The Monk and the Riddle

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The Monk and The Riddle by Randy Komisar is book about the art of making a life while making a living. The book begins with a riddle given to Randy, a businessman who helps develop companies into successful firms, by a monk. The riddle goes, “Imagine I have an egg and I want to drop this egg three feet without breaking it. How do I do that?”(Komisar. Prologue) The story continues on to Randy meeting with Lenny, a young businessman presenting an idea to Randy in the hopes of receiving funding. Lenny’s idea is to open an online retailer called Funerals.com. Lenny hopes to create a new and cheaper way to shop for funerals. Despite having such a new and innovative idea, Randy finds flaws in Lenny’s business plan. Randy believes that Lenny’s motivation for starting Funerals.com is to make a lot of money when instead; Lenny should be motivated by something less superficial. “Business isn’t primarily a financial institution. It’s a creative institution.”(Komisar pg.55) Business should be a catalyst for positive change and not just a way to make money. As the story continues, Randy goes on to recall many instances in his past and other situations which lead him to the current place in his career. “I was beginning to see how creativity could thrive in the context of earning a living.” (Komisar pg.69) Throughout his career Randy learned that it is possible to have both financial success as well as a job that allows for creativity and a personal dedication to the firm’s values. This leads to the concept of the deferred life plan which says that in life you do what you must do in order to earn a living first then retire to do what you enjoy. ”But why not do hard work because it is meaningful, not simply to get it over with in order to move on to the next thing.” (Komisar pg.83) Many of the people coming to Randy for funding, including Lenny, allow potential profits to drive them. Instead, the greater good should motivate their success. Business can be meaningful and...
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