Book Review: The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma
Title: The 5 AM Club
Author: Robin Sharma
Genre: Fiction/Self Help/Business
Publisher: Harper Collins
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This review has taken me a long time to write mostly because I just wanted to sit with the lessons I learned from this book forever. Without a doubt, this is my favorite book that I have read. Ever. This book makes me meditate for long moments and reflect and plan. This book has sparked ideas. This book helped me revive some things that I thought were dead. This book has made me emotional. This book has just done so much for me. Initially, I read it during my Sabbatical earlier this year via Libby (available to read via Kindle app). At that time, I knew it had the potential to be life-changing, and I decided to order a physical copy to read again. Which I did at the end of the summer. A chapter a day. Taking my time and highlighting. Writing out my thoughts as I journaled. I did not want to finish this book ever. I’ve never been one to re-read books, and I’ve found a handful this year that I wouldn’t mind reading twice. But this is the first book that I knew there was a high probability that I would be reading it yearly.
The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma is the first and only book of his that I read. I don’t even remember how I came across it. I’ve never heard of him before and didn’t even have this book on my radar. But something made me borrow it on Libby when I saw it. While this is every bit of a self-help and business book, the story is told as fiction. Sharma uses the story of the Spellbinder, the Billionaire, the Entrepreneur, and the Artist to share with his readers the way to Own Your Morning and Elevate Your Life by joining the 5 AM Club. Warning…I can’t help but include spoilers in this review, and I include a trigger warning for a brief mention of suicidal thoughts.
We are introduced to the Entrepreneur who is currently going through a crisis with her business. She is being pushed out of the company that she started by her investors, and it has her contemplating suicide. As she is doing this, she catches a glance of a conference ticket that she was gifted for the Spellbinder. She decides that even though she doesn’t believe in these types of conferences, that this is her last chance. She goes and starts to listen to the Spellbinder, an older, well-dressed man who is a master of his trade in leadership and inspiration. While speaking, you can tell that he isn’t looking too well, and he eventually collapses on stage, bringing the conference to an end.
Staying for a while after the collapse, the Entrepreneur is sitting next to the Artist. They strike up a conversation and are soon interrupted by a homeless guy. They start talking about the memorable moments of the session. The homeless guy starts to go into in-depth details about how the Spellbinder has inspired him and gives hints to what he has been able to accomplish. The Entrepreneur almost immediately starts judging and doubting him based on how he looks. Eventually, he offers them an opportunity to come to his beachside place the next morning to begin to discuss the ideas that he has learned to help own his morning and elevate his life. They both take him up on his offer to meet him back at 5 AM, but they doubt seriously that he will show up, let alone that they will be getting on a jet.
But the next morning, when they go to meet him, they are greeted by a car that indeed, takes them to a jet, and sure enough, they are taken away to this beachside residence. They see who they think is the Homeless man standing on the beach and go to him, only to find out it is the Spellbinder, who happens to be Mr. Riley’s (the Homeless man who will now be called the Billionaire) friend and mentor. He is at the residence to refresh and vacation after passing out from exhaustion on stage. Mr. Riley meets them and then explains he will teach them different lessons each morning they meet at 5 AM. While the Spellbinder is an older gentleman who is calm and pushing the later part of life, Mr. Riley is an eccentric middle-aged man who is quirky enough to bust out in pushups or start yodeling mid-conversation. He keeps both the Entrepreneur and the Artist on their toes and laughing throughout the whole adventure. They travel to different places to get some of the lessons and are quickly becoming members of the 5 AM Club.
The Entrepreneur is almost the main character. The storyline follows her from her potential suicide attempt to being threatened by her investors that are trying to take over her company. Her goals go from preventing the takeover to truly living a happy life so she can be the best entrepreneur there is. The Artist seems to want to be understood. He follows the typical artist lifestyle where he wants to create what he wants and have others love it. Unexpectedly, the two end up starting a relationship and falling in love. While this story isn’t a major theme in the book, it is still there and, in my opinion, not necessary to teach us any of the lessons. But I am sure the purpose is to remember that becoming better at your business or craft, isn’t what life is all about. It’s important to enjoy life and enjoy it with those around us. Eventually, they get married, and the vacation has to come to an end. But they are officially members of the 5 AM Club. The epilogue gives you an update on everyone five years later (and be prepared to cry).
This is one of those books where you have to wait to get most of the information. While the text was full of amazing quotes (and hard not to highlight whole pages), some chapters didn’t actually “teach” me anything towards the 5 AM Club. Plus, I found myself asking when will we get to the part that shows us WHAT to do at 5 AM quite a bit. Even the Artist asked it a couple of times in the book. One thing that came out of this book for me was a list of people I wanted to learn more about. Lately, it seems to be a theme for me to encounter books that talk a lot about or quote a lot of other people. Some of the people I am familiar with like Rose Parks, Picasso, Albert Einstein, and Nelson Mandela. Others I have either never heard of or heard of them in passing like Rumi, Charles Bukowski, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Since I am always interested in learning, I realized that I could learn more about these people and their practices since they were significant enough to get mentioned in some of the books I am loving. I created a list in Evernote “People to Look Up” and am adding a goal to my Year of Healthy to try and learn about someone new once a week. I imagine this will open up a wealth of resources to me.
While reading this book, I had no choice but to think of each stage of my life. I can see clearly where I made mistakes, and I better understand how they happened. I see ways that I self-sabotaged myself when I was doing great. This book is going to be a major part of my Year of Healthy with all of the nuggets on goal setting and habit building. And it’s not just the getting up at 5 AM. It’s what you do during what Sharma calls your Victory Hour that makes a difference. Here are some things that I will be trying from the book:
~ The Victory Hour – Investing sixty minutes in developing my best self and my greatest skills
~ Intense Visualization – envision what your perfect day should look like and then go out and try to live that day
~ Eliminate distractions, especially during your Victory Hour
~ Morning Routine: Move, Reflect, Grow (the 20/20/20 Formula)
~ Exercise and sweat hard, journal/meditate/plan/pray, read/listen/study
~ Evening Routine: No technology, time with family, reading, winding down, prepare for the morning
~ For 90 days, invest the first 90 minutes of your workday on just one activity (the 90/90/1 Rule)
~ Work for 60 minutes without moving, then spend 10 minutes refueling (the 60/10 Method)
Here are some great lessons and quotes from the book
~ All change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.
~ To have the results the top 5% of producers have, you must start doing what 95% of people are unwilling to do.
~ When you feel like surrendering, continue.
~ To double your income and impact, tripe your investment in two core areas – your personal mastery and your professional capability. (the 2x3x Mindset)
~ With better daily awareness you can make better daily choices, and with better daily choices you’ll start seeing better daily results. (the 3 Step Success Formula)
~ …if you want to be the best in the world…you need to put in enormous amounts of practice time to advance your expertise. Specifically, a performer must invest at least two hours and forty-four minutes of daily improvement on their chosen skill for ten years.
~ Enhancing anything in your day, ranging from your morning routine to a thought pattern to a business skill to a personal relationship, by only 1% delivers at least 30% elevation only a month from starting. Stay with the program and, in just one year, the pursuit you’ve been focusing on has elevated 365% at least.
~ Personal discipline is a muscle. The more you stretch it, the stronger it grows.
~ Increasing self-control in one area of your life elevates self-control in all areas of your life.
~ The way you practice in private is precisely the way you’ll perform once you’re in public.
I could list so many more great lessons and things that I want to start implementing, but you would be reading forever, and I want you to grab a copy of the book and read it for yourself. I couldn’t help but give this book a 5-star rating. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. If you have read it already, let me know some of your favorite parts in the comments below.
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