Vishen Lakhiani: Buddha & the Badass
Book Reviews,  Career,  Life Vision

The Buddha and the Badass: The Secret Spiritual Art of Succeeding at Work

The Buddha and the Badass<br>The Secret Spiritual Art of Succeeding at Work Book Cover
The Buddha and the Badass
The Secret Spiritual Art of Succeeding at Work
Improvement Random House Audio Audiobook 9h 42m Audible

Forget hustling. This book will disrupt your deeply held beliefs about work, success, and, indeed, life. If you’re the average person in the developed world, you spend 70 percent of your waking hours at work. And if you’re the average person, you’re miserable for most of those hours. This is simply not an acceptable state of affairs for your one shot at life. No matter your station, you possess incredible unique powers. It’s a modern myth that hard work and hustle are the paths to success. Inside you is a soul. And once you unleash it fully into the domain of work, magic happens. Awakening the Buddha and the Badass inside you is a process that will disrupt the way you work altogether. You’ll gain access to tools that bend the very rules of reality.

The Buddha is the archetype of the spiritual master. The person who can live in this world but also move with an ease, grace, and flow that comes from inner awareness and alignment.

The Badass is the archetype of the changemaker. This is the person who is out there creating change, building, coding, writing, inventing, leading. The badass represents the benevolent disruptor – the person challenging the norms so we can be better as a species.

Once you integrate the skill sets of both archetypes, you will experience life at a different level from most people. You will operate from a space of bliss, ease, inspiration, and abundance. The Buddha and the Badass: The Secret Spiritual Art of Succeeding at Work will show you how. Author of the New York Times best seller The Code of the Extraordinary Mind and founder of Mindvalley, Vishen Lakhiani has turned his own life and company into his research lab. He’s codified everything he’s learned into the how-to steps in this book. The Buddha and the Badass teaches you how to master your work and your life.


The Buddha and The Badass Audiobook Review

Ken Wilber popularized the importance of worldviews in his work on integral theory. You can simplify his work and determine that most people will fall in one of the four following worldview categories. Depending on your worldviews certain aspects of this book will appeal to you and others might affront you.

  • You could be a rationalist. In which case you’ll love the business ideas in this book but scoff when I speak of the magic of the mind, intuition, or listening to your soul.
  • You could be a traditionalist. In which case you’ll love anything that reminds you of your spiritual beliefs but may feel threatened when I talk about questioning culture and traditional rules.
  • Or you could be a green, which means you might also be a spiritual junkie, and you’ll love the talk of magic but maybe dread the sections on taking action and running a business.
  • Finally, you might be viewing this from the integral level. This means you are open-minded and can integrate all these worldviews without feeling your ego is threatened, by picking and choosing what resonates with you. This is the most productive way to read this book.

Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it‘s a feather bed.

Terence McKenna


I have read Vishen’s previous book The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, and there are some overlaps and continuation of the ideas in that book. While this book adopts a consistent worldview with the former (as you’d expect), it offers deeper insights into applying the Extraordinary Mind to your work and mission in life.

Vishen asks us to consider the following areas you want to get the most out of when reading the book. Pick 2-3 of them before continuing. I have read (listened to) the book twice now and the first time through I didn’t fully commit to this. The second time through I did and I got more focused insights and learning on the areas I chose. Definitely worth doing.

  1. Bliss: You find great joy in what you do. Work and play become one.
  2. Immunity to Overwhelm: You’re no longer burdened by thoughts of overwhelm. Multitasking becomes easy.
  3. Relationships: You’re able to create a positive vibe and generate energy with the people you’re working with. This means all relationships are win-win and all interactions are imbued with positivity and care.
  4. Inspiration On Demand: You’re able to tap into ideas, inspiration, and creativity on demand so that you become a source of innovation and creative output.
  5. Abundance: Whether it’s financial or health, love, and life experiences, you start to see abundance emerging in all areas of your life.
  6. Flow and Ease: Life flows almost as if it’s blessed by luck and synchronicity. It almost feels as if you are held by a benevolent Universe.
  7. Bend Reality: What you want comes to you with ease; you feel as if you are supported by the Universe.

The Buddha and The Badass is well structured with excellent chapter summaries (an abridged audio of these summaries would be a perfect bonus for us book-hackers who have read the materials and just need a quick hook to get back into the topic without a full re-read). There are straightforward exercises to follow to help you learn and apply the techniques in the book. I personally related to the more transcendent and visionary exercises (these excited me more), but there is great relevance in each chapter depending on where you are.

My top 4 takeaways from the book were:

  • Finding your Core Values (and the Lime Tree story),
  • Why Resonance is more important than Abundance,
  • The importance of Lofty Questions vs Affirmations, and
  • Applying the OODA loop (observe–orient–decide–act).

Depending on your choice from the 7 areas above, you will find your own messages within the pages. If you’ve read the book, start the conversation below and post your top learning items. I recommend the book to any of you who are looking to level-up in as many safe ways as possible to lead an extraordinary life.

Other takeaways I found in one chapter were

  • A parallel between Vishen’s messages and The Four Agreements, and
  • That seeds grow into plants but plants do not stop growing, unlike humans. That’s not only wrong if we want to achieve our potential but forced by external Brules or the conditioning of the Culturescape (see The Code of the Extraordinary Mind).

And this quote (and I recommend the Sandman graphic novels also):

“I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.”

Neil Gaiman
The Kindly Ones

Buy The Buddha & The Badass book (or audio) on Amazon.


The book is broken down into three parts as follows. This is taken from the preview on Amazon and will give you an insight of what to expect.

Part I: Becoming Magnetic

What were you born to do? Once you are aligned with your true purpose and your soul print, everything else becomes a lot easier. Imagine your business as a powerful magnet that draws everything in the world toward it. The talent you need comes running to you. The people you envision, with the skills, beliefs, and attitudes that fit with yours like the missing pieces of a puzzle, suddenly appear. The whole experience happens without effort and feels strangely supernatural.

In Part I, Vishen trains you to become a powerful magnet. That comes from aligning your work—whether it’s your organization, initiative, project, or mission in life—with your innermost values and soul identity.

Chapter 1: Uncover Your Soulprint

Every person’s life unfolds in a way that is unique to them. Each significant event you experience leaves a trace: every high, every low, every elation, every suffering. These experiences shape you into who you are meant to be. And when you decode them, you’ll discover that the Universe has a plan for who you are meant to be. You are here to fill your unique role, career, and mission. Your greatest job is to uncover these unique values, stay true to them, and act from them.

Chapter 2: Attract Your Allies

Greatness is best achieved with others. The world is too complex to strike it alone. People are drawn to you, not because of your business plan, but because your dream gives them hope. Humans are moved by emotion more than logic. The greatest gift you can give someone is to invite them to share in a dream. This is how you become magnetic and align yourself with the people you need to make any vision a reality.

Part II: Finding Your Power

After interviewing thousands of people for jobs at my companies, Vishen uncovered an astonishing truth about human behaviour. There are four dominant human needs people crave from any work they engage in (essentially Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, though Vishen discovered this through experience, trial and error as he grew Mindvalley). When you understand and apply this knowledge, people fall in love with their work and the culture they are a part of. And you need this too. When you mix these human needs into your work, your work becomes a place of healing and amplification of your power.

None of this is mystical. It’s all backed by remarkable theories developed by the world’s leading psychologists, philosophers, and spiritual leaders.

Chapter 3: Spark Deep Connections

Humans desire to come together. The need to belong is in our DNA. While we may see ourselves as separate from one another, the truth is, we are connected by invisible bonds. When you understand how to influence this space, you create communities where everyone is greater together than apart.

Chapter 4: Becoming an Unfuckwithable Masterpiece

In a world of many options, we seek to follow others rather than follow our own inner guidance. The key is to learn to love yourself deeply and learn to trust your inner yearnings. As you do, you can channel these dreams, visions, and desires into a masterpiece of a life. As a leader, you can bring this out in others too. When you do this, the shared visions you create become reality with elegance and ease.

Chapter 5: Make Growth The Ultimate Goal

Your soul isn’t here to achieve. Your soul is here to grow. Most people get this wrong. They become seduced by success and broken by failure. They add great meaning to what is essentially meaningless. The true reality is that success and failure are illusions. The only thing that matters is how fast you’re evolving. Your journey is about removing all the barriers that hold you back from Self-Actualization.

Chapter 6: Choose Your Mission Wisely

As you self-actualize you gain an edge in life. The next step is to use this edge to lift others up and enhance the world—this is Self-Transcendence. When you live from this plane you will tap into a level of fulfilment beyond anything you can imagine. The goal is no longer to just refine yourself or sit in endless introspection. Rather, it’s to use your newfound abilities to make the world better for others, multiple generations down.

Part III: Becoming A Visionary

In Part 3, you’ll learn how to become a visionary. How to create visions and goals that truly inspire and excite the world. You’ll then learn how to move rapidly toward these huge goals with ease. And how to do so without sacrificing your health, your love life, or your family. We will bust the insidious idea that hard work is necessary for remarkable results.

Chapter 7: Activating the Visionary in You

There is no greater experience than to live your life working to achieve a vision so bold that it scares you. Any vision you commit to should be so inspiring that you stay up at night as it pulls you and flirts with you. Now, here is a big secret: The bigger your vision, the easier it gets. When you live this way, you may find that the vision is not coming from you. Instead, the Universe is choosing to go through you to realize what the world needs.

Chapter 8: The Unified Brain

To tackle a truly grand vision you need to have many brains; you need a team of people to act as one unified superbrain. For the first time, we have incredible tools for this. Yet most teams work inside of age-old collaboration systems. When you learn to create a unified brain you move with amazing speed and prowess.

Chapter 9: Identity Upgrading and the Beautiful Destruction

The Universe acts as a mirror. It reflects back to you what you are. The miracle of this is that you can shift your identity and the world will obey. But you must shift it so deeply you believe the new identity and live life in accordance with it.

I recommend this book and will continue to do the exercises and look into the supplemental resources provided online, as well as related Mindvalley programs (as I have previously).

Buy The Buddha & The Badass book (or audio) on Amazon.

We live in one of three states as Brendon Burchard says - caged, comfortable or charged - often one of the first two. But we aspire to a better life, a more charged life, one where we don’t feel trapped or stuck in a rut (yet comfortable), one where we don’t compromise and live a charged life. My purpose is to help you find your charge. I post updates about my own journey here and if you have any questions or would like any support, feel free to contact me or connect with me on any of the social networks.

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