The Monk and the Riddle by Randy Komisar

Rating: 8/10

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High-Level Thoughts

Be happy now, don’t put off being happy till later and get stuck on the “deferred life plan,” ESPECIALLY if you do a “high power” or “high-income” job. If you already believe that, you don’t need this book, but you might enjoy the stories.

Summary Notes

There is one main lesson throughout the entire book: avoid deferring your happiness to some point in the future. Instead of spending your existence on the “deferred life plan,” focus on being happy today and doing things that make you happy today. You’re not promised that future happiness, you’re only promised the moments that you’re in at any given time. It’s sort of a silicon valley interpretation of Zen Buddhism and Stoicism.

“There is only one element in life under our control—our own excellence.”

“If you’re brilliant, 15 to 20 percent of the risk is removed. If you work twenty-four hours a day, another 15 to 20 percent of the risk is removed. The remaining 60 to 70 percent of business risk will be completely out of your control.”

“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”

“Work hard, work passionately, but apply your most precious asset—time—to what is most meaningful to you. What are you willing to do for the rest of your life? does not mean, literally, what will you do for the rest of your life? That question would be absurd, given the inevitability of change. No, what the question really asks is, if your life were to end suddenly and unexpectedly tomorrow, would you be able to say you’ve been doing what you truly care about today? What would you be willing to do for the rest of your life? What would it take to do it right now?”

“WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE, the journey is the reward. There is nothing else. Reaching the end is, well, the end. If the egg must fall three feet without a crack, simply extend the trip to four.”

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