Brother John: A Monk, a Pilgrim and The Purpose of Life by August Turak (Illustrated by Glenn Harrington) Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

One man’s chance encounter with a simple act of kindness changes his life forever in author August Turak’s novel Brother John: A Monk, a Pilgrim and The Purpose of Life. Illustrated by Glenn Harrington, this picture book delves into the age old question, “what is the purpose of life?”, and the author’s experience that answered that question for him. Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

Recipient of the prestigious Templeton Prize, Brother John is the true story of a meaningful encounter between a man going through a mid-life crisis, and an umbrella-wielding Trappist monk. This magical encounter on Christmas Eve eventually leads the author, and us all, to the redemptive power of an authentically purposeful life. Uplifting, deeply moving, and set in the magnificent Trappist monastery of Mepkin Abbey, Brother John is dramatically brought to life by over twenty full color paintings by Glenn Harrington, a multiple award-winning artist. Brother John’s inspirational message takes place at Christmastime, and its inspirational message and rich illustrations are sure to bring the reader back again and again throughout the year. 

The Review

Now as some of you may know from following my website, you know I myself am not religious. So approaching a book such as this as a non-religious person was an interesting thing. While I may not identify with the implied religious aspects of the story, the message itself of being kind and considerate of others leading to an authentic and purposeful life resonated with me. People don’t stop to take the time to look out for others much these days. In a world where nations are split apart and some leaders preach to the masses about having a “me me me” mentality, stories like Brother John’s are refreshing to see unfold.

Filled with truly gorgeous artwork, the story is a quick read at first glance. Yet further inspection reveals an intricate story that must be read carefully to absorb the messages told throughout. The novel is filled with a sense of holiday wonderment (it’s a Christmas time era when this event occurs), and speaks to the power of helping your fellow man or woman without thinking of the benefits to yourself. The story was beautifully written, and filled with passion for the theme of kindness like no other book before it.

The Verdict

This is the perfect read for anyone looking for an inspiration Christmas story, heartfelt and emotional stories of mankind at it’s finest, or anyone struggling to find their purpose in life. It’s a beautifully told story that deserves your attention, so be sure to grab your copy of Brother John: A Monk, a Pilgrim and The Purpose of Life by August Turak and illustrated by Glenn Harrington.

Rating: 10/10


About the Author


August Turak is a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive and award-winning author who attributes much of his success to living and working alongside the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey since 1996. As a frequent monastic guest, he learned firsthand from the monks as they grew an incredibly successful portfolio of businesses. Service and selflessness are at the heart of the 1,500-year-old monastic tradition’s remarkable business success. It is an ancient though immensely relevant economic model that preserves what is positive and productive about capitalism while transcending its ethical limitations and internal contradictions. Combining case studies from his thirty-year business career with intimate portraits of the monks at work, Turak shows how Trappist principles can be successfully applied to secular business settings and to our personal lives as well. He demonstrates that monks, people like Warren Buffett and other “transformational organizations” are successful not despite their high principles but because of them. He lives in North Carolina.



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