This book is described as being based on the life of Marc Steinberg, creator of Creative Consciousness International, located in Cape Town. However, I had to ask why the name change was necessary. Sinclair reads instead like a straight-forward recounting of facts and experiences, taken from Steinberg's life, and with the names being so similar – Sinclair, Steinberg – why not just call it a spade a spade?
Sinclair opens with the narrator of the title addressing an imagined character named Benn. He first appears to Sinclair as a child, serving as an alter ego/higher self manifestation. Benn has the answers when Sinclair doesn't; Benn appears when he is needed and dissolves just as quickly into thin air when he's delivered his pronouncements.
The book skips around in time; confusingly so. We meet Sinclair as a young man who has achieved success as a businessman. We leap into childhood, then go forward a few years to a time when the wealthy Sinclair is earning his living as a model, while also travelling around the world looking for enlightenment, from the ashrams of India to an island off Tunisia. He has learned to manifest wealth, and enjoys the fruits of his success in the form of fast cars, for instance. This does land him in hospital, but he has harnessed the power of his mind, and escapes paralysis.
But love, and its painful lessons, eludes him and he realises he must fall in love and weather the ups and downs of the experience if he is truly going to be a master of himself and thus share his knowledge. This leads to a disastrous marriage to another model, combined with a stay in Los Angeles, where he starts coaching others in mastery of themselves. The shadow of his wife's undisclosed alcoholism becomes too much to deal with, and Sinclair extracts himself from this partnership.
And so it goes on. Originally from Germany, Sinclair returns to Munich, builds an empire, acquires a castle where he lives and runs his courses, and then finds that the Catholic Church is blocking his progress. He claims that they control the media in Europe when critical articles on his work start appearing in the press, and this eventually leads him to South Africa. Land of opportunity, and a place where your hard currency can buy you a home to dream in.
By this time though, my interest had waned and disappeared. Sinclair comes across with all his faults: selfish, petty, and petulant, hardly self-aware in his dealings with women, and blaming something external, in this case the Catholic Church, for all the failings in his life. I failed to warm to Sinclair. Little insight is provided into his character, and personal growth is assumed as the result of life experiences rather than evidenced in the telling of the story. Those people who surround Sinclair are little more than cardboard cut-outs, propping up Sinclair in his beliefs and heady crash through life.
Whatever Steinberg's strengths in his chosen field as a life coach, spiritual mentor and self-help guru, writing isn't one of them. I ended the book wishing that Steinberg had gone another route in the recounting of his life's journey – perhaps straight, undisguised memoir would have read better; perhaps enlisting the services of a ghost writer would have helped his cause more.
His website promises much to those wishing to better themselves, such as the "Life and Consciousness Coaching course which "generates shifts in your consciousness such that you are complete as well as empowered and inspired to make positive changes in your life". For anyone seeking to achieve such aims, I imagine you would gain far more perspective and insight from attending such a course, rather than wading through this badly-written book.
For more information contact www.mscoaching.com.
Sinclair by Marc Steinberg
Publisher: Creative Consciousness International
also in this issue/category...
- 100 Papers
- A Quest to Understand the Stigma of HIV/Aids
- Beauty's Gift
- Blood Kin
- Double Cross
- Drinking from the Dragon's Well
- Footnotes in Yiddish
- Galgut's Take on Adam's Fall
- Ode to *
- On Games, Art and Shades of Gray
- Out of the Wreckage
- Pompidou Posse
- The Best American Travel Writing Series
- Transformation in Need of Ghostbusters