Kindle Book Review: The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life

Book Reviewer Vacations With Kindle and Karma

In part 1 of this three-part review series, I told you that I had purchased a Kindle 3 with Wi-Fi to feed my business book addiction while on vacation.  One of my first purchases came as a recommendation from a fellow entrepreneur: The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life.

The original Diamond Cutter is an ancient book of teachings given by the Buddha over 2,500 years ago.  It is the oldest dated book in the world that was printed, rather than written by hand.  The British Museum currently has a copy dated A.D. 868 –600 years before the Gutenberg Bible was produced.

In this adaptation, authors Geshe Michael Roach (@DCISuccess on Twitter) and Lama Christy McNally (@LamaChristy on Twitter) tell the story of how Michael’s monk teacher encouraged him to join the world of business if he really wanted to apply the teachings that he had learned at the monastery.  Michael had a vision of working in the diamond trade during a meditation and decided that this would be the business he would join.  The challenge for Michael was that the diamond industry was very closed to outsiders.  He started taking classes and befriended Ofer Azielant, who invited him to apprentice at Andin International.  With hard work, humility, patience and the principles in this book, Michael grew the Diamond Division of Andin International exponentially.

Inside the Book

Each chapter of The Diamond Cutter starts with a quote from the ancient script.  Then this script is interpreted by a Lama into more current language.  Then Michael takes the principles of the ancient lesson, tells the story of how he applied this lesson in his business, and give practical guidance on how you can apply these lessons in your business and in your life.

I had a love-hate relationship with the book overall and sometimes found it tedious.  But Chapter 7, “The Correlations or Common Business Problems and Their Solutions,” made the whole book worthwhile.  This section takes seven business objectives and goals and shows you how to adjust your thoughts and actions to bring those goals into reality.

  1. To prosper financially, be generous.
  2. To see yourself in a world that is happy, maintain an ethical way of life.
  3. To see yourself as healthy and attractive, refuse to get angry.
  4. To see yourself as a leader, take joy in constructive and helpful actions.
  5. To focus your mind, practice meditation.
  6. To free yourself from a world that doesn’t work the way you want it to, learn about the hidden potential of things.
  7. To get all you wished for, practice compassion toward others.

I admit, that’s a little “out there.”  This is why the authors list a series of common business problems and their solutions; these are much more practical in nature.

  • If company finances are unstable:  Share your profits with those who have helped you produce them.
  • If your equipment and machinery is outmoded or unreliable: Stop being envious of other businesspeople and focus on your own creativity and innovation.
  • If you feel like you’re losing your authority in the company: Don’t be arrogant with those around you; listen to those who work with you.
  • If your office is full of fighting and bickering: Stop engaging in talk that aims to split people apart (that’s gossip).

There are something like 50 of these problem/solution statements in this chapter. This is where the Kindle got unwieldy.  It’s hard to flip through many pages at a time to reference a simple statistic like this.

Reading through these problem/solution statements, I couldn’t help but think of specific situations where I had these very problems.  Not only that, but I could see how my actions, thoughts and speech could have easily encouraged the very situations I was trying to avoid.

You might think this is a religious book because it references Buddhism.  I really didn’t see it that way.  I saw this as a book that made me reflect on who I was and how the actions and decisions I made affected the outcomes and results that my business created.

If you’re in the mood for self-reflection, and looking at ways to improve how your business exists in the world and interacts with its employees and customers, this is a great read.

My next book review will be about the follow-up book to The Diamond Cutter, Karmic Management.

Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."