Thursday, May 28, 2009

Meeting Robin Sharma

Over the years, various books have found their way to me through different paths and varied means. Gulliver's Travels was the first book I remember having received as a gift, while The Old Man And The Sea I found in my grandfather's bookshelf. I can still remember learning the words scanty and lure from these great classics as a child. In elementary, a classmate influenced me to read Hardy Boys. We raced to finish the entire mystery series along with Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew. In high school, Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy was shoved down our throats as a required reading. Not that I ever got to finish the three canticas, but I do remember learning about simony, among other things. More important than how I got my hands on each book, there was always something to take with me after every reading.

I first came across Robin Sharma's The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari in the library. Nothing is supposed to be unusual about that, except I wasn't intending on reading an inspirational or self-help book, at least not during that time. I had read a few before and I thought the lessons from them were enough to last and experience in a lifetime. It so happened that the library had a promotion allowing bookworms to borrow up to three books for an entire month. I was on my way to the checkout kiosks with the two novels I had already chosen when I decided to get a third book and went for the nearest shelf. I didn't have a very hard time choosing. The combination of Monk, Sold and Ferrari in the title intrigued me, as it was probably designed to. I thought it wouldn't do me any harm if I at least tried to read it. I ended up reading it from cover to cover, felt inspired and compelled to act and quickly decided it was going to be one of my favorite books, filed in my own practical category.

I discovered another of Robin's books several months later. It was titled The Greatness Guide. I liked it. I thought it was a practical, unconventional, easy-to-digest kind of book, similar to a Tom Peters book I've read a few years back.


I think there's a certain kind of joy in meeting the person who wrote a book you really like. It's akin to watching your favorite artist perform in front of your very eyes, or being a few feet away from an actor you truly admire, or watching a live game of your favorite sports team or athlete.

I learned from a comment in one of my posts sometime ago that Robin Sharma was coming here in Singapore for a seminar this May. I wanted to attend but my money had to go to more urgent things. And there was no way the company I worked for was going to sponsor me. So I was settled on not attending.

To my surprise, a friend sent me an e-mail on the first week of May informing me that Robin was going to be in Borders Parkway on May 16 at 3 p.m. and said that we should go. I had given him a copy of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari at a time when I thought he needed it. It must have had the desired effect for him to want to come and meet the author in person.

And so, together with another friend, we made arrangements for us to go. The plan was for us to meet there at Parkway Parade, see Robin Sharma, proceed to my house to celebrate my grandmother's seventy-fifth birthday, and jog together for about an hour in preparation for the following week's Passion Run 2009.


I was there forty minutes before he was set to arrive. I grabbed four of Robin's books and paid for them at the cashier — I was certain he was going to do some signing. I then proceeded to Dome, just beside Borders, and got a cup of tea to pass away the time. Not too long after, I came back and joined the crowd forming near the entrance where a table had been set up and several of Robin's books lay atop.

I participated in the conversations, hearing of the others' delight in reading Robin's books. A guy shared that he liked The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari but not The Greatness Guide and thought the latter was a book that had to be written probably to make some money. One other guy chose to be polite and seemed to agree with him, and then, like a scene from a movie, Robin came in before I could share what I thought.

With no time to waste, the representative from the Sharma Leadership International's local partner gave a short introduction, after which, in a twist of irony, Robin read a few lines from The Greatness Guide. He then gave a short talk and entertained some questions. Robin didn't fail to mention, as if he were telekinetic, that The Greatness Guide was meant to be a practical book. I couldn't help but smile.

I got my books signed and had a chance to pose beside him for a picture.


For those who haven't read The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, here's a short review, a good summary and an excellent mind map:

From Kuzzuk Singapore: Review of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma including Mindmap Summary

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