The whole point of a monastic existence is to put aside worldly things. Brother Ty, the narrator of God Is My Broker, has put them aside with a vengeance, and his task is all the more impressive when you consider just how many he used to possess. "I had traded the life of a Wall Street trader," he tells us, "for the contemplative life, my briefcase for a rosary, the roar of the trading floor for Gregorian chant." Hunkered down in a rural monastery, he seems finally to have escaped the iniquities of Mammon, along with rush-hour traffic and a major drinking problem.
A vow of poverty, however, isn't what it used to be. The monastery of Cana is falling to pieces. And Cana Nouveau--the wine the brothers have always produced to sustain themselves--has hit a new, undrinkable low. As the desperate abbot looks to Deepak Chopra and Anthony Robbins for advice, Brother Ty begins to get financial tips from the Supreme Insider: "That day God had revealed Himself to be our broker." Sometimes, of course, the Lord speaks in mysterious ways. Even a stray line from the Song of Solomon may encourage the narrator to take a flier on Apple Computer stock: "Comfort me with apples. It sounded like a 'buy' recommendation to me." By heeding his divine broker at every turn, however, Brother Ty manages to transform the monastery into a financial powerhouse. His story amounts to the funniest bit of ecclesiastical satire since J. F. Powers's Morte D'Urban. What's more, the authors send up the entire self-help industry with hilarious expertise, concluding God Is My Broker with what even Deepak Chopra would recognize as a home truth: "The only way to get rich from get-rich books is to write one."