Coming soon to a store near you…
Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty
Over the past three years, Jay Shetty has become one of the world’s most popular influencers. One of his clips was the most watched video on Facebook last year, with over 360 million views. His social media following totals over 32 million, he has produced over 400 viral videos, which have amassed more than 5 billion views, and his podcast, ‘On Purpose’, is consistently ranked the world’s #1 health-related podcast.
In this inspiring, empowering book, Shetty draws on his time as a monk in the Vedic tradition to show us how we can clear the roadblocks to our potential and power. Drawing on ancient wisdom and his own rich experiences in the ashram, Think Like a Monk reveals how to overcome negative thoughts and habits, and access the calm and purpose that lie within all of us.
In the meantime check out these classics top sellers!
These books have stood the test of time. Many of the titles we’ll be featuring here have stayed in the South African bestsellers charts for some time, in spite of having been released a while back. These are the sorts of books that will often come up in conversation, the sorts that have changed how people think and have imparted a great deal of wisdom along the way. Often referred to as “core stock” by we booksellers, any bookshop worth its salt will have these titles on hand at all times.
The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
The Alchemist is Paulo Coelho’s classic and widely beloved fable of aspiration and life’s inimitable journey. Renowned for its ability to inspire, comfort and charm, The Alchemist is a beguiling and simple tale rooted in the belief that if you want something enough, the universe will conspire to provide you with it. This sort of philosophy has been espoused by numerous authors over the years but, thanks to its adventurous premise, The Alchemist retains an extra special place in the hearts of readers the world over.
Written way back in 1987 (apparently over the course of just two weeks), The Alchemist was first published in 1988, in the native language of its author, Portuguese. Though initially released by an obscure publisher, to little fanfare, Coelho was determined that it should be recognised. Since then, the book has sold more the sixty-five million copies and has become the “most translated book by any living author”, according to Guinness World Records.
The plot and message of The Alchemist is best summed-up by a phrase from its own pages: “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.”
Young Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy, dreams of searching the world for extravagant treasures. His quest takes him from his Spanish home to Moroccan markets and into the land of the pyramids. Along the way, he learns how to read the particular omens that the universe is sending him as encouragement, how to embrace his own destiny, and to have faith in his dreams.
It’s a simple allegory, but it is one of the books most often attached to the phrase: “this book changed my life”.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
Not all life advice bubbles with mysticism, living a good life is not always a matter of dreamy optimism and the power of positive thinking may not be the be all and end all. In fact, there’s a considerable argument to made for the idea that modern living requires a different approach. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is the book that makes that argument, memorably and effectively.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck was published back in 2016, and has been a bestseller in South Africa (and elsewhere in the world) more or less ever since. It’s a book filled with blunt honesty, a book grounded in the realities of modern life… a book that deliberately lashes out at the self-help industry and discourages “mindless positivity”. Evidently, this approach to life’s vicissitudes has resonated with a great many readers, and, certainly, it came out during a period in which the western world was struggling with problems distinct from those encountered by previous generations… a period which is ongoing.
“F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.”
The crux of Manson’s approach is this: life is not so much about taking bad situations and making them into good ones – not all lemons can be made into lemonade, and what problems is lemonade really like to solve anyway? – and is much more about learning to deal with and endure those bad situations when they arise. Basically, Manson entreats us to carefully prioritise, figure out what stuff is really important and not to give a f*ck about what is not. In the world of self-help books The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a rare and impactful beast, a book packed with relatable observation, humour that holds no punches and profanity that is not afraid of itself.
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – Robin Sharma
It’s hard to accept that this intersection of business and spirituality has been around for twenty four years already. Many of us will remember hearing about it what feels like recently.
Of course, Robin Sharma is no stranger to the bestseller, and the readable advice that he has offered over the years ranges from practical notes on productivity to spiritual peace and destiny. Along with The Alchemist, this is one of the most notable books to have urged an escape from the mundane.
The book begins with a premise that now feels distinctly familiar. A successful lawyer’s heart attack forces him to confront the glaring imbalances of his life, prompting him to abandon consumerism, give up all his earthly possessions and seek the wisdom of India’s gurus. Through this intrepid journey, our protagonist shares with us the insights he gathers along the way: insights that concern self-discipline and courage, appreciating the time we are given, maintaining joyful thought, nurturing relationships and living to the fullest.
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is a classic of new-age doctrine: a simple, unpretentious story that provides applicable guidance to just about every kind of life.
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Unlike the other entries on the list, Shantaram is more explicitly literary, and is a novel about self-improvement rather than a self-improvement book. But it is included among these titles because its continual shifts between one life and another, its examination of having and not having, and its themes of redemption, adaptation and exploration communicate much of the wisdom looked for in self-help books, and because there is a spirituality to it that promotes self-examination.
While the author has been quick to point out that it is a “created narrative (that) reads like fiction but feels like fact,” Shantaram is a distinctly autobiographical novel.
Gregory David Roberts, a career armed robber and a heroin addict, escaped Australian prison in the early 80s. Looking to make his way to Europe and recreate his life, he actually ended up stuck in India… where he lived many lives. Eventually, he ended up in the slums of Bombay – where he learned the local language, founded a free health clinic, worked for the mafia as a soldier and a forger, spent gruelling stints in Indian prison, fell in love and found his own family. He also managed to act in Bollywood and fight in Afghanistan along the way.
Shantaram is the story of a life incomprehensible to most of us: A lyrical and hard-hitting adventure, a gritty recount of love and savagery and a completely unforgettable literary work that blends confessions, thrills and intimacies.
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Tolle is a German counsellor and spiritual instructor whose work has chiefly focused on enlightenment, the dissolution of ego and, of course, living in the now.
The Power of Now was published in 1997 and was quickly endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. In a nutshell, it’s a day-by-day guide to overcoming the traumas of the past, transcending fear of the future and obtaining peace with things as they are at present.
As a forerunner of mindfulness, and as a proponent of Christian and Buddhist-inflected spiritual philosophy, this guide has inspired many to shrug off their self-imposed shackles, and is particularly popular among creative people. It also contains some useful meditations on the fallacies of happiness and helps us to reframe our aspirations.