Book Review: Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks

Screen Shot 2013-11-17 at 10.45.53 AM

Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks by August Turak will transform your appreciation of transformation.

I became the Strategic Monk as I seek balance that includes both being effective and being true to my deepest self. My own story includes practicing law, teaching, and getting things done as I do the inner work to explore and practice my own core values. My story includes connecting with the monks at New Camaldoli Hermitage and Monastery in Big Sur, California.

August Turak has a similar story. He describes making career decisions that appeared to pass on very rewarding opportunities because he was committed to a specific course of action and working relationships. He writes about what he has learned by spending time with the monks at Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina.

Filled with practical examples from his own experience, Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks is more than August’s own story. Drawing on his own reading, reflection, and background with a variety of organizations, he describes how organizations can transform the people with whom they have contact.

His inspiration includes the bookmobile that introduced him to mythology in the third grade, The Devil Wears Prada, goat rodeos with Microsoft, conversations with monks while packing and delivering eggs,  Alcoholics Anonymous, being in the front row of a Rolling Stones concert, IBM’s Executive School, his West Virginia hillbilly Zen master, the Rule of Benedict, and the Marine Corps.

“Life itself can actually be described as a longing for transformation. Every acorn longs to become an oak.”

Central to the lessons he describes from his own life are the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey. Through conversations and by example, they are people transformed in a transforming community.

I am still learning to apply the Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks.

How do you and your organization transform the lives of the people around you?

Where are you on your own hero’s journey?


"Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world......a city on a hill cannot be ..."

Practices From the Inside Out: Head ..."
"Leadership is a paradox! For me, standing still feels good at first but then feels ..."

Leading Like a Monk: Holding Fast ..."
"Re gratitude.My goodness, I don't think you have to be grateful for everything, all the ..."

Practices From the Inside Out: What ..."
"This unique group of individuals have a discipline that is second to none. They don't ..."

Leading Like a Monk: Building Communities ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Peg Gillard

    Sometimes Greg, I think I am still in the parking lot of my journey! Other days, moving slowly steadily forward. Reminding myself that this moment, this step, this breath, this heartbeat is all I have allows me to know that I have come farther than I think. I think I was farther along on my journey when I was a child as I remember thoughts I had about spiritual and esoteric things that I didn’t have the words for. Now, I may have some words, but the memory of the thoughts/ideas deep feelings are far more real and powerful than any word. So, my journey continues with peaks and valleys, lightness and darkness, feet on the ground and no ground beneath me. Life. Thanks for your words.


    • Strategic Monk

      Thank you, Peg.

      Yes! We may say that something is “beyond understanding,” or ” beyond words,” but we are uncomfortable with what we cannot describe or explain. We call something “amazing,” but are we really ready to be amazed?

      Life is filled with wonder.

  • August Turak

    Dear Greg,

    Thanks so much for your kind words about Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks. They are especially gratifying because I respect you so much. All the best, August Turak

  • Strategic Monk

    Thank you, August.

    It is my pleasure! I enjoyed reading it and reflecting on its truths, and look forward to grasping even more of its secrets as they continue to unfold.