As a natural skeptic, I usually don’t put much stock into any book that touts itself as “life changing” or offers “easy steps to health and happiness”. So when I picked up Pedram Shojai’s The Urban Monk, I was expecting to quickly skim a few chapters followed by a healthy dose of eye-rolling. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find much more pragmatic advice, and a unique mix of ancient wisdom and modern science, than the expected empty health claims and Pollyannaish platitudes. I do understand that a deep dive, or even a toe dip, into eastern medicine and philosophy won’t be for everyone. But there isn’t a person I know that wouldn’t benefit from having a better handle on their stress levels, couldn’t use a little more joy and balance in their lives, or simply not feeling totally overwhelmed by the modern world, and the tips offered in The Urban Monk certainly won’t hurt in the pursuit of that better life.