Robin Sharma’s latest work “The 5 A.M Club” (“the book”) presents itself as a formidable contender for “The Worst Book of 2018” award. Extraordinarily insipid, extremely uninspiring and inexplicably long-winded, the book is well served remaining unread! Replete with borrowed quotes, resonating with irrelevant similes, and riding on a by now familiar philosophy, Robin Sharma feebly and futilely attempts to package old wine in a new bottle. Unfortunately, the damaged quality of the bottle deteriorates the very essence of the wine.
So what exactly is the “5.00 A.M Club?”
A simple, ordinary message stretched to an unimaginably inordinate degree
The message being dished out by Mr. Sharma is neither innovative nor novel. The basic idea being to jump out of one’s bed at 5.00 A.M in the morning and perform a set of activities involving the exercise of both mental and physical faculties. THIS IS IT both in a nutshell as well as in the philosophy’s entire expansion. However, what could have been ensconced within a precise tract or even a pamphlet is extended, elongated and elaborated in a most painful manner that makes a reader plough through 314 excruciating pages. The fact that in a book titled “The 5.00 A.M Club”, it takes 51 pages for a character to actually wake up at 5.00 A.M speaks volumes about the peripheral irrelevance that masks the core matter.
A story that is totally irrelevant
In order to convey a purely simplistic message, Mr. Sharma bizarrely elects to employ a story telling method which exasperates and enervates the reader to an infuriating degree. Yes, you really become tired reading (or at least trying to) the book. It is an unenviable chore trudging through a morass of pages that has at its centerpiece three characters. An entrepreneur who comes perilously close to taking her own life, courtesy an attempted investor coup before a seminar transforms her. Wearing bracelets with inspirational quotes etched on them, she signs on to become a member of the 5.00 A.M Club. She is joined in this endeavor by an artist who keeps fidgeting with his dreadlocks when not repeatedly mouthing “def” for “definitely. The mentor for both the entrepreneur and the artist is a quirky billionaire who when not mouthing quotes picked from Gibran to Seneca or doing dervish whirls and hand stands, spends time taking his two students on freewheeling tours to Mauritius, India, Italy and South Africa, imparting the tenets of the 5.00 A.M club. To assist him in this endeavor he keeps addressing his students as “cats” while himself using surfer slang such as “gnarly” to such a liberal extent that the reader feels like taking a sail boat over the book!
Pareto Principle in Action with Corny Passages
80% of the book is an astonishing exercise in futility. A communication that could have been accommodated within 20-30 pages takes up a whopping 314 pages. Pages that are packed with passages so reeking with irrelevance that they are enough to make the reader tear her hair out in sheer white frustration! Sample this:
“The artist laughed as a baby gecko jaywalked across a broad plank. He took off his black shirt in the dazzling sunshine, exposing a Buddha-sized belly and man breasts the size of fleshy mangoes.”
“…. she admitted as the skin on her forehead scrunched together like a rose contracting in the cold.”
“. the artist interrupted with all the energy of a puppy seeing its owner after a long day alone.”
Invest in a book of quotes instead
In addition to beginning every chapter with a famous quote, the book strings together sayings at a speed which would put even the reproductive capabilities of rabbits to total shame! Quotes by the renowned and the reviled fly at you from all angles making both deflection and assimilation equally impossible. One would do well instead to invest in a book of quotes and peruse the same meticulously.
Read these Alternative Books
The 5.00 A.M club borrows liberally from the philosophies of luminaries such as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and also pop psychologists such as Malcolm Gladwell. In the event one manages to get through the tedium and torture of the “5.00 A.M Club”, the following books may serve as the perfect antidote:
- “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi;
- “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg;
- “Eat, Move, Sleep” by Tom Rath;
- “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey;
- “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill;
- “The Empires of the Mind” by Dennis Waitley
- Read these Alternative Books
The George Orwell Rule
Mr. Sharma, while meticulously putting together the powerful sayings of many greats who have trod on this Planet, seems to have missed out on a set of most important rules – the immortal Six Rules laid down by George Orwell. One of the rules postulates, “If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.”.
If only this rule was followed the “5.00 A.M club” would have been an eminently readable book.
The “5.00 A.M Club” – deserving of a pass.