Author: Sam Polk

Publisher: Scribner

ISBN: 978-1-4767-8598-1

                               Your Money or Your Life

This is a deeply spiritual book. Even as the author does not explicitly make any reference to any specific religious affiliation.

Today the concept of spirituality as a coping mechanism for the wear and tear of life is fast gaining ground. Many people who  have realized their life goal of becoming very rich are finding themselves on the rim of a hamster wheel, i.e. a situation where they feel compelled to run their hardest to keep what they have. Happy is the one who realizes that there is a hidden price to pay if one prioritizes Mammon above all else, including one’s soul. That, in essence, is the theme of this book.

When Sean offered me a million dollars to leave Bank of America and come to Pateras, I’d felt like I won the lottery...I couldn’t have dreamt up a more perfect job. But in the two years since I’d arrived, I’d started to see things about Wall Street, about myself that I hadn’t seen before. Now I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be here any more.”

Thus started the process of the author’s reliving his life in this book, to find out what made him tick and how he finally came to terms with himself in relation to the world around him. This process also led him to the writing of this book.

In this memoir, the author recounts his journey as a tough schoolboy in Los Angeles to a hugely successful hedge fund trader, to a family man running several non-profit ventures. He tells the story of his dog who loved him unconditionally as pets do, the strained relation between his parents, his own battles with obesity and bulimia and his tryst with wrestling. He talks of his siblings, especially his twin brother and the important decisions and events that shaped his life. He talks of his appetite for alcohol, sex and drugs during his university days and the jobs he took to support himself. He also mentions a red thread that strongly influenced his later years, viz., regular counselling from a life coach. This counselling gave him the strength to give up alcohol and also led him to become a hugely successful hedge fund trader due to the greater sobriety he brought to the job. The counselling also led to a healing of his relationship with his family, particularly his twin brother, put his job problems in perspective and ultimately find true love with a woman who had independently made the same choice that he had made, i.e. embracing the totality of Life, over and above the pursuit of material wealth.

Many of us who yearn to live a life with more quality time working at a job we love, while also being paid for it, could well find some answers to their concerns in this book. At the very least, one gets to see the inside scoop of such a story, of a person who gives up a highly paid job for another that yields greater spiritual dividends in terms of job satisfaction and quality time.

Personally I found the book extremely frank and enlightening. It’s also a fast and very interesting read. The author has been extremely honest in his depiction, steering clear of both undue glorification and unnecessary self-disparagement.

Warmly recommended to one and all.