When I received this book I was not sure if I would read it. Then for no reason I started reading and before I knew I had finished reading it. The reason is not what it tries to teach but the fact that the protagonist of this story travels around the world and goes to all those placed that I wish to go to. He starts his journey from America and goes to Argentina, Istanbul, Paris, Mexico, Japan, Barcelona, China, Canada and yes finally Agra in India. The journey is supposed to be internal that transforms the mental make up of the traveler but it is a journey that is taken on the physical plane of existence. You feel the frustration of someone made to move across time zones, spend a few hours with a host where each host hands over his piece of wisdom to him to carry it back to its supposed owner, but with the real intent of making the traveler think about it as he meets the people who follow that piece of wisdom.

I am not sure by design or by co-incidence, there is a very interesting part in the book related to food. Today there is a whole industry exists that wants to make you believe that you exist to eat and you must go out and eat and much as possible whenever you are in a new place. But in this journey the protagonist is always served pleasant home cooked food by his hosts. The aromas of the freshly cooked food are aptly described. I think that plays a big part in bonding between the new friends. When one person makes a personal effort to feed the other, there are emotions that pass through the food, which is not what happened when you simply pay for the food.

This book made me think, what is the purpose of the self-help books. They remain the biggest sellers in any bookstore, though they do not tell you anything that you probably do not know, or something that your family or friends would not tell you. Then why do we need these authors to tell us the basic things that we ought to know anyways? The answer that I got was that these tenets need constant re-iteration, a constant story feeds that tells us how using these messages changed lives of others and can potentially change ours too. As humans we do not like being told by those who know us to improve us as that points to something not to positive about us. Blessed are those who can be so open and intimate with their family and friends that they will allow them to help with basics in life, most of us interact with people around us behind many veils. Self-help books are one-way communication from someone who does not know us and is just sharing some stories that look something like my own story. A story that has transformed someone’s life, a story that involves only changing my behavior or my attitude, that I know I need to change but somehow did not do anything about it. When I read these stories, I am for the moment inspired to try it out and if I let that moment pass, may be read another self-help book.

I did read Robin Sharma’s first book years back when it came but I do not remember anything about it. In this book he comes across as a good storyteller, a storyteller who uses symbols and myths to convey his stories but at the same time in a very simple manner that can be understood by anyone. He is not writing for the literati but for the masses.

Read it if you think you are stuck in a life that you are not enjoying, that you do not find fulfilling like any other self help book. Read it if you want a peep into come lesser-known cultures around the world.

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http://www.anureviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Robin-Sharma-Sceret-Letters.jpghttp://www.anureviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Robin-Sharma-Sceret-Letters-150x150.jpgAnuradha GoyalBook ReviewsSelf HelpWhen I received this book I was not sure if I would read it. Then for no reason I started reading and before I knew I had finished reading it. The reason is not what it tries to teach but the fact that the protagonist of this story travels...Book Reviews by Anuradha Goyal