glare from the flashlight caught on waves of dust and tendrils of cobwebs that hung from the ceiling.

  “Ça c’est pour vous,” said my guide. He thrust the flashlight at me. As I took it, he brushed past me.

  “What—” I began to call out.

/>   Before I could finish my question, the man snapped, “Il vous rencontrera ici.” And then he was gone, leaving me alone, fifty feet underground, a solitary human being standing in a sea of the dead.

  CHAPTER ONE

  IT WAS ONE OF THOSE DAYS you find yourself wishing was over before you’ve got even ten minutes into it. It started when my eyes opened and I noticed an alarming amount of sunlight seeping in under the bedroom blinds. You know, an eight-a.m. amount of light—not a seven-a.m. amount of light. My alarm had not gone off. That realization was followed by twenty minutes of panicked cursing and shouting and crying (my six-year-old son did the crying) as I careened around the house, from bathroom to kitchen to front door, trying to gather all the ridiculous bits of stuff Adam and I needed for the rest of our day. As I pulled up in front of his school forty-five minutes later, Adam shot me a reproachful look.

  “Mom says if you keep dropping me off late at school on Mondays, I won’t be able to stay over Sunday nights anymore.”

  Oh, boy.

  “Last time,” I said. “Last time, I promise.”

  Adam was sliding out of the car now, a doubtful expression on his face.

  “Here,” I said, holding up a bulging plastic bag. “Don’t forget your lunch.”

  “Keep it,” Adam said, not looking at me. “I’m not allowed to bring peanut butter to school.”

  And then he turned on his heel and raced through the deserted school playground. Poor kid, I thought as I watched his little legs pumping toward the front door. Nothing worse than heading into school late, everyone already in class, the national anthem blaring through the hallways. That and no lunch to boot.

  I threw the plastic bag onto the passenger seat and sighed. Another “custodial” weekend had come to an inglorious end. I had, apparently, failed spectacularly as a husband. Now it appeared that I would fail with equal flamboyance as a separated dad. From the moment I picked Adam up, I seemed to provide an unending series of disappointments. Despite the fact that all week I felt Adam’s absence like a missing limb, I invariably arrived late on Fridays. The promised treat of pizza and a movie was dampened by the tuna sandwich that Annisha made Adam eat as his dinner hour came and went. And then there was my phone, which chirped incessantly, like it had a bad case of hiccups. It beeped during the movie, and when I was tucking Adam into bed. It beeped during our breakfast of slightly burned pancakes, and while we walked to the park. It beeped as we picked up takeout burgers, and all through story time. Of course the beeping wasn’t the real problem. The real problem was that I kept picking the thing up. I checked my messages; I sent responses; I talked on the phone. And with each interruption, Adam became a little quieter, a little more distant. It broke my heart, yet the thought of ignoring the thing, or turning it off, made my palms sweat.

  As I raced to work, I brooded about the botched weekend. When Annisha had announced that she wanted a trial separation, it felt like someone had backed over me with a truck. She had been complaining for years that I never spent time with her or Adam; that I was too caught up with work, too busy with my own life to be part of theirs.

  “But how,” I argued, “does leaving me fix any of that? If you want to see more of me, why are you making sure that you see less?”

  She had, after all, said she still loved me. Said she wanted me to have a good relationship with my son.

  But by the time I had moved into my own apartment, I was bruised and bitter. I had promised to try to spend more time at home. I had even begged off a company golf tournament and a client dinner. But Annisha said that I was only tinkering—I wasn’t committed to fixing what was wrong. Every time I thought of those words, I clenched my teeth. Couldn’t Annisha see how demanding my work was? Couldn’t she see how important it was for me to keep moving ahead? If I hadn’t been putting in the kind of hours I was, we wouldn’t have our great house, or the cars, or the awesome big-screen TVs. Well, okay, I admit it—Annisha didn’t give a damn about the TVs. But, still.

  I made a promise to myself then—I will be a great “separated dad.” I’ll lavish attention on Adam; I’ll go to all the school events; I’ll be available to drive him to swimming or karate; I’ll read him books. When he phones at night, I’ll have all the time in the world to talk with him. I’ll listen to his problems, give advice and share jokes. I’ll help him with homework, and I’ll even learn to play those annoying video games he likes. I’ll have a wonderful relationship with my son, even if I can’t have one with my wife. And I’ll show Annisha that I’m not just “tinkering.”

  The first few weeks apart, I think I did pretty well. In some ways, it wasn’t so hard. But I was shocked by how much I missed both of them. I would wake up in my apartment and listen for the tiny voice I knew wasn’t there. I would pace around at night thinking, This is the time when I might be reading a bedtime story. This is when I might give Adam his good-night hug. And This is the moment I would be crawling into bed with Annisha, the moment I would be holding her in my arms. The weekends couldn’t come soon enough for me.

  But as the months ticked on, those thoughts began to fade. Or, more truly, they were crowded out by everything else. I would bring work home each evening or stay at work late. When Adam called, I’d be tapping away on my computer and hearing only every other sentence. Whole weeks would go by without me thinking once about what he might be doing during the days. When the school break came, I realized that I hadn’t booked any time off to spend with him. Then I scheduled a client dinner on the night of Adam’s spring school concert. I also forgot to take him for his six-month dental cleaning, even though Annisha had reminded me just the week before. And I started to show up late on Fridays. This weekend was just another installment of “quality” time that was anything but.

  I gave Danny, the security guard, a little wave as I pulled into the office parking lot. After my crazy rush to be here, I suddenly wished I wasn’t. I pulled into my space, but I didn’t turn off the engine right away.

  In my defense, my obsession with work was completely natural. It was a highly stressful time at the company. Rumors had been flying for months that we were about to be sold. I had spent the last twelve weeks doing nothing but churning out reports: sales reports, inventory reports, staffing reports, profit-and-loss statements. When I closed my eyes at night, all I could see were the crowded grid lines of a spreadsheet. That was what awaited me inside the building, but I couldn’t put it off any longer. I turned the engine off, grabbed my laptop case and headed in.

  I said hello to Devin, our receptionist. His head was bent studiously over his computer screen, but I knew he was playing solitaire. As I veered right, I could see Devin smirking, but maybe I was just imagining that. The shortest route to my office is to the left, but I no longer went that way. Devin obviously thought that was because Tessa’s desk was to the right. But that was only an added bonus. If I went to the right, I didn’t have to go past Juan’s office. Juan. Damn. I don’t know why I should be bothered so much after all this time. It was only an unused office now. The blinds were up, the desk was clear, the chair was vacant. There were no pictures of Juan’s wife and children on the filing cabinet, no coffee mugs on the credenza, no plaques on the wall. But it was as if the shadow of all those things hovered over the empty spaces.

  I slowed my pace as I approached Tessa’s cubicle. Tessa and I had worked together for years. We had always got along well—we shared the same sense of humor. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with Annisha, but I had to admit that I’d found myself thinking a lot about Tessa since the split.

  I caught a glimpse of her dark hair, but she was on the phone. So I kept going.

  Almost as soon as I was through my office door, I found myself turning around. I wondered if I should check out the new prototype before I started on more pressing work. I knew the design team would let me know about any developments, but the thought of distracting myself with a few minutes in the lab was tempting.

  The design lab was where I’d starte
d out. One of my first jobs was in the development sector of this place—an auto parts manufacturer. It was my dream job. Juan, the technical director, took me under his wing. Juan was my mentor.

  But the thing is, even if you love your job, you can’t stay put. That’s a career killer. But no one had to tell me that. I was like a dog wagging my tail so hard that I’d put my back out. The people above noticed. When the next rung of the corporate ladder was offered to me, Juan took me into his office.

  “You know,” he said, “if you take this position, you’ll be out of research and design for good. You’ll be selling and managing. Is that what you want?”

  “I want to move ahead, Juan,” I said, laughing. “And I’m sure not going to wait for you to retire to do that!”

  Juan gave me only a weak smile, but he didn’t say anything else.

  After that first step, I moved up through the ranks pretty quickly. Now I was overseeing all our projects and product production for our biggest client.

  I picked up my coffee mug, about to head down the hall to the lab. But then I stopped. There was no need for me to be there. I put my coffee cup down and dropped into my chair. I snapped on my computer, opened a file and turned my eyes to the maze of numbers that filled my screen.

  A few hours later, I had just finished yet another profit-and-loss statement and was about to return to my overflowing inbox, when the phone rang. It took me a few seconds to recognize my mother’s voice. She sounded upset. Good lord, I thought. Now what? My mother had been inordinately interested in my life in recent months. It was beginning to annoy me.

 
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