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Summary: Leadership Wisdom from the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: The 8 Rituals of Visionary Leaders by Robin Sharma

  • This book review summarizes the key lessons on exemplary leadership from the international bestseller Leadership Wisdom from the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.
  • Read this book review now to discover the 8 rituals that enable legendary leaders to build elite organizations that stand the test of time.

Robin Sharma is one of the world’s foremost experts on leadership training and has worked with major companies like General Motors and Microsoft. In “Leadership Wisdom from the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari,” Sharma shares eight simple rituals to enhance your leadership skills from the inside out, so you can become a driven leader who inspires dynamic innovation. In this book review, you’ll learn how to inspire commitment in your team, increase productivity, and become a visionary in your organization.

Discover how to be a compelling leader who inspires others to add lasting value to the world.


  • Are looking for leadership strategies that change the way you think, feel, and live
  • Want to learn proven techniques used by leading organizations
  • Need to restore trust, morale, and motivation within your team


Inspired by the life of Robin Sharma, Leadership Wisdom from the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is an instructional fable about fulfilling your dreams. The story unfolds as a conversation between a successful, harried businessman named Peter Franklin and his friend and former corporate lawyer, Julian Mantle. Sharma adapts his own story of enlightenment and shares it through the created personas of these two characters as they grapple with the true meaning of success and fulfillment. In this book review, you’ll explore their solutions for adding more meaning to life and inspiring others in your organization to do the same. Every great team requires an excellent leader, and you can be that person.

Review: Leadership Wisdom from the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari - The 8 Rituals of Visionary Leaders

Sharma’s two characters, Franklin and Mantle, might remind you of yourself or someone you know. Both were stars in the business world, running multi-milliondollar companies at the cutting edge of their fields and enjoying lives of luxury, privilege, and prestige. But, as often happens, it took a wake-up call from life to make them each realize that they were missing some important skills that would add balance to their lives and enhance their ability to lead others.

For Mantle, the wake-up call was a health scare: A heart attack forced him to quit his corporate law practice and drove him to seek a quieter life. While traveling through distant lands, he met a group of sages who offered to teach him their rituals for balancing one’s inner and outer lives. With their guidance, he learned to connect more deeply to the work that he loved and to inspire others to work alongside him. He sold his Ferrari, became a monk, and devoted his life to teaching others these principles of leadership. When he returned home, he sought out Franklin, whose once profitable tech company was crumbling around him. Franklin was eager to learn Mantle’s secrets for building a strong foundation so that he could create a resilient organization that would withstand the test of time.

This book review follows the strategies shared during the conversation between these two characters as they grapple with the challenges of managing a successful organization and learn how to lead from the heart. The eight simple rituals they share will teach you how to incorporate focus, vision, adaptability, and reflection into your leadership style so that you can leave a legacy.

Before you begin, keep this parable in mind. Most leaders are like a cup that’s already been filled to overflowing with opinions, ideas, and biases. There’s already so much running out of them that there’s no room for anything new to get in. But true leaders must always be learning and challenging their perceptions. They must empty their cup so that they can equip themselves with new knowledge, and they must learn to be receptive to new ideas.

Ritual 1: Link Paycheck to Purpose

One of the most effective ways to lead people in your organization is to appeal to their deeper sense of purpose. Everyone understands the need to work for a paycheck, but enlightened leaders also provide their team members with a rich vision of the company’s purpose, direction, and meaningful contribution to the world. It’s up to you as a leader to articulate this vision in a way that excites those working with you. If you can do this, you’ll find that people are happy to go above and beyond the call of duty for you.

Believe it or not, purpose is an even more powerful motivator than money. Purpose gives people a reason to get up in the morning and bring their best selves to whatever task they set out to accomplish. Provide a compelling reason for people to work toward the goals you’ve set. In return, they’ll offer up their highest talents and deepest loyalty to get the job done, because it becomes one of their own personal values.

A fantastic example of this comes from a factory during WWII, where workers were making parachutes all day. The task was tedious, and eventually they became tired of their work. Concerned by what he was seeing, their leader came to them and reminded them how valuable their work was. After all, the very parachute they were making might be the one to save the life of a father, brother, or neighbor. After that, the workers had a renewed sense of purpose and diligence, and the quality and number of the parachutes increased. All the leader had to do was reconnect the work to the big picture with a compelling reason to focus on the task.

Ritual 2: Manage by Mind, Lead by Heart

Trust is one of the most important factors that makes a company successful in the long term. Every visionary leader knows how important it is to cultivate a genuine connection with their followers. When your team members trust you, they bring their best efforts to the table, and everyone wins.

If you want to have a great relationship with the people in your organization, keep these four elements in mind:

  1. Honor your promises. Do this even (and especially) when it’s difficult. Broken promises destroy your credibility and undermine your authority.
  2. Listen aggressively. Allow others to communicate what they need you to understand, even if you don’t agree. Always ask questions to show that you care, but avoid the temptation to interrupt.
  3. Consistently practice compassion. Show sincere kindness to others through respect and thoughtful acts of caring.
  4. Tell the truth. Be open about your mistakes and take ownership when necessary. Do your best to be transparent with your team.

One of the best ways to ensure the success of your company is to let others see your humanity. Treat people with kindness, compassion, and respect, and let your team know that you appreciate and cherish them.

Ritual 3: Reward Routinely, Recognize Relentlessly

Why is it important to let the people in your organization know that you cherish them? Think about how you felt in the past when a mentor or manager called attention to a job you did well. Did it make you want to perform even better? Did it make you feel grateful that your hard work was recognized? Praising employees and reassuring them that their work is an important contribution leads to greater job satisfaction and loyalty. Not only that, but rewards are an effective way to reinforce good performance, which leads to continued better results. Research shows that people prefer praise over any other type of reward — even money!

Think of a basketball team, for example. When they’re first starting out, they might not be very good. How does the coach help them become a superstar team? He chooses to praise progress, not performance. He rewards them for measurable differences in their efforts, and that motivates them to keep pushing themselves to get better. It’s the same in any organization: Find ways to give people genuine appreciation and you’ll get more of the kind of behavior you’ve rewarded. Best of all, appreciation is free!

Ritual 4: Surrender to Change

No one can escape change. It’s the most dominant force in the world, and any organization must learn to embrace it to succeed. The trouble is that change is uncomfortable. Just when you get a system worked out to keep things running smoothly, new demands arise, and you must invent new ways of doing things. If you want to keep up with the pace of change, get used to adjusting your expectations and dealing with unforeseen circumstances.

The key to surrendering to change is adaptability, which is a vital leadership skill. It doesn’t mean that you’re weak or that you’re always compromising. On the contrary, adaptability is a strength, because it makes you more versatile than your competitors. Take water, for example. It lets the current lead it where it needs to go without resisting the pull, and it adapts to the path. But water is also one of the most powerful forces on earth. While it’s adapting to the path, it’s also creating the path forward. That’s the strength of adaptability.

So don’t be afraid to adapt and cultivate a culture of change. It’s the only way to produce intellectual development and innovation.

Ritual 5: Focus on the Worthy

Do you spend your day putting out little fires and reacting to all the concerns that constantly pop up instead of pursuing your long-term goals? Then this ritual was meant for you. When you focus on the worthy, you have the courage to prioritize the things that are most important to you, even if that means neglecting the less important ones. As a visionary leader, don’t allow distractions to overwhelm you or redirect your attention and energy throughout the day. Instead, practice concentrating on your purpose and disciplining yourself so that your actions align with your goal. Be able to discern between what needs to be done and what can be left undone.

How do you decide what is worthy? One way is by asking yourself, “Will this activity get me closer to my vision of the future?” Then ask yourself, “What are the precise things I need to accomplish over the next seven days to move toward my goals?” Simplify your leadership so that you’re able to spend more time on these productive, high-yield activities.

Remember: If you don’t schedule your priorities, other people’s priorities will be scheduled on your time.

Ritual 6: Leader, Lead Thyself

The sixth ritual is the discipline of self-leadership, which is the cornerstone of any type of leadership. You must learn how to master yourself before you can manage others, and you must have a vision for your improvement before you can lead an organization to do the same.

The five ancient rituals of self-leadership are:

  1. The discipline of personal renewal: Schedule regular time for relaxation and unwinding.
  2. The discipline of abundant knowledge: Make lifelong learning a priority through resources like audiobooks that let you learn while you commute.
  3. The discipline of physicality: Commit to doing something physically engaging every day.
  4. The discipline of early awakening: Wake up at dawn (or earlier) as often as possible.
  5. The discipline of the deathbed mentality: Let your long-term goals guide your short-term activities so that you avoid regrets in old age.

If you aren’t committed to performing at your best, then, by default, you’re choosing to perform below your potential. If this is the case, how can you be trusted to awaken the potential in others around you? A leader begins by reflecting on their own opportunities for growth and taking steps to activate them.

Ritual 7: See What All See, Think What None Think

Another essential ritual for leadership is risk-taking. Lead by example and show your team that failure is a part of learning to succeed, and defeat is what leads to innovation. Setbacks are an essential part of any growing enterprise. Imagine what would happen if you freed your team from the pressure and stigma of making mistakes. By liberating them from self-doubt, their natural creativity can take over.

By opening up the potential for mistakes and missteps, you welcome the kind of rich creativity and innovation that leads to new solutions. Encourage your team to explore diverse perspectives so that they’ll see things from different vantage points. One effective way to enact this is through creative questioning, where you ask your team questions to get them thinking. Questions such as “What would you try if you knew you couldn’t fail?” or “What three things do you do really well?” help your team celebrate their strengths and embrace spontaneity.

Ritual 8: Link Leadership to Legacy

In this book review, you’ve learned many essential leadership rituals, but this final one is perhaps the most important. Think about the purpose behind your endeavors: What are you really working for? Always keep in mind that you’re building a legacy for the future. Just as the North Star provides a guide for travelers, you must light the pathway of purpose that provides meaning and vision to your team.

When you come to the end of your time on earth, won’t it be wonderful to look back and know that you’ve built a lasting, worthwhile legacy and inspired others to do the same? As the monk says, true greatness is to begin something that does not end with you.


Leadership is the ability to focus your efforts and those of your organization in order to accomplish something worthwhile. Yet managing things is only one part of leadership. The higher calling is developing people, which leaves a lifelong legacy. When you help people realize the full extent of their talent, you’re opening up new horizons of potential.

Remember that leadership is a craft that must be continually refined. It takes reflection and dedication to practice the eight simple rituals we’ve covered in this book review:

  1. Link paycheck to purpose: Create a compelling, future-focused vision for your team.
  2. Manage by mind, lead by heart: Listen to others, honor your promises, practice compassion, and tell the truth.
  3. Reward routinely, recognize relentlessly: Praise progress to motivate your team.
  4. Surrender to change: Embrace the chance to innovate.
  5. Focus on the worthy: Set clear priorities for your time and values.
  6. Leader, lead thyself: Challenge yourself to continually grow.
  7. See what all see, think what none think: Cultivate a unique perspective and be open to new ideas.
  8. Link leadership to legacy: Always remember your long-term purpose and vision.

This book review has explored ways to make a meaningful contribution to your organization and leave a lasting legacy. Use these rituals to create a successful present while building a brilliant future.

About the author

Robin Sharma has been ranked one of the Top 5 leadership experts in the world. His books about leadership have topped international bestseller lists, and he’s led events for organizations like Nike, GE, and Microsoft. Sharma has also appeared on more than 1,000 television and radio shows.


The book shares leadership lessons drawn from ancient wisdom and personal experiences. It focuses on 8 key rituals that enable exemplary leaders to build organizations that last.

The 8 rituals are:

  1. Rise Before Dawn – Early risers tap into rare powers and insights. Waking up early allows leaders to plan their day proactively and prioritize effectively.
  2. Embrace Solitude – Time spent alone cultivates creativity and strengthens inner reserves of willpower. Solitude boosts focus and emotional stability.
  3. Develop a Healthy Body – Physical vitality and mental clarity go hand in hand. Fitness fuels leadership excellence. Leaders must make self-care a priority.
  4. Practice Stilling – Meditation calms the mind and expands awareness. It boosts focus, mental strength and inner peace. Daily meditation is the ritual of all elite performers.
  5. Immerse in Nature – Connecting with nature nourishes creativity, boosts cognitive skills and fosters presence. It recharges the spirit.
  6. Focus on Mastery – Mastery comes through deliberate practice. It takes years of dedicated effort. Leaders commit to lifelong learning to attain mastery.
  7. Practice Gratitude – Gratitude boosts willpower, creativity and determination. It makes leaders more magnetic. A daily gratitude ritual fortifies the spirit.
  8. Release Your Genius – Leaders must find their calling and honor it fully. Unleashing one’s genius accelerates contribution.

Overall, the book provides a powerful framework on elevating leadership capability. The lessons within are insightful and actionable. The book is well-written and engaging. I recommend it highly to all leaders looking to optimize their impact.

Alex Lim is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. He has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Alex has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. He is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Alex lives in London, England with his wife and two children. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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