Book Review: Megaliving: 30 Days to a Perfect Life by Robin Sharma
Robin Sharma prefers to call himself a leadership expert. I have read many of the books written by him, including “The Monk Who Sold His Ferari”, which is an inspirational allegorical fantasy, and his most famous writing. But this one, Megaliving, in my view, still remains his best. First published in 1995 (I am not sure, but most likely his first book), Megaliving is about “How to craft a world-class life” (as per the cover, this phrase is Sharma’s trademark).
This book is out and out prescriptive. It is like DIY to bring about a better life for oneself. In part one, “the megaliving philosophy”, he expounds, expands and describes the ingredients of megaliving. This may at times read as commonplace homilies that are collected at one place – and, reading in second decade of twenty-first century may even look a bit dated.
“The past does not determine your future and a change towards personal excellence can happen in the blink of an eye if you will make a firm commitment to raising your life to its highest level”
But, certain things remain eternal truth:
“Success on the outside begins with success on the inside and if you truly want to profoundly improve the quality of your outer world, you must first improve your inner world”
What one cannot deny, is that these have been written methodically and well presented. Not just that, the way of writing prompts one to keep reading, and even creates the suspense, about the megaliving program which is spoken as “revolutionary”. As a prescriptive book, this doesn’t have any literary juice. To those lacking patience, they can directly head to the Part 3, which constitutes the 30 day megaliving program. However, it would make the experience of reading dull and drab. If one does not read through what the author has to say, and directly heads over to the catharsis / conclusion, then reading process is a waste. Without exposition a book is not only uninteresting, it’s like saying one knows the book just by reading the pitch.
In the thirty day megaliving program, Sharma well recognizes the aspects of the mind, the body, and the character. For each day, for thirty days of the month, there is some activity prescribed for each of these aspects of oneself. However, it would be foolhardy to think that doing it one day would imbue one with those attributes permanently. To make them part of one’s life, these have to be practised daily, and sustained over long period. Only then their benefits would become visible.
This book is an over-arching set of actions that one can incorporate in ones daily life. For each different attribute, one can find specialized books or videos by other authors/ researchers/ psychologists. For example, if its exercise or meditation, there are scores of specialized books and videos and various techniques. If we need to have a photographic memory, there are many memory techniques. Similarly, if we want to develop attributes of character, then there are various ways to do it. For example, we cannot value friendship by reading books, but realizing its value in real life by our day to day interactions with friends, and appreciating their value in our life. The book does give a few good suggestions. So, in a way this is an action oriented 30 days program, where some tangible benchmark is set to evaluate the acceptance of a concept.
The only problem with prescriptive books in my opinion is, that they tend to be self-righteous, and some of these ideas may not work with everyone. For example, the author is a great proponent of concepts like “waking up early at 5 AM”, and secondly “work more, sleep less”. I know of many who cannot work in early morning hours, but their performance peaks during evening or night. Many high performing students and writers are night owls. Some due to nature of their profession viz journalists, law enforcers, factory workers have to work till late nights. To tell them to change their routines would be playing havoc with their performance. Similarly there are many studies of ill effects of “work more, sleep less” prescription. Sleep is as much important as work. Any medico or psychologist would tell that this prescription of work more and sleep less is at best hortatory, and not realistic enough to endure and may lead to stress, burn-outs and heart condition. Of-course the words “work more” and “sleep less” can be considered a matter of intention, but I do remember the author quantifying it somewhere when he said one should sleep only 4 hours everyday.
So, this is not exactly a specialized book, nor an ultimate truth. It should at best be considered as a book containing set of ideas – most importantly, at one place, and well intentioned; most of which if one incorporates in ones life – following them day after day, till they become part of habit, then life would become efficient and productive.
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