View Full Version : Monk Book - My Review

10-01-2003, 06:50 PM
There was a thread on this recently but its buried and I'm lazy and I read the book w/ an open mind after the last posts on it so here's my review.

The book specifically is "Point the Way" which purports to be about the inner game. I have really mixed opinions about this book in that I think it has some horrible advice and ideas. On the other hand, it has some things that I think are valuable and gave me a new way of looking at a couple of things.

First, my criticisms. I think the first inclination is to totally discredit an author who says that the laws of physics do not govern cue ball movement. This is preposterous and very nearly makes me want to disregard everything the man says. He essentially admits he is an irrational mystic deserving of no consideration in that quotation. To be specific, on P. 74 Monk says, "You need to familiarize yourself with the interpolated reaction of the cue ball on certain shots. The cue ball does not react in accordance with the laws of physics...." Er, yeah, it goes into a 12th dimesion time warp faster than the speed of light, transmogrifies in a fusion reaction and comes back out the other side of a superstring. Or something. This was unbelievable. The sentence follows his very poorly written segment on fundamentals and hopelessly confusing advice about the stroke. I think this kind of irrational thought has affected his thinking on the stroke and how he goes about explaining it. On to the stroke.

Monk's description of his 4 strokes is hopeless in the book and anybody who tries to follow it based on his inadequate description is doomed to frustration at best. I really don't get it and I think his advice contradicts the laws of physics again. Perhaps because he thinks they don't apply. I dunno. Anyway, even if Monk can play, I don't think anybody could seriously try to follow the stroke advice in this book and really improve.

The writing in the book was not very good. Even in the parts where Monk has something valuable to say the writing is unclear and repetitive. And sloppy editing/proofreading. Never knew Willie spelled his name "Mosconie."

Inner game advice: Some of this is OK and clearly Monk has done some reading and work in this area. But he assumes the reader has done reading in the area as well so much of the writing suffers; it assumes the reader knows what he is talking about when odds are the reader doesn't. I have done some reading in the area so I get what Monk is trying to get at. I think he has some good advice on some things in this area. I also think he expresses some concepts differently than some other authors, thus, the book can be helpful if it sparks something in the reader. I believe a couple of his ideas will help me.

I also think a few of his ideas or drills may be moderately helpful. I found a good thing or two lurking about in his advice.

So my overall review is that this is one of those dangerous instructional books. You find them in all endeavors. the author knows something and there are some good ideas in the book. But the author also has some ridiculous ideas which can seriously hurt a player. If you can't distinguish between the advice, you are better off not reading the book. If you can, there is some value. I would buy the book again, but I would try to pry it from the hands of a beginner trying to learn a stroke from it and I don't think it is a very good first book on inner game stuff, Zen concepts etc.... (There is some inherently contradictory thinking and internally inconsistent stuff in the inner game material BTW, but it isn't as bad as the advice in other areas.)

I also think Monk is really trying in the book and is sincere. I don't believe he is just a huckster trying to sell a book he has to know is terrible. (See all the John Patrick gambling books) However, I think there are some flaws in his short book.

So I guess I give the book a 5 out of 10 if you can filter through the material and like reading pool books and a 1 if you can't.

10-02-2003, 04:51 AM
I started the other post after starting his book on eight ball.
I'm also looking at "Point the Way". There are some ok drills but I've seen them before. There might be some good advice on the mental game. There's so many statements about different aspects of the mental game that he has to hit paydirt once in a while. Even a broken watch is right twice a day. The stroke descriptions are incomplete. I don't beleive I need to buy any more of his books.

10-02-2003, 06:22 AM
For those of you who wants to learn the mental game of pool, I would suggest getting Bob Fancher's Pleasures of Small Motions. This is a really good book on that particular subject.

10-02-2003, 06:34 AM
After reading my way through the original post, I was going to offer the same suggestion regarding Fancher's book. Even though he might be considered a bit "wordy" in explaining his concepts, Fancher provides a better insight into the mental game than the Monk's work.

10-02-2003, 07:00 AM
I second that. Very good book.

10-02-2003, 07:04 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote coolriffs:</font><hr>
For those of you who wants to learn the mental game of pool, I would suggest getting Bob Fancher's Pleasures of Small Motions. This is a really good book on that particular subject. <hr /></blockquote>
I read Pleasures of Small Motions a few months back and it completely changed my experience of the game. I used to get very anxious in competitive situations, get upset when I was losing, etc. Pleasures of Small Motions is like a lecture from a favorite relative, reminding us of what really matters -- why we love the game in the first place -- and to never lose sight of that. It's an important lesson that has helped me to keep my emotions in their proper context and consequently improve my play tremendously.


phil in sofla
10-07-2003, 07:48 PM
I am a little lenient when it comes to books or tapes. If I get one thing from it that helps me, I feel it was worthwhile, unless it was exorbitantly expensive, in which case I insist on getting two things!

For me, Monk's 2-5-2 shot (whatever he calls it) was worth the price, for working that drill gave me the shot speed for a lot of what I do (not just the 3 rails off a side pocket shot, but that too).

I know that seems like faint praise, and I am more positive about the book for other reasons, but having read some 25 or more books on pool since reading Point the Way, details don't come readily to mind.

Having many encyclopedic books with TONS of helpful things in them (Capelle's several books, Hennings Pro Book, Koehler's Upscale 9 Ball, etc., etc.), the Monk's book, a slight volume, really cannot compare for depth of content, weight on the scale, or cost, for that matter. Yet for some, I think it might provide just the right little something they need. So I would recommend it, although not at the top of my list.

10-08-2003, 05:41 AM
Heard it had good. Why not just focus on the good parts and ditch the rest? have not found anything perfect yet. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

10-08-2003, 08:09 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bluewolf:</font><hr> Heard it had good. Why not just focus on the good parts and ditch the rest? have not found anything perfect yet. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif <hr /></blockquote>

For the reasons in my post that's why. Bad instructional books can be just horrible if you can't separate the material. Some readers cannot do this and it is the author's fault when they screw themselves up. I think Monk's book has some horrid advice. I was also very positive about some of the material in the book. So I did focus on the positive. Authors of books are justifiably held to higher standards when they publish bad information. Nobody should be positive about the book just for the sake of being positive or nice. To do so is dishonest and is a disservice. I did not attack Monk personally and even went out of my way to say some positive things. There is nothing wrong with criticizing the content of a book.

Those are some reasons to not just focus on the positive.