By Azim Jamal & Nido Qubein. Grade: B+
Based on the authors’ combined 50 years of experience, Life balance the Sufi Waybrings a fresh perspective to why most people are overworked, yet under-utilized. The book reflects on Eastern philosophies emphasizing reflection, silence and going with the flow, and interweaves them with Western ideas of excellence, efficiency and effectiveness to invite balance into our lives. Life Balance the Sufi Way illustrates that life balance is a choice each one of us makes – circumstances do not determine life balance!
Since the title and the synopsis have a philosophical air to them, I’ll chip in some too. Read on.
Balance is one of those essentials of life which is imperative and indispensible but never acknowledged. Imagine balance and riding a bike. Whenever we learn how to ride a bike, we start by learning how to balance it. How hard is it to miss, right? You can’t even ride a bike without balancing it properly. But whenever we talk about riding a bike or give some pep talk about it, balance rarely features. Gears, speed, control, sure – but balance, not really. Same is the case with life. Whenever we talk about life, it features ambitions, goals and even problems – but rarely anything is about balance. This is ironic given the fact that not only does balance help solve most of the problems; it also helps facilitate the journey to goals. Life Balance the Sufi Way centralizes this essential nature of balance.
Let’s get down to the technical stuff. The book has ten chapters and is 250-odd pages in length, but the format of the book is more interesting. Every chapter begins with some “Questions to Ponder”. The advantage of this is two-fold – first, it involves the reader there and then, so as to help him apply the concepts and second, it gets the mind running and active for the following content. Then the main content: well divided into multiple, short paragraphs with individual headings, followed by a point-based summary of the whole chapter. The strong suit of every Corporate Sufi book has been its application. Each book carries within it a specialty which facilitates the application of the book’s concepts. The specialty of Life Balance the Sufi Way is how the chapter ends. The penultimate item in every chapter is “Your Goal-Setting Exercise” in which the reader is supposed to pen down his application of the chapter’s content; facilitated by the chapter’s ultimate item “Goal-Setting Example”.
The language of the book is perfectly suited for a layman. The book is average in terms of its flow.
There are certain outstanding insights in the book. The reason they stand out is that although their appearance is simple, yet their weight, depth and application is immense. For example,
“Sometimes you have to make hard choices to achieve balance”
“You can turn EGO into an acronym for Edging Gifts Out”
Revision is an essential part of the Corporate Sufi series, which is why this book ends with a complete revision of the concepts.
A few problems in the book:
At many places, the book addresses the authors, Nido and Azim, in third person. If they are addressed in third person, then who is writing the book?
An error of syntax here.
“A clear vision helps balance Ying and Yang”.
I believe the authors were trying to indicate the Chinese characters signifying everything in the nature. Unfortunately, it is Yin and not Ying.
Also, there is less “Sufi” wisdom in the book as opposed to conventional wisdom, not ding complete justice to the title Life Balance the Sufi Way.
Life Balance the Sufi Way is the kind of book that teaches by not wanting to teach, but to share. It will be of immense help for anyone looking to attain balance in life, and for that matter, anyone who needs it and is willing to accept it.