SUBJECT: 4.5/5

“Minimalism is not the absence of ambition. It is not sainthood. It is a life choice in which you decide to live with minimum possessions but with maximum focus. The idea is that through physical unclutter, you also unclutter your mental cupboards, which remain loaded with unnecessary and meaningless objects and emotions.”

–        Vibhor Kumar Singh, The Billionaire and the Monk

My musings

I’ve been reading a lot of books in the self-help genre in recent months.

Surprisingly, many of these books talk about happiness and wellbeing as a subject.

After learning some very helpful lessons from books like Shunmyo Masuno’s Zen: The Art of Simple Living, Jay Shetty’s Think Like a Monk, and PC Bala’s Jujube: The Journey to a Joyful Being, I had the lucky chance to acquire newer learnings and also reiterate some old ones in author Vibhor Kumar Singh’s debut work “The Billionaire and the Monk”.

Read on to know what I think of the book and how was my experience of reading it.

What is the book all about?

The book is an attempt to bring about a universal understanding that happiness is not an ever-elusive philosophical mystery.

It is, in fact, an attainable state of mind that can be brought about with the smallest of acts and the simplest of means. For many, happiness is a fleeting thing, tricky of mind, and hard to stay.

The author through his debut work attempts to uncomplicate this understanding of happiness and tries to show the reader meaningful ways to find extraordinary happiness.

What to expect?

Expect a short read that brings you some essential and wholesome wisdom. Expect a short self-help read that talks about happiness.

Expect a book that treads on the middle path, and brings you the best of the material and the spiritual world. Expect a read that makes complicated concepts easy to grasp.

Finally, expect a book that imparts life lessons in the form of a simple story.

Who can read?

Since the book is written in a simple language and the concepts are easy to grasp, a beginner level reader can easily pick the book up.

First impressions

Sometimes the first impression is the most important one and “The Billionaire and the Monk” manages to do it just right.

The book starts with a beautiful thought that immediately creates an aura of wisdom around it. It brings to attention an ancient Chinese proverb that insinuates that the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, and the 2nd best is now. What a beautiful proverb and what a beautiful start!

The beginning done right

The prologue of the book is as good as they come. Right in the first few pages, the book manages to introduce us to the mysterious and enigmatic characters of the billionaire and the monk.

We are given a little teaser of their life. This teaser also draws a striking parallel between the highly contrasting personalities of these characters, all the while pushing the reader on a quest to learn more.

This manages to set the tone and pace for an exciting ride ahead.

The story as it goes

“The Billionaire and the Monk” narrates to us the tale of two individuals with contrasting personalities who come from different walks of life.

As their fates intertwine and bring them together for an exciting business venture in the beautiful Shangri-La, they both set out on a journey to discover and unravel the mystery of happiness.

They figure out that neither bountiful riches nor the total renunciation of worldly life is required to achieve the most fundamental desire of happiness.

As we progress in the book, one gets to learn a lot from their experiences and wisdom. In short, this small cross-functional team brings immense value to the table.

A pandora box of knowledge

There is no denying the fact that the book offers knowledge and wisdom to anyone who wishes to learn from it. In addition to spiritual wisdom, it also offers some worldly advice about things like money, savings, and investments.

And that’s not all, it also provides some relevant geographical, cultural, and historical information about the place of its setting i.e. Tibet. The last bit, though insignificant in the overall scheme of things, cannot be discounted.

My major takeaways

Two of my most important takeaways from the book are – the importance of minimalism and mind control.

I loved how the book explained the essence of minimalism, what it entails, and how physical minimalism declutters the mind and improves focus.

I also gained a lot of insights about the importance of controlling the mind which is one of the most important prerequisites to achieving happiness.

Is the book interesting to read?

While the book could have been more interesting in the story part, it is not a difficult read. A simple storyline and an easy language make it a comfortable read.

What could have been better?

I believe that the book is sold in the wrong packaging. The emphasis on the story part is much greater in comparison to the role of that story in the book.

I would have loved it more had the book been projected as simple nonfiction self-help read.

What did I not like?

Another thing that irked me somehow is a small paragraph that indicates that coffee drinkers are “pretenders” and are not to be trusted.

Of course, that is a part of the story and an opinion of a fictional character but the coffee lover in me was slightly offended. 😊

In the end

In the end, “The Billionaire and the Monk” is a book that offers simple and practical wisdom to everyone who wishes to implement incremental positive changes in their daily lives.

The final verdict

Go for it!

Pick the book if

  • You enjoy self-help books.
  • You are looking for a short read about happiness.
  • You love reading books about happiness and wellbeing.
  • You would like to support a promising debut Indian author.
  • You are a beginner level reader looking for a crisp and easy read.
  • You are looking for practical tips and lessons to implement in daily life.
  • The idea of improving life through incremental changes and learnings appeals to you.

Skip the book if

  • You have previously read many books on the subject.
  • You are looking for a detailed and in-depth read on the subject.
  • You are a voracious reader of self-help books.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of “The Billionaire and the Monk” using the link below.