THE SAINT, THE SURFER AND THE CEO: A Remarkable Story About Living Your Heart's Desires
Jack Valentine is having a very bad day. He's chronically unhappy, unfulfilled and broke; his girlfriend has left him; and he's just been hit by a truck. Still, when he wakes up in a hospital covered in bruises, he's certain it's all happening for a reason. As Jack recovers, his dying hospital roommate, who happens to be Jack's long-lost father, imparts some final advice: the only three questions that matter are whether one has lived wisely, loved well and served greatly. He sends Jack on a journey around the world to meet three teachers (the saint, surfer and CEO), who guide him through a spiritual transformation and help him answer the three questions. Sharma, a motivational speaker and "life coach," has attempted a spiritual allegory à la Paulo Coelho's classic, The Alchemist. Unfortunately, Sharma's book lacks any narrative drive, the characters are thinly rendered and the dialogue is almost comically wooden ("You're getting to be a pretty good surfer there Jack." "It's become a passion of mine Moe"). Readers seeking Sharma's brand of advice (e.g., "see your life as a fantastic growth school" and "be true to yourself") will lose nothing simply turning to the last page, where the book's lessons are laid out in 10 succinct bullet points. (Nov.)
Forecast:Sharma's previous book, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (HarperCollins), sold 40,000 copies. Blurbs from Richard Carlson ( Don't Sweat the Small Stuff) and Mark Victor Hansen (the Chicken Soup series) could help this one, but weak reviews may stunt sales.