Book Review: A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Enlightenment



I was travelling for a wedding to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem a couple of weeks ago and my mentor and a good friend, Avi Liran, was so kind to arrange some meetings for me while I was there.

Lenny Ravich was my first meeting and, to be honest, I failed to do some research on him before I met him.

Lenny Ravich is a US–born, 70-something young person who is energetic and funny. Apparently, he wrote a book that Avi liked so much that he contacted him and that’s how their relationship started.

Lenny gifted his book to me during our meeting and that’s how I read his marvellous book.

The name of the book is Something funny happened on the way to Enlightenment. His book sold tremendously well in Israel and worldwide.

There are some points that I don’t agree with, such as in order to be funny he thinks a person has to have had a screwed up childhood, but mainly the book is a great eye opener.

It talks about happiness.

Lenny refuses to make himself feel bad by taking serious things more seriously. It takes courage to laugh, especially at yourself, and even more skill to get others to laugh with you at themselves.

Lenny summarized life as a formula, E + R = O. 

E is the event, R is our Response and O is the outcome. 

Events occur and our responses design the outcomes. The event may not be avoidable, but the response is our own production so it can altered and therefore the outcome as well.

I will continue by sharing some of my favourite quotations from the book.

“One way to deal with some of the pain from the past, anger, fears and misfortunes of the past is to find the humour in things and then to laugh at them.”

I accept, it is not easy. But it does not mean it is not possible. We should let our bad feelings go to be healthy and to move forward. Having this kind of mindset is also an important part of success.

“No matter how we look at it, life is one huge, on-going improvisation. None of us gets an orientation manual when we’re born, telling us how to handle every situation that might cross our path throughout our lifetime. Nor can our parents prepare us for every conceivable occurrence.” 

I experience this with teenagers. They expect to find a mentor or their parents to lead their life. Everybody’s life is different and their interests and talents are also different.

Of course, one should utilise other people’s experiences, but you have to create your own manual for your very own life. And that manual will be and should be different than everyone else’s!

Because you are unique!

“Feeling vindictive and unforgiving is a huge waste of time. I have found that love, optimism, and laughter are the most potent tools available to mankind.” 

I happened to fall into this trap.

I came across a sociopath in my life, and I wasted some time. Actually, not only time, but I also felt sorry for him and at some point I felt very unforgiving to him. Now, I understand it is waste of time.

Now, I just laugh off my experiences with him!

“Who is rich? The one who is happy with what he has.”


The desire to attain more material things makes everyone unhappy!

“Poor is the person who believes totally in his mission.” 

Titles, zeros in the bank accounts, and power are easy tools that can poison us and inflate our egos.

It is not hard to become a “bastard”, but by being a bastard you are doing the greatest harm to yourself since you are making yourself very unhappy. As my friend Avi says, “Delight people and operate on a delight system, not on a jerk system.”

Even though it was such a short meeting (it was only 45 minutes), it was nice to meet you, Lenny Ravich!


All the best,

Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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