The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

The Monk of Mokha

From the best-selling author of The Circle, the true story of a young Yemeni-American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana'a by civil war.Mokhtar Alkhanshali grew up in San Francisco, one of seven siblings brought up by Yemeni immigrants in a tiny apartment. At age twenty-four, unable to pay for college, he works as a doorman, until a chance encounter awakens h...

Details The Monk of Mokha

TitleThe Monk of Mokha
Release DateJan 30th, 2018
PublisherKnopf Publishing Group
GenreNonfiction, Biography, History, Autobiography, Memoir

Reviews The Monk of Mokha

  • Elyse
    Wow! By the end of “The Monk of Mokha”, without a sip of coffee or ( tea for me), in me, I felt the stimulant of Dave Eggers non fiction book raising my energy. This is one heck of an amazing rags to riches story....From DOORMAN CEO COFFEEMAN....our uplifting boost of energy comes from a guy name Mokhtar Alkhanshali......Yemeni-American. Mokhtar grew up dirt San Francisco’s most impoverished districts: The Tenderloin Dis...
  • da AL
    True account of Yemen-American. When he learns that coffee originated in Yemen, he employs passion, courage, creativity, & humanitarianism to make Yemen coffee the world's best. All that amid daunting poverty, war & politics. Pulitzer prize author. Audio narrator passable, but not a quite right fit & mispronounced eide. Story was engaging all the same.
  • PorshaJo
    There is a lesson in this one...or two. Don't let anyone tell you can't do something. And once you set your mind to something, you can do anything. Well, in this case, said person was almost killed....multiple times. But he DID IT! He did what he set out to do which seemed like an impossibility.OK, this tells the story of Mokhtar Alkhanshali. A young Yemeni growing up in San Francisco, just running around, being a punk, not caring about much of a...
  • Ammar
    This book made me appreciate coffee more. This is the kind of book that keeps you on the edge of the seat while rooting for the main guy to get over the obstacles and attain the goals they need to get. Mokhtar Alkhanshali was born and raised in California. His parents are from Yemen. He discovers while working as a door attendant in a large residential building that Yemen was a major exporter of coffee beans for centuries and had a monopoly over ...
  • Lori
    The rags to riches story of a coffee importer, it's more interesting than that sounds. Details are suspiciously sparse toward the end, but I like a happy ending. Waffling between three and four stars.
  • Brian
    In a world filled with misery and pain, it's refreshing to read a well written, non-fiction story of a member of our race who overcomes all shades of adversity to succeed when every deck is stacked against him. Like his excellent Zeitoun, Eggers writes in an easily accessible narrative style that draws the reader into every facet of the story - whether it's the personal history of the protagonist or an encompassing background on the world of coff...
  • Marie
    Eggers was the reason why I picked up this book—someone at work handed me an ARC and I was like sure why not? I didn’t even realize it was non-fiction until after the first chapterBut holy cow, it was spectacular. It’s about a Yemeni-American who wants to bring high quality Yemen coffee back to the US and the rest of the world. I had no idea about the history of coffee and wouldn’t have thought I would find it so interesting, but Eggers w...
  • Donna
    Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.Mark TwainThis is one of those nonfiction books that seems so unbelievable that if it were fiction, you’d think the author should have tried for something more realistic. But had the subject of this biographical novel, Moktar Alkhanshali, stuck to what was considered possible, he wouldn’t have achieved all that he has, and at such a y...
  • Krista
    Conditions in Yemen were deteriorating. Virtually no goods were being shipped out of the country. Activity at the ports was concentrated on importing essentials. Medicine was scarce and the vast majority of the country was suffering from food insecurity. The UN considered Yemen on the brink of famine. No one was prioritizing the export of coffee to international specialty roasters. The Monk of Mokha is a work of narrative nonfiction by noted stor...
  • Jack
    It's hard to articulate my thoughts on this book better than Michael Lindgren already has in the Washington Post, but what the hell I'll give it a shot - I liked the book, I don't regret reading it, but I won't recommend it to others, because after having read Eggers' fiction and memoir, I'm frankly disappointed.Monk of Mokha is the remarkably true story of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a Yemeni-American Millennial who overcame some pretty harrowing odds ...
  • Jay Chi
    Endlessly fascinating and engrossing read. It tells a story of the difficulties and dedication it takes to be a successful entrepreneur; it offers advice and inspiration to college students (or any person really) who is unsure about where their passions lie and what career path to pursue (spoiler: it's okay to fail a few times); it tells the rich history of the humble coffee bean. I was expecting this book to be fiction, but was nonplussed to fin...
  • Judith E
    3.75 stars. A real life, modern adventure story that is ripe for movie making. Mokhtar Alkhanshani rediscovers the Yemen coffee producing history and globally brings Yemen coffee to recognition and production. His dangerous journey reveals the beautiful but tumultuous setting of Yemen that has been subjected to uprisings, revolutions, invasion, kidnappings and bombings all within recent history. Mokhtar is an inspiration and a role model of ingen...
  • MetroBookChat
    NEXT time you slurp a cup of coffee, spare a thought for the humble bean that produced it. In Dave Eggers' latest socially conscious non-fiction book, a bean's journey involves being trapped in a city pounded by Saudi bombs and twice being taken captive by armed militia, and escaping a war-torn country by fibre boat to make it to a cup.It's a detail in the story of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, an aimless twentysomething from San Francisco's Tenderloin di...
  • Liza Fireman
    I will start by saying: this book is very very different than The Circle. And, it is mostly a book for coffee lovers, because it has a fair share of talking about coffee in addition to a beautiful drive and entrepreneurship. Mokhtar Alkhanshali's story is extremely interesting. At age twenty-four he works as a doorman, doesn't seem to be too passionate about anything much. And then, he finds the coffee. He is not an expert when he starts, not eve...
  • Donald
    I really enjoyed reading this book! It very much reminded me of "Zeitoun" and "What Is the What", which I also enjoyed! This book is the story of Mokhtar, a Yemeni American man who wants to export coffee from Yemen to the U.S., specifically the Bay Area. It's a pretty amazing story, and the reader learns a lot about coffee along the way. And Yemen too! It also helped that I live in the Bay Area, so I really connected with the location and I've be...
  • Kasa Cotugno
    I love the way Dave Eggers tells a larger story through a personal lens. As with Valentino Dent (What is the What) and Abdulrahman Zeitoun, he has taken the life of Mokhtar Alkhanshali and crafted it into a book so readable and yet so informative and true it becomes a real page turner. His books are proof of his extraordinary empathy, and this one is no exception. Mokhtar is a young man of Yemeni heritage, who grew up on the mean streets of San F...
  • Jim Higgins
    Terrific story (nonfiction) of a young man who found his calling reviving coffee trade in Yemen. In addition to its strong literary and narrative qualities, it's an excellent business book!
  • Adriaan Jansen
    ''When Mokhtar made a mistake, Hamood was angry only if Mokhtar made an excuse. 'Own the error and correct it', he said. Hamood had a thousand proverbs and maxims. His favorite was 'Keep your money in your hand, never in your heart'. He used to say that a lot.'What does it mean?' Mokhtar asked'It means that money is ephemeral, moving from person to person', Hamood said. 'It's a tool. Don't let it get into your heart or your soul' ''. (page 28).Th...
  • Sherril
    I read this book because it was written by Dave Eggers. I absolutely loved "Zeitoun". I liked "What Is The What" and "Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?"was intriguing. So I was fairly sure I would like The Monk of Mokha. I was wrong. For the most part it read more like a tag line for a specialized kind of Yemeni coffee. The best thing I can say about this non-fiction book is that it served to enlighten me a bit...
  • Jill Wittkopp
    I had the chance to see Dave & Mokhtar speak when the book was released. You could tell from their chemistry and mutual respect that the story was going to be well told. Not only is it an inspiring story about chasing the American Dream, it highlights integrity and mutual benefit (above exploitation) in that dream. This book also has an interesting perspective on the pricey specialty coffee sold in cities like San Francisco. I highly recommend th...
  • Greg Zimmerman
    First appeared here: Eggers is one of those rare writers who can make me care intensely about something I knew nothing about before. He did it most notably with his novel What Is The What, about the Lost Boys of the Sudanese Civil War. And here, in his latest narrative non-fiction The Monk of Mokha, he pulls off the trick again with Yemen, coffee, and an inspirational, enterprising young man named Mokh...
  • Elisa
    I wanted to like this book! I should have liked this book! I grew up going to my grandparents coffee plantation, eating the beans, watching the picking, the pealing, the drying, the sorting.... My brother in law still owns a coffee plantation... The book even dealt with events that are in my recent memory! It was engaging especially at the beginning and some of it was entertaining. Yet it lacked humanness. It felt like I was watching the news. In...
  • Laura Walsh
    This book was a perfect combination of two things that truly give me joy in this world - reading and drinking coffee! I will never look at a cuppa java in the same way again, (nor complain about the price!) now that I know so much more than I did just last week, about the journey coffee beans take to get to me for my daily 'simple pleasure' enjoyment.David Eggers is such a gifted writer, and boy, did he do justice to the subject matter here. I am...
  • Brandon Forsyth
    Dave Eggers is back with another story of self-discovery and the American dream, and it's *almost* as good as WHAT IS THE WHAT or A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS. Mokhtar Alkhanshali comes wonderfully to life here, and Eggers draws out his irrepressible optimism and charming naïveté in full. Mokhtar's search for his calling in life, and his eventual success in the world of coffee entrepreneurship, is as unpredictable and heartwarming ...
  • Jaclyn Crupi
    Dave Eggers doing what he does best – meeting a fascinating person and telling his story. This was captivating and I’m now on a mission to drink coffee from Yemen.
  • Ivor Armistead
    This is a wonderful story about a Yemeni-American kid from San Francisco’s Tenderloin who beats the odds and makes it as an importer of coffee from his ancestral home in the middle of a civil war. Horatio Alger, eat your heart out.
  • Lacy
    I won a Goodreads giveaway to get the Monk of Mokha, so here's my review! It's a few weeks into 2018, and I predict this will be the best book I read this year. Before reading this book, I didn't know much about coffee, and I knew Yemen was located south of Saudi Arabia but knew little else about the country. Now I've traveled in reading to Yemen's coffee farms and cities, and know how the seeds of the coffee plant fruit become the drink so much ...
  • Henk-Jan van der Klis
    Mokhtar Alkhanshali groeit op in achterstandswijken van San Francisco, wisselend van studie en een baantje als portier, dromend van echt wat willen bereiken. Zijn Jemenitische afkomst verloochent hij niet en springt in op de zogenaamde 3e golf aan koffiebranders en -verkopers die schakels in de lange keten tussen boeren en consumenten verwijderen, een eerlijke vergoeding aan de telers bieden en aan de consument koffie als belevenis, specialty bra...
  • Mal Warwick
    Dave Eggers has struck gold once again with the extraordinary story of the Yemeni-American entrepreneur Mokhtar Alkhanshali, "a poor kid from [San Francisco's] Tenderloin who now has found some significant success as a coffee importer." But that description barely scratches the surface. Mokhtar is the man who introduced now-highly-praised coffee from Yemen to the American market. And he did so after surviving an odyssey through war-torn territor...
  • Sue
    From zero to hero.This is not a novel. This is Dave Eggers’ account of how a young Yemeni American went from humble beginnings to realising the great American dream via the unlikely path of speciality coffee.[Sidebar: Mokhtar Alkhanshali was raised in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, a rough and ready neighbourhood that we learn acquired its name from the bribes handed out to the local policemen enabling them to indulge in the finest c...