[Book Review] The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life

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More than a decade ago, my uncle sent me a gift: a book that would stay on my shelf for quite some time before I opened it. This is the kind of few books that is truly life changing, and reality-bending.

One of the co-authors, Geshe Michael Roach, a graduate from Princeton University received ordination as a Buddhist monk after 22 years of study in a Tibetan monastery. Then, he was sent by his master to New York City, and began a corporate career in the diamond cutting industry to apply the principles he had learned to the modern secular life of the bustling metropolis. After 17 years building and directing the Andin International Diamond Corporation and contributing to make it a 100 million dollar profitable organization, Geshe Michael Roach left his career to create the Diamond Cutter Institute in New York.

In the Diamond Cutter, Geshe Michael Roach shares the principles from an ancient Tibetan Buddhist text, The Diamond Sutra, which he applied to build his success, while living a deeply fulfilling and ethical life. This book is a great insight into another worldview, that of Tibetan Buddhism as well as unorthodox insights as to how to solve one’s problems.

The book is written in a very direct and pleasant style, blending captivating storytelling about an insider’s view on the Diamond cutting industry. The quotes from the original Diamond Sutra with an interpretation by Choney Lama make the meaning more understandable to modern western readers, and the book is full of insights applicable straight away by anybody in business.

The authors of the book share practical wisdom on what to do to create wealth in our business and our lives, with a full 50-page chapter on common business problems and how to solve them with right action and right intention. The latest edition also includes 43 pages of testimonies of high achievers who have used the principles of the book in their own way, which give even more material to play with and experiment in one’s own business.

There are two major takeaways that I got from this book:

The first is an understanding of the emptiness of all things. In other terms, in every problem lies its own potential solution. Geshe Michael Roach gives a great example of how he turned around a big mistake that seriously jeopardized the cashflow of the company into a fantastic business coup.

The second takeaway is a deeper understanding of the functioning of mental imprints and karma – the law of cause and effect – and how our actions plant mental seeds in our subconscious that will grow into either positive or negative perceptions of the world.

This book gave me a deep reassurance that it is possible to combine high spiritual aspirations with a highly successful secular life in the modern western world. In other terms, it is possible to have a big impact in the world and enjoying success and growing spiritually.

I highly recommend it to anybody who has a deep sense of purpose and mission, and who aims at bridging the gap between spirituality and business in their everyday life.

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