I chose this book after reading The Untethered Soul and feeling like it totally changed my outlook on life. I wanted to see what other nuggets of wisdom the author, Michael A. Singer, had to share. If you’re thinking about picking it up, be aware that The Surrender Experiment is more of a memoir than a personal growth book. I enjoyed it, but not as much as the other.
The Surrender Experiment starts by describing Singer’s personal spiritual journey and academic background, and ends with his meteoric rise to corporate success. Singer started his career as a professor in Florida making $5K per year, and it ends with the company he started being sold for over $100M and eventually merging with WebMD and the process he went through personally and professionally to get there.
A Spiritual Journey
The premise of the book is that early in his life, Singer decided “surrender” to let the universe and allow it drive his decisions. Most of the examples of his “allowing” have to do with opportunities he had to be of service to others. Often, those opportunities pointed him in directions he resisted and were things he really didn’t want to do. But, through his trust that the universe knew best, he was able to manifest some pretty amazing situations and abundance.
Singer was an economics student when the book begins, and through a series of events fell out of love with academics and began his spiritual journey. He definitely had an unconventional lifestyle. He was living as a yogi/hermit in a cabin in the woods and isolating himself from others in order to practice meditation for hours each day. When that failed to satisfy him, he challenged himself to see what would happened if he “surrendered” to life instead of isolating himself from it.
The end of the book gets a little bit dry and repetitive as he points out example after example of business transactions that happened as a result of his surrender experiment. That section left me craving more of the personal, spiritual background behind those events and examples of growth.
This book also definitely focused on his career successes, not his personal life. He doesn’t spend much time at all talking about his marriage and daughter. really doesn’t write about that much at all. You get the feeling his life was all about his career, not his family. To most of us, that part of surrender is more relevant to daily life.
Real Life Applications
I felt as though the book failed to describe his exact parameters for true “surrender”. In real life, we can’t honor every request the universe throws at us. If everyone followed that paradigm, we’d quickly become overcommitted and stressed out. It would also be easy to get taken advantage of. How did he decide which of those opportunities to take? The book seemed a little contradictory by urging us to take opportunities presented to us, yet also describing times when he turned down opportunities himself. I wanted to know how and when he “surrendered” and when he just said no.
What I did like was the emphasis on allowing our negative emotions and resistance to be our teachers and guides. This book is a great example of someone who believes life happens for them, not to them. When we look at situations in life as teachers and opportunities for growth, that’s when we learn and evolve.
UPDATE on my 52 Books in 52 Weeks Project: 3 out of 52 books read this year, 1 Audible book.