I loved—and to a slightly uncomfortable degree related to—this book.
Charles Bethea, staff writer at The New Yorker

Mediocre Monk is no mediocre memoir.
Scott Korb, author of Life in Year One and Light Without Fire

Brimming with self-deprecating humor and understated insight.
Maya Dusenbery, author of Doing Harm

Funny and serious and searching and heartbreaking and unforgettable in every way... Lindsley has created The Razor's Edge for our time in Mediocre Monk.
Mike Magnuson, author of Lummox: The Evolution of a Man

If you start reading this book, you are very likely to finish it… you'll come to understand and appreciate what a stealth insight looks like: the small "OK, got it, moving on," followed, hours later, by the "Ohhhh, OK.” Read the first page, you'll see.
Allan Filipowicz, Clinical Professor of Management and Organizations at Cornell University's Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Lindsley knows who he is, and his memoir knows what it should be… fascinating… funny… honest.
Isaac Saul, Founder of Tangle News

Honest and intimate, Lindsley's arresting account of his time in the forests of Thailand speaks to… the ever urgent question of how to live this one precious life.
Megan Molteni, STAT

I couldn't help but see myself in his story. There are lessons here for anyone who's searched for answers within and found connection with others.
Jody Avirgan, 30for30, Good Sport (TED), FiveThirtyEight

You'll feel transported into the mysterious world of a remote monastery, a place that seems both beautiful and excruciating.
Evan Lepler, ESPN

Lindsley's fabulous book serves as a mirror through which you can see yourself.
Andrew Hallam, International Bestselling author of Balance and Millionaire Teacher

Cover design by Pablo Rochat. Author photo by Kylee Gubler. Published by Girl Friday Books.

About the Book

Funny, perceptive, and deeply personal, Mediocre Monk follows Grant Lindsley's rocky journey towards spiritual growth - one that ultimately leads him to places he never expected.

After the sudden death of a friend, Grant Lindsley abandons his corporate job to train as a monk in one of the strictest Buddhist traditions on earth. Lost and bereft, he believes he can find answers in the mountains of Thailand. He shaves his head and eyebrows, eats one bowl of food a day, and lives in a cave, his solitude punctuated by the brushes with snakes, scorpions, and drug smugglers.

But Lindsley can't transform himself into the profound guru he envisions - he's hungry, restless, and lacking in the humility that monkhood requires. Eventually, he exhausts himself into moments of genuine growth, but in the opposite way from what he expects. Rather than transcending grief and becoming entirely self-reliant, he is surprised to find solace in allowing pain and reopening himself to community.

For anyone who has nurtured a fantasy of dropping out in search of answers, Mediocre Monk suggests a reality that is far more complicated - and rewarding.

About the Author

Grant Lindsley is a writer in Brooklyn, New York. He encountered his first Buddhist monk as an undergraduate at Carleton College, where he majored in psychology and minored in neuroscience, because he was majorly interested in himself and minorly interested in himself on drugs. He subsequently spent months training as a monk with the Thai Forest Tradition, a sect of Theravada Buddhism that seeks to follow the exact rules of the historical Buddha from over 2,500 years ago. Lindsley has worked at NOLS and briefly worked at Google until publishing his resignation letter in The Washington Post. An accomplished Ultimate Frisbee player, he has won multiple national championships and two gold medals for Team USA at the World Games. He received his master of fine arts in creative nonfiction from Pacific University and his master of business administration from Cornell Tech. He enjoys pranks and being outside with his family.


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