Book Review: The Monk and the Riddle

Randy Komisar’s book The Monk and the Riddle: The Education of a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur is a well-written account about what he’s learned about entrepreneurship, life, and in some sense spirituality.

This is not a book of how-to nuggets — instead it is a well-constructed narrative with some important lessons about start-ups integrated via an on-going email exchange between a hypothetical company founder and VC. There’s also discussion of life / career philosophy more generally. “The journey is the reward” is the concluding paragraph, but he arrives there without succumbing to cliche.

Komisar, who’s currently a partner at Kleiner Perkins, comes to some of his most important realizations about life while on a motorcycle in Burma speaking to a monk and also when lost in bad weather in Scotland. Hence the title. I enjoyed the international flavor and especially reading about someone accidentally discovering his philosophy of life while traveling abroad (far harder if consciously sought in a safe and familiar environment, yes?).

The 800CEORead gang included Monk and the Riddle in their 100 Best Business Books of All Time.


Shameless plugs for friends: Wes Moore’s book is out. He launched the book on Oprah and it’s climbing the charts. An inspiring story. Also, David Snider has co-written a book called Money Makers which is about how various finance fields work. Some interviews with heavy hitters on Wall Street.

1 comment on “Book Review: The Monk and the Riddle
  • I loved this book! It’s part case study, autobiography, philosophical discussion and travelogue all combined.

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