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The Urban Monk: Eastern Wisdom and Modern Hacks to Stop Time and Find Success, Happiness, and Peace

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,484 ratings  ·  149 reviews
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Rodale Books
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☯ 愛 ঝামেলা جميلة 美 ☮ No. It's kind of unprofessional, with the amount of cussing and some of the references. The cussing I, personally, don't mind so much. I would…moreNo. It's kind of unprofessional, with the amount of cussing and some of the references. The cussing I, personally, don't mind so much. I would recommend "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius. Amazing gem of a book, in my opinion. With that said, I see what the author is trying to do here. He's trying to come off as more down to earth and less wishy-washy. There are good insights and advice in this book. I've yet to finish it, still working on it. I'm particularly fascinated by the Taoist aspect of this book.(less)

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JDK1962
Feb 18, 2016 rated it liked it
I liked this, but I found the authorial presence a bit wearing as the book progressed. There's some really good observations and advice, then there's some stuff that just made me say "wha....?". Just for some context, I'm a skeptic by nature, but am still meditating and doing yoga in the spirit of hope. :)

Anyway, I think I got some ideas out of this, and I definitely think he's pointed in the right direction. Unfortunately, his BS filter is (IMHO) set on "Oprah" so exercise some due diligence.
...more
Doug
Feb 15, 2016 rated it liked it
This wasn't horrible, just not very enlightening either - mainly a lot of the same generic self-help stuff that has been recycled ad nauseum. The 'woo-woo' is kept to a minimum though (other than a few shout outs to ayahuasca and shamanism!) and there are some links to his website that are helpful. Two minor complaints...for a spiritually enlightened guy, he uses 'shit', 'crap' (and even a couple of f-bombs) a lot! Secondly, whenever he is talking about Urban Monks he uses feminine pronouns, ...more
Jaclyn Day
Feb 22, 2016 rated it liked it
This is one of many in a long list of Buddhist-style self help books available now. Its not the best, and its not the most memorable, and often it can feel more like scrolling a well-edited Pinterest feed rather than reading a book. Butand this is a big butif you need a reminder to slow down and practice self-care, there is no better cheerleader than Shojai. From sleep to exercise to eating to meditation, Shojai continually reinforces the importance of stress management. If this means cutting ...more
Kyle
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library
I couldn't finish this book. While the scientific benefits of meditation are well-documented, and I can abide the religious mysticism wrappings even if I don't believe in them, I found the anti-science nonsense (e.g., dangers of GMOs and promotion of "detox" treatments) unpalatable. Even Dalai Lama XIV proclaimed, If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims. ...more
Candice
Mar 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

Pedram Shojai, the creator of well.org, has written a self-help book that combines Eastern wisdom, practices, and medicine with what he calls modern hacks to help readers achieve balance, peace, and happiness in their lives.

Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of life, including stress, money, time, sleep, and diet. Each chapter opens with a case study based on Shojais clients, presenting their need for change and improvement in a
...more
Mark
Feb 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
Wow. This book is a steaming pile of horse ****.

That's not to say there aren't good points in this book, but man, this book a sham. Some things, like promoting vegetarianism and the benefits of eating lean protein (contradictions) or telling you to engage with your old hobbies (even after years of neglect) but throw away that tennis racket that's been sitting in the garage for years, are just blatant. Other things are far more subtle. The guy uses some classic con tricks, such as "In this field
...more
Sarah Booth
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
There is a lot of good insight in this book and its worth it for that but the hip know it all tone of the author is off-putting. He brags an awful lot too which makes you wonder about the validity of the Buddhist part, but if you can get past his presence and just pay attention to the history stories and advice, then you might learn something. Try and get past his sanctimoniousness and just focus on what is left.
Mary Drayer
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A MUST read....Some good healthful tips- breathing techniques, turning off your cell devices, eating healthier, grounding yourself, and even resources to help you get into BALANCE! You can take a chapter at a time or skip around.... ...more
Kevin
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book seems targeted at people who consider Tai Chi and Chai Tea to be equally mysterious....

I chose this book primarily because of how polarized a lot of the reviews for it were.... Rather than having a love-it or hate-it reaction, though, I was left feeling just kind of 'meh' towards it.... The profanity wasn't distracting to me. The 'insights' didn't change my world. It wasn't great. It wasn't horrible. It was just... ok.

There were quite a few parts of the book where things were discussed
...more
Kelly L Arnold
Apr 08, 2016 rated it liked it
There is good information in this book and good ideas to take into practice. However, the book itself was full of distracting tangents. Sometimes so much would happen between the case study at the beginning of the chapter that by the time he went to wrap up the results at the end, I'd completely forgotten who he was talking about and what their issues were. The main thing that drove me crazy while reading this book was the unnecessary use of shit, fuck, and hell. Seriously? This book could be a ...more
Cindy Heaton
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
There are some great tips in here. I was actually loving the book until the author starting writing about herbal remedies. I have nothing against those, I use supplements all the time. However, I am skeptical about asking a plant what uses it can be used for and expecting an answer. Yup. He lost me there. Of course the Shaman's that he's referring to are probably high when they do this, but yeah, I'll pass on that.

I'll still keep the book, because there is a lot of other helpful information in
...more
Kristopher Kerwin
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Some interesting points but a lot of it didn't connect with me. The writer will help you with insomnia, weight excess, debt, low energy or lack of time. If your life is already well balanced and you don't have major problems, this book might not be for you.
Sue King
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Didn't really resonate with me. I wanted to like it, but I felt this book lacked focus. I am glad there are resources at the end including links to videos because trying to explain certain meditation practices via the written word is hard to process. For me anyway.
Brandi D'angelo
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health
This quote from the book kind of sums up our collective health problem:

"There's something happening in our modern times. Something is wrong. We scratch our heads and wonder why everyone is tired, sick, unhappy, and out of energy. We do this while we eat processed muffins, drink dairy from a sick cow, take mood drugs, breathe in lead as we cross the street, and slather on creams that are filled with chemicals we can't pronounce."

The Urban Monk is chock full of ideas for addressing our stressful,
...more
Alex
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Easy to read, several bits of practical advice, and chapter length was palatable.

Some of the sections were laden in profane language which is odd considering the author was a monk.

There wasn't much in the way of advice on the motivation and keeping consistent with the exercises and other changes despite plenty of examples of positive results of people who stuck with the changes recommended to them. Seems to be an inconsistency there of how they recommend making changes but don't offer solid
...more
Becky
Feb 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not much new here if you follow a primal / paleo lifestyle. The exercises are helpful. I agree with others that the use of foul language feels stilted and manufactured. I certainly do my fair share of swearing but I think an urban monk should be above that. IMHO the terms "sh!t" and "bullsh!t" we're overused and distracted from the message in the book. Worth a read if you are struggling with life. If you have your sh!t together already, not so much (pun intended).
Zermeena
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
While the author made some good points, I found it very difficult to relate them to my life. Perhaps this book is aimed at millennials, but it certainly wasn't for me. Towards the end he became repetitive. His science was shaky at best and the use of profanity was appalling. I couldn't help but think that it goes against the Buddhist doctrine of right speech. Which then lead me to wonder what kind of training he had.
Drobg62
Just ok

Based on other reviews this book appears helpful to many but for me there was simply very little new information.
Gerardo Vales Cámara
A lot of helpful tips about meditation, fitness and human growth. The author does a good job by trying to bring peace and guidence to your busy lifestyle.
Jnunham
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. I've adopted several of the techniques discussed in this book (pomodoro technique, barefoot walking, going by candlelight at night, etc.), and feel like it has helped improve my inner peace and overall relationship with life. Each chapter starts out with a description of one of his clients and the struggles they were encountering in their life. The rest of the chapter goes on to explain various techniques that can be used to deal with the problems mentioned ...more
William Gorman
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the format of this book. The author gives a description of someones life, explains the problems that exist within that life, discusses the ancient monk wisdom that relates to that problem and then translates it into modern language so that we can all become Urban Monks. When I read this book again I will make sure I buy a paper copy of the book and read it with a pen so I can underline phrases that speak to me and make notes in it. I will also stop at each meditative practice ...more
☯ 愛  ঝামেলা  جميلة 美 ☮
I'm giving this 3 stars because it took me forever to get myself to finish. You know how many library fines I had to pay for this. But then again, maybe it was worth it, because today was a good day to get this advice. I originally picked this book up because on my own, I had come up with the term "Urban Monk" because as a Muslim that's how I feel. Trying to lead a good and upright life, while still maintaining contact with society, as much as I don't want to at times. If you read it, I would ...more
Carielyn Mills
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
too esoteric for me. every chapter starts with how terribly everyone is living, and that takes up most of each chapter before concluding with 'take this herb' or 'meditate' or other dumb shit like 'get earthing sheets' (?!!?). look, we get it. stressful jobs and poor choices of entertainment after work aren't healthy. you don't have to keep repeating the same scenario with a different person's name EVERY chapter. it took me forever to finish this because i was uninterested most of the time and ...more
Kate Singh
Nov 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Most of this is about the Urban predicament of living the city life, commutes, careers that suck the life out of your very bone marrow, and the American diet and lifestyle with the technology and lack of connection with family and community. I get all this and have shifted to a slow and old-fashioned life so I just read the book with compassion to the ones "still out there". I did get some ideas to utilize in my home. He is doing great work out there helping others and influencing positive ...more
Lori Johnstone
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much I gave it as a Christmas gift. The author is not only a Chinese Medicine Doc, but also is founder of well.org. Reading this book not only comes with great insight and advice on how to live well in our stressed out times, but other resources through the authors website related to the book, his podcast, and his colleagues and a Facebook community. He speaks frankly in a most amusing way. I got many chuckles out of this while learning how to adopt some Eastern wellness ...more
Camilo
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-improvement
This is a book that takes time to read and digest. From years ago up to now I've been adding experiences to keep building what I consider personal happiness. This book provides plenty resources to start your own journey and advices that sometimes sound obvious, but they are not.

It's cool to be able to align what I know with new techniques and thoughts and enrich the growth process. I recommend this book to anybody that is looking for their true selves and needs a push to start with something.
Sue
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be very beneficial. It has a down to earth and a let's be real feel to it. This book changed my perspective and gives several methods on how to take better care of ourselves. The topics range from stress, sleep, self-image, money, one's life purpose and more. This book to me was comprehensive and provided so many resources to keep the practices going. Each chapter starts with real-life examples for each topic and ends each chapter with the changes that were made and the ...more
Kai Fawn
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I wish I could give 3.5. This book actually has very solid, usable advice that I will put into practice. Nothing earth-shattering, but all good reminders given in a conversational, accessible way. The resources are great. The vignettes that introduce them feel like absolute bullshit, to use one of Shojais favorite words. They feel contrived and formulaic. I understand that they are compilations and distillations, but they feel hollow. I wouldve preferred some reality. Overall a worthwhile read. ...more
Jorge Collantes de Riglos
I really like this book. I havent read any other Buddhist-like book before so I dont have any other reference to compare to, also I dont use to read self help book, so I cant tell if it is better or worst than other similar books. But, what I can tell is that I enjoyed the simplicity of the author ideas and his vision of the world and makes me think about some important things of my life that I dont use to pay that much attention. I hope more people read this book (or books like this) and start ...more
Stan
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
I guess to start off with the positive, I liked chapter one on stress, nine on money, and ten on living a life with purpose. The chapters that fell between however were a disappointment. It's like the author was trying to set some sort of record for most egregious abuse of the, "argument from antiquity," logical fallacy. I really can't recommend this book based on starting and finishing well because the middle is just that weak.
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Pedram Shojai is a dynamic teacher, Taoist minister, and lifelong student of various Alchemical traditions. A master herbalist, licensed acupuncturist, and wellness consultant, Pedram has worked with individuals, companies, and groups for several years teaching transformative practice and meditation. Pedram teaches various forms of Qi Gong (Chinese energy yoga) from the Taoist, Buddhist, and ...more

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