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Book Review: ‘Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks’ by August Turak

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New book describes secret of success

New book describes secret of success

Author August Turak, has written a business leadership book from an unusual perspective, using an out-of-the-box resource, the Trappist Monks of Mepkin Abbey. He applies a centuries-old practice to today’s business world in his bookBusiness Secrets of the Trappist Monks One CEO’s Quest for Meaning and Authenticity.

The main message Turak expresses in this book is that any leader can succeed when acting from a mantra of service and selflessness. He writes that service and selflessness is the phrase he uses to describe the “monastic business model” throughout the book.

Authenticity is the second message of the book. Turak writes, “while it’s positioned as the next big thing in business, authenticity is nothing new to the monks.”

Turak, according to the book, started in 1996 spending time at the Mepkin Abbey located just outside of Charleston South Carolina. The site was originally the estate of Henry and Clare Boothe Luce and is now the sanctuary for 25 monks.

Turak provides plenty of stories in the book about the monks and the philosophies he learned from them. One my favorite parts of the book is where the author describes three types of transformations.

• When a thirsty man drinks, he transforms his condition.
• When a poor man hits the lottery, he transforms his circumstance.
• When Mr. Scrooge wakes up on Christmas morning an utterly new man, he transforms his being.

The author also describes the negative feelings associated with being self-conscious, mission versus membrane, the two kinds of transformational organizations, human motivation, followers and leaders and trusting the process.

Turak describes his personal stories, including the snowmobile accident his three brothers were involved in where one of the brothers lost his life. He also goes into his own business challenges and successes.

The book is a good read with many strong messages and lessons. There seems to be a lot of talk around the corporate water cooler these days about changing the corporate mindset. This could be one of those guiding books to do just that.

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