God Is My Broker: A Monk-Tycoon Reveals the 7 1/2 Laws of Spiritual and Financial Growthby Christopher Buckley, John Tierney, Brother Ty
With this latest work of fiction, a collaboration with New York Times writer, John Tierney, Christopher Buckley promises to be every bit as hilarious and witty as in his previous audiobook, Thank You For Smoking. In God Is My Broker, Buckley aims his sharp humor at the self-help gurus; and the likes of Stephen Covey, Anthony Robbins, and Deepak Chopra had better watch out.
Down to their last $304, the abbots in this story make a bunch of money playing the stock marketand then get carried away in today's commercialism and self-help principles when they begin to market their homemade wine. From redecorating their decrepit digs in the "peasant chic" style to outrageous television commercials to a "Cask-cade" water slide and artificial alp behind their monastery, (and passing off "decent Chilean table wine" as their own $16 a bottle brew) these monks will stop at nothing to get to the top of the wine business!
God Is My Broker includes actual excerpts from the writings of Robbins, Chopra, and Covey, and lists hysterical questions about God, money, etc., that followers of the "progam" can ask themselves!
The New York Times Book Review
Read an Excerpt
Crisis in the Cloister...
The Abbot Gets a Guru...
A Heavenly Tip
The day began, as all days at the Monastery of Cana began, with the tolling of the bells and the shuffling of sandaled feet across a floor of cracked linoleum. In its day, it had been polished marble, but the marble had long since been sold to pay for necessities during our time of tribulation. By now we were well accustomed to poverty, but little did we know, on that cool September morning, just how dire our situation was.
It was the beginning of my second year, and I was excited at being allowed to speak again after the traditional year of silence.
All during that year I had wondered, silently, what my fellow brothers made of me. I had traded the life of a Wall Street broker for the contemplative life, my briefcase for a rosary, the roar of the trading floor for Gregorian chant. Once, as I was on my knees scrubbing the linoleum (taking care not to brush too hard lest I crack it further), I heard Brother Fabian tell Brother Bob: "I guess 'Brother Tycoon' bought high and sold low!" That one playful gibe caught on, and my nickname among the other monks became Brother Ty. My vow of silence never chafed so painfully, but then I reminded myself that this was why I had sought sanctuary from the grasping world. And, if truth be told, they were not far off the mark. As my managing director had said to me the day I was dismissed from the firm, "This has been one of the greatest bull markets in history. How did you manage to lose so much of our clients' money?" I had no answer. I walked out and headed up the Street to Slattery's Bar.
"Topof the morning," said Slattery. "The usual?"
My usual? How many mornings had I spent here, reading the Journal while knocking back Bloody Marys?
"Slattery," I replied, "let me ask you, as a friend: is it your opinion that I have a drinking problem?"
He looked at me thoughtfully. "Well, does it interfere with your job?''
"Not anymore," I said truthfully.
That was about as much as I recall of that day. I came to lying on my stomach in a storage room next to a case of bottles labeled "Cana 20-20." With some difficulty, and not a little pain, I ascended to my knees and inspected a bottle, which seemed to contain red wine with an orangish tinge. I unscrewed the cap and took a sip. Suddenly I became convinced, without ever having sampled a mixture of grape Kool-Aid and battery acid, that it would taste precisely like the fluid now in my mouth. I spat it on the floor and careened to the men's room to rinse out the gritty residue. I was staring into the mirror, picking what appeared to be particles of rust from my teeth, when Slattery found me. He was closing up for the night, but I begged for a cup of coffee to wash away the taste. He poured it at the bar.
"You know," he said as I scalded myself trying to drink the coffee, "maybe you aren't cut out for Wall Street. Watching you in here mornings, I got the feeling all you wanted was to get away from the Big Board. You don't need a bottle to do that."
His words burned into me even more than the coffee, although not quite as much as the wine. Perhaps after all I wasn't meant for the Street.
"Get away from here," he urged. "Get out into the country. Remember what grass looks like?" He pointed to a calendar showing what looked at this distance like a country field with cows. Or maybe sheep. I was in no position to distinguish between things bright and beautiful.
"Are those sheep or cows?" I mumbled.
"Those are monks, you blind drunk."
"Oh, right." It was a pastoral scene. Monks, doing something pastoral. Maybe with sheep. I was still in no position to judge.
"Why monks?" I asked.
He shrugged. "Those are the ones who make Cana 20-20."
I shuddered and washed some coffee down my throat. "I spilled some of that in the back room. Sorry. I'll clean it up."
"Awful stuff," said Slattery. "I couldn't serve it here. I give it to the winos. But it's a nice place and they're good souls and what the hell, it's a good cause, right?"
"What," I said, "are you talking about? The sheep or the monks?" By now the old windows of the soul were defogged to the point where I could make out the scene on the calendar. In the background, above the monks in the vineyard, was a brick building and a church on a green hill. "It does look like a nice spot."
"I visited it after my wife died," Slattery said. "They have rooms for guestsnothing fancy, just a bunk. Most peaceful vacation of my life. You might like it. Although I guess a winery isn't exactly the place for you these days."
"Slattery," I said, "they could serve that stuff at the Betty Ford Center and no one would drink it."
Slattery smiled as I washed down more coffee. "Well," he said, "maybe Cana is the place for you."
"How far is it from Wall Street?"
"Couple hundred miles," said Slattery. "If you hit Canada, you've gone too far."
I didn't hit Canada. And the week in the Monastery of Cana's guesthouse turned into two years. The vacation became a vocation.
It was comforting, that September morning as I chanted with the other monks, to feel so far from the material world, with all its getting and spending and so little getting of understanding.
I was, after the usual custom, about to go out and check the vines for overnight frost, when the Abbot made a special announcement.
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