The Urban Monk Book Summary - The Urban Monk Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The Urban Monk summary

Pedram Shojai

Eastern Wisdom and Modern Hacks to Stop Time and Find Success, Happiness, and Peace

4.6 (111 ratings)
30 mins

Brief summary

The Urban Monk by Pedram Shojai is a guidebook to finding peace and balance in modern life. It provides practical tips for living mindfully and cultivating healthy habits, allowing us to achieve our full potential in a hectic world.

Table of Contents

    The Urban Monk
    Summary of 10 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 10

    Our ancestors can teach us how to live in better alignment with our needs.


    Despite advances in technology, medicine, and living standards, we modern humans aren’t exactly the happiest or healthiest bunch. We’re lacking in time, energy, sleep, and exercise. We’re lonely, stressed, disconnected from nature, and pumped full of junk food. And on top of all of that, we’re missing a sense of purpose in our lives. 

    What’s going on? And what can we do about it? Well, the short answer is that our modern ways of life are out of alignment with our needs. To fix this problem, we’re going to have to recalibrate our lifestyles. 

    Fortunately, we don’t have to start from scratch. There’s a lot of ancient wisdom we can learn from. Much of it’s been passed down to us by the Eastern spiritual traditions, but some of it comes from an even older source: our ancestors. 

    The key message here is: Our ancestors can teach us how to live in better alignment with our needs. 

    To be an Urban Monk, you don’t have to subscribe to any particular belief system. You’re free to learn from any source of wisdom. Our ancestors are a great place to start, because their lifestyles were in natural harmony with human needs. If we lived more like them, we’d solve many of our modern problems. 

    Consider sleep – one of our most fundamental needs. When the sun went down, our ancestors didn’t have any light to fill up the darkness, except for the soft glow of fire, moon, and stars. But the resulting dimness was a blessing in disguise. It triggered a series of biochemical reactions that prepared their bodies for sleep. 

    In contrast, we modern humans bathe ourselves in the artificial brightness of light bulbs and electronic screens late into the night. This tricks our brains into thinking it’s still daytime, which results in the release of hormones designed to keep us awake, making it difficult to sleep. 

    So, how can we get ready for bedtime more like our ancestors? Easy: turn off your devices after 7:00 p.m. Better yet, lay off the light bulbs, too, and illuminate your home with soothing candlelight instead. 

    It’s the perfect way to wind down at night. And it illustrates a more general point: You don’t have to join a monastery to be an Urban Monk. With the help of some simple but effective hacks, you can change your life without heading to the mountains. 

    Want to see all full key ideas from The Urban Monk?

    Key ideas in The Urban Monk

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The Urban Monk about?

    The Urban Monk (2016) is a field guide for how to navigate modern life with a more monk-like mentality. Drawing on Eastern spiritual traditions, contemporary science, and the lives of our ancestors, it’s packed full of practical tips on how we can integrate ancient wisdom into our modern lifestyles. It addresses a wide range of personal problems, including stress, unhealthy diets, and a lack of time, energy, and sense of purpose.

    The Urban Monk Review

    The Urban Monk (2016) is a book that offers practical insights and guidance for finding balance and peace in our modern, fast-paced lives. Here are three reasons why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides down-to-earth strategies that can help us navigate the chaos of everyday life and cultivate a sense of calm and clarity.
    • By blending ancient Eastern wisdom with modern scientific research, the book offers a unique perspective on achieving overall well-being, both mentally and physically.
    • With its engaging storytelling and relatable anecdotes, it not only educates but also entertains, ensuring that readers stay engrossed throughout the book.

    Who should read The Urban Monk?

    • Lifestyle hackers 
    • Those who suffer from stress and low energy
    • People interested in Eastern spiritual traditions

    About the Author

    Pedram Shojai, a former Taoist monk, is a doctor of Oriental medicine, a qigong master, and a decades-long practitioner of kung fu and tai chi. He is the host of The Urban Monk podcast, the founder of, and the producer of the documentary films Vitality, Origins, and Prosperity. His other books include The Art of Stopping Time and Inner Alchemy.

    Categories with The Urban Monk

    Book summaries like The Urban Monk

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    The Urban Monk FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Urban Monk?

    The Urban Monk teaches how to balance the demands of modern life with inner peace and mindfulness.

    How long does it take to read The Urban Monk?

    The reading time for The Urban Monk varies, but it can be read in a few hours. The Blinkist summary takes just 15 minutes.

    Is The Urban Monk a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Urban Monk is worth reading for its practical tips on finding balance and reducing stress in a busy world.

    Who is the author of The Urban Monk?

    The author of The Urban Monk is Pedram Shojai.

    What to read after The Urban Monk?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Urban Monk, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Art of Simple Living by Shunmyo Masuno
    • The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma
    • A Monk's Guide to Happiness by Gelong Thubten
    • The Power of Discipline by Daniel Walter
    • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
    • Atomic Habits by James Clear
    • The Art of Stopping Time by Pedram Shojai
    • 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness by Jim Rohn
    • How to Tell a Story by The Moth
    • Inner Engineering by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev